Thursday, August 6, 2009

Early Public Schools

Alameda County was formed in 1853. It was divided in 6 townships all which were actually school districts.The tricity area was named Washington Township and included Newark, Fremont, and Union City. Later in 1885 this was divided up into 3 school districts. The Alvarado area was district #1.

In 1854 the first Alameda County Superintendent of Schools, Rev. William Wallace Brier, reported that there were 577 children ages five to 18 in the county but only 214 attended schools. (History: 9/4/07 Tri-City Voice) He visited communities throughout the county helping residents start schools, acquire buildings, and promote the cause of a regular school attendance. He worked with county officials to secure money for school buildings and teachers' salaries. (History: 9/18/07 Tri-City Voice)

One of the houses on Horner Street (4167 Horner St.) is on the location of the first designated schoolhouse in Alvarado, built in the l850’s. The school house was torn down on Nov 18, 1998. It had not been used as a school for a long time. (Union City Historical Museum Newsletter. May Vol.5, No 6. 2004) Teachers did not need a credential as they do now. The first teacher at Alvarado was Mrs. Warren. She lived with different families of her students. They fed her and provided for her needs. (History: 9/18/07. Tri-City Voice) Around 1851 Rev. W. W. Brier also taught at Alvarado and later served as a trustee. At that time many teachers were men who later went on to do other jobs. The average salary for pioneer teachers in Alameda County was about $75 per month. (History: Sept. 17. 2007 Tri-City Voice)

In 1878 a grammar school was built on the site were Alvarado Elementary is now. It was a two story 4 room school house, so the grades were probably separated in some way. This school served until 1924. (Alvarado Walking Tour. Timothy Swenson. Union City 50th Anniversary Celebration. 2009.)

The school mascot has always been the "Wildcat". From 1850 until 1980 the school colors were maroon and gold. In 1980 the colors were changed to blue and gold. In 1989 a school song was developed with the title, This School is Your School.

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