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Early Hayward: 05/29/11

cover art

Recently read two books about the local history of the area where I'm now living. The first of those two books is Early Hayward by Robert Phelps.

I grew up in a suburb of San Diego that could trace its history back only about two decades before I was born. It's history is within living memory of my grandfather and father. This lack of history is part and parcel of being the child of baby-boomers in a western state.

As it turns out I'm now living in a home that's only as old as I am but its adjacent to areas that have a longer history being the former ranch of Guillermo Castro and before that native American lands.

With that in mind and being relatively new to the area I crave local history. Early Hayward by Robert Phelps, a history professor at nearby Cal State East Bay, outlines the timeline of Hayward from the time it was just a hotel run by William Hayward on Castro's land at the corner of what's now A and Main, through the city being "Haywards" to ultimately dropping the s and becoming Hayward.

The photographs from the local historical society are the best parts of the book. There are also a few maps and it is fun compare modern day street layout to what it used to be like. For instance, I learned that my street used to be Cemetery Road. That's a much more descriptive name given that the street changes name at a cemetery just up the hill.

I own the Castro Valley book from the same series but Early Hayward I borrowed from my local library.

Four stars.

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