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P era lta
      Hacienda Historical Park
                          S i t e G u i d e a n d Wa l k i n G to u r


                                     C o o l i d g e av e .


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hyde street




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         3 4 T H av e .                                                             3 4 T H av e .




                                                              	 1	 Welcome
                                                              	 2	 Lum	House		
                                                              	 3	 Pear	Tree	Path
                                                              	 4	 California	Native	Garden
                                                              	 5	 Borrow	Pit
                                                12
                                                              	 6	 Play	Area
                                                              	 7	 1821	Adobe
                                                              	 8	 Adobe	Wall	Alcoves
                                                              	 9	 1840	Adobe
                                                              1
                                                              	 0		 Peralta	House
                                                              1
                                                              	 1	 Community	Garden
                                                              1
                                                              	 2	 Creek




Landscape of Stories
Why is the park called the Birthplace of Oakland?
      the Peraltas built an adobe house at the site in 1821. It was the first non-
      native home on the land where Oakland is today. It is the Founder’s Rock of Oakland
      in that it marks the first occupation by people of European descent.

      the expression “Founder’s rock” seems to place value on the European
      colonization of the Americas, ignoring the fact that Native Americans lived here long
      before 1820—at least 12,000 years—while other “birthplaces of Oakland” privilege
      Northern European views of history and ignore the previous Spanish-speaking
      settlers.

      in a modern legal sense, Oakland did not exist until Horace Carpentier,
      Oakland’s roguish founder, established the city by ramrodding his land grab through
      the state legislature in 1852.



 Is it really a Hacienda?
      the Peraltas did not call their cattle ranch an hacienda, but a rancho. Hacienda
      usually refers to a large plantation-like, single-crop farm cultivated by a peasant
      workforce. Such Haciendas were common in colonial New Spain and later in
      Mexico.

      When neighbors joined together in the 1970s to create the park to make
      more open space for Fruitvale youth and rescue the Peralta house for public use,
      another meaning of the word hacienda was in their minds: a place of hospitality, a
      welcoming homestead with constant activity, with a variety of built structures open
      to people of all cultures. The name, in this sense, has stuck.




       We don’t know the
       Chochenyo name for this spot.
       Chochenyo was the Ohlone
       language for the Oakland area.
       We do know the Native
       Americans had names for every
       location in the East Bay before
       there were any streets or
       houses, before this city existed.




Where did the park’s name come from? What did the Ohlone Native Americans
You are entering a very special historical site. People from different cultures
    have gathered here for thousands of years. They have used the land in different
    ways and given the spot different names. The site is filled with stories, but also
    filled with mysteries, because much of its history has been lost or destroyed with
    time. Throughout the park, you will see questions which remind us of these
    unknowns.


    WELCOME
                                                                                       1

    The	Welcome	Tile greets visitors in the sixteen languages most spoken in
    Oakland today, and also in languages spoken by many people in this neighborhood,
    like Quiché, a Mayan language from Guatemala, or like Mien, from the highlands of
    Laos. the tile also honors historical languages such as Chochenyo, the Ohlone
    language of the Oakland area, and culturally important languages like swahili. At
    least 57 languages are spoken in Fruitvale.




           Spanish • Vietnamese • Hindi • English • Cambodian • Chochenyo* • Arabic
                   Russian • Farsi • Tongan • Chinese • Mixtec • Tagalog • Thai
               German • Mien • Japanese • Portuguese • Korean • Italian • Swahili
                  Laotian • French • Quiché (Mayan) • Hebrew • Serbo Croatian

                                      *East Bay Ohlone language




    the path is only half finished. At the other end of the path, we will add more
    languages. Please let park staff know the languages you would like to see on the
    pathway.




name this spot? Why was Coolidge Avenue originally named Peralta Street?
1902 Lum House
                                                                                         2


This	dwelling, modest by the standards of its time, tells a story of the influx of
immigrants in the early 1900s, no longer the gentlemen farmers of the 1860s, but
workers in a new, more urban environment. they came from european nations to
the U.s. in great numbers to earn their living in Fruitvale’s sawmills and canneries,
which developed around the railroad tracks and the estuary.
the last private owners of the house, the Lum family, also embody a pivotal chapter
in Bay Area history. ethnic Chinese from Vietnam, buffeted by history across the
Pacific Ocean, the Lum family story evokes California’s relationship with the
peoples of the Pacific rim.


Fruit Vale
     the six acres where the park is today were part of a 44,700-acre cattle ranch
     called Rancho San Antonio—St. Anthony’s Ranch. The Spanish-speaking family who
     owned it received the land when all of Alta California* was still part of the Spanish
     colonial empire. Later, the land became part of the newly independent nation of
     Mexico. Native Americans were here throughout this time, their presence on the
     land stretching back at least 12,000 years.

     About 150 years ago, fruit orchards and farms began to replace the Peralta cattle
     ranch, and the people who came in this wave gave this land another name: Fruitvale
     (or Fruit Vale, as it was first written). At that time, Fruitvale was covered with
     orchards, rows and rows of fruit trees like the pear trees you see here, and dairies
     with milk cows, replacing the Peraltas’ longhorn cattle. The people who lived in
     Fruitvale included German and Welsh farmers, Chinese workers, and African
     Americans who gained freedom after the
     Civil War and moved west. Spanish-                   in 1928 Peralta avenue was
     speaking people also continued to live in            renamed Coolidge Avenue, one
     the area.                                            year before President Coolidge
     as people from all over the                        resigned. (In 1929, Herbert Hoover
     world moved to Fruitvale in the 20th               became president and the country
     century, the stories of the Native                 plunged into The Great Depression.)
     Americans and the Peraltas, and even the
     orchards, were forgotten.

     There was no way to tell that Fruitvale was once a vale of fruit, except for the
     occasional gnarled stand of fruit trees in someone’s yard. The Peralta House, as far
     as anyone knew, was just another nice old house.

     *Spanish name for California, meaning Upper California.




What is you neighborhood’s name? Where did that name come from?
Pear Tree Path
                                                                                   3

W H o s e H i s To ry i s r e m e m b e r e d ?

     In 1775 –1776 Juan Bautista de Anza led the first spanish-speaking families
     to California, including the Peraltas. the first tile tells how Luis Peralta’s
     mother-in-law felt as the expedition set off, to a land where no families from
     her culture had ever lived:
     “Goodbye, san Miguel, splendid with your open fields and rows of corn,
     where Angela de trejo leaves part of herself behind forever.”

H av e y o u T o l d y o u r s T o r y ?



                                                      Pedro Font, the Anza
                                                      expedition’s priest, drew this
                                                      map after his first glimpse of
                                                      the Oakland area.




W H aT l a n g u a g e s d o y o u s p e a k ?


     Native American languages
     in the Bay Area, 1775.
     Native Americans out­
     numbered Spanish­speaking
     settlers by approximately
     1000 to 1. Alta California
     was one of the most densely
     populated regions in what
     later became the United
     States.


W H aT e n C o u n T e r s H av e C H a n g e d y o u r l i f e ?

     the park is a site on the Juan Bautista de Anza National trail,
     commemorating this journey and the encounters between the newcomers
     and the native peoples of California.
California Native
Plant Garden
                                                                                         4

The	Ohlone	arrived in the east Bay region about 2,500 years ago, and the Coast
Miwok about 500 years ago. Both groups lived here at the same time, and many
people were bi-lingual and bi-cultural. they were the most recent cultures in a line
of Native American groups dating back at least 12,000 years.
they knew how to identify, harvest and prepare at least 200 kinds of plants. they
changed the landscape in many ways, for instance, by burning away heavy growth of
bushes and young trees to encourage the plants they liked to use. this burning
sterilized the soil, removing plant disease
organisms. It also raised the heat in the soil
so that seeds sprouted. this control of the    only a fraction of the long
                                               history of the California Native
vegetation made the area look like a
                                               Peoples is known today; the sciences,
beautiful park, according to the first people  languages and cultures of these
of european descent who came here.             varied cultures were remembered
                                                  and told about, rather than written
                                                  down. Most of this oral record was
Ask	for	one	of	the	special	booklets               lost when at least 90% of the native
                                                  people either died from diseases
that artists, scholars and Ohlone
                                                  carried into Alta California by the
descendants have created to guide you in          Europeans during the mission and
this garden.                                      rancho periods, or were massacred
                                                  by Americans who came after the
                                                  Gold Rush in 1849.




Borrow Pit
                                                                                         5
         arCHaeology deposiT

The	hole	left	after	the	Peraltas	made	the	bricks for their adobe structures
soon filled up with trash such as broken dishes and bones from the Peraltas’ small-
scale slaughters of longhorn cows. (they carried out the larger slaughters further
from their houses). they burned the trash, probably because the cow carcasses
smelled horrible. Artifacts from this incinerated pit will fill an exhibit in the Peralta
house.
A borrow pit is an excavation of material to be used elsewhere, in this case, mud for
the adobe bricks.
Play Area
                                                                                  6
         redWoods and grizzlies



Old-growth	redwoods once stood directly uphill from Peralta hacienda
historical Park’s current location.
What	happened	to	these	trees,	known	as	the	San	Antonio	
redwoods?	



A	Spanish	priest,	Juan	Crespí, gave the redwood its spanish name, palo
colorado, when he explored the east Bay in 1769. the missions and the Peraltas
culled occasional trees for the next 80 years.
In the late 1840s and 1850s, after the Gold rush, Antonio Peralta sold the
redwoods, which were used to make lumber for housing for the thousands of people
arriving daily: failed prospectors from the gold fields, merchants, farmers, and land
speculators. the population increased 90 times in four years! the stand was cut to
the ground again in the 1890s, for housing for a new wave of immigrants, such as the
Portuguese people who worked in the Fruitvale paper mills. the whole redwood
stand was protected as redwood regional Park in 1936.

The	grizzly	bear is an east Bay native, too! Grizzly mothers and cubs like those in
the play area roamed the hills, co-existing with the missions, the ranchos and early
Us settlement. the last grizzly was sited in san Leandro in 1863.
Why did the numbers of grizzlies increase dramatically after the spanish takeover?
Previously, the Native Americans had hunted the bears. With much of the Native
population in mission communities, away from their former hunting grounds, many
Native People died from exposure to diseases brought by the spanish-speaking
settlers. the lack of Native
hunters meant that the bears
multiplied rapidly. the bears
also had a huge new source of
food: spanish and Mexican
matanzas, or cattle slaughters.
the rancheros took only the
hides to sell and left most of
the cattle meat behind on the
open range.

                                 Grizzlies in a wheat field
The Peraltas Arrive
alta California stood at the most remote edge of Spain’s global empire. Because the
Spanish monarchy feared that other European powers, such as England, Russia and
France would steal such a faraway colony, it sent an expedition led by Juan Bautista de
Anza to Alta California in 1775–1776.

The Peraltas came on this journey with 240 other people—soldiers and their families,
priests and laborers. They walked and rode horses and burros for more than five months,
crossing 700 miles of rugged terrain from what is now the town of Tubac, near the
Mexican border in Arizona, to the Bay Area. The settlers herded hundreds of longhorn
cows, and brought other domestic animals. In their saddlebags, they carried cuttings for
crops for which California is now famous, such as grapes, tomatoes, and almonds.

luís María Peralta, aged 16, and Maria Loreto Alviso, only nine years old, made this
journey. Luís María and María Loreto later married; they were the parents of Antonio
Peralta, who lived here where the park is today.




Founding Family
Between 1776 and 1797, the Peraltas helped found settlements on the sites of
former Ohlone villages that grew into major Bay Area cities:

• mission and presidio of San Francisco

• missions of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz

• pueblo of San Jose,

• Mission San Jose, now in Fremont

  In the first census of San José, in 1778, the Peraltas are recorded as having 1 horse,
  3 mules, 2 mares, 2 oxen, 2 cows, 1 calf, 2 ewes and 2 goats.




Luís Peralta
the San Francisco Presidio assigned Luís Peralta to different missions, presidios
and pueblos as both soldier and administrator. His military career included battles,
interrogations and arrests of Native Americans, a story which will be told in the Peralta
House when new exhibits open in 2007. His reports document many Native American
voices as well as giving some insight into his character, and the situations and dilemmas
faced by a soldier in an occupying force. Looking back at the end of his life he wrote in his
will:

I wish my body to be carried to the Mission of Santa Clara on the same
funeral wagon as my fellow human beings, the Indians.
—Luís Peralta, 1850
1821 adobe
                                                                                  7
         THe founder’s roCk of oakland



By	1820,	Luís	Peralta	had worked for thirty-five years as a soldier and
commissioner in Alta California. the spanish governor, Vicente solá, granted him
nearly 45,000 acres of land. If you live in Berkeley, Oakland, emeryville, Alameda,
Piedmont, Kensington, Albany or parts of san Leandro, you live on land that used
to be part of the Peralta ranch.
In order to establish the claim, the family quickly built a house of branches caked
together with mud. In 1821, they replaced it with a more permanent house of adobe.
It was here that the Peraltas built this first non-Native American family home in the
region. Native American workers almost surely did most of the building. In the
missions, Native American workers learned adobe construction techniques. An
adobe house of this size would require approximately 3000 adobe bricks.


Why	did	the	Peraltas	build	here? the homestead site is near water, and has
long views of the hills in all directions, and the Bay.
Luís Peralta never lived on the rancho, but stayed in san Jose. Native American
herders tended his cattle and his sons visited occasionally but did not move onto the
rancho. then, in 1828, Antonio Peralta married María Antonio Galindo, and came
to the rancho with her. soon his three other brothers joined them. Over time, the
other brothers moved to other parts of the rancho to build their own houses.
domingo lived in what is now Berkeley, Vicente where the temescal district of
Oakland is today, and Ignacio in what is now san Leandro.
Antonio María Peralta and his family stayed at this site, the original rancho
headquarters.


This photograph is thought to be the
1821 Peralta adobe. Bricks from this
dwelling were hauled to Dimond Park to
build a Boy Scout lodge in 1897. They
now form one wall of a storage hut there.
Friends of Peralta Hacienda are
working to get these original bricks
returned to the Peralta site.
The Rancho is . . .
. . . home (alcove 1):
• Californios used the winter months for repairs and visiting neighboring ranchos.
• The funeral cortege tells the story of high infant mortality on the frontier: One of the
  Peralta children died in 1837, and another the year after.
• A ranchero and vaquero hunt deer and a herder discovers a dead calf. The guilty coyote
  slinks away.
• Many workers probably lived in rancherías (Native American settlements) on the edge
  of Rancho San Antonio, and worked for the Peraltas only during the matanza (slaughter)
  season. They were able to revive older Native American traditions in such settlements.

. . . land (alcove 2):
• An old-growth redwood forest stood on Antonio’s section of the rancho.
• A vigil for a Native American on a ranchería and the purifying fire burning outside. The
  scene recalls Native Americans who worked and died of accidents and disease, whose
  lives were not written about and whose graves are unmarked. One 1826 document tells
  about a neophyte working for Mission San José, killed while cutting boards in the
  redwoods on Antonio Peralta’s section of the rancho.
• Vaqueros are branding a longhorn.
• Spanish-speaking settlers introduced cattle and horses into Alta California. The animals
  brought seeds for annual grasses in their hooves as they were driven north from
  Mexico. The introduced grasses destroyed native perennial grasses.
• Californio and Native women wash laundry at a stream, gather herbs and build a
  ramada for shade.

. . . work (alcove 3):
• Women and Native Americans tend the garden near the adobe home with its outdoor
  kitchen.
• Native Americans probably carried out most of the adobe construction of the wall and
  larger house.
• Rodeos (round-ups) and matanzas (slaughters), began in July, supplying the hide and
  tallow trade, the rancho’s main industry. Native Americans did the killing and skinning.
• Workers boiled the tallow (cowfat) off the carcasses in huge vats from the whaleships.

. . . celebration (alcove 4):
• A Native American group from the San Joaquín Valley took horses from the rancho in
  August,1837.
• Californios gathered for fandangos during the autumn before the rains came again,
  hosting people from surrounding ranchos. They celebrated through dance, food and
  displays of horsemanship.
• Fruit and other crops, harvested by women and Native Americans, were sold to the
  ships along the coast.
Adobe Wall and Alcoves
                                                                                      8

The	mural represents a year on the rancho in the late 1830s and early 1840s, when
the rancho herds expanded to 8000 head of cattle and 2000 horses, and the Peralta
rancho became a social center of east Bay life. the mural shows activities of the
Californios and the Native Americans through the themes of land, home, work and
celebration.
The	frieze above the mural shows the cycles of the moon for one year. Cycles of
the moon, linked to the acorn harvest and other natural phenomena, defined the
rhythms of Ohlone life before the spanish came. the history of the Ohlone
permeates the history of the rancho.
Emblematic	objects and animals in the niches suggest daily life on the rancho
and its environs.



  WHY are SoMe SeCtionS oF tHe Mural SketCHed?

 Knowledge of daily life on Rancho San Antonio is fragmentary, especially about the
 Native Peoples who lived and worked here. Many ranchos were places of isolation,
 deprivation, oppression and even violence towards Native Americans, as the missions
 had been.

 Our knowledge of the Peralta’s daily life is also incomplete. William Heath Davis,
 Hawaiian American friend of the family and trader in hide and tallow, also wrote about
 the Peraltas in his book 75 Years in California.

 Contact staff if you would like to help research a more complete history of the Ohlone,
 the Peralta House, Rancho San Antonio, and Fruitvale.



The	adobe	wall protected the adobe compound against horse raids and animal
intruders. Who were the raiders? Native Americans sometimes stole horses from
ranchos on the edge of settlement, like that of the Peraltas. After secularization,
many Native Americans left the missions—where they had become expert
horsemen—only to find their ancestral lands along the coast occupied by cattle
ranches and other settlements. Many went to the Central Valley, forming bands
made up of individuals from different Native American groups who had lived
together in the missions. they also traded the horses with trappers now coming
westward over the sierras from the United states.
More than twenty-two alcoves leaned against the wall, which were used as guest
quarters, and most likely also as workshops, storage and housing for workers for the
round-up and slaughter season.
Mission Land Becomes Rancho Land
the Catholic Church had joined with the Spanish monarchs in the early 1500s to
convert as many people as possible, worldwide, to Catholicism, the Spanish state religion.
Catholic priests, supported by soldiers and explorers, set up missions—farms with
churches used as bases to convert local peoples. In the mid-1830s, the government of
Mexico, independent of Spain since 1821, decreed an end to the missions. They became
just parish churches.

Why? Many Mexicans resented the missions as Spanish-controlled institutions employing
mostly Spanish-born priests. Mexican thinkers felt the virtual enslavement of Native
Americans in the missions was at odds with the democratic ideals of their country. And
finally, Mexico no longer wanted to support the expensive mission system.

Who got the mission lands and herds? According to the Spanish Laws of the
Indies, and Mexican law, Native Americans were supposed to get the mission lands back.
Secularization affected eighteen thousand Christianized Native people, or neophytes.
Some took up the offer of land and established settlements near the ex-missions or moved
to already established Native settlements on ex-mission lands, but many refused the land
or didn’t have enough money to become successful farmers. They sold the land to the first
bidders, who were usually Californios. Many returned to their former lives, totally
rejecting further contact or control by the Mexican authorities once the priests left the
missions. The administration of mission lands was assigned to local Californios. Any
mission land not claimed by the neophytes was designated as abandoned. The Californios
rushed to petition the government for this abandoned land and the result was a dramatic
increase in the number of land grants under the Mexican government. The administrators
of each mission often ended up with most of the land. For example, at Mission San Jose,
Salvador Vallejo, the administrator, received most of the land surrounding the ex-mission.
Finally, many ex-mission Indians were left homeless and had to seek employment in
pueblos and on the new ranchos. In a very small number of cases, Native Americans kept
the land they were granted after secularization.

released from servitude on the missions, the new Native American workers
enabled the Peraltas to expand their herds, carry out bigger matanzas, and take more
hides and tallow to the waiting ships. Having more laborers also meant the Peraltas could
carry out much more ambitious adobe construction than before.



 urBan Book–MuSeuM WitHout WallS

 in the master plan for the park, the 1840 adobe footprint will come to life
 again as a house for the Urban Book, an outdoor museum that will explore the
 intertwined histories, global and local, of the forgotten and the famous that created
 the East Bay we live in today. In the Urban Book, visitors will rotate outdoor panels to
 find new connections between the natural world, the international influences and the
 individuals and cultures that have encountered each other here. And the Urban Book
 will always be changing: Local schools and California’s artists will contribute new
 panels every year as history rushes into the present.

 For the October, 2006, opening, the “Faces of Fruitvale” exhibit, funded by the
 California Council for the Humanities, will be displayed on the footprint of the 1840
 adobe, foreshadowing the future Urban Book–Museum without Walls.
1840 adobe
                                                                                  9




Antonio Peralta with
Mariá Dolores
Archuleta and other
family members on
the porch of the 1840
adobe in the 1850s.




This	is	the	footprint	of	the	second, and larger, Peralta adobe, built in 1840.
María Antonia Galindo, Antonio’s first wife, gave birth to her last two children
here. In all she gave birth to eleven children in fifteen years, nine born in the 1821
adobe, six of them surviving infancy. she herself died in 1850, while living here. her
grave is in Fremont, in the churchyard at Mission san José. Antonio Peralta married
María dolores Archuleta in 1852. they had three children in this house before she
died, still young, in June, 1868.
Although	‘adobe’	makes	us	think	of spanish California, the Peraltas’ 1840
adobe house lasted long past the U.s. annexation of Alta California in 1848, the
Gold rush in 1949 and statehood in 1851. the adobe houses stood during the
myriad sales of the Peralta acreage; the rancho shrank through the shady dealings of
horace Carpentier and other speculators as part of their plan to develop a town
called Oakland. the Peralta adobes stood amidst the shacks and tents of the
squatters, who saw themselves as homesteaders with rights to what they saw as
empty land.
Then	in	October	of	1868,	a major earthquake struck the hayward fault. the
larger 1840 adobe and the massive wall with its 22 alcoves that encircled the
compound gave way. the older, smaller 1821 adobe withstood the event, with some
damage. the family repaired it and lived there for two years, until a new house, built
in a new style, was ready. the adobe bricks from the fallen structures must have
gradually dissolved in the rain, becoming part of the soil from which they were
formed.
1870 Antonio Peralta House
                                                                                         10
         l o o k i n g f o r Wa r d , l o o k i n g b a C k Wa r d



Antonio	Peralta	lived	here	as a widower with his adult daughters for nine years
before he died in 1879.
Henry	Z.	Jones	bought	the	property and its surrounding 23 acres from his
daughter, Inés Peralta, in 1897. the house did not fit on the grid of new small lots
Jones drew up so he moved it about 100 feet to its current location—imagine this
feat in 1897!
Through	the	twentieth	century,	the house stood on the corner of Paxton and
34th Avenue, its older stories forgotten, to be replaced by new stories, new arrivals.


                                                      the Peralta House, so different
                                                      from the adobes, heralded a new
For Bay area native americans, the                    era. But did the dream of that new
period after the Gold Rush (1850 to 1900)             era come true for the Peraltas? What
presented major challenges. Although life             were their hopes when they lived
under Spanish and later Mexican authorities           here? What were their lives like?
was always a hard life and often humiliating,         What language, perhaps now no
American rule proved to be often even more            longer spoken around them, did they
dehumanizing and lethal for native peoples.           speak? What had happened to the
                                                      Native American workers on the
Prior to the Gold rush, Alta California
                                                      rancho?
had been a relatively isolated region. Spanish
and Mexican authorities mainly controlled Alta
California’s coastal territories (hence the Peralta adobes being located within a half hour’s
walk—or a few minutes horse ride—to the bay). The thirst for gold brought with it a
population explosion, and this flood of newcomers showed no compunctions in
eliminating Native Americans and taking over their lands.

Where the Mission Fathers saw Native Americans as “neophytes, and the new
                                                                        ”
Mexican government saw Native Americans as potential citizens, most U.S. settlers simply
saw Native Americans as in the way of progress. Among the new laws directly affecting
Native Americans were those barring them from state citizenship and denying their
testimony in court. Other laws affecting Native Americans were the new property taxes
and land management acts.

although very few native americans held Spanish or Mexican titles to land,
a great many Native Americans worked as ranch hands and house servants for those who
did. These property taxes, in conjunction with the mounting legal fees associated with
keeping squatters and land speculators at bay, pushed most of the Spanish speakers off
their land, leaving the Native Americans homeless, jobless, and at the mercy of the
newcomers. Although Bay Area Native Americans strove to resist and regroup—and the
presence of contemporary Ohlone people is evidence of that struggle—the demographic
and legislative changes that characterize the American period had a hugely negative
impact on the life chances of all Native Peoples of California.
Community Gardens
                                                                                11


Native	Americans	practiced effective and elegant forms of cultivation which
you can learn more about in the published guide to the ring of Native Plants.
spanish-speaking priests and settlers introduced foods of europe and Central
America such as grapes, almonds, walnuts, oranges, lemons, tomatoes and peppers
to Alta California for the first time.
the Peraltas raised food around their settlement from the beginning and later
farmed extensively to supply cabbages, potatoes, pumpkins and onions to the
trading ships from england and the east Coast of the United states during the hide
and tallow trade.
Now, farming traditions from all over the world are practiced at the site.
Four	years	ago	the	Lao	Family	Center approached Friends of Peralta
hacienda and asked if there was space for a garden for the Mien community.
the Mien elders have been farming here ever since.
this ancient farming people had been thrust across the world from the highlands of
Laos in the aftermath of decades of war in southeast Asia involving the Us and
other superpowers.
thanks to funding from the California Council for the humanities, the haas
Foundation, the Association of California traditional Arts and the Oakland
Cultural Funding Program, Friends of Peralta hacienda is collecting their stories,
preparing an exhibit, and encouraging and preserving the traditional Mien arts of
gardening and cooking.
Local	youth	have	also	started	
a	garden, mentored by the Mien,
an activity that forms part of Peralta
hacienda’s arts and cultural
programs. An exhibit in the Peralta
house kitchen will be complete
soon showing the encounter of the
Mien and local youth, highlighting
the gardens and the foods they cook
and share at bi-monthly community
banquets.
Peralta Creek
                                                                                 12


Peralta Creek, flowing for millennia, witness to all that has gone on here!
—Jorgen Blomberg, landscape architect, at planning meeting in 2001



The	rains	course	down	the	coast	range forming the east Bay watershed.
the watershed has become precious to east Bay residents in recent years, though
most of its streams may have vanished from sight under streets and into culverts.
In the 1940s, before this section of Peralta Creek was culverted, it provided a
swimming hole for neighborhood children, such as the three Miller children on
Paxton street, who told about swimming there while their father was serving in the
armed forces during WWII. the two Miller sisters, now women in their sixties,
were interviewed for the Faces of Fruitvale Community heritage Project and told
about their idyllic experiences in Peralta Creek. A century earlier, the creek flowed
beside the Peralta’s makeshift bullring that drew crowds of Californios. Bullfighting
was banned shortly after the City of Oakland was
founded in 1855. And before that, the creek in
seasonal spate likely flowed by the fishing
encampments of the Miwok and the Ohlone.
Did	the	creek	always	exist? Peralta Creek was
conceived when the east Bay hills tilted upwards in
the far reaches of geologic time, approximately 12
million years ago, and began to flow about a million
years ago, draining out of the hills; water will always
flow down to the Bay, and on to the sea that has
made California, at the continent’s edge, the
gathering place for people of many cultures since
the earliest times.

Written by Holly Alonso
Graphic design by Gordon Chun Design

Historical consultants: Mary Jo Wainwright, Alex Saragoza and Richard Orsi
Research assistants: Ben Perez and Linda Norton

Made possible through the generous support of the
National Endowment for the Humanities
National Park Service Challenge Cost Share Program
Oakland Cultural Funding Program
California Heritage Fund

A publication of Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, October 15, 2006
Box 7172, Oakland, 94601 www.peraltahacienda.org 510 532-9142

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Site Guide & Walking Tour

  • 1. P era lta Hacienda Historical Park S i t e G u i d e a n d Wa l k i n G to u r C o o l i d g e av e . 1 2 4 hyde street 3 11 5 8 6 10 7 9 3 4 T H av e . 3 4 T H av e . 1 Welcome 2 Lum House 3 Pear Tree Path 4 California Native Garden 5 Borrow Pit 12 6 Play Area 7 1821 Adobe 8 Adobe Wall Alcoves 9 1840 Adobe 1 0 Peralta House 1 1 Community Garden 1 2 Creek Landscape of Stories
  • 2. Why is the park called the Birthplace of Oakland? the Peraltas built an adobe house at the site in 1821. It was the first non- native home on the land where Oakland is today. It is the Founder’s Rock of Oakland in that it marks the first occupation by people of European descent. the expression “Founder’s rock” seems to place value on the European colonization of the Americas, ignoring the fact that Native Americans lived here long before 1820—at least 12,000 years—while other “birthplaces of Oakland” privilege Northern European views of history and ignore the previous Spanish-speaking settlers. in a modern legal sense, Oakland did not exist until Horace Carpentier, Oakland’s roguish founder, established the city by ramrodding his land grab through the state legislature in 1852. Is it really a Hacienda? the Peraltas did not call their cattle ranch an hacienda, but a rancho. Hacienda usually refers to a large plantation-like, single-crop farm cultivated by a peasant workforce. Such Haciendas were common in colonial New Spain and later in Mexico. When neighbors joined together in the 1970s to create the park to make more open space for Fruitvale youth and rescue the Peralta house for public use, another meaning of the word hacienda was in their minds: a place of hospitality, a welcoming homestead with constant activity, with a variety of built structures open to people of all cultures. The name, in this sense, has stuck. We don’t know the Chochenyo name for this spot. Chochenyo was the Ohlone language for the Oakland area. We do know the Native Americans had names for every location in the East Bay before there were any streets or houses, before this city existed. Where did the park’s name come from? What did the Ohlone Native Americans
  • 3. You are entering a very special historical site. People from different cultures have gathered here for thousands of years. They have used the land in different ways and given the spot different names. The site is filled with stories, but also filled with mysteries, because much of its history has been lost or destroyed with time. Throughout the park, you will see questions which remind us of these unknowns. WELCOME 1 The Welcome Tile greets visitors in the sixteen languages most spoken in Oakland today, and also in languages spoken by many people in this neighborhood, like Quiché, a Mayan language from Guatemala, or like Mien, from the highlands of Laos. the tile also honors historical languages such as Chochenyo, the Ohlone language of the Oakland area, and culturally important languages like swahili. At least 57 languages are spoken in Fruitvale. Spanish • Vietnamese • Hindi • English • Cambodian • Chochenyo* • Arabic Russian • Farsi • Tongan • Chinese • Mixtec • Tagalog • Thai German • Mien • Japanese • Portuguese • Korean • Italian • Swahili Laotian • French • Quiché (Mayan) • Hebrew • Serbo Croatian *East Bay Ohlone language the path is only half finished. At the other end of the path, we will add more languages. Please let park staff know the languages you would like to see on the pathway. name this spot? Why was Coolidge Avenue originally named Peralta Street?
  • 4. 1902 Lum House 2 This dwelling, modest by the standards of its time, tells a story of the influx of immigrants in the early 1900s, no longer the gentlemen farmers of the 1860s, but workers in a new, more urban environment. they came from european nations to the U.s. in great numbers to earn their living in Fruitvale’s sawmills and canneries, which developed around the railroad tracks and the estuary. the last private owners of the house, the Lum family, also embody a pivotal chapter in Bay Area history. ethnic Chinese from Vietnam, buffeted by history across the Pacific Ocean, the Lum family story evokes California’s relationship with the peoples of the Pacific rim. Fruit Vale the six acres where the park is today were part of a 44,700-acre cattle ranch called Rancho San Antonio—St. Anthony’s Ranch. The Spanish-speaking family who owned it received the land when all of Alta California* was still part of the Spanish colonial empire. Later, the land became part of the newly independent nation of Mexico. Native Americans were here throughout this time, their presence on the land stretching back at least 12,000 years. About 150 years ago, fruit orchards and farms began to replace the Peralta cattle ranch, and the people who came in this wave gave this land another name: Fruitvale (or Fruit Vale, as it was first written). At that time, Fruitvale was covered with orchards, rows and rows of fruit trees like the pear trees you see here, and dairies with milk cows, replacing the Peraltas’ longhorn cattle. The people who lived in Fruitvale included German and Welsh farmers, Chinese workers, and African Americans who gained freedom after the Civil War and moved west. Spanish- in 1928 Peralta avenue was speaking people also continued to live in renamed Coolidge Avenue, one the area. year before President Coolidge as people from all over the resigned. (In 1929, Herbert Hoover world moved to Fruitvale in the 20th became president and the country century, the stories of the Native plunged into The Great Depression.) Americans and the Peraltas, and even the orchards, were forgotten. There was no way to tell that Fruitvale was once a vale of fruit, except for the occasional gnarled stand of fruit trees in someone’s yard. The Peralta House, as far as anyone knew, was just another nice old house. *Spanish name for California, meaning Upper California. What is you neighborhood’s name? Where did that name come from?
  • 5. Pear Tree Path 3 W H o s e H i s To ry i s r e m e m b e r e d ? In 1775 –1776 Juan Bautista de Anza led the first spanish-speaking families to California, including the Peraltas. the first tile tells how Luis Peralta’s mother-in-law felt as the expedition set off, to a land where no families from her culture had ever lived: “Goodbye, san Miguel, splendid with your open fields and rows of corn, where Angela de trejo leaves part of herself behind forever.” H av e y o u T o l d y o u r s T o r y ? Pedro Font, the Anza expedition’s priest, drew this map after his first glimpse of the Oakland area. W H aT l a n g u a g e s d o y o u s p e a k ? Native American languages in the Bay Area, 1775. Native Americans out­ numbered Spanish­speaking settlers by approximately 1000 to 1. Alta California was one of the most densely populated regions in what later became the United States. W H aT e n C o u n T e r s H av e C H a n g e d y o u r l i f e ? the park is a site on the Juan Bautista de Anza National trail, commemorating this journey and the encounters between the newcomers and the native peoples of California.
  • 6. California Native Plant Garden 4 The Ohlone arrived in the east Bay region about 2,500 years ago, and the Coast Miwok about 500 years ago. Both groups lived here at the same time, and many people were bi-lingual and bi-cultural. they were the most recent cultures in a line of Native American groups dating back at least 12,000 years. they knew how to identify, harvest and prepare at least 200 kinds of plants. they changed the landscape in many ways, for instance, by burning away heavy growth of bushes and young trees to encourage the plants they liked to use. this burning sterilized the soil, removing plant disease organisms. It also raised the heat in the soil so that seeds sprouted. this control of the only a fraction of the long history of the California Native vegetation made the area look like a Peoples is known today; the sciences, beautiful park, according to the first people languages and cultures of these of european descent who came here. varied cultures were remembered and told about, rather than written down. Most of this oral record was Ask for one of the special booklets lost when at least 90% of the native people either died from diseases that artists, scholars and Ohlone carried into Alta California by the descendants have created to guide you in Europeans during the mission and this garden. rancho periods, or were massacred by Americans who came after the Gold Rush in 1849. Borrow Pit 5 arCHaeology deposiT The hole left after the Peraltas made the bricks for their adobe structures soon filled up with trash such as broken dishes and bones from the Peraltas’ small- scale slaughters of longhorn cows. (they carried out the larger slaughters further from their houses). they burned the trash, probably because the cow carcasses smelled horrible. Artifacts from this incinerated pit will fill an exhibit in the Peralta house. A borrow pit is an excavation of material to be used elsewhere, in this case, mud for the adobe bricks.
  • 7. Play Area 6 redWoods and grizzlies Old-growth redwoods once stood directly uphill from Peralta hacienda historical Park’s current location. What happened to these trees, known as the San Antonio redwoods? A Spanish priest, Juan Crespí, gave the redwood its spanish name, palo colorado, when he explored the east Bay in 1769. the missions and the Peraltas culled occasional trees for the next 80 years. In the late 1840s and 1850s, after the Gold rush, Antonio Peralta sold the redwoods, which were used to make lumber for housing for the thousands of people arriving daily: failed prospectors from the gold fields, merchants, farmers, and land speculators. the population increased 90 times in four years! the stand was cut to the ground again in the 1890s, for housing for a new wave of immigrants, such as the Portuguese people who worked in the Fruitvale paper mills. the whole redwood stand was protected as redwood regional Park in 1936. The grizzly bear is an east Bay native, too! Grizzly mothers and cubs like those in the play area roamed the hills, co-existing with the missions, the ranchos and early Us settlement. the last grizzly was sited in san Leandro in 1863. Why did the numbers of grizzlies increase dramatically after the spanish takeover? Previously, the Native Americans had hunted the bears. With much of the Native population in mission communities, away from their former hunting grounds, many Native People died from exposure to diseases brought by the spanish-speaking settlers. the lack of Native hunters meant that the bears multiplied rapidly. the bears also had a huge new source of food: spanish and Mexican matanzas, or cattle slaughters. the rancheros took only the hides to sell and left most of the cattle meat behind on the open range. Grizzlies in a wheat field
  • 8. The Peraltas Arrive alta California stood at the most remote edge of Spain’s global empire. Because the Spanish monarchy feared that other European powers, such as England, Russia and France would steal such a faraway colony, it sent an expedition led by Juan Bautista de Anza to Alta California in 1775–1776. The Peraltas came on this journey with 240 other people—soldiers and their families, priests and laborers. They walked and rode horses and burros for more than five months, crossing 700 miles of rugged terrain from what is now the town of Tubac, near the Mexican border in Arizona, to the Bay Area. The settlers herded hundreds of longhorn cows, and brought other domestic animals. In their saddlebags, they carried cuttings for crops for which California is now famous, such as grapes, tomatoes, and almonds. luís María Peralta, aged 16, and Maria Loreto Alviso, only nine years old, made this journey. Luís María and María Loreto later married; they were the parents of Antonio Peralta, who lived here where the park is today. Founding Family Between 1776 and 1797, the Peraltas helped found settlements on the sites of former Ohlone villages that grew into major Bay Area cities: • mission and presidio of San Francisco • missions of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz • pueblo of San Jose, • Mission San Jose, now in Fremont In the first census of San José, in 1778, the Peraltas are recorded as having 1 horse, 3 mules, 2 mares, 2 oxen, 2 cows, 1 calf, 2 ewes and 2 goats. Luís Peralta the San Francisco Presidio assigned Luís Peralta to different missions, presidios and pueblos as both soldier and administrator. His military career included battles, interrogations and arrests of Native Americans, a story which will be told in the Peralta House when new exhibits open in 2007. His reports document many Native American voices as well as giving some insight into his character, and the situations and dilemmas faced by a soldier in an occupying force. Looking back at the end of his life he wrote in his will: I wish my body to be carried to the Mission of Santa Clara on the same funeral wagon as my fellow human beings, the Indians. —Luís Peralta, 1850
  • 9. 1821 adobe 7 THe founder’s roCk of oakland By 1820, Luís Peralta had worked for thirty-five years as a soldier and commissioner in Alta California. the spanish governor, Vicente solá, granted him nearly 45,000 acres of land. If you live in Berkeley, Oakland, emeryville, Alameda, Piedmont, Kensington, Albany or parts of san Leandro, you live on land that used to be part of the Peralta ranch. In order to establish the claim, the family quickly built a house of branches caked together with mud. In 1821, they replaced it with a more permanent house of adobe. It was here that the Peraltas built this first non-Native American family home in the region. Native American workers almost surely did most of the building. In the missions, Native American workers learned adobe construction techniques. An adobe house of this size would require approximately 3000 adobe bricks. Why did the Peraltas build here? the homestead site is near water, and has long views of the hills in all directions, and the Bay. Luís Peralta never lived on the rancho, but stayed in san Jose. Native American herders tended his cattle and his sons visited occasionally but did not move onto the rancho. then, in 1828, Antonio Peralta married María Antonio Galindo, and came to the rancho with her. soon his three other brothers joined them. Over time, the other brothers moved to other parts of the rancho to build their own houses. domingo lived in what is now Berkeley, Vicente where the temescal district of Oakland is today, and Ignacio in what is now san Leandro. Antonio María Peralta and his family stayed at this site, the original rancho headquarters. This photograph is thought to be the 1821 Peralta adobe. Bricks from this dwelling were hauled to Dimond Park to build a Boy Scout lodge in 1897. They now form one wall of a storage hut there. Friends of Peralta Hacienda are working to get these original bricks returned to the Peralta site.
  • 10. The Rancho is . . . . . . home (alcove 1): • Californios used the winter months for repairs and visiting neighboring ranchos. • The funeral cortege tells the story of high infant mortality on the frontier: One of the Peralta children died in 1837, and another the year after. • A ranchero and vaquero hunt deer and a herder discovers a dead calf. The guilty coyote slinks away. • Many workers probably lived in rancherías (Native American settlements) on the edge of Rancho San Antonio, and worked for the Peraltas only during the matanza (slaughter) season. They were able to revive older Native American traditions in such settlements. . . . land (alcove 2): • An old-growth redwood forest stood on Antonio’s section of the rancho. • A vigil for a Native American on a ranchería and the purifying fire burning outside. The scene recalls Native Americans who worked and died of accidents and disease, whose lives were not written about and whose graves are unmarked. One 1826 document tells about a neophyte working for Mission San José, killed while cutting boards in the redwoods on Antonio Peralta’s section of the rancho. • Vaqueros are branding a longhorn. • Spanish-speaking settlers introduced cattle and horses into Alta California. The animals brought seeds for annual grasses in their hooves as they were driven north from Mexico. The introduced grasses destroyed native perennial grasses. • Californio and Native women wash laundry at a stream, gather herbs and build a ramada for shade. . . . work (alcove 3): • Women and Native Americans tend the garden near the adobe home with its outdoor kitchen. • Native Americans probably carried out most of the adobe construction of the wall and larger house. • Rodeos (round-ups) and matanzas (slaughters), began in July, supplying the hide and tallow trade, the rancho’s main industry. Native Americans did the killing and skinning. • Workers boiled the tallow (cowfat) off the carcasses in huge vats from the whaleships. . . . celebration (alcove 4): • A Native American group from the San Joaquín Valley took horses from the rancho in August,1837. • Californios gathered for fandangos during the autumn before the rains came again, hosting people from surrounding ranchos. They celebrated through dance, food and displays of horsemanship. • Fruit and other crops, harvested by women and Native Americans, were sold to the ships along the coast.
  • 11. Adobe Wall and Alcoves 8 The mural represents a year on the rancho in the late 1830s and early 1840s, when the rancho herds expanded to 8000 head of cattle and 2000 horses, and the Peralta rancho became a social center of east Bay life. the mural shows activities of the Californios and the Native Americans through the themes of land, home, work and celebration. The frieze above the mural shows the cycles of the moon for one year. Cycles of the moon, linked to the acorn harvest and other natural phenomena, defined the rhythms of Ohlone life before the spanish came. the history of the Ohlone permeates the history of the rancho. Emblematic objects and animals in the niches suggest daily life on the rancho and its environs. WHY are SoMe SeCtionS oF tHe Mural SketCHed? Knowledge of daily life on Rancho San Antonio is fragmentary, especially about the Native Peoples who lived and worked here. Many ranchos were places of isolation, deprivation, oppression and even violence towards Native Americans, as the missions had been. Our knowledge of the Peralta’s daily life is also incomplete. William Heath Davis, Hawaiian American friend of the family and trader in hide and tallow, also wrote about the Peraltas in his book 75 Years in California. Contact staff if you would like to help research a more complete history of the Ohlone, the Peralta House, Rancho San Antonio, and Fruitvale. The adobe wall protected the adobe compound against horse raids and animal intruders. Who were the raiders? Native Americans sometimes stole horses from ranchos on the edge of settlement, like that of the Peraltas. After secularization, many Native Americans left the missions—where they had become expert horsemen—only to find their ancestral lands along the coast occupied by cattle ranches and other settlements. Many went to the Central Valley, forming bands made up of individuals from different Native American groups who had lived together in the missions. they also traded the horses with trappers now coming westward over the sierras from the United states. More than twenty-two alcoves leaned against the wall, which were used as guest quarters, and most likely also as workshops, storage and housing for workers for the round-up and slaughter season.
  • 12. Mission Land Becomes Rancho Land the Catholic Church had joined with the Spanish monarchs in the early 1500s to convert as many people as possible, worldwide, to Catholicism, the Spanish state religion. Catholic priests, supported by soldiers and explorers, set up missions—farms with churches used as bases to convert local peoples. In the mid-1830s, the government of Mexico, independent of Spain since 1821, decreed an end to the missions. They became just parish churches. Why? Many Mexicans resented the missions as Spanish-controlled institutions employing mostly Spanish-born priests. Mexican thinkers felt the virtual enslavement of Native Americans in the missions was at odds with the democratic ideals of their country. And finally, Mexico no longer wanted to support the expensive mission system. Who got the mission lands and herds? According to the Spanish Laws of the Indies, and Mexican law, Native Americans were supposed to get the mission lands back. Secularization affected eighteen thousand Christianized Native people, or neophytes. Some took up the offer of land and established settlements near the ex-missions or moved to already established Native settlements on ex-mission lands, but many refused the land or didn’t have enough money to become successful farmers. They sold the land to the first bidders, who were usually Californios. Many returned to their former lives, totally rejecting further contact or control by the Mexican authorities once the priests left the missions. The administration of mission lands was assigned to local Californios. Any mission land not claimed by the neophytes was designated as abandoned. The Californios rushed to petition the government for this abandoned land and the result was a dramatic increase in the number of land grants under the Mexican government. The administrators of each mission often ended up with most of the land. For example, at Mission San Jose, Salvador Vallejo, the administrator, received most of the land surrounding the ex-mission. Finally, many ex-mission Indians were left homeless and had to seek employment in pueblos and on the new ranchos. In a very small number of cases, Native Americans kept the land they were granted after secularization. released from servitude on the missions, the new Native American workers enabled the Peraltas to expand their herds, carry out bigger matanzas, and take more hides and tallow to the waiting ships. Having more laborers also meant the Peraltas could carry out much more ambitious adobe construction than before. urBan Book–MuSeuM WitHout WallS in the master plan for the park, the 1840 adobe footprint will come to life again as a house for the Urban Book, an outdoor museum that will explore the intertwined histories, global and local, of the forgotten and the famous that created the East Bay we live in today. In the Urban Book, visitors will rotate outdoor panels to find new connections between the natural world, the international influences and the individuals and cultures that have encountered each other here. And the Urban Book will always be changing: Local schools and California’s artists will contribute new panels every year as history rushes into the present. For the October, 2006, opening, the “Faces of Fruitvale” exhibit, funded by the California Council for the Humanities, will be displayed on the footprint of the 1840 adobe, foreshadowing the future Urban Book–Museum without Walls.
  • 13. 1840 adobe 9 Antonio Peralta with Mariá Dolores Archuleta and other family members on the porch of the 1840 adobe in the 1850s. This is the footprint of the second, and larger, Peralta adobe, built in 1840. María Antonia Galindo, Antonio’s first wife, gave birth to her last two children here. In all she gave birth to eleven children in fifteen years, nine born in the 1821 adobe, six of them surviving infancy. she herself died in 1850, while living here. her grave is in Fremont, in the churchyard at Mission san José. Antonio Peralta married María dolores Archuleta in 1852. they had three children in this house before she died, still young, in June, 1868. Although ‘adobe’ makes us think of spanish California, the Peraltas’ 1840 adobe house lasted long past the U.s. annexation of Alta California in 1848, the Gold rush in 1949 and statehood in 1851. the adobe houses stood during the myriad sales of the Peralta acreage; the rancho shrank through the shady dealings of horace Carpentier and other speculators as part of their plan to develop a town called Oakland. the Peralta adobes stood amidst the shacks and tents of the squatters, who saw themselves as homesteaders with rights to what they saw as empty land. Then in October of 1868, a major earthquake struck the hayward fault. the larger 1840 adobe and the massive wall with its 22 alcoves that encircled the compound gave way. the older, smaller 1821 adobe withstood the event, with some damage. the family repaired it and lived there for two years, until a new house, built in a new style, was ready. the adobe bricks from the fallen structures must have gradually dissolved in the rain, becoming part of the soil from which they were formed.
  • 14. 1870 Antonio Peralta House 10 l o o k i n g f o r Wa r d , l o o k i n g b a C k Wa r d Antonio Peralta lived here as a widower with his adult daughters for nine years before he died in 1879. Henry Z. Jones bought the property and its surrounding 23 acres from his daughter, Inés Peralta, in 1897. the house did not fit on the grid of new small lots Jones drew up so he moved it about 100 feet to its current location—imagine this feat in 1897! Through the twentieth century, the house stood on the corner of Paxton and 34th Avenue, its older stories forgotten, to be replaced by new stories, new arrivals. the Peralta House, so different from the adobes, heralded a new For Bay area native americans, the era. But did the dream of that new period after the Gold Rush (1850 to 1900) era come true for the Peraltas? What presented major challenges. Although life were their hopes when they lived under Spanish and later Mexican authorities here? What were their lives like? was always a hard life and often humiliating, What language, perhaps now no American rule proved to be often even more longer spoken around them, did they dehumanizing and lethal for native peoples. speak? What had happened to the Native American workers on the Prior to the Gold rush, Alta California rancho? had been a relatively isolated region. Spanish and Mexican authorities mainly controlled Alta California’s coastal territories (hence the Peralta adobes being located within a half hour’s walk—or a few minutes horse ride—to the bay). The thirst for gold brought with it a population explosion, and this flood of newcomers showed no compunctions in eliminating Native Americans and taking over their lands. Where the Mission Fathers saw Native Americans as “neophytes, and the new ” Mexican government saw Native Americans as potential citizens, most U.S. settlers simply saw Native Americans as in the way of progress. Among the new laws directly affecting Native Americans were those barring them from state citizenship and denying their testimony in court. Other laws affecting Native Americans were the new property taxes and land management acts. although very few native americans held Spanish or Mexican titles to land, a great many Native Americans worked as ranch hands and house servants for those who did. These property taxes, in conjunction with the mounting legal fees associated with keeping squatters and land speculators at bay, pushed most of the Spanish speakers off their land, leaving the Native Americans homeless, jobless, and at the mercy of the newcomers. Although Bay Area Native Americans strove to resist and regroup—and the presence of contemporary Ohlone people is evidence of that struggle—the demographic and legislative changes that characterize the American period had a hugely negative impact on the life chances of all Native Peoples of California.
  • 15. Community Gardens 11 Native Americans practiced effective and elegant forms of cultivation which you can learn more about in the published guide to the ring of Native Plants. spanish-speaking priests and settlers introduced foods of europe and Central America such as grapes, almonds, walnuts, oranges, lemons, tomatoes and peppers to Alta California for the first time. the Peraltas raised food around their settlement from the beginning and later farmed extensively to supply cabbages, potatoes, pumpkins and onions to the trading ships from england and the east Coast of the United states during the hide and tallow trade. Now, farming traditions from all over the world are practiced at the site. Four years ago the Lao Family Center approached Friends of Peralta hacienda and asked if there was space for a garden for the Mien community. the Mien elders have been farming here ever since. this ancient farming people had been thrust across the world from the highlands of Laos in the aftermath of decades of war in southeast Asia involving the Us and other superpowers. thanks to funding from the California Council for the humanities, the haas Foundation, the Association of California traditional Arts and the Oakland Cultural Funding Program, Friends of Peralta hacienda is collecting their stories, preparing an exhibit, and encouraging and preserving the traditional Mien arts of gardening and cooking. Local youth have also started a garden, mentored by the Mien, an activity that forms part of Peralta hacienda’s arts and cultural programs. An exhibit in the Peralta house kitchen will be complete soon showing the encounter of the Mien and local youth, highlighting the gardens and the foods they cook and share at bi-monthly community banquets.
  • 16. Peralta Creek 12 Peralta Creek, flowing for millennia, witness to all that has gone on here! —Jorgen Blomberg, landscape architect, at planning meeting in 2001 The rains course down the coast range forming the east Bay watershed. the watershed has become precious to east Bay residents in recent years, though most of its streams may have vanished from sight under streets and into culverts. In the 1940s, before this section of Peralta Creek was culverted, it provided a swimming hole for neighborhood children, such as the three Miller children on Paxton street, who told about swimming there while their father was serving in the armed forces during WWII. the two Miller sisters, now women in their sixties, were interviewed for the Faces of Fruitvale Community heritage Project and told about their idyllic experiences in Peralta Creek. A century earlier, the creek flowed beside the Peralta’s makeshift bullring that drew crowds of Californios. Bullfighting was banned shortly after the City of Oakland was founded in 1855. And before that, the creek in seasonal spate likely flowed by the fishing encampments of the Miwok and the Ohlone. Did the creek always exist? Peralta Creek was conceived when the east Bay hills tilted upwards in the far reaches of geologic time, approximately 12 million years ago, and began to flow about a million years ago, draining out of the hills; water will always flow down to the Bay, and on to the sea that has made California, at the continent’s edge, the gathering place for people of many cultures since the earliest times. Written by Holly Alonso Graphic design by Gordon Chun Design Historical consultants: Mary Jo Wainwright, Alex Saragoza and Richard Orsi Research assistants: Ben Perez and Linda Norton Made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities National Park Service Challenge Cost Share Program Oakland Cultural Funding Program California Heritage Fund A publication of Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, October 15, 2006 Box 7172, Oakland, 94601 www.peraltahacienda.org 510 532-9142