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May 10, 2011 > History: Centerville streets and roads

History: Centerville streets and roads

Our older maps show roads without names, or sometimes numbers. The county assigned numbers to all streets, but by 1950 this practice was disappearing. People probably had names for streets, even if maps didn't. It's doubtful if they referred to all their streets by number. The 1878 Atlas of Alameda County names only Niles Road which was sometimes called the Road to Niles or the Niles-Centerville Road. It was named Fremont Avenue by the Centerville Lions Club in 1933, and eventually Peralta Boulevard by the City of Fremont. The 1890's maps usually listed Main, Road to Niles, Center and Stevens.

The Irvington-Alvarado Road was sometimes called Central Road or referred to by number, but where it went through Centerville, it was Main Street. It was so congested by 1951 that the Chamber of Commerce was seeking a parallel cross-town street by extending Joseph Street.

Some names are less confusing and perhaps easier to determine their origin. Stevens Street now Maple was named for Calvin Stevens, an early day resident and businessman. We now have a prominent Stevenson Boulevard, Stevenson Common and Stevenson Place, but no Stevens Street. Maybe we still have some confusion.

Some early pioneer names are recognized throughout the area; Patterson Ranch Road is a tribute to the George Patterson family.

Thornton Avenue was named for the pioneer family of George F. Thornton. Central Avenue was opened in the 1880s, and a horse car railroad on Baine Avenue was located between these two streets. The horse car railroad is now gone and Baine is but a small reminder of a historic past. The street was probably named for the merchant D.C. Baine.

Garrett Norris came to Centerville in 1854 to work on Robert Blacow's stock farm. He saved his money and purchased 80 acres west of town and built at what became Fremont Boulevard and Mattos Drive. He farmed and raised his family here. Norris Road was named for Mr. Norris and Judge Allen G. Norris. Mila Court honors Garrett's wife and daughter, both named Mila.

Mattos Drive honors John G. Mattos who helped so many people with their legal concerns.

Church and Parish are named for their connection to Holy Spirit Church. Parish was a private road on some older maps.

The 1950 maps developed by Roland Bendel for use by fire departments show Mowry Avenue becoming Santos Avenue where it reaches Highway 17. Mowry reminds us of Origin Mowry who founded and developed Mowry's Landing. Santos Avenue was named for the Santos Family who lived at the bend of the road near Washington Hospital. Blacow Road was named for the pioneer family of Robert and John.

Other interesting names listed include Walton Avenue. W.W. Walton was a pioneer blacksmith and fire chief. His son Allan was a civic leader and long-time pharmacist. He built the post office on the Old Town Hall site. The Dusterberry house still stands on Central Avenue. Henry was an Alameda County Supervisor. Frank was a prominent banker, merchant and civic leader. Soito Lane was named for the family that lived and farmed here.

Mt. Vernon and Suhnel were named by K.P. Suhnel when he developed his property. Suhnel was later changed to State Street.

P.C. Hansen came to Newark in 1898, moved to Centerville in 1906 and operated his lumber mills. It appears that Hansen Avenue was named for P.C. Hansen and the Hansen tract for the street. George Bonde took over and operated the Hansen Lumber Co. after Hansen's death. Bonde way was apparently named for him. Sequoia Street is a reminder of the trees that once marked the entrance to the Howard Overacker Jr. Ranch.

The pioneer Eggers family is remembered by their road name. Hiram Eggers was one of the pioneers who came before 1854. Nearby is Brophy named for the Brophy family who lived in the area and whose daughter married John Mattos.

Beloveira is a name made by combining the names of two Centerville neighbors, Bell and Oliveira. Rose was named for the family that lived here. Jason Way was named for the prominent family when the City of Fremont was planning street names. Joseph Jason and family once lived on this street which was previously called Emerson, but had to be changed because there was already an Emerson Street in Mission San Jose. Joe was a founder of J. & F. Metal Products Company once the largest manufacturer of water well casings in Northern California. In the same neighborhood are Reeder Court and Meyer Park Circle named for the developers, Jim Reeder and James Myer, of Glenmoor. Nearby Logan Drive honors the well known Logan Family.

Early street names served very practical purposes and were usually named for people who lived on them. As the area developed, builders have become very creative using explorers, trees, women's names, authors and more to recognize new streets.

Horner Way was named for the family and Beard Road for the pioneer Beard family who once owned much of the area along with the Horner family. The Stevenson Ranch was along Alameda Creek north of Centerville. In 1956, the Rhodes and Jamieson gravel plant was at the end of Stevenson Lane, but the office was later identified as on Jamieson Avenue.

These are several streets in the Centerville area named for trees. The one with the most interesting history is probably Alder Avenue. A 1933 article stated that Alder was the name of "a street in Sack City," a name sometimes given to the settlement of small houses there. Alder was once a dead end street but is now an avenue that crosses Fremont Boulevard.

Other streets in north Centerville include Ferry Lane named for the Joseph Ferry family that lived here. Some of the neighboring buildings are pictured in the book A Quest for the Story of Antonio and Maria by Doris Machado Van Scoy.

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