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February 28, 2012 > History: Events of the Year 1947

History: Events of the Year 1947

Highlight of the year 1947 for residents of Washington Township was the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Mission San Jose. The Washington News, under the direction of publisher and editor, George H. Oakes, put out a 50 page special book type edition that featured the villages and business enterprises of the township. Efforts of many residents culminated in a huge, three-day celebration that included a parade, pageant, queen contest, barbecue, rodeo and special outdoor Mass. Though this was the highlight, other important events took place here in 1947.

It was a good year for business enterprises. Centerville welcomed the L & V Truck Terminal and Restaurant, the Vee-Bee Shop, a new building to house the Kiddie Shop and Van Scoy Jeweler. Allan Walton was awarded a contract for a new post office. G. J. School for flight training started at the Cent-field Airport which staged a huge air show with planes and stunt artists "from all over." The Chamber of Commerce hired a night watchman and their first paid secretary. The Center Theatre celebrated its first anniversary with a special show and refreshments.

New Newark businesses included a Mohawk Gas Station, Henry Miller's Store, Walt and Ed's Furniture store and a KGO 50,000 watt transmitter. Sale of $75,000 of property brought out plans for an enlarged business section. Probably the best news for many people was that Dr. J. J. O'Conner came to be their first doctor.

The California Pottery Co. spent $30,000 on improvement, at their Niles plant, and construction started on a $30,000 modern supermarket owned by Frank Duarte. John Brahmst, owner of Niles electric, purchased a large concrete building and remodeled it into a glistening store with apartments above. Mr. and Mrs. Brahmst celebrated at the International Kitchen with some 18 employees. Bids were also being considered for a new post office; Al and Ralph Webber started Niles Seed and Feed Store. Some 200 people helped dedicate the new Niles Scout House.

Work started in August on a new Irvington post office on property of O. N. Hirsch, and plans were made for a new frozen food locker plant. Much of the Irvington news was related to organizations. The fire department received a resuscitator from the Promenaders. The Improvement Club planned "blinkers" for the monument in the street and sponsored a baseball team. The Sanitary District with the Mission was approved. Rare fossils found in the gravel pits brought renewed attention to Irvington.

It was reported that an oleomargarine plant was to be built in Warm Springs. A paper box factory was stated to be another new enterprise there. Sanitation was still a problem as evidenced by the fact the Chamber of Commerce was considering a sanitation district.

A new cafe was opened in Alvarado, but development was slower there. Plans were mapped to organize a Junior Chamber of Commerce. Fred Costa opened a Mercury Radio and Appliance shop in Decoto.

Most of the year's news about Mission San Jose was connected to the Sesquicentennial Celebration, but they did take time out to vote to keep their grammar school. They also dedicated a plaque to their World War II dead.

Schools were in the news as usual. Newark trustees voted for a $150,000 and Decoto for a $72,000 bond election.

Niles approved $77,000 to expand their school, and Irvington passed a $48,000 bond issue.

Alvarado School boasted a champion volleyball team. Trustees purchased a building from Camp Parks to be used for three classrooms and a cafeteria.

Washington Union High School sold $15,000 in script for field lights. Memorial Stadium was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies and the lights turned on as the Huskies held their first night game. The school opened its Memorial Art Gallery in November, honoring their servicemen killed in wars.

It was a good year for the Washington High School Future Farmers of America. They staged their first-ever Livestock Show in March. Clarence Chivers, Frank Hermasa, Anthony Dutra, and Norman Rose won honors at the San Francisco Livestock Show. The Chapter received the "Master" award in November.

Farming was still the main industry in Washington Township in 1947. The tomato crop was reported to be smaller because canners did not sign enough contracts; apricot growers held out and threatened to dry their fruit if no agreement was reached. The Booth Cannery packed 650,000 cases of fruit and vegetables with over 500 people employed.

Water was a concern in 1947 as in most years, evidenced by the fact the Water District sent a message to President Truman telling of the disastrous water shortage. These are just a few of the notable events for the year. There were many others, some probably more exciting than those recorded.

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