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January 29, 2013 > History: Warm Springs Names

History: Warm Springs Names

Two primary roads through the Warm Springs District of Fremont are Mission Boulevard and Warm Springs Boulevard.

"Mission Road" was often referred to as the road to Mission San Jose ("the Mission") in early days. Later, it became Highway 9, Highway 21 and Mission Boulevard. On some maps it was labeled as State Route 238 to State Route 262. Pioneers called Warm Springs Boulevard "the road from Alvarado to Pueblo San Jose." It later became known as the San Jose-Oakland Highway, Irvington-Warm Springs Road and finally Warm Springs Boulevard. The northern end was eventually named Old Warm Springs Boulevard. The road description was a result of the natural hot springs of Agua Caliente Creek (Spanish for "hot water.")

Warm Springs Village was named by the railroad. It was first called Harrisburg after Abram Harris who owned the property. When George Peacock built a hotel and store there, it was called Harrisburg. The post office was established as Harrisburg but in 1885 it was changed to Warm Springs, 10 years later to Warmsprings (one word), and finally back to Warm Springs, the logical name. Finally Warm Springs became the name for the railroad depot, post office, village and the school.

Where Mission Boulevard joined Warm Springs Boulevard was sometimes called "The Junction" or the "Y." The 1947 Sesquicentennial Edition of the Washington News featured a photograph of the Junction Inn "at the 'Y' in Warm Springs where the two highways meet." It was no longer appropriate to call the crossing the "Y" after Mission Boulevard was extended toward Freeway 17.

Other roads were named for local pioneers. Grimmer Road was named for Dr. Elmo Grimmer, a physician who lived and practiced in Irvington. His son Chuck grew up to be a dentist practicing in Centerville. Dr. J. Haley Durham was an Irvington dentist who served the community in many capacities.

Leitch Road was named for the family that lived and farmed there for several generations. Kato Road, sometimes marked Avenue, is a reminder of the family that lived and farmed there for years. They survived the evacuation of Japanese Americans in 1942 and the death of their son, Joe, who was serving in World War II.

Curtner Road was named in honor of Henry Curtner who farmed here and eventually owned much of the land in the area. He employed recent immigrants and helped them get a start by farming on the slopes. The mansion he had built in 1876 still stands as a Warm Springs architectural and historical treasure in the City of Fremont.

Stanford Avenue leads to the site of the Warm Springs where the Stanford family lived on their prosperous country estate. Their home is gone, but California Historical Marker Number 642 marks the location of their historic vineyard and winery.

Several roads were named for pioneer family members. Scott Creek Road remembers Scott who farmed near Scott Creek. Others in this category include Warren and Cushing. Members of the Brown family were prominent merchants and community leaders here for many years. Logic would suggest that Brown Road was named for them, but it was apparently named for the Brown family that owned property on the road.

Some roads appear to be named for their purpose. It's obvious that there were lots of prunes grown near Prune Avenue. Although other crops were grown there, prunes were dominant. Prunes were also grown in other areas, but more than one Prune Avenue would be confusing. There were also several roads near the railroad, but only one could be called Railroad Avenue. Landing Road would appear to be inappropriate because no planes land nearby. However, planes did land in the area years ago; Landing Road is a historic reminder of these airports. The name, however, probably refers more properly to the boats that landed near Mud Slough at Warm Springs Landing. Planes landed at airports and sometimes converted pasturelands, while boats could only dock at landings.

Two present schools, Leitch and Weibel, were named for people. The Leitch family enjoyed a long association with the local schools. Leitch School is appropriately named for James. Weibel School was named for Fred Weibel.

Some names come from geographical features. Mud Slough most certainly refers to the dirty water and Green Valley Road would appear to be properly named as long as there is plenty of moisture in the ground. However, some people might question the name in a prolonged dry season. Hidden Valley was a good name for the dude ranch, but it is really hidden only from some viewpoints.

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