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The Chung Mei Home for Boys

The drums began pounding at 2 p.m. A crowd of more than 1,500 people was gathered in front of El Cerrito’s city hall to mark a grand day in the city’s history.

It was opening day for the Chung Mei Home for Chinese Boys, said to be the only such orphanage in the United States.The year was 1935, and the 68 “Chung Mei boys” who were moving into the home, dressed in khaki uniforms ...story continues on The Patch

Dorothy & Sundar Shadi History Room

sundarshadiThe El Cerrito Historical Society offers "open hours" at the Dorothy & Sundar Shadi Historical Room (located in City Hall on the 2nd floor) on the third Thursday of every month. You can also contact the Historical Society to arrange an appointment.

You can also call Tom Panas at (510) 526-7507 for more information. (Click here to see the Shadi Room Reference Policy (the rules and policies for the Shadi Room.)


Featured Story
The Castro Adobe, 1841
by Joanne Rubio

What was life like at the first adobe-brick home built in El Cerrito? The captain of the ship Alert who sailed into San Francisco Bay in the winter of 1841 tells us in a journal he wrote during his time spent in California. Captain William Phelps had been sailing up and down the coast for a year trading goods from his ship. One section of the ship would be set up as the trading room with items such as knives, spices, furniture, fabric, boots, rugs, paper, clothing, dishes, building materials, tools, gun powder, sugar, rice, macaroni, coffee, chocolate, almonds and raisins. In December of 1841, Victor Castro and his crew of Indian workers rowed across the bay to the San Francisco harbor from the dock he built out on what we now call Pt. Isabel. He intended to arrange trades with the six ships in the harbor. The Nymph and Catalina were from Mexico; the Alert, the Bolivar and Don Quixote were from the United States; and the Index was from Britain.

The weather had been stormy off and on for a week and a gale-force wind came up at midnight on December 11th. Unfortunately, Victor’s whaleboat ended up going to pieces with Victor and his crew being rescued from the bay by Captain Phelps. They spent that night and the next on the Alert. On December 13th Captain Phelps and his crew set out in their “cutter” (a small sailboat) for Victor’s home on Rancho San Pablo near Cerrito Creek. The captain wanted to get a supply of meat for his crew from the “few thousand head of cattle” Victor had on his ranch.

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