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Laurie Berkner the popular childrens recording artist was asked why she choose El Cerrito to be featured in her top selling single, Victor Vito.

" My father’s brother, my Uncle Klaus, was living in El Cerrito when I wrote that song. We used to go there for our family Christmas celebration (now we go to his home in Martinez) and I had a really warm feeling about the town. I wanted to choose a place for the song that rhymed with Burrito but was slightly more exotic sounding than Toledo. Because of Klaus, El Cerrito came to mind!
"CLICK HERE to hear song.


The El Cerrito Historical Society believes that a remarkable number of noteworthy people have come from El Cerrito or have lived here at some time in their lives. A few were world famous, others were well-known in the area or were particularly noteworthy in their own field. This list is an attempt to compile those names now known to the Society. In the future the Society hopes to compile a list of those who were significant in the development and growth of El Cerrito. This is a work in progress, and your suggestions for additions, editing, or deletions are welcome.
Click Here to visit our extensive list.


Featured Historical Narrative


Story by Mervin Belfils

Notes taken from the El Cerrito Journal of September 11, 1930, indicated a Mrs. B. M. Sexton had made her home at the Castro Adobe for the past few years. The Castro Adobe, it was said, would be made into the most beautiful spot at the southern end of the county. It was to be converted to a museum of California history, art gallery, dance hall and refreshment stand. The proposed outdoor place, a midget golf course with 36 holes, and including 6 putting greens, would be the largest in the U.S., according to publicity,

The only thing that we old timers can remember being done at the Adobe Hacienda property was the construction of an 18-hole Pee Wee Golf Course, as this was the fad during that period. The Pee Wee course did not exist for very long as this was during the depression and people just did not have the money to spend on this type of entertainment

As far as the property being converted into an historical spot and museum of history, this never occurred. They did, however, have a cabaret with dining and dancing and a little bit of entertainment as indicated on the Police Department Dance Program of May, 1934. This property at the entrance to the El Cerrito Dog Track had its own driveway approach on San Pablo Avenue. The nightclub on this property was later well known up and down the coast for its various types of gambling and entertainment. It was run by a well-known gambling syndicate.

After the gambling and dog racing came to an end at the El Cerrito spot, the property was graded and utilities installed to provide services for a great number of trailer spaces on the grounds. This trailer park provided spaces for a number of defense workers who worked at the shipyards out in Richmond during the World War II. At the entrance to the trailer park, a Mexican restaurant was built and this business ran for some years until they finally moved to Albany.

All of this property was located in what is now the west parking lot of the El Cerrito Plaza, just south of where the entrance from the plaza connects into San Pablo Avenue. The old adobe had once been surrounded by hundreds of fruit trees evidently planted by the Victor Castro family, who built the hacienda in 1839. The hacienda burned down in 1956. Victor Castro was born in 1820 and died in 1900.

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