Claycord Online Museum – The Eucalyptus Grove Fire in Downtown Clayton

March 4, 2014 14:00 pm · 16 comments

Thanks to Carol Putman for these three photos, which were taken in the 1970s after the fire in the Eucalyptus grove in downtown Clayton.

This grove of trees stood where “The Grove” park is now located.

Anybody remember the fire?

ABOUT THE CLAYCORD ONLINE MUSEUM: The Claycord Online Museum is made up of historical photos, documents & anything else that has to do with the history of our area.

If you have any old photos or items that you’d like to place in the Claycord Online Museum, just scan or take a photo of them, and send them to the following address: It doesn’t matter what it is, even if it’s just an old photo of your house, a scan of an old advertisement or an artifact that you’d like us to see, send it in and we’ll put it online!

Click on the tag below titled “Claycord Online Museum” to view other items!

1 Greg in Pleasant Hill March 4, 2014 at 2:07 PM

They don’t make ramshackles like that anymore.

2 JET March 4, 2014 at 2:12 PM

I totally remember that eucalyptus grove! Everytime we drove through Clayton (before there was Oakhurst Drive or the bypass of Clayton Road), you had to wind through downtown to get to Marsh Creek Road. Those trees were huge and it was never the same once they cut them all down many years later. Now there is just 1 or 2 of them remaining from what I recall? Clayton is a nice town but will never have the charm it had back in the 70’s and 80’s.

3 Mr. Pink March 4, 2014 at 3:22 PM

I remember the grove very well, but not that shack, nor the fire. What year was the fire?

4 Suzanne March 4, 2014 at 3:41 PM

The old days, when woods were woods.

5 Marianne March 4, 2014 at 4:38 PM

This was such a beautiful area before the “building” began. It’s still picturesque in a way.

6 Clayton's Son March 4, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Indeed I do remember the fire, but I don’t specifically recall the year, 1973-1976. Doug Mitchell lived in that cabin into the 1970s, and my recollection is the structure burned shortly after Doug died and the place was vacated. He was quite old by then.
For those interested, the Diablo Valley College History department has voice recordings of Doug Mitchell telling his story about growing up in Clayton in the early days. Mitchell Canyon and Mitchell Rock are named after Doug’s parents.

7 Vanessa March 4, 2014 at 5:56 PM

That’s good to know, Clayton’s Son, at least it was properly taken care of. I think I saw this structure somewhere in the back of Clayton.

8 mwo1859 March 4, 2014 at 8:01 PM

I remember the 4th of July parties under the trees. I was with troop 262 and we had a dunk tank and sold buttons to raise money.

9 Cowellian March 4, 2014 at 8:23 PM

I don’t remember selling buttons, but I do remember that dunk tank.

10 Silva March 4, 2014 at 9:08 PM

I don’t remember ever hearing about that. Very interesting historical bits, thanks everyone!

11 biggus thinkus March 4, 2014 at 11:10 PM

thank you all for sharing

12 RunnerDope March 4, 2014 at 11:14 PM

@Clayton’s Son,

I used to go up to a house at the end of Mitchell Canyon Rd around 1970. It was in the park then; I don’t know if it still exists. A teacher at YVHS lived there; his name was John Hara. I think his parents owned it. Do you know anything about that?

13 Z-Man March 5, 2014 at 4:53 AM

I grew up on the Peninsula in SSF and Bruno areas… Eucalyptus everywhere. I hate it. They stink with dampness, due to the fog/humidity.

The pics in the article paint a beautiful picture, although.

14 Run Dog Run March 5, 2014 at 5:11 AM

@RunnnerDope The Hara family were very long-
time residents of Clayton. My sister went to school
with Johnnie Hara in the late 50s and 60s. The end
of Mitchell Canyon is populated with a number of
subdivisions now and the entrance to Mt. Diablo
State Park. I don’t know if the Hara family is still
there. One larger, older home on the right was a
bed and breakfast for a while and was the only
home that far out on Mitchell for many years.

15 Clayton's Son March 5, 2014 at 7:38 AM

I didn’t know Mr. Hara who lived at the end of Mitchell Canyon Rd, but I do remember the residences that were within the old Mitchell Canyon Park. The old park was gradually abandoned in the mid-1970s, and houses were ultimate demolished once the State Parks system acquired the area after the 1977 fire.

16 jaretmom March 5, 2014 at 4:08 PM

We used to ride our bikes down and sit with Mr Mitchell , he told us a lot about the history in Clayton also I think there was a lady called the goat lady that would come in to Beede variety store that live behind Mr Mitchell place

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