The Claycord Online Museum – Mt. Diablo in the 1950s

March 13, 2018 16:00 pm · 52 comments

It’s Mt. Diablo, sometime in the 1950s. Anyone remember when the area looked like this?

Click on the image for a much larger view.

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!

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Reality says... March 13, 2018 at 4:28 PM

It would be nice if they overlay some current day landmark indicators so we can reference before/now.


Brent Butler March 13, 2018 at 7:52 PM

Would be nice then and now photo from same spot. Also refrences. I think Mt Diablo High School on left?

T. PAYNE March 14, 2018 at 8:15 AM

Find the cement factory in Cowell. (Middle Top 1/3 of photo) That is the old smoke stack they took down a few years ago.

Juan Grande March 14, 2018 at 2:10 PM

The large line of buildings is Park N Shop center in the lower center of the picture. You can use that as a reference point and figure everything out from there.

polarbearmarket March 14, 2018 at 2:39 PM

Use Google Maps to recreate the photo in today’s world from the same angle and altitude. I just spent a half hour piecing together some of those landmarks and seeing what orchard or open space is now a school or shopping center etc.

The Mt. Diablo High school football field is on the lower left next to the baseball diamonds. Clayton Road heads SE from the bottom to nearly the top. The old airport on West St. is on the upper/middle left. Eventually you can find some of the main cross roads when you zoom in. Fascinating.

Cellophane March 13, 2018 at 4:48 PM

Great photo.

I can only guess what’s where.

Sure was a lot of open lands here, then.


Map Man March 13, 2018 at 4:59 PM

Whats the main rd. going up the center of the pic. is that Clayton Rd ?


Badge1104 March 13, 2018 at 6:23 PM

I keep studying this picture, and I still can’t get oriented. yes that main road appears to be Clayton Road, but where’s the Cowell smokestack?


Badge1104 March 13, 2018 at 6:35 PM

`Found it! The Cowell smokestack almost looks like a street going up and down in the middle of the picture in the top third.
I think I spotted Ellis Lake now, but I can’t tell what shopping center is below it. Is it the back of the Park n Shop?

Dave March 13, 2018 at 6:48 PM

I Believe the lower part of the picture is the Concord Ave Area were the dealership are around Commerce Ave, baseball fields are Concord American Little League , with the big parking lot to the right being Park N Shop?

The half circle road is I believe The Alameda, coming off of Clayton Rd.


Schmee March 13, 2018 at 6:55 PM

Yea even if someone could identify one landmark and put a red arrow everyone’s could work backwards


Map Man March 13, 2018 at 7:11 PM

follow it to the eucalyptus grove of trees in downtown Clayton. I believe that is right ? if that is Clayton rd. in the center.


claycordian March 13, 2018 at 7:21 PM

The triangle area is park and shop, with market as the bottom of the triangle, willow pass the upper right, and galindo on the left side. If this were taken today, 242 would run along the bottom of the picture.


w3surfer March 13, 2018 at 7:45 PM

The following link: will provide an overhead view of the area to compare it with. It’s zoomable.


dana estate res March 15, 2018 at 5:56 PM

Thanks so much for the 1949 aerial view. That is absolutely amazing. To see the orchards covering the valley makes me so sad. Urban sprawl post WWII decimated the beautiful pastoral setting of the Mt Diablo valley. I had heard of the many orchards covering our housing tract but seeing all of them is stunning. This one explanation for the lack of pollinator bees numbers dwindling.

Brent Butler March 13, 2018 at 8:03 PM

Would be nice then and now photo from same spot. Also refrences. I think Mt Diablo High School on left?


Amy March 13, 2018 at 8:09 PM

Can anyone make out the Galindo House?


Man in Brown March 13, 2018 at 8:56 PM

Definitely Clayton rd running through the middle. The next main rd to the right is Cowell. You can see Loma Vista with the big fields. Park n Shop is the middle foreground with the triangular parking area. That means Willow Pass rd is in front of Park n Shop and Market st is below the triangular parking area. Market st ends at Concord ave. Just to the left of that you see the fields of Mt. Diablo HS. If you follow Willow Pass up and zoom in you can see Todos Santos.


Silva March 13, 2018 at 9:07 PM

Is YVR extended it over the ridge to Kirker Pass? Anyone see it? Beautiful photo.


Kirkwood March 14, 2018 at 1:38 PM

The Ygnacio Valley Rd extension between Oak Grove and Clayton Rd was built around 1955. A high school friend and I hiked (or biked) a portion of that road while it was under construction.
Also around that time Treat Lane was extended from Oak Grove to North Main.

Silva March 14, 2018 at 5:10 PM

Kirkwood, you were the one who told me that YVR ended at Oak Grove a few years ago, but I couldn’t remember when it was extended. I guess I do see part of the roadbed then. I wish I could find some of the railroad tracks around here, and the creek that goes under Concord Blvd., and Brazil quarry. I didn’t remember the part about Treat originally ending at Oak Grove, either. Thanks!

RunnerDope March 15, 2018 at 10:00 AM

When we moved to WC in early 1964, Treat stopped just west of Oak Grove and Geary stopped at Bancroft. They were building the Carriage Square subdivision but access was from Bancroft and Minert. Treat was completed soon thereafter, maybe even in late ’64.

Wheel March 13, 2018 at 10:10 PM

I think it would make an amazing puzzle for us concord historians


RunnerDope March 13, 2018 at 10:29 PM

Probably taken around 1958.


RunnerDope March 13, 2018 at 10:53 PM

I’m going to change my guess to 1957. There are many homes in the picture that were built in ’56 and many that were built in ’58 that aren’t there.

nytemuvr March 14, 2018 at 12:02 AM

I’d say summer ’58, I can see the church on Ashbury Dr. my Dad and Grandpa help move from a lot next to MDHS. My Dad stood on the roof of the church and lifted the power and phone lines with a 2″x4″ as they moved it. I have pictures dated then.

nytemuvr March 14, 2018 at 12:49 AM

I take that back, I think you’re right. Checked my Dad’s slides and they moved the church in late ’56, so after that.

Silva March 14, 2018 at 9:55 AM

nytemuvr, are there slides of him standing on the roof lifting the power and phone lines with a 2″x4″?

nytemuvr March 14, 2018 at 12:04 PM

Unfortunately not, they moved the church at night down Galindo from behind Queen of All Saints Elementary School. You can see the eucalyptus trees in front of El Monte Center in that photo too.

Silva March 14, 2018 at 4:49 PM

They did a great job moving it. Yeah, those eucalyptus trees are hard to miss.

Publius March 13, 2018 at 10:38 PM

Clayton Road right up the middle towards Clayton; MDHS football field on left with Concord National and American Little League fields behind it ca 1956. Far right is Meadow Homes Elementary off Detroit and center middle is Loma Vista Intermediate off Cowell Road


Dr Jellyfinger March 13, 2018 at 11:28 PM

What is that big white arrowhead thing?


Silva March 14, 2018 at 9:49 AM

I’ve spent too much time looking for it! What big white arrowhead thing, Dr Jellyfinger? Is it your cursor?

WC resident March 14, 2018 at 10:24 AM

The white rectangle before the triangle looks like the area where Clayton Valley High school and the subdivision to the east of it will be constructed. CVHS opened in 1958 which is a further clue the photo is either late 1957 or early 1958.

The triangle beyond it looks like it’s where the Clayton Valley Shopping center and it’s immediate area will be constructed.

WC resident March 14, 2018 at 12:32 AM

That’s a great photo and as it covers a similar area as the previous photo of Park-n-shop it answers some of the questions from that thread. I’d say this photo it was taken in 1957 or early 1958.

@Brent Butler – Using Google Earth I took a snapshot of what it looks like today and uploaded it to


Chubby March 14, 2018 at 12:38 AM

There was a lot more Mt.Zion then. (quarry)


Marvin Terrell March 14, 2018 at 6:45 AM

Having lived here since June 1949. It,s easy to find local land makers.
Thanks for the memory,s Marvin


Curious March 14, 2018 at 8:15 AM

Anyone know what the oval area is across from the Mt. Diablo H.S. field & baseball diamonds? (Lower left-hand corner of the picture.) It looks like another school with a track? It would be at the end of Gasoline Alley at the school district’s bus parking area.


RunnerDope March 14, 2018 at 9:32 AM

Dave and Publius answered that above.

WC resident March 14, 2018 at 10:02 AM

It looks like a race or exercise track for horses with stables in the middle.

Bynytemuvr March 14, 2018 at 12:16 PM

@WC resident
I’ve been told it was a horseman’s association by an old timer once, I’m not old enough to remember, but was told it didn’t last long after this time period.

Kentucky Derby March 14, 2018 at 9:18 AM

Great photo. What’s Gasoline Alley?


Cowellian March 14, 2018 at 11:58 AM

Gasoline Alley is off of Bisso Lane, with Concord Public Works and the MDUSD School Bus yard. It backs up to the 242 ramp at Concord Avenue.

Kirkwood March 14, 2018 at 12:07 PM

Another great pic, got clues from other posters. From bottom RH corner I see:
Sewage treatment plant and (Pine/Galindo?) creek.
Market St, RR tracks, Lonestar.
Park & Shop w/tower.
Water Co. tanks and old water tower.
Mt Diablo HS gym, track, BB fields.
Upper & lower Ellis Lakes.
Masonic Temple.
Loma Vista school.
C.C. canal & N. Lime Ridge.
Monument cemetary.
The Alameda (race track).
Cowell Stack.
Good activity for a rainy morning!


Oracle March 14, 2018 at 3:46 PM

I do not personally remember as that was many decades before I was born but its amazing to see how it has changed!


Silva March 14, 2018 at 10:29 PM

Hey, there’s Sil’s!


nytemuvr March 15, 2018 at 1:22 AM

Don’t walk by there, dirty old men in there….lol

RunnerDope March 15, 2018 at 10:10 AM

I remember it as mainly a biker bar. Some friends played in a C&W band there in the early ’70s; Rookery.

Silva March 15, 2018 at 8:08 PM

Boy, you’re not kidding, nytemuvr!

OverWhelmed March 15, 2018 at 9:42 AM

We moved from Modesto to Concord in 1969. I was still very young. But i do remember the railroad and the buildings on Market. We used to have to stop for the train Monument Blvd, Willow Pass and Concord Ave. White Front was still in the Target Building on Contra Costa, Montgomery Wards was where Kohls is, Penny’s in the Park and Shop and Woolworths as well. Mom used to get her yarn there. The place where the gateway buildings are used to house the yearly carnival and circus. We used to walk from our apartment on Monument. Great Picture, but I am not able to see anything that was listed. It is fun trying though.


Smith March 15, 2018 at 1:46 PM

The annual circus and parade was called The Concord Pow-Wow.

OverWhelmed March 15, 2018 at 2:45 PM

Thank you. Good to know. I know I used to love going to the carnival and circus as a young girl.

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