Our collection of online videos has grown over the years. To make it easier to find the video you wish to view, they are now broken into 5 basic groups, as you can see by the titles below. Click on the tab you wish to review, and a list of videos in that category will be shown. In addition to watching the videos here on our web site, many of these videos can also be found on our YouTube channel. If you wish to go directly there, you can click on the link here.
For a number of years, the Lesher Foundation has sponsored a series of 6 speakers annually for their "NEWSMAKERS: Lesher Speaker Series" on topics of interest to the public, ranging from sports to history to current events. In addition, various non-profit groups throughout the county are highlighted through their "non-profit Partnership" arrangement. On November 2, 2015, author David McCullough was the speaker at the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, and the Contra Costa County Historical Society was chosen as their non-profit partner for the evening.
As part of the partnership arrangement, local TV station KTVU came to the History Center in Martinez and created this two and a half minute video, which was shown to the audience before the start of Mr. McCullough's speech.
The Contra Costa County Historical Society has released a new video showing the History Center in action. From examples of our archives' documents and photos to examples of what types of information is available to the public, this YouTube video can be used to reiterate to all the importance of our Society to historians, genealogists, and anyone interested in our county.
In January, 2013, the Contra Costa County History Center moved from 610 Main Street to 724 Escobar Street in Martinez. On April 20, 2013, there was a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house to show off the new facilities to our members and friends. This video shows members of our board and our executive director being joined by Mayor Rob Schroeder of Martinez along with County Supervisors Federal Glover and Karen Mitchoff as we officially opened our facility.
In conjunction with the Bay Point Teen Video Project, producer Doug Harris brought his student film makers to Martinez in 2002, interviewing our Executive Director Betty Maffei about the history of the Contra Costa County Historical Society and the archives housed in our History Center. Below is a clip from that documentary:
Another Doug Harris YouTube video interviews Bill Larkins, a volunteer at our History Center and an authority on early Bay Area aviation. In the segment, he and others talk about the building of an airplane in 1911 in what was then Black Diamond, CA (now Pittsburg) and named after the city where it was built.
Our next video dates from 1985, and is a history of the Black Diamond Mines in what is now Antioch. Produced for the East Bay Regional Park District, the video includes footage of the area when it was a working mine interspersed with interviews of people whose families worked the mines.
In 2013, the "Eye of Mount Diablo", the beacon that sits at the top of the mountain, was refurbished in time for its annual December 7th lighting. The video below, sponsored by Shell, talks about the process of removing the beacon, cleaning it up and getting it ready for its annual show.
In 1915, the Shell Oil Company opened its first refinery in the United States in Martinez. The following video, created by the staff of the Shell refinery in Martinez, celebrates their 100 years of service to the Martinez community.
Recently, the History Center received a donation of some film footage taken by an unknown photographer in and around the Martinez area in 1927. The footage has been broken into two parts, as shown below:
If you have any comments or can help us identify any people or places in the videos, please contact us by clicking here.
In 2014, a number of local women who, during World War II, worked at the Richmond Ship Yards, went on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Washington, D.C. These real-life "Rosies" met with and flirted with Vice President Joe Biden, who helped to arrange the trip. They even received a visit during their meeting from President Obama.
This collage of photos and TV screen captures, set to music of the era, was compiled by the Pinole Historical Societya and was generously made available to the CCCHS for displaying to the public.
The true experience of a woman on the 1850's frontier through her personal letters. We hear her struggling to raise a family surrounded by bandits, killers and Indians along with her own approaching death. Women on the frontier have largely been neglected by historians. For our nation and women living on the 19th century American frontier, theirs was a moment in history.
Bill Mero and Dean McLeod have collaborated on a new video exploring the 1772 exploration of Don Pedro Fages and Father Juan Crespi through today's Contra Costa County, with its easternmost camp in what is now Bay Point.
This video explores the great Byron train disaster of December, 1902. Titled "Steam, Steel and Blood," it reveals how this tragedy and others led to better national safety standards.
Thousands of tons of naval munitions blew up severely damaging Port Chicago and killing hundreds of sailors in July 1944. With the help of several of the Contra Costa historical societies, local students put together a documentary of this tragic event. The video also touches on the racism of the day that influenced this disaster. Doug Harris was the instructor and producer of the video.
In 1938 the C & H Sugar Refinery in Crockett was the scene of a bloody battle between the AFL and the CIO. The lengthy CIO strike and street fight with the AFL was over the validity of the AFL closed shop agreement with C & H. It pitted brother against brother. For the Crockett and the nation, it was a moment in history.
A biography of John Marsh, the first American to settle in Contra Costa County. Written by Bill Mero, the video explores Marsh and his family as they moved west and settled in what is now Brentwood.
In 2008, the late Huell Howser of the California Gold TV program visited the John Marsh Stone House which is the center piece of the proposed John Marsh State Historic Park in Contra Costa County. New Native Americans archaeological discoveries near Brentwood, CA and early California history are discussed.
This documentary discusses the efforts of the John Marsh Trust to convert much of the land surrounding Dr. John Marsh's house into an Historic Park.
As part of the restoration of the Marsh House in Brentwood, an inspection of the condition of the house was made in July, 2005. That inspection is documented in this video.
Doug Harris published a YouTube video on Sheriff Veale featuring some of our History Center personnel. Hear how the one of the longest serving Sheriffs in California history (1895-1935) kept the peace in a rural county without firing a shot!
James Kirker came from Ireland becoming an infamous scalp hunter in the Southwest. He spent the last years of his life in Contra Costa County, CA and died in California mysteriously on the isolated John Marsh Rancho at Los Meganos.
Gerry Anderson, in a BBC documentary, followed Kirker from his native Ireland here to Contra Costa County. This segment, featuring Bill and Kathleen Mero from the Contra Costa County Historical Society and the John Marsh Trust, talks about Kirker's time in the county. The Historical Society also provided technical support to the makers of this documentary.
It should be noted that, based on records kept by the Society, most of what has been written about James Kirker's life and death in California is either unverifiable or plainly untrue.
Fans of the old TV series "M*A*S*H" may recall an episode where Colonel Potter became the "winner" of a last man's club established by a platoon in which he served during World War I. A number of such "clubs" sprang up among survivors of World War I and subsequent conflicts. One such club was established in Contra Costa County. This video is a compilation of local news stories from Veteran's Day, 1988, when Contra Costa's "Last Man", Albert Furrer, collected his prize.