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ORAL HISTORY PROJECT

The Livermore Heritage Guild is pleased to make available our audio files in MP3 format from our Oral History Project. These are interviews of "old timers" in Livermore where we learn about the history of our community through their personal memories and recollections of growing up or working in our community. We will soon have all our interviews available on this web page. If you would like to know more about this project, give us a call at (925) 449-9927 or send us an e-mail at lhg@lhg.org.

You can download these audio or video files for playback on your computer or portable player. If you are using a properly configured Windows computer, they should begin playing within about 10 seconds. If you are using a Mac, you must first download the entire file before you can begin playing the file.

Click on the name of a speaker to download or play the file.

SPEAKER
DESCRIPTION
FREIDA WENTE TUBBS CALLAGHAN
Interview (1:04) Audio MP3 file
Oral History Collection
Mrs. Callaghan was interviewed in 1984 at age 86 as a senior member of the Wente family. She is the sixth child of the Wente Family. Her father came from Germany to the United States because, as the second son, he had no property inheritance rights. Her father married her mother on the roof of the pickle factory in Oakland. The next day they boarded a train to come to live in a rental home on second street next to the Livermore city jail. This was the beginning of the Wente grape and wine business. Click on her name to hear her interview.
 
WILLIAM (BILLY) FRATES
Interview (0:29) Audio MP3 file
Oral History Collection
Interviewed at 96 years of age in 1981, lifetime Livermore resident Billy Frates lived on a ranch south of Mendenhall Springs Road near the east end of Del Valle Resevoir. He describes his life on the ranch, including the process he used to make reins out of raw cowhide, many of which are still in use. He recalls doing ranch work for $1 a day, paying 50 cents for a pair of jeans, and buying three pair of socks for a quarter. Billy lived in Livermore since 1885. Click on his name to hear his interview.
 
LOUIS GARDELLA
Interview (0:32) Audio MP3 file
Oral History Collection
Louis Gardella was interviewed in 1981 about his 32 years in the grocery business in Livermore. He began in 1924 in a store (Beck-Beedy) located in the Foresters Building at Second and J Streets in Livermore. He bought the interest of Chester Beck in the store and several years later changed the name to the Del Valle Merchantile. He sold home utencils, farm tools and equipment, groceries and "just about anything else we could sell.". They delivered to customers in both the city and country, making deliveries to the McGlinchys, Connellys, and Kelleys who had ranches in the Coral Hollow area. Click on his name to hear his interview.
 
HERBERT HAGEMANN
Interview (1:19) Audio MP3 file
Oral History Collection
Herbert Hagemann is interviewed in 1985. Born on the Hageman Farm in 1921, 2.5 miles west of the flagpole on what used to be the end of Olivina Avenue. At the time, the population of Livermore was only about 2,000. He shares his memories of businesses, schools, scandals, stills, politicians, among other topics. Click on his name to hear his interview..  
 
WALT HECOX
Interview (2:24) Audio MP3 file
Oral History Collection
Walt Hecox, born in 1917, was interviewed in 1983 after a lengthy career as a journalist in the valley. He speaks about how he became a reporter, the many different stories he covered, and the personalities he met along the way. The quality of the sound varies because the interview took place over several months. Click on his name to hear his interview.
 
DOROTHY HOCK
Interview (0:43) Audio MP3 file
Oral History Collection
Dorothy, a lifelong resident of Livermore, was interviewed in 1992 at the age of 73. She speaks of her mother as Livermore's first Holy Ghost Queen and about being both excited and terrified as a child when firworks were set off at the Portuguese Hall (the current Eagles Hall). Dorothy was also Livermore's first woman City Clerk, beginning her service when Louis Gardella was major. She goes on to discuss the politics and issues of the time.
 
JACK (JOHN) E. JENSEN
Interview (1:02) Audio MP3 file
Oral History Collection
John came to Livermore as a youth for the first time n 1898 on a visit, returned several times, and came to stay with the building of the fuseworks. He was the former owner of the Livermore Plumbing and Sheet Metal Works. He speaks of his memories as a long-time resident including the fire which destroyed St. Michaels, the time there was two feet of water at the flag pole in a particularly rainy year, and horse-drawn stages operating out of Livermore. He was interviewed in 1981). Click on his name to hear his interview.
 
FRANCIS SANTUCCI
Interview (1:03) Audio MP3 file
Oral History Collection
Long-time Livermore resident and widow of Louis Santucci is interviewed about her family history and experiences in early Livermore. Francis is the sister of World Heavyweight Champion boxer Max Baer. Framcis and her husband built a home on a ranch in the area of the current St. Charles Boromeo Church. Click on her name to hear her interview.