California Nursery Historical Park
in the 1830's on the Rancho Arroyo de la Alameda that was governed
by Jose de Jesus Vallejo, was the elder brother of General Mariano
Guadalupe Vallejo. This adobe was used to house some of the
workers working at his flour mill which was on Alameda Creek
The Adobe of California Nursery Company, also known as the Vallejo
Adobe, remains as one of Nilesí most significant historical
structures made from mere local clay. From being used for
commercial to housing purposes, the Adobe is a remarkable symbol
of the daily lives that Spanish missions led as well as the
legendary impact of Commander Jose de Jesus Vallejo.
The area which is now the Vallejo Adobe in the Niles
District of Fremont was an area used by Mission San Jose to
grow wheat and to herd cattle for the mission.
The Ohlones and vaqueros tended this area for the missions.
When the Missions were divided into ranchos, Jose de Jesus
Vallejo was given this area which he called "Rancho de
la Alameda." As we interpret some of Maria Gualalupe
Vallejo's writings, the adobe was built to store the wheat
grain that was milled at Vallejo Mills near Alameda Creek.
The adobe used local clay to build the bricks and was about
40 feet by 27 feet, one story with 36 inch walls and one
The Adobe stands in an area that was used initially by the Ohlone
natives and later on by Mission San Jose. The land was ideal due
to its proximity to natural resources, from nearby rivers teeming
with fish and accessibility to acorn seeds and smaller game.
Mission San Jose was founded in 1797 to secure Spainís declaration
of the land. Spaniards at the Mission taught local natives about
topics such as Christianity and the Spaniard lifestyle. Mission
San Jose thrived until the decree of secularization by the Mexican
government in the 1830s occurred, halting the mission system and
causing the Ohlone natives to depart and face difficulty in
returning to their former lifestyles. The missions were then
fractionated into ranches. By the 1830s, Commander Jose de Jesus
Vallejo would soon spark the cultivation of wheat within the
Jose de Jesus Vallejo served as a corporal in the Spanish army.
Vallejo assisted his father, Ignacio Vicente Vallejo, in running
their family ranch, Rancho Bolsa De San Cayetano in Monterey.
After Ignacioís death in 1832, the ranch was officially registered
to Vallejo. He became a civil administrator of Mission San Jose in
1836, where he began to take inventory of the Missionís
properties. Vallejo was later granted 12 acres of the missionís
land in 1840. Here, Vallejo established the regionís earliest and
first flour mills, where several of the Ohlones would granulate
wheat to produce flour. The Ohlones were taught how to construct
and manufacture the milling system by Vallejo and his vaqueros. By
1842, Governor Alvarado granted Vallejo the Rancho Arroyo de la
Alameda, which is located in what now consists of Union City,
Niles, and Mount Eden. The Vallejo Flour Mill was successful and
the primary reason behind the initiation of the Adobe Cottage.
Built in the early 1800s, the Adobe Cottage was used for the
missionariesí vaqueros. Once the Vallejo Flour Mill was created,
the cottage was then used specifically to store pulverized wheat
grain. The Adobe was a one-story building made entirely of bricks
shaped from local clay. At roughly 1,080 square feet, the building
also acted as a home for the Rancho de la Alamedaís vaqueros. Due
to the spaciousness of the building, the cottage was utilized to
its fullest potential, with every corner of the room being used
for various purposes: cooking, sleeping, storing supplies, and
festivals. Don Vallejo died in 1882, leaving the remains of the
Vallejo Flour Mill and the Adobe Cottage to slowly deteriorate.
Thankfully, nearly fifty years after Vallejoís passing,
restoration for the Adobe was initiated by the City of Fremont.
San Franciscan architect Fred Reimers conducted the refurbishment
of the adobe property, beginning with making significant changes
to ensure the building would endure its structure as time went on. The
building was remodeled in 1930 under the supervision of Fred
Reimers, a well known architect from San Francisco.
The original beams were left, te center low beam running
crosswise, adn the long high beam running lengthwise of the
building. The other two were found in an old shipyard
and hand hewn to match the others as nearly as possible.
Eucalyptus logs from the Patterson Ranch were used for the
other rafters which supported the especially made and
designed hand-made tile roof. The dirt floor was
replaced with Kraftile, and the three cement buttresses were
constructed to support the southwest side of the
building. The front door on the northeast end of the
building was carved out of the 3 foot wall and a heavy
hand-hewn redwood door was especially designed to adorn the
opening, as well as a similar one for the the original side
openings, both carved out of the thick wall, approximately 3
foot x 3 foot, two of the north side and one to the right of
the original door on the southwest side. Since the
adobeís original walls had begun to crumble, new adobe bricks were
created by skilled Spanish employee Antonio Torquenda to replace
and renew the interior.
Mr. Reimers also designed an attractive round fireplace in the
southwest corner of the building, which was built by one of the
employees. Adobe bricks were needed to restore the crumbling
walls so an old Spanish employee, Antonio Torquenda, who knew the
art of making adobe bricks, set up an area to the side of the
adobe, dug a big hole, gathered t special adobe soil from the
nursery, which he and his helpers dumped into the hold, added some
straw and water, and mixed all to the right consistency. They
then poured the mixture into wooden forms, 18 inches by 12 inches
by 4 inches where they were left to dry in the sun for several
weeks before being used to repair the walls.
the Adobe is no longer a storage unit for grains, its usage
continues with the non-profit Math Science Nucleus (MSN) for
Roeding, Francis (notes),
Joyce Blueford, Charlene Dixon (TriCity Voice)