NOVEMBER 2019 MARKETPLACECONTRACOSTA.COM 23
There are Pinole residents, many of them firstgeneration,
who know nothing about their city’s history,
in large part because there’s no central place for them to
go to learn about it. The archival documents and artifacts
chronicling the city’s history reside in garages and living
rooms, subject to varying temperatures and moisture.
The Pinole History Museum’s mission is to enhance
the preservation and collection of artifacts that represent
Pinole history and culture. Museum exhibits and research
opportunities will educate and inspire Pinole residents’
community affiliation and civic pride.
Pinole’s population is increasingly diverse, tech savvy
— and young! The Pinole History Museum will be a
place where all cultures that have contributed to the
city’s history will be represented. The museum will be
contemporary while being historical, a museum where
visitors can walk through the city’s past into the present,
and envision the future.
“A museum is the only conduit to the past,” says Mike
LeFebvre, a lifelong Pinole resident, former Pinole Valley
High School softball coach, and son of Pinole Merchants’
baseball legend “Big Red” LeFebvre. “It’s a past that is
rich in history, people, and mostly, relationships. These
are all things too precious to be shoved aside and soon
The museum board’s immediate goals include:
• Opening by and preparing for a major 2023 celebration
of the 200th anniversary of the El Rancho Pinole land
grant that created the area that includes the City of
• Obtaining local and regional recognition as a
community gathering place for lectures, presentations,
and activities, in addition to being a repository of the
city’s history and artifacts.
• Being known as a well-regarded event center that will
host private and corporate functions — cocktail parties,
birthday and anniversary parties, retreats, and other events
— that will generate revenue for the museum’s operating
A robust array of innovative programs is in the works,
including creating a virtual online museum so people can
access and appreciate the city’s history wherever they may
be. More information is on the museum’s website at:
Also planned are a lecture series (poets, historians, authors,
judges, etc.), and programs for children and young adults.
The museum board has been working with the city, which
owns the building, and its architect to create the interior
plans — including an elevator to the second floor — for
the renovation of the Faria House. Plans are due by the end
of this year.
In only the first year of fundraising (one dinner and two
mail appeals), the museum has received widespread support
from more than 150 individuals and companies who have
donated more than $30,000. This includes 10 donors who
have given $1,000 or more.
The museum board shares the goal of hundreds of
supporters determined to bring the city’s culture to life in a
building so representative of our community’s history.
It will take a concerted effort to raise the anticipated several
hundred thousand dollars of construction funds to renovate
and open the museum. The museum board will apply for
grants from corporate and private foundations, and from
federal and state sources that may be available. An online
crowd-funding campaign will begin once the renovation
costs are known.
“History is not obscure or unimportant,” says Pinole City
Council member Vincent Salimi. “It holds a mirror up to
the present and helps us move forward based on the past.
The decisions made for our future are based on what came
“The ability to examine and view artifacts brings history to
life. Seeing, touching, and feeling artifacts make them real
and relatable. Just as we trace our family roots and ancestry,
we can also trace the roots of our city and the history of
those who came before us. Museums maintain a record of
who and what we are.
“When we respect our history we honor the hard work and
forward thinking of those who came before us. The Pinole
History Museum will help establish a link between Pinole’s
past and its future.”
Faria House via drone (Courtesy of Earl Combs)