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Apply for an eCard - You may immediately use any of our remotely-available electronic resources and place holds (requests) on items by getting an eCard. Fill out the online registration form and submit. You must replace your e-Card with a full-service card when you come to the library to check-out items.
How to Contribute - Do you have original documents, photographs, illustrations or a unique story to tell about the Fremont area? We are always interested in valuable additions to the library's history collection. Contact us.
Local History Links
This Guide has been created to serve as a guide for researching the local history of Fremont, California including Centerville, Irvington, Mission San Jose, Niles, and Warm Springs.
Although Fremont itself is a young city, incorporated in 1956, it traces its roots back to the original Ohlone or Costanoan people who lived throughout the region. This area played a key role in Spanish mission expansion in the 18th century, was a central point in the building of the first transcontinental railroad, and experienced a brief heyday during the silent film era of the early 1900's. A rich heritage of agriculture and industry continues today.
Here you will find resources on the most prominent aspects of local history, and discover a few hidden gems as well. Click on the tabs which interest you to find more details about library resources and research tools. The Maurice Marks Center for Local and California History at the Fremont Main Library is our main repository on these subjects.
The Maurice Marks Center includes maps, newspaper clippings, memorabilia, Fremont high school yearbooks and an extensive reference book collection. Unique materials include the Gladys Williamson Collection, and Maurice Mark's Oral History series titled "Taped History of the City of Fremont by Those who Know."
Newspaper listings are below, and can be found along with miscellaneous books on microfilm of California history.
- The Argus - We carry microfilm from the paper’s inception on April 29, 1960 to present. A card file index is available for locating local news stories and obituaries from 1985 to 2001.
- The News Register - (aka Fremont News Register, Washington Township News Register). We have the full series, 1955 to 1972, on microfilm.
- The Township Register - We have microfilm covering April 1927- October 1954. Bound volumes for 1921-1922 are available by appointment.
Historical Societies and Museums
P.O. Box 3078, Fremont, CA 94539 - Founded in 1962 by Robert B. Fisher, M.D. to preserve historical sites, pioneer family histories, and local antiquities.
190 Anza Street, Fremont, CA 94539 - A non-profit all volunteer group of people dedicated to researching and preserving the diverse history of Washington Township (today the cities of Fremont, Union City, and Newark)
37417 Niles Blvd., Fremont, CA 94536 - Formed in 2001 for the purpose of raising funds to purchase and open a museum in the Niles District of Fremont, dedicated to the unique role that Niles played in early cinema history.
3841 Smith St., Union City, CA 94587 - Dedicated to recording and preserving the history of Union City, by recording oral histories from people living in the community, identifing and encouraging preservation of historical buildings, and maintaining a museum containing artifacts, historical documents, and historical books.
P.O. Box 3045, Fremont, CA 94539 - Washington Township Historical Society is the oldest historical group in Washington Township. Founded in 1949, the Society focuses on the history of the cities of Fremont, Newark, and Union City.
Websites for Local and California History
•Museum of Local History provides a timeline of local history, a summary of Phil Holmes' Two Centuries at Mission San Jose, 1797 to 1997, a collection of papers on local historical events and topics, a list of local history sites, and a list of online sources realated to the 1868 earthquake.
•FremontOnline.org provides a brief history of the city of Fremont.
•Calisphere is the University of California’s free public gateway to a world of digitized primary sources. Designed as a resource for educators, chronologically-themed collections containing more than 150,000 photographs, documents and works of art may be searched by keyword or browsed by topic.
Search tips: (1) Browse the alphabetical list of subjects and the Collections for Educators to see if your topic is listed. (2) When using the search engine, search first for "Alameda county," and then search within those results for your particular topic, such as "Niles" or "Mission San Jose." (3) Keep in mind that when you search for "Fremont" you'll get everything related to the pioneer explorer John C. Fremont.
•The Historical Marker Database or HMdb.org is a searchable online catalog of historical information viewed through the filter of roadside and other permanent outdoor markers, monuments, and plaques. It contains photographs, inscription transcriptions, marker locations, maps, additional information and commentary, and links to more information provided by self-directed volunteers.
Search tips: (1) Select "More Search Options," the link directly under the search box on the upper right corner of the page. Consider using Keyword Search, Search by Postal Code, and Search by Place, depending on the information you have about your topic. Notice that by clicking on "Show Filters" you can limit your search by city, county, and other options. (2) After you have found a marker, check out the "Other nearby markers" section to locate other markers in the Fremont area.
•Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers is from the Library of Congress and includes digital versions of some historical newspapers from California, though currently none from Alameda County. It allows you to identify libraries that have newsprint, microfilm, or other holdings of such newspapers.
Suggested search strategy Select the option titled "Find Information about newspapers from 1690 to today." Select "California" in the State box; Select "Alameda" in the County box; and select the city you are interested in in the City box. Choose the range of years that you are investigating. Select "Search." Select a newspaper from the list of results. At the bottom of the next page, select "View complete holdings information."