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Alameda County Library

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Fremont Local History Resources: Prehistory to Settlement

Use this guide to find resources for the history of Fremont from prehistory to the present day.


For thousands of years until the arrival of Spanish settlers in the late 1700s, Ohlone people (also referred to as Costanoans) lived in the area now known as Fremont. Living in small villages, they took advantage of the abundant natural resources, including acorns from oak trees and shellfish in the bay.

The Spanish established Mission San Jose in 1797, one of twenty one missions in present day California. Missionaries required Indians to move to the mission, causing cultural disruption as well as an introduction of new European diseases. The Spanish brought a challenge to the Ohlone way of life even before the influx of gold seekers around 1848.

Pockets of the Ohlone community did survive and have initiated the current day petition for Federal Recognition Status as well as language reclamation projects.

Even before Ohlone people inhabited this region, evidence in the form of fossilized remains have been found within the boundaries of present day Fremont. Paleontology, allows for the study of this prehistoric fossilized evidence of life through scientific study.

A Public Approach to Preserving Heritage

Paleontological and archaeological materials are irreplacable. The information they can provide needs to be safeguarded by professionals and the general public. To be more informed about laws that exist to protect materials, ethical standards of archaeologists, and information about practices to keep American heritage guarded, try the Society for American Archaeology.

The best guidelines for American paleontological, archaeological, and historic site preservation is from the Society for American Archaeology. The professional standards for with ethical approaches to study and the public information offered for an interested public make their website a valuable resource for multiple reasons.