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Alameda County Library

Fremont Local History Resources: Niles or Vallejo Mills

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

Niles

                           Oakland bound train stops at orgional Niles Depot, Niles Depot Historical Foundation Collection

Niles began as Vallejo Mills, as it held a mill used by the Vallejo family as it was part of the Rancho Arroyo De La Alameda. The mill built in 1853 by Don Jose De Vallejo was for flour production. 

Following the completion of the transcontinental railway in 1869, the town of Niles developed around a Pacific Railroad Company freight terminal at the west end of the canyon. The town was named after Addison C. Niles, a prominent judge and former railroad attorney. 

Between 1912 - 1916, Essanay Film Manufacturing Company made hundreds of silent films in Niles. Charlie Chaplin and Gilbert M. "Broncho Billy" Anderson (who was also a co-founder of Essanay) were two of the most famous actors associated with the studio. In this area, you will find recommended sources of information about Niles, the Niles Canyon Railway and Essanay Studios.

 

Oral History

What is an oral history?

A few oral histories of the Niles area are available in the Maurice Marks Center for Local and California History. Four selected recordings are listed below.  

Story Of Niles: Story Of How The Movies Came To Niles

Recording of a 1971 oral history interview by Maurice Marks. Audio CD Call No. CDB 979.465 STORY Maurice Marks Center (Fremont Main Library)

Hal Angus: About The Early Days In Niles

 Recording of a 1973 oral history interview by Maurice Marks. "He acted with Broncho Billy Anderson." Audio CD Call No. CDB 979.465 HAL Maurice Marks Center (Fremont Main Library)

Mrs. Marian Stocking: Early Days With Mrs. Ford In Niles And Friends

 In MSJ Recording of a 1971 oral history interview by Maurice Marks. Audio CD Call No. CDB 979.465 MRS BOOKS ON CD Maurice Marks Center (Fremont Main Library)

Mrs. Marie Sharpe Bishop: Early Days In Niles

Recording of a 1971 oral history interview by Maurice Marks. Audio CD Call No. CDB 979.465 MRS BOOKS ON CD Maurice Marks Center (Fremont Main Library)

Library Resources

Vallejo Mills, Gladys Williamson Collection, Maurice Marks Center for Local and California History

For more resources related to Washington Township return to the Washington Township home page. Resources specific to Niles are listed below.

Searching the Catalog - For many searches, searching by subject will generate more relevant results than keywords. Start your search by trying these subject headings first:

Niles (Calif.) History

Niles (Calif.)

Railroads- California History -Pictorial Works

Essanay Film Manufacturing Co 

Anderson, Gilbert M. (used for Broncho Billy, sometimes misspelled as Bronco Billy)

To find information about specific actors such as Charlie Chaplin while at Essanay / Niles, try a keyword search with the name and the terms Essanay or Niles. For example,  (Charlie Chaplin) and Essanay or Niles

 

Listed Below are a few selected resources on the topic available through the Fremont Main Library or Link+