Lucia Barrett used to live in the Town of Cowell. Just before the town was destroyed,she was able to salvage some old documents and some glass negatives. Her son,Duke Barrett,offered me the opportunity to use the negatives and documents as a memory to his mother.
Here is an example of one of the negatives:
And here is how the picture turned out:
The Cowell Historical Society is very pleased to present the Lucia Barrett Collection of documents and photographs. The documents are dated between 1911 and 1930,and the photographs are of the construction of the Cowell Portland Cement plant. I also have the negatives posted for those who are interested.
I found a great picture on Claycord,taken from Concord’s Bicentennial Calendar.
Everyone knows this area as “The Crossings”,but you would never know it from the signs.
The “Walnut Country”name dates back many years,but has no relevance to anything currently in this area. It’s not like there was a famous walnut orchard before this community was built. And nothing edible ever fell off of the smokestack. Even the HOA is known as the Cowell Homeowners Association. So,how did we get stuck with Walnut Country?
The bad news is that our entrance signs need to be repaired or replaced. The good news is that we have an opportunity to revisit the way we are portrayed to people entering or passing our neighborhood. At last month’s community meeting,there seemed to be overwhelming support for a new sign that featured a bold “The Crossings”with a smaller “Walnut Country”underneath. I like that idea,a lot,and told the Board of Directors so.
If you have an idea about what you’d like to see in an entrance sign,let the board know before they have to commit to a design.
On Saturday,August 29,2009,The Cowell Homeowners Association Board of Directors hosted a ceremony to dedicate the Smokestack Memorial. In spite of the extreme heat,it was a great event,and many Crossings residents turned out,as well as several people who had lived in the Town of Cowell.
Texas Back 40 did the catering,and everyone ate very well. For the kids,they had bounce-houses,sno-cones,and face painting. The Walnut Country Swim Team and our Pre-school had booths set up. CCWD was on hand to share tips on saving water without violating the CCRs regarding lawn care. Concord police had information on neighborhood watches and preventing crime. The Crossing’s own Cub Scout Pack,Pack 445,brought some of their pinewood derby cars and did a little recruiting.
For more pictures,go to http://cowellhistoricalsociety.org/html/dedication.html.
A couple of weeks ago,I got an E-Mail from Sally Morgan asking if I knew about the Cowell Lime Works Historic District at UC Santa Cruz. When I admitted that I hadn’t heard of it,she invited Mrs. Cowellian and me to come and take a tour. Yesterday,she graciously gave us the grand tour,allowing us to take pictures and ask questions. I’d like to thank my wife for taking all of the pictures. I’ve posted the pictures and information on the Cowell Historical Society site:cowellhistoricalsociety.org/html/lime.html
The Cowell Ranch,along with the Cowell Lime Works,is a fascinating place,since working with limestone sets the stage for the creation of the Cowell Portland Cement Plant,and the Town of Cowell. Henry Cowell made his fortune at the Lime Works,and his heirs increased it with the Cowell Portland Cement Factory.
I know a lot of people are unhappy that we were not able to save the smokestack,but here is an outstanding opportunity to actually save some history. Sally and the Cowell Lime Works Historic District are making a difference in preserving some real California history. If you want to visit,the only cost is $6.00 to park on campus. If you’d like to help,drop them a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Smokestack demolition occurred very quickly,but the work on the memorial has been progressing at a much slower speed. Mr. Larkins has been sending me memorial pictures all summer,and I finally published them on Cowell Historical Society site:http://cowellhistoricalsociety.org/html/memorial.html
Here is a picture of Jim Kikker and Tillie Larkins getting their souvenir bricks from Mark Weinmann.
Last weekend’s distribution of Smokestack bricks was only for Crossings residents. There are still a few bricks left over,and they will be available to anyone who wants them,on a first-come,first-served basis,this weekend. If you want a brick,show up at the Crossings Business Office on Saturday,August 15th,between 9:00 and 11:00 am.
Read all about it at The Cowell Smokestack Project – Official Home.
Crossings Residents can pick up a brick at the Business Office on Saturday,August 8,between 9 and noon.
If there are still bricks available,non-residents can pick up bricks next weekend. Read all about it at The Cowell Smokestack Project – Official Home
The Cowell Homeowners Association is ready to distribute bricks from the Smokestack. Get all the details at The Cowell Smokestack Project –Official Home
Before the Cowell Smokestack was demolished,the Cowell Homeowners Association Board of Directors commissioned Gary Augistino of In-Flight Camera to take aerial photographs of the Smokestack,as well as the entire Crossings. Here is one of the close-ups of the smokestack:
Photo courtesy of Mark Weinmann.
Click on the picture to see it full size,but be aware that it is a huge file to download.
To see more of these amazing photos,go to http://cowellhistoricalsociety.org/html/aerial.html.
The Official Cowell Smokestack Project blog is posting smokestack stories this week. Check them out here: http://cowellsmokestack.blogspot.com/2009/07/smokestack-stories-volume-1.html.
The demolition is complete for all intents and purposes. What remains will become the monument.
The gravel roadbed will be removed and the landscaping will be upgraded.
Thank you to Mr. Bill Larkins,who took all of today’s pictures.
No official decision has been made regarding distribution of the bricks,so I’d advise keeping an eye on the official smokestack site,Cowell Smokestack Project –Official Home if you’re interested in getting yourself a piece of history.
Each day,I’ve tried to get a shot from approximately the same position,and have used the crane as a visual reference. It’s really hard to get a visual reference without the crane towering over the Smokestack,but the Stack is starting to dip below the trees.
Without the crane,there is a lot more parking available,but it’s all being taken due to the swim meet. At least,the Smokestack is no longer tall enough to threaten the swimmers if it falls.