Friday, October 23, 2009


The Alameda County Sheriff's Archive project was started in 1989 and if it weren't for the pack rats of the world, we'd have very little for our archive. We now have hundreds of pictures, old signage, pieces of outdated equipment and uniforms, thousands of pieces of paper in old files and great stories. The archive is run by volunteers, mostly retired deputies, who meet and identify people in old photos, arrange displays, host tours (by appointment only), and collect items of historical value for posterity. We also have historical mug books from San Quentin; FBI wanted posters from all over the United States; we have California jail and Sheriff's history, U.S. directives during WWII about moving the Japanese into internment camps and other Civil Protection materials. I mention that because we are not limited to just the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.
The Chowchilla Bus, from which the children were hijacked during the infamous Chowchilla case was demolished after we established the archive, and no one knew we existed. It was a missed opportunity for us to obtain a piece of historical rolling stock. We have the room, but no rolling stock of any kind.
Berkeley P.D. is also working on an archive with volunteers. It was started and is run by volunteer retired deputies working to preserve their own interesting history. Alameda County's archive is funded by fund raisers. We are a non-profit 501c-4 organization.

Gary Lindsay and Bud Harlan have been hard at work while I've been on the road. They "procured" two new rooms for us. They are small and will be used as storage for items too big to display in our present facility. The rooms were full of cast off furniture and stuff headed for recycle.
Deputy W. Rhodes came by the archive to visit while we worked on Tuesday. He is planning a retired Deputy Sheriff's Reunion for Oct. 2010. He'll prepare exhibits from our photos and artifacts. This reunion is different than the usual once a year dinner where people gather for an evening and shoot home. This will be a three day event staged at the Nugget in Reno. That way people will come from greater distances and have time to really visit old friends they haven't seen in years. He's doing a great job of prep, getting an early start, and we are glad to have the archive materials put to good use.
So far, we've had three college students use our materials to write papers, one a thesis. The Oakland Museum did their retrospective on the 1960's Civil Unrest using our materials. We've reunited people with old friends. We've helped folks searching for records of their grandfather's employment or incarceration and assisted quite a number of genealogy quests. We have prepared displays for retirement dinners, funerals, and other sheriff's office events.
Many people keep their memorabilia in their garage, maybe an old uniform, or a badge, or just an appointment book. Their children or grandchildren have no use for it and it gets destroyed. We encourage people to place their historical memorabilia in the archive where it will always be appreciated and preserved. For instance, we are looking for a picture of Cecil Poole, the United States Prosecuter during the 1960's deputy indictments. He was photographed holding a brick behind his back as he viewed the riots in the streets below him. We believe the picture was taken by an attorney by the name of Jim Crewe. We have very little in the way of early female matron or deputy uniforms. Can anyone help us in our quest???
You can contact me at 209 728-3235.

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