California Nursery Historical Park

Vallejo Adobe
under construction

Built in the 1830s on the Rancho Arroyo de la Alameda that was governed by Jose de Jesus Vallejo, was the elder brother of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo.  This adobe was used to house some of the workers working at his flour mill which was on Alameda Creek.


The Adobe of California Nursery Company, also known as the Vallejo Adobe, remains as one of Nilesí most significant historical structures made from mere local clay. From being used for commercial to housing purposes, the Adobe is a remarkable symbol of the daily lives that Spanish missions led as well as the legendary impact of Commander Jose de Jesus Vallejo. The area which is now the Vallejo Adobe in the Niles District of Fremont was an area used by Mission San Jose to grow wheat and to herd cattle for the mission.   The Ohlones and vaqueros tended this area for the missions.

 When the Missions were divided into ranchos, Jose de Jesus Vallejo  was given this area which he called "Rancho Arroyo de  la Alameda."  This referred to the Alameda River (now called Alameda Creek) as the boundary to the south.  The word  "Alameda" refer to the cottonwood trees that lined the edges of the creek.  As we interpret some of Maria Gualalupe Vallejo's writings, the adobe was built to store the wheat grain that was milled at Vallejo Mills near Alameda Creek.  The adobe used local clay to build the bricks and was about 40 feet by 27 feet, one story with 36 inch walls and one door.

The Adobe stands in an area that was used initially by the Ohlone natives and later on by Mission San Jose. The land was ideal due to its proximity to natural resources, from nearby rivers teeming with fish and accessibility to acorn seeds and smaller game. Mission San Jose was founded in 1797 to secure Spainís declaration of the land. Spaniards at the Mission taught local natives about topics such as Christianity and the Spaniard lifestyle. Mission San Jose thrived until the decree of secularization by the Mexican government in the 1830s occurred, halting the mission system and causing the Ohlone natives to depart and face difficulty in returning to their former lifestyles. The missions were then fractionated into ranches. By the 1830s, Commander Jose de Jesus Vallejo would soon spark the cultivation of wheat within the community.

Jose de Jesus Vallejo served as a corporal in the Spanish army. Vallejo assisted his father, Ignacio Vicente Vallejo, in running their family ranch, Rancho Bolsa De San Cayetano in Monterey. After Ignacioís death in 1832, the ranch was officially registered to Vallejo. He became a civil administrator of Mission San Jose in 1836, where he began to take inventory of the Missionís properties. Vallejo was later granted 12 acres of the missionís land in 1840. Here, Vallejo established the regionís earliest and first flour mills, where several of the Ohlones would granulate wheat to produce flour. The Ohlones were taught how to construct and manufacture the milling system by Vallejo and his vaqueros. By 1842, Governor Alvarado granted Vallejo the Rancho Arroyo de la Alameda, which is located in what now consists of Union City, Niles, and Mount Eden. The Vallejo Flour Mill was successful and the primary reason behind the initiation of the Adobe Cottage.

Built in the early 1800s, the Adobe Cottage was used for the missionariesí vaqueros. Once the Vallejo Flour Mill was created, the cottage was then used specifically to store pulverized wheat grain. The Adobe was a one-story building made entirely of bricks shaped from local clay. At roughly 1,080 square feet, the building also acted as a home for the Rancho de la Alamedaís vaqueros. Due to the spaciousness of the building, the cottage was utilized to its fullest potential, with every corner of the room being used for various purposes: cooking, sleeping, storing supplies, and festivals. Don Vallejo died in 1882.  In 1863 Vallejo sold the portion of the Rancho to Jonas G. Clark  (of Clark University in Mass.)  This land was probably leased out to wheat farmers which probably used the building as a home, but this is not confirmed.  The remains of the Vallejo Flour Mill and the Adobe Cottage slowly deteriorated. 

San Franciscan architect Fred Reimers conducted the refurbishment of the adobe property, beginning with making significant changes to ensure the building would endure its structure as time went on. The building was remodeled in 1930 under the supervision of Fred Reimers, a well known architect from San Francisco.  The original beams were left, the center low beam running crosswise, adn the long high beam running lengthwise of the building.  The other two were found in an old shipyard and hand hewn to match the others as nearly as possible.  Eucalyptus logs from the Patterson Ranch were used for the other rafters which supported the especially made and designed hand-made tile roof.  The dirt floor was replaced with Kraftile, and the three cement buttresses were constructed to support the  southwest side of the building.  The front door on the northeast end of the building was carved out of the 3 foot wall and a heavy hand-hewn redwood door was especially designed to adorn the opening, as well as a similar one for the the original side openings, both carved out of the thick wall, approximately 3 foot x 3 foot, two of the north side and one to the right of the original door on the southwest side.  Since the adobeís original walls had begun to crumble, new adobe bricks were created by skilled Spanish employee Antonio Torquenda to replace and renew the interior.

Mr. Reimers also designed an attractive round fireplace in the southwest corner of the building, which was built by one of the employees.  Adobe bricks were needed to restore the crumbling walls so an old Spanish employee, Antonio Torquenda, who knew the art of making adobe bricks, set up an area to the side of the adobe, dug a big hole, gathered t special adobe soil from the nursery, which he and his helpers dumped into the hold, added some straw and water, and mixed all to the right consistency.  They then poured the mixture into wooden forms, 18  inches by 12 inches by 4 inches where they were left to dry in the sun for several weeks before being used to repair the walls.

 Though the Adobe is no longer a storage unit for grains, its usage continues with the non-profit Math Science Nucleus (MSN) for educational purposes.

compiled by:
Roeding, Francis (notes), Joyce Blueford, Charlene Dixon (TriCity Voice)


managed by Math Science Nucleus
owned by
City of Fremont

36501 Niles Blvd, Fremont
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