Great Value for Fremont Landlords
The recorded history of the Fremont area began on June 6, 1795, when Mission San José was founded by the Spaniard Father Fermin de Lasuen. The Mission was established at the site of the Ohlone village of Oroysom. On their second day in the area, the Mission party killed a grizzly bear in Niles Canyon. The first English-speaking visitor to Fremont was the renowned trapper and explorer Jedediah Smith in 1827. The Mission prospered, eventually reaching a population of 1,887 inhabitants in 1831. The influence of the missionaries declined after 1834, when the Mexican government enacted secularization.
José de Jesus Vallejo, brother of Mariano Vallejo, was the grantee of the Rancho Arroyo de la Alameda Mexican land grant. His family was influential in the Fremont area in the late colonial era, and owned and built a flour mill at the mouth of Niles Canyon. In 1846 the town's namesake John C. Frémont led a military expedition to map a trail through Mission Pass for reaching the Pacific coast and to take possession of California from Mexico for the United States.
The Fremont area grew rapidly at the time of the California Gold Rush. A town called Mission San José grew up around the old mission, with its own post office from 1850. Agriculture dominated the economy with grapes, nursery plants and olives as leading crops. In 1868 the 6.8-magnitude Hayward earthquake on the Hayward Fault collapsed buildings throughout the Fremont area, ruining Mission San José and its outbuildings. Until the 1906 San Francisco earthquake caused its destruction, the Fremont area's Palmdale Winery was the largest in California. The ruins of the Palmdale Winery are still visible near the Five Corners in Irvington.
From 1912 to 1915 the Niles section of the Fremont area was the earliest home of California's motion picture industry. (See Essanay Studios.) Charlie Chaplin filmed several movies in the Fremont area, most notably The Tramp.
Fremont was incorporated under the leadership of Wally Pond in 1956, when five towns in the area, Irvington, Centerville, Mission San José, Niles, and Warm Springs came together to form a city. Glenmoor Gardens, the largest subdivision in Fremont, was under construction in the area, by developers Ralph E. Cotter, Jr., James R. Meyer, civil engineer Fred T. Duvall, and contractors James L. Reeder, and Robert H. Reeder. When the Glenmoor Gardens Homeowners Association (GGHA) was incorporated, in March 1953, there were no more than 75 houses in the subdivision. It was probably the first such organization in the Fremont area; in its scope and structure. The five-member board of directors (which included James Meyer and James Reeder) was set up to oversee a full range of services, from police and fire protection to street maintenance (which later became the purview of the city government).