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The Festival of the Holy Ghost was started in Portugal by Queen Izabel to celebrate the end of a famine in 1296. Since the 1920s, Portuguese Americans have gathered in El Cerrito in late June to carry out this annual tradition with a parade, the …
In the early 1900s, streetcars ran the length of San Pablo Avenue. In those days, people could ride from the county line to Grand Canyon Park (now Alvarado Park) or out to MacDonald Avenue to the San Rafael Ferry.
Italian immigrants were a major ethnic community in El Cerrito. Establishments in the heart of Little Italy included Tezzi's Italian cooperativa, Fandio Bortolotti's barber shop, Cisi's Dry Goods, Louie's Club, Poloni's Bakery, Morotti's store, Ma…
El Cerrito was once a town of farms and dairies. The mild weather, lush fields, and many creeks coming down from the hills made for excellent dairy farming. Over the years, there have been about 25 dairies located in El Cerrito.
Arts and culture have always been a part of El Cerrito. The City's Arts and Culture Commission, the El Cerrito Arts Association, and many businesses and organizations throughout the City work to engage, promote and celebrate El Cerrito's thriving…
This attractive building, El Cerrito's first City Hall, was built in 1926 and replaced in 1961. It housed the City offices, both Fire and Police Departments, and even a small jail. The Council Chambers/Public Hall was upstairs, as was an apartmen…
The Figone family's "Six Bells" restaurant stood near here for many years. Later Berkeley-born and well-known Major League Baseball player (and later manager) Billy Martin opened "Cerro Square" here in the early 1960s.
The Cerrito Theater opened Christmas Day, 1937. Architect William B. Davis included Art Deco elements and fanciful murals in the theater. The theater closed in 1966 and was restored forty years later by the El Cerrito Redevelopment Agency.
After running kitchens in early hotspots such as the "IT" Club and Six Bells, Violet Wong went on to become a culinary pioneer in El Cerrito by introducing Chinese American food. In 1945, Violet and her husband, Albert Wong, opened Violet's Dinin…
Walt Gatto's "IT" Club, located at Central and San Pablo was named for Clara Bow, the famous cinema "IT" Girl. Redd Foxx, Gypsy Rose Lee, The Vagabonds, Sally Rand, Frank Fontaine, and Johnny Mathis all played the famous "IT" Club.
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