Whether a long-term resident or newer to Diablo, this is a place to hear about fellow neighbors' memories and see photos sharing about their time here. Learning about your community and getting to know your neighbors can be filled with pleasant surprises. Everyone has a story to tell...and they can be fascinating...
In addition to being one of the first to help preserve Mount Diablo, and one of the original acting presidents of the DPOA and Historic Preservation Committee, Egon Pedersen and his family have provided more photos and stories to the club, newspapers and books than anyone. With an outlook of gratitude and appreciation for nature and his life here, Mr. Pedersen has a history and perspective unique to Diablo. You never know until you ask...and learning Diablo's history from Egon has been fascinating, uplifting and such a joy. See below for his stories and photos graciously shared to his beloved neighborhood.
From Mr. Egon Pedersen:
"I was on the board when Steve Jones was president. It was a Gods miracle and prayers, we got to live here. He guarded the lot for over a year for us to have it in 1970. I did 3 complete designs of our dream house, before I could see it was perfect. We moved in in April 1972. With my appreciation for history and nature, I offered to help an environmental group Save Mount Diablo. The founder, Dr. Mary Bowerman said, we need a vice president. A year after, I became the third President for 3 years. My promotions were slideshows and collecting historical pictures. When I became director of San Ramon Valley Historical Society, I offered to work on getting State historical landmark status for Mount Diablo! 2 years later ,the plaque ,”905”, was placed on top of the mountain on April 23, 1978 with Senator Nejedly as guest speaker - he was our main support. The 561 Air Force Band was playing and afterwards, a reception at Diablo Country Club. One of my favorite and proudest days. I have the largest collection of historical pictures and both Jim Stone and David Mackesey borrowed my entire collection for their books. In 1999, I had a weekend photo show at Diablo Country Club. When we moved out here, everybody had horses - it was a wonderful time, no gates, just horse trails all over. The kids loved to ride up Mount Diablo to barbecue terrace and we brought the picnic by car. When I joined Save Mount Diablo, there were 6000 acres. Today there is over 120,000 open space. My son lived in the old dairy/postoffice house from 1990 to 2000. Those were my happiest years in Diablo! This is my grateful life in Diablo, nobody could be happier.
I am very blessed and fortunate to live here with abundance of natural beauty and history. You have to fight for what you believe in. I am blessed with a wonderful life.
More info and photos below on how it started. It was a wonderful time in my life."
- Egon Pedersen
By Dana Pingatore August 2020
Looking back through old issues of the Devil’s Advocate newsletter and Jim Stone’s book Diablo Legacy, I was reminded that there have always been hot button issues in our community. E.g. the debate on whether Diablo should install gates began in the 1960s, in the 70s residents considered incorporation to avoid being absorbed by the Town of Danville, and a debate on whether to stop or support a proposed widening/straightening of Diablo Road. In the 1980s the community started to consider preserving vs razing historic homes and even whether the historic clubhouse at Diablo Country Club should be preserved or built anew!
I hope the next chapters of our history book will include the very public debates over who can use our private roads and the “Sign-A-Palooza” happening here right now. You can’t miss the yard signs all over Diablo - discouraging and supporting cyclists, joggers and walkers coming thru Diablo and signs of support for the social justice movement that is sweeping our nation. More than 30 signs have been posted, torn off, and reposted on the fence at the bus shelter at the intersection of Alameda Diablo and Avenida Nueva. This site seems to have become a more important place in our community lately. It made me curious about the history of this little structure. So, I thought I’d share a few interesting facts that I learned:
Although it may “feel” like a public place, the old bus shelter is actually private property. It was built in 1950 for the school children by Masud Mehran and Robert Peterson. Some restoration work was done in 1970s and 2000s by volunteers from our owners’ association. It is no longer used as a bus stop because modern day school buses are unable to make the tight left turn on to Alameda Diablo. (Today, Diablo kids meet the bus in front of the old Red Horse Apartments).
In March 2020, Piper McDonald and her dad Paul noticed a few books left on the ground at the bus shelter. Inspired to create something to help entertain the community during the shelter in place, they added some shelves and christened it the “Diablo Lending Library”. The library has been so well received, it is overflowing with books and puzzles.
As an aside...during my quest to find information related to the bus shelter, Mugs Freeman shared some fun stories about the days when her children rode the bus. They used to cut across the 18th fairway to a path that cut between the Beratta's and the Jones’ “Home Stretch” to meet the bus on Alameda Diablo. Kim (now almost 60) recalls waiting at the bus stop, hoping that the very handsome Steve Cortese would be riding the bus that day.
Mugs also remembers a high school girl, whose name shall not be mentioned, leaving her house wearing a pretty skirt and top for school who would use the privacy of the hedge-lined path to change into her Levis and then reverse the process before returning home. Her mother never knew until decades later. This legendary path was eventually sold off for only $1 and closed off – much to the dismay of Bob Beratta, whose property adjoined the path on the west side. He said he wishes he had known about the deal as he would have bought and kept the path open for the school kids and others who enjoy the short cut to the clubhouse and tennis courts.