After a few years (110, plus or minus) Knightsen has been officially recognized for its historical value. A few years ago, information was gathered from a variety of sources documenting Knightsen’s history and origins. For the purposes of preservation, protection and grant incentives, an application was submitted to the Historical Landmark Commission of Contra Costa County.
Two areas of focus were identified: the original Knightsen Township and Depot along with the East County Historical Society on Sellers Avenue. Both of these Knightsen areas (called “area one” and “area two”) contain significant historical structures that were a part of East Contra Costa County heritage.
Area one, the Historical Society location on Sellers Avenue, cares for a BN caboose and five historical buildings dating back to the 1860s. In addition, the nonprofit society houses a wealth of East County history. This is provided all for the free benefit of the public.
Area two consists of the original ATT&SF Railway depot property along with a Sante Fe caboose. Also, area two contains 27 parcels with buildings such as the Heidorn Building (Garden Club), Knightsen Saloon (Sonya’s), the Duff home, the White home, the Olmstede home, the Edna Heidorn home, the Knightsen Farm Center and others. Area two buildings date back as far as 1898. The historical status of these areas will hopefully preserve a part of East Contra Costa that is constantly pressured by growth.
It is also very important to acknowledge the vast support by not only the community but county staff as well. Catherine Kutsuris, conservation and development director, along with Carol Jensen of the Landmark Commission, Supervisor Mary Piepho, Supervisor Federal Glover, KTAC, the Knightsen Garden Club, East Contra Costa Historical Society, Sen. Tom Torlakson, and many others all made this possible with their help.
The next step in the conservation and protection of these historical resources is to seek the benefits from this status. Those benefits should be used to restore and display our pride in Knightsen so its historical presence remains for decades to come.
One such project is the restoration of the Eden Plain School House, located at the Historical Society. When the house is completed, children from all over will be invited to spend time in an educational environment that took place 150 years ago.
For more information and history, contact the East Contra Costa Historical Society or Knightsen Town Advisory Council.
John A. Gonzales, Knightsen