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06 June 2019

At the birthplace of the East Bay: Peralta Hacienda Historical Park tour

One of the exhibits built into the reconstructed adobe wall
CGS members recently had the opportunity for a tour of the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park in Oakland. Those who signed up were richly rewarded. Our enthusiastic and very knowledgeable docent Inshirah Berakah led a two-hour tour of the six-acre park and the interior of the 1868 Victorian-style Peralta home.

Inshirah began the tour at a multi-lingual park entry sign and walked us through the outdoor exhibits, explaining each and demonstrating why she is the kind of teacher we want in all our schools. We saw the borrow pit where the Peraltas threw their trash in the early 19th century, excavated by an archeological team in 2004. She explained each of the items in the alcoves of the reconstructed adobe wall that once surrounded the family compound. The most recent exhibit consists of a series of large banners that tell the story of migrants from Mexico and Central America.
One of the outdoor interpretive signs
For those who don’t know – this site is the birthplace of the East Bay. It was the centerpiece of a 44,700-acre land grant given to Luis Maria Peralta in recognition of his service to the King of Spain. The site includes an outline of the original 1820 adobe home and of another built in 1840.

Inside the house, Inshirah showed us their most recent art exhibit, created by migrants now living in Oakland – a combination of poignant paintings and beautifully executed mini quilts that tell their life stories. In one of the rooms the posters and booklets produced from the genealogical research done by CGS volunteers is still proudly displayed and we were told continues to pique visitors' interest.

The original kitchen, fully furnished, has several displays of foods and medicinal plants. A poster on the kitchen wall lists about 25 audio programs available – each telling a piece of the Peralta story. Peralta provides free audio sets so anyone can take a self-guided tour and learn all about the different aspects of what it was like living on the rancho.

The family room where our tour concluded
The dining room table is covered with large laminated maps each telling a different part of our docent’s story. On display are an old saddle; an artist's installation honoring Maria Galindo, the wife of Antonio Peralta; maps illustrating migration patterns, and much more.

Guided tours are offered by appointment Wednesday–Saturday, 2:30-5:30 p.m., and are well worth the time. Visit http://www.peraltahacienda.org for more information.

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

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