Tuesday, January 6, 2009
A Man, His Land And His Monument
William Meek was born in 1817 and died 1880. He was one of the first pioneer farmers in Alameda County. He grew up in Iowa and Ohio and traveled to Oregon after he lost his first wife. In Oregon he and Henderson Lewelling developed a nursery. In 1859 Meek sold his share of the nursery and moved to Alameda County.
About ten years later Meek bought at least 3000 acres of property, and his friend Lewelling also purchased land next to Meek. The area became known as "Cherryland" because Meek planted so many cherry trees. These trees came from Iowa by wagon train. They were the first grafted fruit trees to come to this coast.
In 1869 his estate was built. After he died, his sons cared for the home until 1940. By this time pieces of the land had been sold here and there. In 1940 Dr. William P. Ream purchased the home and ten acres that was left.
In 1964 the house was looking to be leveled and a new housing development put in. Citizens and H.A.R.D., Hayward Area Recreational Department, bought the estate and keep the bulldozers from having a field day on the property.
In 1973 the "Meek Estate" became a Historical Landmark. I remember when the Estate was open for wedding receptions. The grounds are very nicely kept and it has a beautiful setting. The estate was rented for parties also. I read that "over use" and the need for "greater supervision" were the reasons H.A.R.D. stopped renting the home. However, I also read that you still can get married on the property.
Meek was very involved in the community in many aspects, and was a councilman for four terms. He had many other fruit trees on his estate besides the cherry trees.
Meek and his estate are very well known in this area, as is Lewelling.
Meek is buried in the San Lorenzo Pioneer Cemetery, the one I showed you had been vandalized and is now being renovated by The Hayward Area Historical Society. As you can see from this picture, the Meek Tombstone is in great shape and looks like it had been spared from any vandalism.
Meek Estate, and Cherryland were part of my old stomping grounds.