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Serving Alamo & All Surrounding Areas
Serving Alamo & All Surrounding Areas
Private Tutors in Alamo for All Subjects & Grade Levels
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A historical park in Contra Costa County provides a picture of Alamo, California, history. The 16.3-acre Hap Magee Ranch Park actually lies on the border of unincorporated Alamo and neighbor Danville and is managed jointly by the two.
The park includes historic structures, a gazebo, an open grassy meadow, trails for walking and jogging, picnic spots, western-themed play structures, a sand volleyball court, water features, rental facilities, a dog park, a community garden, an Indian commemorative site, and historic structures that remind visitors of the area’s past. Children who work with an Alamo tutor have many more hours to play at this lovely park.
Before the Park
Visitors to the park will find a heritage oak tree and a barn façade, which represents the land’s ranching history. Between 1953 to 1985, rancher Hap Magee raised longhorn steer on the land. His herd, split between the Alamo ranch and his second property in Nevada, was one of the largest in the country, so large that it brought fame to the area. Apparently, the proud Magee sometimes showed off his cattle by herding a few of them through Danville to the Silver Dollar Banquet Room. Magee commented in a May 1976 article in the Hayward Daily Review that his herd needed an agent to manage its appearances.
When Hagee died in 1985, his widow sold the land to a non-profit land agency, which sold it to Contra Costa County and Danville for about $1 million. The park was developed, retaining several ranch structures that have since been restored.
A Place for Kids
Before the park was a ranch, it was a camp for orphans who traveled by train and then by bus from San Francisco from 1911 to 1946. Captain Isaac Swain and wife Ann Tasker Swain had donated money to the San Francisco Protestant Orphanage Asylum for this purpose. Captain Swain, who was an orphan himself, felt that the children who lived at the orphanage needed a warm place to play to escape San Francisco’s damp, foggy summers, and Alamo fit the bill. After investing the donation wisely for years, the orphanage purchased the property in 1911, according to a 1937 report in the Walnut Creek Courier-Journal. Orphans began visiting “Camp Swain” that year, sleeping in tents until the earliest buildings were completed in 1913. Eventually, the camp had dorms for boys and girls, a dining hall, a medical building, and a swimming pool. As many as 150 children ages six to eighteen would travel by bus to spend ten weeks in the warm East Bay sunshine and explore every nook and cranny of the ranch, including a nearby creek and swimming holes. One account says that campers were asked to help harvest fruit for local farmers; another said the children raised rabbits during the summer. One thing is for certain: the children thoroughly enjoyed their carefree “outdoor tutoring” in Alamo.
A drinking fountain at Hap Magee Park commemorates the orphanage and the Swain’s donation.
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Alamo, CA 94507