East Contra Costa Historical Society

East Contra Costa Historical Society
 3890 Sellers Avenue, Brentwood, CA
Hours for Resource Center:
Mondays and Wednesdays 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Contact for Appointments:
The East Contra Costa Historical Society was organized in 1970 for the purpose of preserving the John Marsh home. In 1986, Clelland and Marge Nail donated their 1880s home and a little over an acre to the historical society. For many years the archives were stored in the house until the Kathy Leighton Resource Center was built in 2016. Their mission is to “collect, maintain, preserve and protect historical artifacts and information of culture and historic value relative to the area of East Contra Costa County.”
The Resource Center houses many resources concerning the eastern portion of Contra Costa County, which includes the towns of Bethel Island, Brentwood, Byron, Discovery Bay, Knightsen, Oakley, and the islands of East Contra Costa.
The center has a large variety of archival materials. They have issues from the following newspapers: Brentwood News (1931-2000s), Oakley Gazette, Byron Times, Bethel Islander, and some issues of Antioch Ledger. The large clipping file and manuscript collection is housed in numerous file cabinets. Some of the collections include:
  • John Marsh
  • Edna Hill (whose husband started the Brentwood News)
  • Robert Shellenberger (Brentwood farmer)
  • Taylor Collection (farmer)
  • Bob Gromm (newspaperman)
  • Byer/Nail collection (previous owners of the land and house where the museum sits)
  • Local clubs and organizations
They have Liberty High School yearbooks (1905-present), maps, books on local subjects, Native Americans, women, and pioneers, and many family genealogies. Their photo collection is large: over 20,000 photos, scrapbooks, photo albums, and postcards.
There are also reference binders with histories of local clubs, service groups, hospitals, schools, agricultures, and more. The resource center is large and inviting, and a great place to do research with the help of their volunteers.
Besides the resource center, there are other exhibits on the property: Byer-Nail home, Homer’s Shed, Eden Plains schoolhouse, and Pole Barn. They also provide a living history program for third grade classes in the area.