National Register of Historic Places in Contra Costa County

National Register #83001176: William T. Hendrick House in Pacheco
6 June 2006
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National Register #83001176
William T. Hendrick House
218 Center Avenue
Built 1857

The William T. Hendrick house is located two blocks from what was once the center of Pacheco. The house is one of the last remnants of the early town, which was once a major center of activity in Contra Costa County.

William T. Hendrick was the owner of the largest flour mill in Contra Costa County which was located directly to the south of his home. He was 29 years old in 1857 when he came to Pacheco accompanied by his wife Julia and new born son, Myron. Personal finances being rather meager, he built a small house, which still survives as the eastern portion of the present structure.

Pacheco was the hub of activity for Contra Costa County between 1858 and 1873. As cattle herds in the area diminished, the settlers turned their efforts to raising grain. The Contra Costa Gazette of September 29, 1860, wrote:

The town of Pacheco or Pachecoville is one of the newest in the State, being only a year and a half old. It is built at the head of navigation of the Pacheco slough and is the shipping port of Pacheco, San Ramon, Diablo, and Taylor valleys. The distance to Martinez is four miles, further than farmers like to haul their grain when they can avoid it. To bring the shipping port nearer to them, Pacheco was built. Last year Pacheco shipped 180,000 sacks of grain, this year it will ship 200,000 of which nine tenths are wheat and one tenth barley.

Anticipating the rising demand for a mill, Hendrick erected one on a site adjacent to his house. The flour mill was powered by a 45 horsepower steam engine fueled by coal taken from nearby Nortonville and Somersville. Every day the "mill team" as it was called made a trip to the coal mines bringing back a load of soft coal.

The Pacheco flour mill was described in the Contra Costa Gazette of August 23, 1862 as follows:

This mill, which runs by steam power, has been kept very busy for the last four or five weeks Night and day for a month past with scarcely any intermission, the process of converting wheat into flour, has been going on. The average quantity of flour manufactured is about one hundred barrels per day or about the amount of three thousand barrels per month. The proprietor, William T. Hendrick, attends carefully to business, and turns out as good an article of flour as can be made from the wheat furnished.

Excerpted from the NRHP nomination.

When we visited the William T. Hendrick House in 2006, it housed a dentist's office.

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