Concord: Statue of Don Salvio Pacheco unveiled July 4th

CONCORD — When Don Salvio Pacheco took ownership in 1834 of 17,921 acres in what is now Pacheco, he envisioned a bustling 19th-century city that would be a hub for California business and politics.

Then he experienced a couple of rainy seasons, and history changed.

“Originally, Pacheco (the town) was considered as a possibility to be the capital of California,” Concord Historical Society president Carol Longshore said of the area. “But it had a way of drawing water from rains and constantly flooded.”

So, Pacheco (the person) gathered most of his things and traveled by carriage the three miles to downtown Concord and founded a city there. One hundred fifty years after its incorporation, the city will unveil a statue of him during Fourth of July festivities downtown.

Master sculptor Paula Slater, the grand marshal in the city’s Fourth of July parade, made the statue.

“It’s extremely significant,” Vice Mayor Carlyn Obringer said of the statue, the brainchild of Councilman Ron Leone. “On a scale of 1-10, probably a nine or 10.”

Not only did the project bring together the city’s arts and historical experts, Obringer said, but it opens an avenue of discussion into its earliest days.

“We have a vital history here,” she said. “We’re trying to revitalize it.”

The 7-foot tall statue will stand at the Grant Street entrance of Todos Santos Plaza and will be unveiled at noon, following the city’s annual Independence Day Parade. The Concord Police Association’s 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) Stars & Stripes Run kicks off the day at 8 a.m.

Slater, whose works include sculptures of President Abraham Lincoln and the Risen Christ, created the statue, which shows Pacheco holding a scroll of his land grant in his left hand, while resting his right hand on a map with the marked boundary of his land.

Master sculptor Paula Slater’s statue of Concord founder Don Salvio Pacheco will be unveiled officially on the Fourth of July Courtesy Paula Slater

“One of the first things he did was change the name of Todos Santos to Concord,” Longmire said. “Todos Santos was the city’s original name.”

His adobe, located at 1870 Adobe St., is a California Landmark. It has stood since 1835.

“When Pacheco moved to Todos Santos, now known as Concord, he sold the land he had in Pacheco for $1 per acre,” Longshore said. “After that, the merchants started moving their businesses over there, too. People traveled by street carriage along trails, which is why the streets move in such a weird direction.”

According to the Concord Historical Society, Pacheco’s offspring eventually inherited the property and in 1869 offered free lots in Todos Santos as an alternative for residents and merchants of Pacheco. Those displaced by an earthquake along the Hayward Fault in 1868 that caused mass flooding also were offered lots.

“It all grew from there,” Longshore said.

The Historical Society will host an ice cream social at Galindo Home and Gardens, 1721 Amador Ave., to act as a fundraiser after the statue unveiling, and will host a fireworks show at Mt. Diablo High School at the conclusion of the Home Town Picnic, which begins at the high school at 4 p.m.

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