By Zachary Harmon Talon Co-editor.
So What connection does Redwood Christian High School have to an ancient camel ancestor?
Before Redwood was at the foot of Paseo Grande, there was David E Martin school. An elementary school that opened in 1952 and closed in 1983, built for the San Lorenzo School district by Gaspard Construction Company. Next time you walk in the front door, stop and notice the plaque on the right.
A man by the name of Wesley Dexter Gordon took a group of school aged kids into a gravel pit in Irvington, Now part of Fremont, looking to add to his rock collection in 1943. “That day they found the complete lower jaw with the diagnostic teeth of Camelops, a mammal, ancestral to the modern camel.” The way things evolved, Wesley, or Wes as his friends called him, came to be the leader of this young crew, “The Boy Paleontologists of Hayward” What they found was devoted to science. From just weekend trips into this pit until 1959, they unearthed over 150,000 specimens.
Then their excavation was shut down by the construction of Highway 680, at which point Wes opened the “Wesley Gordon Natural History Museum of Discovery” at none other than David E. Martin School. Here they displayed some of the Irvington fossils, as well as information about other life science creatures. It was Later moved to Bohannan School, and now the fossils are in Wesley Gordon Fossil Hall in the Children’s Natural History Museum across the street from American High school in Fremont.
Most of the Elementary school burned down at some point after closing. The only permanent structure left is the office hallway and the Multi Purpose room. Today Redwood Leases the land from the school District, but they own all the portables, which are rumored to have been acquired from a hospital. In 2007, before the market crash, the property that we sit on today had an estimated resale value of 23 million, according to the San Lorenzo Express.
Here are some before and after shots from 1993 and 2012
Wesley Dexter Grodon: http://cnhm.msnucleus.org/information/boyindex.htm
San Lorenzo Express: http://www.sanlorenzoexpress.com/news/feb-19a.htm
Photo of Old Matin School http://books.google.com/books?id=0X96rzAR60UC&pg=PA107&lpg=PA107&dq=david+e.+martin+school+san+lorenzo+ca&source=bl&ots=_vtvGsvA3P&sig=VLdkDOpiqzq5-P8CSY89EI_Tcb8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=x4VIU4zPH-Ke8QGkuoGgDA&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=david%20e%20martin&f=false