Version history

Previous versions of the website:

Jan 11, 2002:
3.0.1 beta

June 1999
Last site on AOL

January 1998
First site on AOL


Some History of Niles, CA

As I have said before, I have lived in the Niles area for most of my life. I have seen the changes that have happened in Niles, and I am glad to see the resurgence of the area. Some history-

Niles was founded in the 1850's at the junction of the Trans-Pacific rail line and the local lines in the bay area. The final link in the Trans-Continental Railroad was not at Prometory Point, Utah but it was here in Niles in 1869. Before you flame me on this statement, I respectfully suggest that you do some reading up on the subject.

The major industry in Niles was farming, and the Vallejo Flour Mill was used to mill the grain that was grown around the area. It was known for having the longest flumes to transport the water out of Alameda Creek to the mill. All that remains today is the stone foundation. Several groups have tried to raise the money to restore the mill, but have been unsuccessful. The mill almost fell victim to the widening of Mission Boulevard, which is in close proximity to the mill.

Another industry that came to Niles in 1912 was the Motion Picture industry. The Essanay Studios came to Niles, and built a large Complex that Spanned a full block of Main Street. There were many famous actors that filmed in this area, such as Charlie Chaplin and Broncho Billy Anderson. Many scenes were shot in Niles and Niles Canyon.

Later, the Pacific States Steel Corp. and the Craftile Co. were opened in nearby Union City, CA and they were the major employers for the people that lived in Niles. When they closed in the late 70's, Niles went down with them. Without the local trade to fuel the town economically, Niles gave way.

Another contributor to the problem was the appearance of the major shopping malls that lured people out of Niles for shopping. The businesses in Niles were dependent on local shoppers, and the loss of the income was bad for Niles.

One other thing that may have had a major effect on Niles was the major road through Niles was skirted by the appearance of the new road (Mission Boulevard) that bypassed the downtown area. The remnants of the old road out of Niles south can still be seen by going to the end of Niles Alvarado road and looking across Alameda Creek. It went down what is now Overaker Road to a point near Mission and Stevenson Boulevards where it then follows the original road.

In it's heyday, Niles boasted the following businesses-you really didn't have to leave Niles to do all your shopping.

There has been a movement to renovate Niles, so go see what's up at If you are interested in getting more info on Niles, it will be found there.

It is alway good to see resurgence in any town, but Niles is dear to me, having grew up there. I will be adding things to this website page, so be sure to return to see what's new. I will be posting some pictures here soon, I have just been waiting for the road and sidewalk work to be completed before I take any pictures. Please be patient and return soon.

some news on Pacific States steel Corp. legal wrangling-
At last the pensioners are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel-special master Bruce Train has been relieved of his duties overseeing the site clean-up. This will mean that the survivors will get their money owed them by a court order. I hope that Mr. Train is relieved of his bar license as well to prevent this from happening again. The pensioners have been waiting since the mill closed (a long time) to get the money owed them by Pacific States Steel.

another update-
Just recently, (May 2001), the courts ordered Mr. Train to repay the fund a ton of $$ and was told that he will be getting nothing else from the fund. I was very happy to see this happen. By the way, out of over 400 pensioners, there are only about 120 surviving today. It is anyone's guess if all of them will still be around to see the actual funding of the monies owed to them. We can only hope and pray.

If your home town has a web site, I would like to share it with other people. Feel free to e-mail me the URL and I will make a "Home town" page when I have enough URL's.