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2011 calendar provides a visual tour of the first half of the 20th Century

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Richmond, CA, December 16, 2010 -- Picture a picnic along the north fork of the American River in 1910, or a country ride on Orinda’s Old Tunnel Road in 1925, before Highway 24 was built. Admire the shiny engines and spiffy uniforms of the 1933 Concord fire department on a parade day.

You can find a baker’s dozen of these and other vivid images in the 2011 Mechanics Bank calendar, a photo tribute to the colorful history and communities of Northern California. In fact, you can trace the trajectory of the region through the first half of the 20th Century. All the communities shown are part of the 105-year history of the bank.

Among the images displayed is a Felliniesque “Opening of the Grape Festival of Walnut Creek on Main Street”, a dreamlike 1911 photo populated with children, horses and a clown posed among towers of hay. Two photographs that were taken in 1935 recall the simple joys of a Bay Area summer: youngsters competing in the “second annual Striped Bass Carnival Pageant” at McNear’s Beach, San Rafael; and a group portrait of the San Francisco Seals joyfully holding their bats aloft at the opening game of the Pacific Coast League Championship Series in 1935.

A 1936 photograph shows workmen spinning the suspension cables for the construction of the Oakland Bay Bridge, while a 1938 image shows a billboard boasting “Prices and Terms that anyone can afford” for Orinda’s “Beautiful Moraga Estates.” A 1940 aerial photo captures metropolitan Sacramento on the brink of WWII, while one taken two years later in nearby Rancho Cordova shows a bustling Aerojet factory with rocket engines being assembled for the war effort.

The calendar’s mid-century entries are of a prosperous downtown Richmond—photographed just blocks away from Mechanics Bank’s thriving office at 9th and Macdonald—and a Napa wine cellar scene that hints at the industry boom that would come later in the century. There’s also a 1947 magazine’s portrait of the E.M. Downer Jr. family that includes a 12-year-old Eddie Downer (now the bank’s Chairman Emeritus) and 17-year-old Debbie (m. Abono) who served as a director of the bank and advocate for its employees for over a quarter of a century until her death in 2010.

Last, but not least, Cal Bear’s fans can take a last look at a 15-year-old California Memorial Stadium, shown in a 1938 aerial view of the Berkeley campus. Built in 1923 as a memorial to Californians who gave their lives in WWI, the stadium hosted its last game this season.

A limited number calendars are available in Mechanics Bank offices throughout Northern California. A list of our offices can be found at

About Mechanics Bank

For more than a century, Mechanics Bank has been committed to helping people build prosperous communities as a trusted financial partner, forging lasting relationships through teamwork, respect and integrity. The $3 billion independent bank, headquartered in Richmond, California, offers personal banking, business banking, trust, brokerage and wealth management services through 33 offices across Northern California, including two in Napa Valley. For more information, please visit

Media Contacts

Ms. Hatti Hamlin

Mr. David Louis