The East Contra Costa Historical Society was organized in April, 1970 by a group of citizens from all over the eastern end of Contra Costa County interested in local history, and particularly the preservation of the John Marsh stone house.
Officers were elected, a constitution and by-laws adopted, committees formed and the Society began publishing its newsletter named Los Meganos in honor of John Marsh’s rancho.
After two years, ECCHS broadened its goals to include other projects in addition to restoration of the Marsh home and the major goal became to secure a facility to house the ever increasing donations of artifacts, photographs, farm equipment, etc. Thus began a fourteen year odyssey to find a suitable structure and location.
In 1986, Clelland and Marge Nail generously donated their 1880s home and 1.3 acres located on Sellers Avenue to the Historical Society. The structure, known as the Byer/Nail house in honor of the former owners, was built in about 1878 and was the home where John and Letitia Byer raised their family. John and Letitia were Clelland Nail’s great grandparents.
A long saga of restoring the home as a Museum and improving the acreage with several outbuildings, including the Eden Plain School built in 1868, a Burlington Northern Railroad caboose, a structure to hold various farm implements and tools along with other valuable antiques from bygone eras, commenced.
Preservation of irreplaceable photographs, documents, family histories, and many other artifacts of the rich past of East Contra Costa County is critical to the work of the Historical Society. The newly constructed Resource Center serves as an appropriate home where these items are housed for the benefit of all community members.
The Society has been blessed to have many civic minded volunteers who have donated thousands of hours to restore and maintain the Byer/Nail Museum and its grounds, who have worked diligently to preserve and organize historical resources, and who have extended their love of our local history by being Docents at the museum and for public open hours and visits by local schoolchildren.
We invite anyone and everyone to visit our pride and joy!