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Facing financial problems, Hayward historical society is selling its home

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Facing financial problems, Hayward historical society is selling its home

PHOTOS BY MERCURYWOODROSE/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

PHOTOS BY MERCURYWOODROSE/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

PHOTOS BY MERCURYWOODROSE/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

By Marisol Martinez GarciaPeter Hegarty, The East Bay Times

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Four years after the Hayward Area Historical Society opened its museum doors on Foothill Boulevard at the northern edge of downtown, the nonprofit is selling its building, citing financial woes.
The asking price for the building at 22380 Foothill Blvd. — which houses photos and other archives from the Oakland Tribune and the records of the San Lorenzo Pioneer Cemetery — is $6.3 million.
The society hopes to stay in the building, even if that means occupying just a portion of the 50,000-square-foot site, said Diane Curry, the society’s interim executive director.
The organization may end up operating out of several locations, depending on how the sale plays out, she said.
It also aims to keep its collections, which along with the Tribune’s archives include more than 20,000 photos of Hayward and its residents, plus other items that illustrate East Bay history and those who have called it home.
“We will never get rid of our collections,” Curry said Monday. “It may be that they are housed in different places. But out primary goal is to make sure that our collections are maintained and that they are available to the public.”
The 60-year-old society announced it was selling the building this month following a unanimous decision by its board of directors in June. The move came on the heels of a shake-up of the board in March that resulted in the departure of A.T. Stephens as executive director and Curry’s appointment as interim director.
“Now more than ever, communities need to understand their past to put the present in perspective and to chart a course forward,” board President Richard Patenaude said in a release. “The Hayward Area Historical Society has been dedicated to preserving and interpreting our community history for more than 60 years, and the action we are taking today is essential for us to be able to continue to do so for the next 60 years.”
Along with about 30 volunteers, the society has five employees, Curry said.
Curry said she hopes to avoid layoffs. But the society said when announcing the building’s sale that it’s “going to need to operate as a smaller organization on a smaller budget to survive.”
The nonprofit purchased the building in a foreclosure sale in 2010 for $1.87 million and moved in four years later during an ongoing $5 million renovation project that included the construction of an elevator shaft. The site originally housed a Joseph Magnin, Leeds, Lerner and C.H. Baker Shoes stores.
The Hayward Area Historical Society’s funding primarily comes from an endowment and donations.
Its current budget is about $1 million annually, Curry said. But to continue operating the society will need an additional $600,000 each year, despite the number of its employees dropping from 12 last year to the current five.
No one was laid off during the belt-tightening, Curry noted; each person left voluntarily.
Among the historical society’s collections are clips from the Oakland Tribune that date from 1922 to 1996 and the Hayward Daily Review from 1956 to 2000, as well as papers from former U.S. Rep. Pete Stark, who served in Congress for four decades, from 1973 to 2013.
Curry said the organization will continue to operate the McConaghy House on Hesperian Boulevard and the Meek Mansion in unincorporated Cherryland for the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, and the San Lorenzo Pioneer Cemetery at Hesperian Boulevard and College Street for Alameda County.
The society’s current exhibit, “Loyal Americans: Japanese American Imprisonment During World War II,” runs through Dec. 30.
For information on the Hayward Area Historical Society, call 510-581-0223 or go to www.haywardareahistory.org.

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Facing financial problems, Hayward historical society is selling its home