The Land Before Los Mochos (Oakland Tribune June 11, 1944)
The Sweetwater springs on the grounds of the future Scout Camp was a favorite camping ground for Native American Indians. They came from all over the State to partake of the mineral-impregnated water, considered by them to have great medicinal value. MG Callaghan one of the best informed men on early California history, predicts that Scouts will find plenty of evidence of Indian habitation when they start using the spot as their new wilderness camp. Callaghan said there are numerous mounds on the 686-acre section which undoubtedly will be found to contain Indian relics. It is even possible that, in addition to arrowheads, utensils and other Indian articles, the Scouts may unearth a few skeletons. Probability is that all of the Indians who sought cure in the spring water did not survive, and they may be buried in the vicinity, although no established burial ground has been discovered.
The Sweetwater springs spot derives its name from a collection of some 20 or 30 springs oozing water, which has a slightly sweet taste. All of the water is potable, and the springs never run dry, seepage making marshy ground of the hillside. Used only as grazing land for cattle and sheep, it exists today exactly as it was left by the Indians. A few of the springs have been cleared to provide water for livestock, but otherwise the Scouts have the opportunity of camping in virgin territory. The Sweetwater was not included in any of the old Spanish and Mexican grants, and it had always been Government land. When the Central Pacific railway was being built in the late 1860's, a Government grant gave every odd-numbered section within 20 miles of the railroad to the builders, and the Sweetwater became "railroad land." As such it was not available for private ownership, and the railroad did nothing more than lease it for grazing. Some years later the railroad company traded its holdings in the Livermore mountains to the Crocker-Winship estate, in exchange for railroad properties, but the status of the land, for development purposes, did not change.
Los Mochos History (From the camp dedication on June 7, 1953)
Rancho Los Mochos, 686 acres of wilderness virgin land, located 19 miles southeast of Livermore, is the gift of the Automotive Machinists Union No. 1546, International Association of Machinists.
This campsite was first visited by the Jesuits in 1776 under the leadership of Father Pedro Font. The centuries that followed found it the campground of Indian Tribes inhabiting Alameda County, who came to partake of its mineral impregnated water, considered by them to have great medicinal value. The campsite was not a part of the old Spanish Grants of Alameda County, but was known as "railroad land." It was one of the sections transferred by the Federal Government to the Central Pacific, now the Southern Pacific Railroad, as part of the grants to railroads for road building in 1860. The property remained in the possession of the railroad for many years later it was transferred to the Crocker Winship Estate (Crocker being one of the early Presidents of the Southern Pacific). The land was purchased from the Crocker Winship Estate by the Automotive Machinists Union No. 1546, and the deed for the land was presented to the Oakland Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, on March 6, 1945.
Rancho Los Mochos is dedicated as a memorial camp. With the acquisition of the property steps were taken by the Council under the direction of Judge Frank M. Ogden – President, Howard Ainsworth - chairman of the Camping & Activities, and the Physical properties Committee headed by Walter McLean, to make a master plan for use of the camp. Through the cooperation of engineers, mechanics, architects and the entire community the master plan was evolved and approved by the Board of Directors and the first step in the construction was started.
The campsite when first acquired had no roads and only cattle trails. Through the cooperation of the United States Navy Sea Bees the road into camp was constructed. Following the construction of the road the installation of a water system was the first order of business. Campsites were laid out, sanitary facilities set up and the policy of maintaining Rancho Los Mochos as a wilderness camp was established by the Council. An administrative training area, which includes a swimming pool, shower house, warehouse, garage, caretaker's lodge, training center and Teel Lodge was set up as a unit around which the functions of the camp would revolve. Construction of each of these buildings required the cooperation of Management and Labor in providing materials and man power to bring them into being.
The camp represents a mixture of the old and new, for there was brought into the camp, as part of its permanent facilities, the Kiwanis building from Camp Dimond in Oakland. The Kiwanis building which was formerly used as the first aid center and later as the Council Office, was cut into three pieces and moved from Camp Dimond up to Los Mochos. The building was reconstructed is being used as the caretaker's lodge. Thus the gift of the Oakland Kiwanis Club was kept intact for future generations of Scout service.
The cooperation extended to the Council by the various Unions of the American Federation of labor marks one of the outstanding cooperative activities ever engaged in by this Council. Hundreds of skilled mechanics gave untiringly of hours and service in providing manpower to erect the building and facilities in the camp. Likewise, contractors, equipment handlers and dealers in building materials contributed generously toward supplying the necessary materials for the construction work.
Teel Lodge is dedicated to the memory of Mary L. Teel, who served the youth of San Lorenzo, Hayward and Southern Alameda County as friend and advisor during her entire lifetime. In 1942, several years before her death Miss Teel presented to the Oakland Area Council a piece of property in the San Lorenzo area which became known as Camp Meek. In the years that followed it became evident that the best interest of the Boy Scouts of America would be served by disposing of this property and applying the proceeds to a permanent memorial to Miss Teel. With consent of her friends the property was sold and Teel lodge at Rancho Los Mochos is the result of this action. It is dedicated in perpetual memoriam to Miss Teel's interest in youth.
The outdoor chapel building, located on the hill above the activity field, built by the Oakland Kiwanis club, is evidence of the continued interest of this Organization in the youth of our community. Contributions of other Service and Fraternal Organizations have been pooled and made possible the installation of special facilities in the pool and other areas in the camp. The Oakland Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, its thousands of Scouts and Leaders and the untold thousands of Scouts yet to be, express their deep-felt appreciation for the outstanding contributions to this camp made possible through the primary interest of the Automotive Machinists Union No. 1546, E. H. Vernon, general representative, and O.R. Stevenson, its President.