Gehringer family tradition lives on through Concord gardens

Gehringer family tradition lives on through Concord gardens
Andrew Conrad Gehringer, his wife Marie and eldest child Linda stand in front of their Concord home. In the Jeffery Rambler, from front to rear, are their children Karl, Hilda, Elaine and Andrew Norbert, commonly know as Norbert. Andrew Conrad built the house next to his father’s, and they kept enlarging it as their family grew. Norbert later lived on Chestnut, and his granddaughter Michelle Sherman will be living there as soon as remodeling is complete.

In 1863, Andrew George Gehringer purchased 750 acres from Don Salvio Pacheco. After a drought almost ruined his livelihood, he worked hard to buy 250 more acres.

His son Andrew Conrad married Andrew George’s best friend’s daughter, Marie Denkinger. They farmed the land and did very well for themselves until the Navy tried to buy them out in the early ’40s.

The Gehringers and a few other farmers sued the Navy because they didn’t want to settle for what was offered. It must have been an interesting trail, but the jury was from Martinez and did not understand that the Gehringers were a part of the development of Concord – the first bank, first fire department and Concord Elementary, to name a few.

The lawsuit settled in 1946 for less than what was offered before. If you want to read more about the suit and families, look for John Keibel’s book “Behind the Barbed Wire.”

Andrew Conrad died two years later. He is buried in Live Oak Cemetery along with his father, mother and wife.

Dana Estates

The Navy took 800 acres, leaving 200 to be developed into Dana Estates. The Silverwood area was the first finished in 1955. Then came the Elderwood section, Monte Gardens and so on.

There was a clause in the proposal for the developer to have a pool and open space around the pool left undeveloped. They actually built four pools: a kiddie pool, a 3-foot pool, the big pool for the swim team, the Gehringer Gators, and a diving pool. It’s been said the residents hand-dug the diving pool on a natural spring.

The residences of Dana Estates knew it as Gehringer Park, and there were also baseball fields. The park was fenced off, and in the early 2000s it was decided to turn the baseball fields into a community garden. Officially opening in 2009, the garden has 62 plots. They sell for $200 a year, which includes everything: dirt, water and sunshine. The gardens are beautiful and much loved by the community.

The Gehringers would be mighty proud of that garden and the fact that there are still many people who enjoy planting and harvesting their own food, just like they did.

Carol Longshore has been a Concord resident since 1950. She is a community leader and past president of the Concord Historical Society. Send comments and suggestions for future topics to