Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Town of Niles in Fremont, CA

When the Fremont family went to breakfast one Sunday, none of us had any idea that the cafe we'd picked was in such a historic area of Fremont, California, yea, even the San Francisco Bay Area.

It was The Nile Cafe, which will be reviewed in my "A Place for My Taste" restaurant blog in the near future. The restaurant is on Niles Canyon Road at its terminus, and is in an old building on I Street in the historic Niles district.

Entering Niles is like going into the past. The main drag is lined with bars, gift shop and a goodly number of antique shops that only hint at what a bustling town it used to be. The old Southern-Pacific (now the Niles Canyon Railway) and the Western-Pacific (now the Union Pacific) passed through the town.

A couple of old train cars still are parked near the old depot that's now a train museum.

But my favorite discovery is that the old Essenay Studios, one of the earliest movie studios (1912-1916) was situated there. Its two biggest stars, Charlie Chaplin and Bronco Billy, made some of their most famous silent movies in Niles. Its legacy is the Niles Essenay Silent Movie Museum.

Niles was named in 1869 after Judge Addison C. Niles, who was later elected to the California Supreme Court. In 1956, Niles joined with the townships of Irvington, Centerville, Mission San Jose and Warm Springs to incorporate as the City of Fremont.

We had to return to the house soon after lunch, so I didn't get a chance to see the museums. That's okay; it gives me a reason to return.

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