Two of the earliest American settlers in the San Ramon Valley, David (1818-1897) and Eliza (1827-1897) Glass were married in Iowa in 1844 and journeyed to California in the gold rush years. They had seven children, all born in California.
After a brief time in gold country, the couple moved to Alamo in 1850. There they produced some firsts in San Ramon Valley history, opening a store and planting the first apple orchard in the valley. Their log cabin was one of only four residences from Alamo to Martinez at the time. Their first child to live to adulthood, Albert, was born in 1852.
Moving to San Ramon in 1858, the Glasses purchased 718 acres of prime land from Leo Norris on the county road. They started a ranch which was a diversified one with cattle grazing, fruit trees and grain which spread across the valley. Their first home was built in 1859 and, in 1877, they built a classic Italianate house which was – and is — much admired
Theirs was a solid, community-minded family. David was involved in the founding of the new Presbyterian Church in Danville as well as a Methodist Church closer to home in San Ramon village. He was a Republican who stood up for the Union during the Civil War. Their seven children were Albert, Clara, Anita, Loretta, Frank, Frederick and Rolla.
Their two daughters, Anita and Loretta, took over the ranch and ran it for 30 years as the Lora Nita Farm. Anita was active in the Grange and led the effort to build the San Ramon Hall in 1911 which created a center for community activities which lasted 50 years.
Glass family members continued to serve the community well into the 21st century. Grandson Claude Glass was the area road master and planted a line of eucalyptus trees next to the highway, so drivers could negotiate the road during tule fogs. Frank and Cliff Glass were the Contra Costa Clerks. Lucille Glass Mauzy was elected to the County Board of Education and served for 24 years. Recently, descendant Claudia Mauzy Nemir was named to the Contra Costa County Women’s Hall of Fame for her contribution to the Arts.
The Glass House – one of San Ramon’s Grande Dames — was moved to San Ramon’s Forest Home Farms Historic Park in 1998. Owned and saved by the Elissondro family from 1933-1985, it has been beautifully restored and furnished and is open to the public as a house museum.
Written by Beverly Lane, 2017
Sources: The Museum of the San Ramon Valley and Forest Home
Farms History Park archives; J. P. Munro-Fraser, Contra Costa
County History 1882.