The Mount Diablo Surveyors Historical Society

Perspectives on Mount Diablo

Museum of the San Ramon Valley

205 Railroad Avenue, Downtown Danville, CA

April 27 - June 30, 2013

Museum hours
Tuesday - Fridays: 1pm - 4pm
Saturdays: 10am - 1pm
Sundays: noon - 3pm

Perspectives On Mount Diablo

The iconic Mount Diablo is nothing if not complex. This new exhibit includes some of the mountain's diverse qualities and intriguing history. It features antique surveying equipment and stories about the Mountain's Initial Point, over twenty historic survey maps related to the 1851 General Land Office (GLO) Initial Point and the 1852 U.S. Coast Survey Station Mount Diablo, photographs of unique plants and trees, and maps showing the growth of open space around Mount Diablo. Special displays are provided on the Diablo Beacon and the new outdoor treasure hunts called geocaching.

Underwritten by the Lesher Foundation, the exhibit is a collaboration among the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, Mount Diablo Surveyors Historical Society, Mount Diablo Interpretive Association and Save Mount Diablo. Speakers from each of these groups will talk with visitors each Saturday from 10:30am to noon during the exhibit.

To learn more about the sponsors of this event visit their web pages:

Museum of the San Ramon Valley Save Mount Diablo Mount Diablo Interpretive Association Mount Diablo Surveyors Historical Society Lesher Foundation

Special Elements in the Exhibit

Surveys around Mount Diablo. The Mount Diablo Surveyors Historical Society (MDSHS) is mounting this exhibit in the Freight Room. It will feature the various surveys which have been made based on the Mountain and will display historic surveying equipment, maps and interpretive information. See for more information. Click to see photographs of the Mount Diablo Surveyors Historical Society's portion of this exhibit.

Geocaching will be displayed by theMount Diablo Interpretive Association (MDIA) in the baggage room. This 21st century treasure hunt began in 2000. Its predecessor was a 150-year-old game called letterboxing which used clues and references to landmarks embedded in stories. When Global Positioning Systems (GPS) became inexpensive and increasingly accurate, geocaches placed in containers could be located by using GPS coordinates and precise maps. The caches come in different sizes, have logs, and often have small items which are exchanged for other items. For more information visit: Also visit Benchmark Hunting, a specialized form of geocaching that searches for survey monuments using National Geodetic Survey (NGS) datasheets.

Maps of the State Park and open space surrounding it. Provided by Save Mount Diablo, these maps show that there is now a sweep of preserved open space on all sides of the Mountain which amounts to 110,000 acres. See for more information

The Diablo Beacon exhibit comes from Save Mount Diablo. The Standard Oil Beacon was placed near the summit of the mountain and lit in 1928 (remotely, by Charles Lindbergh) to assist pilots in the early days of aviation. Shut off on December 8, 1941, it was re-lit on December 7, 1964. Each Dec. 7th since that time, it has been lit to honor Pearl Harbor fatalities and survivors. It was moved to the top of the summit building about 1939. The beacon is now in significant disrepair and, with the lead of Save Mount Diablo, a restoration is under way. For more information see:

Flora and Fauna of the mountain provided by MDIA. The Waiting Room displays photographs and art of trees, shrubs, grasses, birds and flowers of Mount Diablo. Go to for additional information.

Mary Leolin Bowerman will be featured in the Waiting Room. The pioneering botanist and ecologist of Mount Diablo, she advocated for preservation of the Mountain and its foothills and was a co-founder of Save Mount Diablo. On display are her books, her plant press and tripod in a case, and a Mount Diablo map which includes names from local and state park sources and some which she coined herself when drawing the map for her 1944 book, The Flowering Plants and Ferns of Mount Diablo, California; Their Distribution and Association into Plant Communities

Docent training; On April 29th Beverly Lane of the Musuem of the San Ramon Valley talked about the exhibit in general and about the Flora and Fauna and Mary Leolin Bowerman portion of the exhibit. Michael J. Foley of the Mount Diablo Surveyors Historical Society conducted a training session with the museum's docent staff about the map/equipment portion of the exhibit. Mike Woodring of Mount Diablo Interpretive Association talked about geocaching. John Gallagher of Save Mount Diablo talked about the Diablo Beacon.

Opening Event: On April 30th a special invitation only RSVP opening event was held at the museum recognizing individual members of each group that worked to produce the exhibit.

This display was mounted by Mount Diablo Surveyors Historical Society members Michael J. Foley, Don Marcott and Duncan Marshall and by members of the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, Mount Diablo Interpretive Association and Save Mount Diablo.
MDSHS member Duncan Marshall also participated as a docent for this exhibit on several Saturdays.
Photographs by Michael J. Foley, ©2013 MDSHS. All rights reserved.

Click to see photographs of the Mount Diablo Surveyors Historical Society's portion of this exhibit. 

MDSHS - Mount Diablo Surveyors Historical Society
is a California non-profit public benefit corporation organized under
IRS 501(c) (3) (Federal #8916806802, CA 1835904).
Website designed by and maintained by Michael J. Foley
Page last updated May 5, 2013
Copyright ©2013 MDSHS