Over the years downtown Concord has been marked by several prominent structures which were noted for their pleasing architecture, genuine functionality, and ability to stimulate lasting community pride. John J. Hansen built three of the more significant. Those who remember the Plaza’s redwood limbered Pergola festooned with colorful, fragrant Wisteria recall the captivating, natural environment it created within the downtown. Hansen supervised the construction of the Works Progress Administration-funded Pergola; it was dedicated on April 27, 1934. Conceived to replace the decayed Eucalyptus and Gum trees removed from the Plaza in 1931, the 800 foot Pergola rimmed the Plaza’s interior perimeter. Considered the longest such structure in existence when built, the Pergola provided a wisteria covered, airbored walkway around the Plaza with log-railed, arched gates at each corner. The many varieties of wisteria were the stimulus for Concord annual Wisteria Festivals. The Pergola was removed in the 1950’s during a complete makeover of the Plaza.
Concord Historical Landmark 1-26-7615457 applies to the Todos Santos Plaza site. The Veteran’s Memorial Building has been a key recognition feature in downtown Concord since 1929. Located on the southwest corner of Willow Pass Road and Colfax Street, Hansen built the stucco, red-tile roofed building under a $16,000. 100-day contract with the County. The building has been a location for numerous civic meetings, dances, and potluck dinners; it was used temporarily as City Hall until the 1950’s. Used now for various veteran’s service activities; It has not yet been designated as a Historical Landmark. A favorite field-trip destination for Concord schoolchildren for years, the Country’s Consolidated Fire Station No. 6 is located at 2210 Willow Pass Road (southeast corner of Grant Street).
It is situated on two lots purchased in 1930 for $5,000 from J.C. and Carmen Arrighi. Designed by D.C. Connor of Oakland, the plans called for a Spanish Colonial, white adobe structure with two large rooms (65′ X 32′ and 35′ X 18′), nine smaller rooms, two kitchens and several sleeping/rest rooms. Dedicated in 1939, Hansen received $28,000 to build it. Fire Chief Allen Vargas was finally able to efficiently support his all-volunteer fire department and four fire trucks. It is designated Concord Historical landmark 8-10-77/15 in recognition of Concord’s growth, the building’s beauty and the prominence of the builder. By this time most Concord residents either had lived, worked or played in a Hansen-built structure. John Hansen was born in Falster, Denmark in 1979; he had emigrated to the US. by 1903. He, and his wife, Amelia (Olsen) Hansen, moved to Concord in 1917. They and their first two children: Walter and Margaret settled in the home Hansen had begun two Miles out on Concord Blvd. A second son, Athed (Bud), was born in 1918. The senior Hansen formally established his contracting business in 1920. His reputation for reliability and skilled craftsmanship, based on old-world standards, assured him opportunities to build numerous homes, commercial facilities, and public buildings. Taking over the business in 1947, Bud continued his father’s commitment to excellence, and to a vital Concord. He is responsible for many more Hansen-quality homes, and commercial and public buildings. Noteworthy are: key administrative and service buildings at the First Presbyterian Church complex the Heritage, and the Plaza Towers (along Grant Street, south side between Salvio and Pacheco Streets), Active in many cultural Charitable, civic, and community service activities, the Hansen families have contributed much; few have had such a positive, lasting imprint on Concord’s downtown.