Tapscott Hill, where the El Monte School is now located, was a barren spot for years, except for an old dairy that stood at the west side of the hill. [Editor's Note: El Monte School is now Prospect Sierra Elementary School.]
During World War II, the army had one of their army camps situated on top of this hill. A group of local fellows got together and asked the local lumber yards to contribute enough material to build sleeping quarters for the soldiers. A number of carpenters got together over a weekend, and constructed a building about twenty feet by thirty feet. Food for the carpenters and workers was donated by local restaurants and taverns in El Cerrito. The following weekend the volunteer firemen invited the soldiers to Fire Station #1 and a big dinner and entertainment was held in their honor and a great time was had by all.
Later in the same location, Lee Immel, a local contractor, started a quarry and hauled tons of rock from this site to various projects in this area. The El Monte School is now situated at the top of this hill and is built on top of this rocky formation where the army had their searchlights and radar system set up during the war years.
Copyright Mervin Belfils, October 1975
PO Box 304, El Cerrito, CA 94530