The home of St. Mary’s College
The Town of Moraga is named for Joaquin Moraga, the grandson of Joseph Joaquin Moraga who was second in command of the Anza expedition of 1776, the founder of San Francisco, Mission Dolores and the founder and first commandant of the Presidio. Joaquin Moraga, who also served in the military with his father Gabriel Moraga at the Presidio of San Francisco, left the Army in 1819. He and his cousin, Juan Bernal, received a 13,316 acre land grant from the Mexican government in 1835. The original land grant, known as Rancho Laguna De Los Palos Colorados (Ranch Of The Lake Of The Redwoods), included parts of Orinda and Lafayette and the communities of Canyon, Redwood, Rheem, and Moraga.[raw]
The City of Orinda is a family-oriented community in a semi-rural valley on the east side of the Oakland/Berkeley hills in the San Francisco Bay Area. It offers its 17,600 residents a serene setting in contrast to the more urban existence of the surrounding area. Orinda is situated immediately east of the Caldecott Tunnel on Highway 24 and is served by Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART). The tree-studded hillsides of the 12.8 square-mile city contributes to its beauty. It is surrounded by natural settings including Tilden Park, San Pablo Reservoir, Briones Open Space and the Lafayette Reservoir. Orinda schools are consistently ranked among the best in California. Orinda’s proximity to San Francisco makes Orinda a delightful place to live and work.[raw]
Pinole (formerly also spelled Penole) is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. The population was 18,390 at the 2010 census. It is one of many small “bedroom communities” along the I-80 corridor in Western Contra Costa County. It is located about 20 miles (30 km) northeast of San Francisco, and approximately a half-hour drive (without traffic) from San Francisco. Neighboring towns are Richmond and San Pablo to the southwest, and Hercules to the northeast. The unincorporated area of El Sobrante lies to the south.
The name derives from “pinole”, a Native American word for a kind of flour made from the seeds of maize, chia, and various other grasses and annual herbs. An expedition under Pedro Fages was said to have run out of provisions while exploring the area, and been fed pinole by a local village, and so the Spaniards named their camp “El Pinole”.
In 1823, Ygnacio Martinez, commandant of the Presidio of San Francisco, received a land grant of Rancho El Pinole from the Mexican government. Martinez built a hacienda in Pinole Valley at the present side of Pinole Valley Park. During the 1850s, Bernardo Fernandez, a Portuguese immigrant, started a trading facility on the shores of San Pablo Bay and eventually built the historic Fernandez Mansion, which still stands today at the end of Tennent Avenue. From these early beginnings, a small but thriving community grew into the city now known as Pinole.[raw]
The attractive community of Pleasant Hill has grown to nearly 33,000 residents since its incorporation in 1961. Since 2000 when it opened its new downtown, Pleasant Hill has developed a sense of identity and a strong financial base. The downtown area, near the City Hall and its lake, is part of a redevelopment project that has become a pedestrian jewel for residents and visitors alike.
Located in the central part of Contra Costa County alongside Interstate 680, Pleasant Hill has a nearby BART station and extensive County Connection bus lines to serve both residents and commuters. Primarily a bedroom community, the City has a mix of new developments and older neighborhoods. Pleasant Hill is especially proud to be the home of the county’s main central library as well as the home to John F. Kennedy University, a multi-disciplinary college with a law school and other professional schools, and Diablo Valley College, one of the leading state community colleges. The City’s schools are served by the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.
And only a few steps from busy city streets in Pleasant Hill is an entirely different world – a network of beautiful regional trails for jogging, hiking, bicycling, skating and horseback riding with many of these trails passing through the heart of the city. These trails allow the user a chance to enjoy a leisurely, rural pace while experiencing beautiful trails in fresh air and landscaped surroundings with some trails providing sweeping vistas of the nearby mountains and Mt. Diablo.[raw]
In 1849, Colonel Jonathan D. Stevenson (from New York) bought the Rancho Los Medanos land grant, and laid out a town he called New York of the Pacific. By 1850, this venture failed. With the discovery of coal in the nearby town of Nortonville, California, the place became a port for coaling, and adopted the name Black Diamond, after the mining firm that built the Black Diamond Coal Mining Railroad from there to Nortonville. Because of the industrial potential of the site, a name change to Pittsburg was proposed in 1909.
The original town site fronts on the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta, reflecting its origins as a deep water channel river port. (As of January 1, 2007, state legislation [Assembly Bill 2324] enabled the city to manage its own riverfront for commercial development and subsequent port operations). Since the early 1900s, the city has grown inland to the south, then spread east and west along State Route 4, now a freeway carrying resident commuters to jobs in the San Francisco Bay-Oakland Region. In the process, the former town of Cornwall, California was absorbed. The city has enjoyed continued residential redevelopment growth near its northern boundary, as well as ongoing construction of major subdivisions in the southwest hills, including San Marco Villas.[raw]
The City of Richmond is located 16 miles northeast of San Francisco on the western shore of Contra Costa County. Richmond was incorporated on August 7, 1905 and became a charter city on March 24, 1909. Richmond is best known for its unique history and role in the World War II home front effort. Between 1940 and 1945, tens-of-thousands of workers from all over the country streamed into the City to support wartime industries. The City was home to four Kaiser shipyards which housed the most productive wartime shipbuilding operations of World War II, launching 747 ships during the war. The City was also home to approximately 55 war-related industries – more than any other city of its size in the United States. Today, the City is an important oil refi ning, industrial, commercial, transportation, shipping and government center.[raw]
San Pablo is located in West Contra Costa County off Interstate 80, minutes away from the Bay Area cultural centers of Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco. Interstate 80 is the principal arterial route between the Bay Area and Sacramento. The City of San Pablo is nestled between the cities of Pinole and Richmond and the neighboring cities of El Cerrito and Hercules. Historically one of the oldest Spanish settlements in the region, San Pablo has become a thriving residential and business community with a population of about 30,000 in an area of approximately three square miles.
San Pablo is located less than one hour away from international airports in Oakland and San Francisco. Access to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system and Amtrak passenger train service are closeby. AC Transit bus line service includes San Pablo in its route from Fremont to Pinole. Containerized shipping, ports, and railway access are located in Richmond and Oakland.
San Pablo’s diverse community, affordability, and access to the entire Bay Area region are advantages that are found in this “City of New Directions.”[raw]
As with the entire Tri-Valley, agriculture was the basis for San Ramon economy until suburban development began. In 1966 the new Interstate 680 freeway was completed through San Ramon to Dublin. For years a sign “San Ramon Population 100” accurately reflected the number of people in the area, with the whole San Ramon Valley having just over 2000 people for many decades.
The designation “San Ramon Village” first appeared in the 1970 census with a count of 4,084 people, part of a San Ramon Valley population of 25,899. Developers Ken Volk and Bob McClain built the first San Ramon suburban homes close to the county line. A special district, the Valley Community Services district (VCSD) provided the water, parks, sewer, fire protection and garbage collection for the new homes.[raw]
Big City Buzz with Mountain Views
Mt. Diablo, Glam restaurants, power shopping, edgy art, cool theater and symphonic music – all in a small town jewelsetting ringed by mountain views that deliver on their promise of outdoor recreational opportunities. Yes, you can have it all. And it’s all in Walnut Creek. Located in the temperate East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, Walnut Creek is 22 miles from San Francisco and 15 miles from Berkeley, close enough for easy access and synergistic sophistication but far enough away for a respite from big city stress. It’s the best of both worlds.[raw]