Chronology

Prehistory: Bay Miwok Indian Period

  • Chupcan Indian tribelet occupies Diablo Valley.
  • Oak, pine, and willow trees proliferated across the valley and foothills.
  • Bear, elk, deer and coyote roamed the area. The streams teem with salmon.

1770’s: First Europeans cross Diablo Valley

  • Captain Pedro Fages and Padre Juan Crespi lead party in 1772.
  • Lt. Col. Juan Bautista de Anza, Padre Pedro Font and Lt. Joachim Moraga lead party in 1776.

1810’s: Indians disappear from Valley

  • Chupcan Indians are missionized at San Jose and San Francisco missions.

1820’s Spanish Exploration Continues

  • Spanish expeditions explore but do not settle the valley.

1830’s: Mexican Land Grants Assigned

  • Don Salvio Pacheco receives Monte del Diablo Land Grant. His uncle, Don Miguel Pacheco, received the adjacent Arroyo de las Nueses y Bolbones land grant, which included all of Concord’s Ygnacio Valley.
  • Don Salvio sends his son, Fernando, to occupy his land as the Rancho Monte del Diablo. Don Miguel’s widow, Dona Sanchez, occupies theirs as Rancho San Miguel.

1840’s: Transition Begins

  • Salvio Pacheco Adobe is built in 1846. Pacheco and Galindo families move to Rancho Monte del Diablo.
  • Gold Rush exposes valley to “Americans.”
  • Small pueblo forms around/near Salvio Pacheco adobe for families of rancho servants and vaqueros. Includes small store and school.

1850’s: Americanization of the Valley Occurs

  • Towns of Pacheco and Clayton are founded. Intra-valley traffic traverses Rancho Monte del Diablo.
  • Galindo home (1856) and Fernando Pacheco adobe (1851) built.
  • Soft Coal mines established in northeast Diablo foothills.
  • Lime deposits discovered on/near southeast boundary of Rancho Monte del Diablo. Become first commercially exploitable lime to be quarried in California.
  • U.S. Land Commissions revalidate Salvio Pacheco’s ownership of Rancho Monte del Diablo.

1860’s: Todos Santos Town Established

  • Floods and fires ravage town of Pacheco.
  • Early “American” pioneers settle on land around rancho. Some purchase land from Salvio Pacheco.
  • Pachecos and Galindo layout town of “Todos Santos” diagonally across Pacheco – Clayton Road near Salvio Pacheco Adobe (1868). They record it officially with Contra Costa County (1869).
  • Name “Concord” is used immediately by new settlers to re-identify town of Todos Santos.

1870’s: The New Town Rises

  • First businesses form along Salvio Street and around town square.
  • American school, first public building, established on Grant Street (demolished in 1892).
  • First (of 13) saloons opens.
  • First church, Queenof All Saints, opens near corner of Salvio and East Streets in 1876. It would move in 1953.

1880’s: Initial Commercial Growth

  • Hotels, blacksmiths, livery stables, banks, and small retail established.
  • Fire Hall, the second — now oldest surviving — public building built on Mt. Diablo Street. It would later become City Hall and Police Department and be moved twice.
  • Telephone service begins.
  • Second church, First Presbyterian, opens near corner of Galindo and Pacheco Streets in 1883. It would move in 1906.
  • Third church, First Christian, opens on corner of Fernando (present Concord Blvd.) and Mt. Diablo Street in 1889. It would move in 1955.

1890’s: First Major Expansion

  • Southern Pacific Railroad crosses southwest edge of town.
  • Blum and Wittenmeyer survey/establish major new town addition between Southern Pacific and original town.
  • New “Victorian” Concord School (initially a grammar school, then a combined grammar and high school) built between Willow Pass Road and Salvio Street in 1892.
  • Odd Fellows Hall (IOOF) building moved from Pacheco to site on corner of Salvio and Colfax Streets in 1896.
  • The Martinez-Pacheco-Clayton stagecoach line makes stops at the Henry Ivey Livery Stable on Salvio St.

1900’s: Officially “Concord” and Residential Expansion Occurs

  • Town of Concord officially incorporated with State (1905). Blacksmith Joseph Boyd becomes first mayor.
  • Mount Diablo Union High School Campus opens in 1905. It would become longest continually operating large high school in California.
  • Oakland & Antioch Electric Railroad crosses northeast side of town.
  • Residential land development begins.
  • Streets graveled/paved. Sewers installed. Saloon operations curtailed.

1910’s: Growth Slows

  • Five industrial “company” towns established north and southeast of town: Nichols, Bay Point/Port Chicago, Clyde, Avon and Cowell.
  • Major fire sweeps downtown (1917). Resulting effects on land use there are still apparent.
  • Carnegie Foundation grant funds construction of first autonomous library.

1920’s: Agricultural Period Continues and Now a Transportation Hub

  • Ranches, farms and dairies thrive. Planting of walnut, almond, olive and fruit orchards intensifies. Three railroads and state highway service town.
  • U.S. Airmail Field established on West Street at Clayton Road (initially as Weather Alternate – then as a Primary field). First transcontinental commercial airline flight transits there.
  • Chamber of Commerce supports NORCAL airline operations from Mahoney Field (on Clayton Road near Sacramento Northern electric railroad depot) to Los Angeles area. Flights last one month.
  • David Brubeck, world renown jazz pianist, born in family home on Colfax Street.

1930’s: Quiet Time

  • First Concord Hospital opened by Nurse Edna Haywood.
  • Pergola, considered longest in world at that time, built around downtown park. Wisteria plantings grow to festoon the pergola.

1940’s: The War and a “Bedroom” Community

  • U.S. Navy opens munitions supply operations near Port Chicago. Naval Magazine Port Chicago later expands southeast through local ranches and dairies along entire northeastern edge of town.
  • Concord Army Airfield opens west of downtown. It becomes Buchanan Field Airport after war.
  • Largest ever U.S. conventional munitions explosion occurs at Naval Magazine Port Chicago (1944). There is heavy damage in Concord.
  • Catherine Galindo succeeds her husband as Concord treasurer. She later becomes town’s first woman to hold local elective office in her own right.
  • Concord chartered as a California City (1948).
  • Concord-area population grows from approximately 1,500 to approximately 10,000. Commuting to area industries and to “The City” (San Francisco) begin.
  • Bertha Romaine, principal of Mt. Diablo Union High School (1917 – 1948) retires. She had “built” high school.
  • Mt. Diablo Unified School District formed. It includes areas outside of Concord.
  • Queen of All Saints School opens as first parochial elementary school in Contra Costa County.

1950’s and 1960’s: Growth Explodes and Deterioration of Downtown

  • Residential subdivisions built everywhere.
  • Shopping centers developed in outlying areas near homes.
  • Park & Shop and Sun Valley Mall open as major regional shopping destinations.
  • Significance of area agricultural begins to diminish.
  • Willow Pass Road extended southwest to Sun Valley Mall.
  • Original downtown begins to deteriorate.
  • New city hall built on Parkside Drive at Willow Pass Road. It was later replaced by a newer, adjacent Civic Center complex.
  • First Concord Summer Jazz Festival held in Concord Boulevard Park.
  • Original town square officially renamed Todos Santos Plaza.

1970’s and 1980’s: Recovery Begins

  • Redevelopment Agency and Area formed.
  • Concord Pavilion established.
  • BART operations begin through Concord. U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson participated in ground breaking ceremonies held at Concord. Car Maintenance facility located in Concord.
  • Roslie Sher becomes first women elected to Concord City Council. June Bulman becomes first women selected as mayor.
  • Salvio Pacheco Square building (aka Heritage Square), and Bank of America Technical Center Campus open in downtown.
  • Tishman Building opens and is tallest high-rise in Contra Costa County.

1990’s: Recovery Continues and Public Art and Politics Create Turmoil

  • City adopts Art in Public Places and Gateway Art Program. Heritage Gateway (Spirit Poles) and Plaza renovation bring national attention and cause major upheaval. New city council elected.
  • New city council embroiled in issues concerning gender, integrity (Mashore and Campbell), and development for new theater.
  • New police facility opened.
  • Spirit Poles areremoved.
  • Elevated BART line extends to north Concord; Port Chicago Highway extended south to Clayton Road.
  • Naval Weapons Station Concord deactivated. U.S. Army leases “Tidal Area.”
  • Brenden’s 14 screen movie theater megaplex opens as new anchor in downtown.
  • Ruth Galindo, last descendant of founding Galindo/Pacheco families dies (Dec 1999).

2000’s: New Millennium

  • City is now the largest in Contra Costa County. Population approaches 125,000.
  • Mount Diablo Hospital merges with John Muir Hospital of Walnut Creek.
  • Planning for Galindo House and Gardens begins.
  • Legacy luxury apartment complex begins in downtown.

Concord Historical Society

%d bloggers like this: