Walnut Creek, California: Wikis


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City of Walnut Creek
—  City  —
Location of Walnut Creek within California
Coordinates: 37°54′23″N 122°03′54″W / 37.90639°N 122.065°W / 37.90639; -122.065
Country United States
State California
County Contra Costa
First settled 1849[1]
Incorporated October 21, 1914[1]
 - Type General Law[2]
 - Mayor Gary Skrel[3]
 - Mayor pro tem Susan Rainey[3]
 - Councilmembers Kish Rajan[3]
Bob Simmons[3]
Cindy Silva[3]
 - State Leg. Sen. Tom Torlakson (D)
Asm. Joan Buchanan (D)
 - U. S. Congress John Garamendi (D)
 - Total 19.5 sq mi (50.5 km2)
 - Land 19.5 sq mi (50.5 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 131 ft (40 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 64,296
 Density 3,305.7/sq mi (1,276.2/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 94595–94598
Area code(s) 925
FIPS code 06-83346
GNIS feature ID 1660120
Website walnut-creek.org

Walnut Creek is an incorporated city located 16 miles (26 km) east of the city of Oakland. It lies in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. While not as large as neighboring Concord, Walnut Creek serves as the business and entertainment hub for the neighboring cities within central Contra Costa County, due in part to its location at the junction of the highways from Sacramento and San Jose (I-680) and San Francisco/Oakland (SR-24). As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 65,384 as of January 2008 according to the California Department of Finance.



There are three bands of Bay Miwok Indians associated with early Walnut Creek:[4][5] the Saclan, whose territory extended through the hills east of present day Oakland, Rossmoor, Lafayette, Moraga, and Walnut Creek; the Volvon (also spelled Bolbon, Wolwon, and Zuicun) at Mt. Diablo; and the Tactan at Danville and Walnut Creek, on San Ramon Creek.

Today's Walnut Creek is located amidst the earlier site of four Mexican land grants. One of these land grants – measuring 18,000 acres (73 km2) – belonged to Juana Sanchez de Pacheco, who deeded it to her two grandsons. Ygnacio Sibrian, one of the grandsons, created the first roofed home in the valley in about 1850. The grant was called Rancho Arroyo de Las Nueces y Bolbones, named after the principal waterway, Arroyo de las Nueces (Walnut Creek) as well as for the local group of indigenous Americans (Bolbones). The Arroyo de los Nueces was named for the occurrence in the valley of the native species of walnut tree, the California Walnut.

With the coming of American settlers following the US-Mexico War, a small settlement called "The Corners" emerged, named because it was the place where roads from Pacheco and Lafayette met. The site of this first American settlement is found today at the intersection of Mt. Diablo Boulevard and North Main Street. The first town settler was William Slusher, who built a dwelling on the bank of Walnut Creek, which was called “Nuts Creek” by the Americans in 1849. In the year 1855, Milo Hough of Lafayette built the hotel named "Walnut Creek House" in the corners. A blacksmith shop and a store soon joined the hotel, and a year later, Hiram Penniman (who built Shadelands Ranch) laid out the town site and realigned the Main Street of today. Two decades later, the community changed its name from The Corners to Walnut Creek.

Downtown Walnut Creek, Main Street

In December 1862 a U.S. Post Office was established, and the community was named “Walnut Creek.”[6] The downtown street patterns laid out by pioneer Homer Shuey on a portion of one of his family’s large cattle ranches in 1871-72 are still present today.

Walnut Creek began to grow with the arrival of Southern Pacific Railroad service in 1891. On October 21, 1914, the town and the surrounding area of 500 acres (2 km2), were incorporated as the 8th city in Contra Costa County.

A branch line of the Southern Pacific railroad ran through Walnut Creek until the early 1960s. The current East Bay Regional Park District's Iron Horse Trail, used by walkers, runners and bikers, runs over what was portions of that branch line.[citation needed] The mainline of the Sacramento Northern Railway passed through Walnut Creek. Both railroads had stations here. Today, the Pittsburg/Bay Point – SFO Line line of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) serves Walnut Creek with a station adjacent to Highway 680.

With the opening of the Broadway Shopping Center, Contra Costa County's first major retail center, in 1951, the city took off in a new direction, and its population more than tripled from 2,460 in 1950 to 9,903 in 1960.

Today, Walnut Creek, the actual waterway, has been routed underneath downtown through a series of tunnels starting at the southwest end of Macy’s and ending just southwest of Maria Maria Restaurant and bar. Slusher’s dwelling was built in the area of modern-day Liberty Bell Plaza.

Geography and climate

Walnut Creek as seen from Mount Diablo

Walnut Creek is located at 37°54′23″N 122°03′54″W / 37.90639°N 122.065°W / 37.90639; -122.065.[7] Portions lie in both the San Ramon Valley and the Ygnacio Valley below the western slopes of Mount Diablo.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 51.6 km2 (19.9 mi²). 51.6 km2 (19.9 mi2) of it is land and 0.05% is water.



The area is characterized by a cool Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb) with cool, moist winters and warm to hot dry summers. Average annual rainfall approximates 20 inches (510 mm), with slight variations occurring in microclimates based on elevation and topography. Winter daytime temperatures average in the mid 50s with little daily variation, while summer daytime temperatures average in the high 80s. 100 degree weather occurs numerous times during summer heatwaves, while occasional light frosts may occur during clear, calm winter nights. The climate allows for the successful cultivation of many plants and crops, being warm enough for citrus yet cold enough for apples. The Ruth Bancroft Garden is a renowned botanical garden that showcases the diversity of plants that can be successfully grown.

Climate data for Walnut Creek
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 12.2
Average low °C (°F) 3.9
Precipitation mm (inches) 108
Source: [8] 2010-02-07

Open space

Canal trail near Walnut Creek Open Space

Walnut Creek owns more open space per capita than any other community in the state of California. In 1974, Walnut Creek voters approved a $6.7 million bond measure that allowed the city to purchase 1,800 acres (7 km2) of undeveloped hillsides, ridge lines, and park sites. Walnut Creek owns parts of Lime Ridge Open Space, Shell Ridge Open Space, Acalanes Ridge Open Space, and Sugarloaf Open Space. There is open space in the retirement community, Rossmoor.

The East Bay Regional Park District operates Diablo Foothills Regional Park, and Castle Rock Regional Recreation Area, in Walnut Creek.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1870 250
1880 94 −62.4%
1890 447 375.5%
1900 447 0%
1910 550 23.0%
1920 538 −2.2%
1930 1,014 88.5%
1940 1,578 55.6%
1950 2,420 53.4%
1960 9,903 309.2%
1970 39,844 302.3%
1980 53,643 34.6%
1990 60,569 12.9%
2000 64,296 6.2%
Est. 2007 63,286 −1.6%

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 64,296 people, 30,301 households, and 16,544 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,246.9/km2 (3,229.6/mi2). There were 31,425 housing units at an average density of 609.4/km2 (1,578.5/mi2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.89% White, 9.36% Asian American, 3.25% were multiracial. 1.96% from other races 1.07% African American, 0.33% Native American and 0.15% Pacific Islander. 5.99% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Northgate community, looking towards Mt. Diablo

There were 30,301 households out of which 20.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% were married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.4% were non-families. 38.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.78.

In the city the population was spread out with 17.6% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 25.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 85.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.5 males.

According to a 2008 United States Census Bureau estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $81,297, and the median income for a family was $113,996. The per capita income was $53,028. About 1.0% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line.[12]

Downtown Walnut Creek


Public K-12

Walnut Creek residents attend schools in 5 public school districts.[13] The Walnut Creek School District (K-8) has 5 elementary schools and one middle school in the city. Some residents are served by schools from the Mt. Diablo Unified School District (K-12), the Acalanes Union High School District (9-12), the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (K-12), and the Lafayette School District (K-8). These public schools are within the boundaries of Walnut Creek:

Walnut Creek School District

Acalanes Union High School District

  • Las Lomas High School
  • Acalanes Center for Independent Study (alternative program with a flexible schedule)
  • Del Oro High (continuation school)

Mount Diablo Unified School District

  • Bancroft Elementary
  • Valle Verde Elementary
  • Walnut Acres Elementary
  • Foothill Middle
  • Northgate High

Private K-12

Walnut Creek is home to several private K-12 schools, including

  • Berean Christian High School (Grades: 9 – 12)
  • Contra Costa Christian Schools (Grades: PK – 12)
  • The Dorris-Eaton School (Grades: PK – 8)
  • Garden Gate Montessori School (Grades: PK – K)
  • North Creek Academy & Preschool (Grades: PK – 8)
  • Palmer School (Grades: K – 8)
  • St. Mary School (Grades: K – 8)
  • Seven Hills School (Grades: PK – 8)
  • Springfield Montessori School (Grades: PK – K)
  • Walnut Creek Christian Academy (Grades: K – 8)


The Contra Costa County Library system has two branches in Walnut Creek: Ygnacio Valley, a relatively small branch at 2661 Oak Grove Road, also known as the Thurman G. Casey Memorial Library, opened in 1975; and Park Place in Civic Park at 1395 Civic Drive, a small temporary location open while the New Downtown Library is under construction.[14]

New Downtown Library project

On February 26, 2008, the city demolished the Walnut Creek Library, which was built in 1961 at the southern end of Civic Park. Mayor Gwen Regalia hosted a groundbreaking on the same site for the new library on May 19, 2008. The new library, designed by Group 4 Architecture, Research + Planning, Inc., will have 42,000-square-feet and an underground parking garage. Construction is scheduled to complete in 2010.

Fundraising and other support is provided by the Walnut Creek Library Foundation


California Symphony
The California Symphony (notable for its commitment to the performance of music by American composers) has been based in Walnut Creek since its inception in 1986.

Center Repertory Company
The Center Repertory Company is the in-house theater company for the Lesher Center for the Arts. It stages six productions a year, including the annual production of A Christmas Carol.

Civic Arts Program
The city organizes education in graphic arts, sculpture, pottery, and performance arts such as dancing for various age groups is actively supported and encouraged by the Civic Arts Program.

Clay Arts Guild
Clay Arts Guild (CAG) is a non-profit volunteer organization supporting ceramics arts education under the Civic Arts Program of Walnut Creek. The organization is notable for its long history in the region (established in 1964) and the numerous sculptors and potters who have practiced, taught classes, and/or given masters seminars through its offices.

Activities supported by CAG include:

  • Open studio monitoring for students enrolled in Civic Arts Classes
  • Purchase of equipment for studio use
  • Fundraising via direct sales of donated crafted goods and commission on sales of artist's goods
  • Direct support of students through merit scholarships to Civic Arts Program classes
  • Organization of master level seminars presented by innovative and famous artisans.
  • All work produced using Civic Arts equipment can only be sold through CAG sales.

The Lesher Center for the Arts
Several performance spaces (The Knight Stage 3, The Hoffman, and The Margaret Lesher theatres) and the Bedford Gallery are included in this modern building. The Center is named for Dean Lesher, newspaper publisher and founder of the Contra Costa Times

Public transit

The city hosts two BART stations, the Walnut Creek station and the Pleasant Hill station (in the unincorporated area known as Contra Costa Centre Transit Village, just north of the city limits, named for the neighboring city). BART provides regional access in and out of Walnut Creek to most of the Bay Area.

A free shuttle operates between the central district and Walnut Creek BART station. Other areas of Walnut Creek may be accessed at modest cost by using the buses of the Central Contra Costa Transit Authority.

Walnut Creek is transected by the Iron Horse Trail (running north/south) through its downtown, as well as the Contra Costa Canal Trail (running east/west) at the north end of the city. Both these trails, in addition to the many bike lanes in the city make bicycle transportation very feasible for recreation or for an alternative commute.

Points of interest

Notable citizens

In Popular Culture


  1. ^ a b About Walnut Creek — History, walnut-creek.org, retrieved on 2007-10-08
  2. ^ Rovanpera, Brad (2006). State of the City, 2005–2006. Walnut Creek, CA: City of Walnut Creek. http://www.ci.walnut-creek.ca.us/pdf/State%20of%20City.2005-06.final.pdf. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Council Members, walnut-creek.org, retrieved on 2008-03-10
  4. ^ Forester, 2006.
  5. ^ Milliken, 1995
  6. ^ Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Quill Driver Books. p. 719. ISBN 9781884995149. 
  7. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographical Names Information System: Walnut Creek, California
  8. ^ "Walnut Creek historic weather averages". Intellicast. http://www.intellicast.com/local/history.aspx?location=USCA1209. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  9. ^ Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850-1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 62.
  10. ^ "Subcounty population estimates: California 2000-2007" (CSV). United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009-03-18. http://www.census.gov/popest/cities/files/SUB-EST2007-6.csv. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  12. ^ "Walnut Creek city, California Fact Sheet". 2006-2008 American Community Survey. U.S. Census Bureau. 2008. http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ACSSAFFFacts?_event=Search&geo_id=16000US0683332&_geoContext=01000US. Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  13. ^ Walnut Creek City Council (2006-04-04), Walnut Creek General Plan 2025, p. 2-15, http://www.walnut-creek.org/citygov/depts/cd/planning/documents/general_plan_2025_(adopted_april_4_2006).asp, retrieved 2010-02-23 
  14. ^ "Contra Costa County Library website". Contra Costa County Library. http://ccclib.org/. Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  15. ^ Suchon, Josh (2006-07-21). "Haren's home is in the East Bay". Oakland Tribune. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4176/is_20060721/ai_n16671517. Retrieved 2007-03-08. 
  16. ^ DelVecchio, Rick (2006-12-16). "RICHARD CARLSON: 1961-2006; 'Don't Sweat Small Stuff' author dies at 45". San Francisco Chronicle. article appeared on page B - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/12/16/BAGI9N0MOA1.DTL. Retrieved 2010-01-05. 


External links


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