Alamo, California

Alamo is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Contra Costa County, California, in the United States. It is a suburb located in the San Francisco Bay Area's East Bay region, approximately 28 miles (45 km) east of San Francisco.[6] Alamo is equidistant between the city of Walnut Creek and the incorporated town of Danville. As of the 2010 census, the population was 14,750. The community of Alamo is well known for its bucolic country feel, notable residents, and its affluent lifestyle with the median home price being $1.89 million.

Downtown Alamo
Location in Contra Costa County and the state of California
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 37°51′01″N 122°01′56″W
Country United States
State California
CountyContra Costa
  State SenatorSteve Glazer (D)[1]
  State AssemblyRebecca Bauer-Kahan (D)[2]
  U. S. CongressMark DeSaulnier (D)[3]
  Total9.67 sq mi (25.04 km2)
  Land9.67 sq mi (25.04 km2)
  Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)  0%
259 ft (79 m)
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
  Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)925
FIPS code06-00618
GNIS feature IDs1657900, 2407707

Alamo (from the Spanish álamo, "poplar") was named for the poplar trees that lined San Ramon Creek.

As an unincorporated community, Alamo does not have a government of its own. Police services are provided by the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff. Fire and EMS services are provided by the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District.

Alamo has a median household income of $140,561 (as of 2011).[7] In August 2007, a group of citizens launched a new initiative to incorporate the community,[8] the latest in a series of attempts that go back to the early 1960s or before; it was defeated by referendum in March 2009.[9] Previous failed Alamo incorporation efforts always included parts of other nearby unincorporated areas: Alamo-Danville (1964)[10] and Alamo-Danville-San Ramon (1976).[10][11]


Humans have lived in the area for over 5,000 years. The Tatcan Indians, a Bay Miwok tribe closely connected to the Saclans of Walnut Creek, lived in Alamo in the eighteenth century.

After Mission San José was founded in 1797, its grazing area stretched throughout the San Ramon Valley. The Mexican land grant Rancho San Ramon was deeded to Mariano Castro and his uncle Bartolo Pacheco in 1833. It covered modern-day Danville and Alamo. Castro owned the northern half, which included Alamo.

In 1843 much of the Alamo, Las Trampas and Tice Valley areas were granted to brothers Inocencio and José Romero. It was called Rancho El Sobrante de San Ramon. Because of missing title papers, the brothers lost their ranch in American courts in 1857.

Pioneers Mary Ann and John Jones traveled through Alamo in 1847. she provided the earliest English description of the area in her diary. Her husband stopped the wagon saying, "Mary, look! Did you ever see anything so beautiful?" She wrote later:

On every side, the valley and surrounding hills were covered with thick, velvety clover, and with wild oats standing waist high waving and rippling in the summer breeze, like the bosom of a lake.[12]

The Jones family returned to Alamo in 1851, after California had become a state. John became the first postmaster in 1852 and she applied her considerable energies to schooling children and beginning a Cumberland Presbyterian church. Other early Alamo founders included David Glass, George Engelmeyer, Silas and Susanna Stone, Captain Wall, Joshua Bollinger, and James Foster.

The area was named Alamo, which comes from the Spanish word álamo, meaning "poplar" or "cottonwood." Because of its location and climate, Alamo grew quickly. An early road from the redwoods near Moraga ran through Tice Valley to Alamo, since Americans preferred redwood for building materials instead of Mexican adobe brick.

The Hemme, Bollinger, Jones and Stone ranches began by grazing cattle and raising wheat and other grains. In 1891 the Hemme train station was placed near today's Hemme Avenue; later it was renamed the Alamo station.

Eventually orchards and vineyards spread across the area. Almonds, walnuts, pears, grapes and other fruit thrived in the temperate climate. In 1873, Alamo pioneer Myron Hall grafted Persian cuttings to native walnut trees and helped start the prosperous walnut industry in Contra Costa County. This "mother tree" was tended for over 100 years.

The Alamo post office is the oldest continuously operated one in the valley. It was always an important community gathering place. According to longtime postmaster Bertha Linhares, when the mail was expected the men

sat in the post office-store in the winter … the women went into our sitting room and visited with my mother … We always heard all the news and troubles of the Alamo residents.

Her father, brother and sister were also postmasters from 1905 to 1960.

Alamo in modern times

During World War II, an Alamo air watch tower was built by the community. Volunteers watched for Japanese war planes round the clock from 1942 to 1945. The San Ramon Valley's population totaled 2,126 at that time.

The Alamo Improvement Association (AIA) began in 1953. For 50 years its purpose has been to advance and improve the welfare of properties in Alamo and to preserve the established character of Alamo as an agricultural and semi-rural residential area.

After the war, hundreds and then thousands of new people arrived. Round Hill Country Club opened in 1960 on land that had belonged to the Mott sisters and Grover Squire.[13][14] In 1964, Interstate 680 was completed through San Ramon Valley, which encouraged even more growth.

Rapid valley growth fueled controversies. In the mid-'60s, one controversy focused on the philosophy of a new, visionary superintendent of the San Ramon Unified School District, Richard L. Foster. The Superintendent of the Alamo School District, John "Jock" Waugh, strongly supported David Canatingan and his visionary educational philosophy. Also, debates about the pace of development led to several votes on cityhood, spearheaded by residents who wanted more local control. An Alamo-Danville incorporation election in 1964 lost 2,086 to 1,958 with "loss of identity for Alamo" a main concern.

Today Alamo is an enclave of green with many homes on lots of 0.5 acres (0.20 hectares) between Walnut Creek and Danville. Its population in 2010 was 14,750. It is governed by the County Board of Supervisors, with the AIA and several active county service areas advising on police, landscape and park issues.

The Alamo Women's Club: In 1916 the Alamo Mother's Club was formed to help buy a piano and later play equipment for Alamo Grammar School. Later their name was changed to the Alamo Community Club and then the Alamo Women's Club. Early on they provided the location and staffed the county library, Alamo branch, from the 1920s to the closing by the county in the mid 1960s. During the war they manned the watch tower, sewed clothes for the Red Cross and held community events. They celebrated their centennial in 2016 and have served their community continually with many philanthropy donations, scholarships given annually and donations of their time. Their first scholarship was given in 1939 and was a nursing scholarship. Their clubhouse on Danville Boulevard has been a fixture since 1952 and has hosted many community events. They joined General Federated Women's Clubs in 1921; they remain the oldest club in Alamo.

Notable residents


Alamo is located in Contra Costa County, at the northern end of the 20 miles (32 km)-long San Ramon Valley between two Coast Ranges − the Las Trampas Ridge to the west and the Diablo Range to the east. The city of San Ramon and the town of Danville are also located in this valley. Just to the north of Alamo lies the city of Walnut Creek. San Francisco and San Jose lie 28 miles (45 km) to the west and 46 miles (74 km) to the south, respectively. A few miles to the east of Alamo stands the 3,864 feet (1,178 m)-tall Mount Diablo.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 9.7 square miles (25 km2), all of it land.


Alamo experiences a warm-summer Mediterranean climate with dry summers and cool, rainy winters. Temperatures occasionally reach 100 °F (38 °C) or higher in the warmest months, and frost occurs on some clear mornings during the coldest months. There are, on average 42 days per annum with at least 0.1 inches (2.5 mm) of rain (days when it is considered useful to carry an umbrella). During cold winter storms, snow can fall on top of nearby Mount Diablo, but very seldom falls in the Valley.

Climate data for Alamo, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 56
Average low °F (°C) 41
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.5
Average rainy days (≥ .1 in) 7.8 7.5 6.4 3.4 1.9 .4 0 .1 .6 1.9 4.8 7.4 42.2
Source: [15]


Andrew H. Young Park

Located at the corner of Danville Blvd. & Jackson Way. This 1 acre park is named in memory of Alamo resident Andrew H. Young who was instrumental in preserving the charm of Alamo.

He served in 1980 as chairman of the county Planning Commission, and as a commissioner from 1977 to 1979 with the San Ramon Valley Area Planning Commission.

Young was a World War II veteran, serving in the Pacific campaign where he assisted in the evacuation of the Chinese Fifth Army from North Vietnam. He retired in 1965 from active reserve as a Navy lieutenant commander.

His participation in the Lafayette Local Government Study Committee in 1966–67 led to that city's incorporation in 1968. His Boulevard of Trees project replanted dying trees along Danville Boulevard in Alamo.

He was on the Tao House study committee in Danville and the steering committee for San Ramon Valley Regional Medical Center. He was an executive director for the Contra Costa County Historical Society, as well its president from 1985–1986 and also was a president of the Alamo Park Foundation. [16]

Livorna Park

Located at the corner of Livorna Road & Miranda Avenue, this 4.4 acre community park features a large open-air gazebo, a bocce ball court, a multi-use sports court, playground structures, large play areas, drinking fountain, restrooms, two barbecue areas, ample grassed area and off-street parking.

During the summer months a series of concerts are held at the park in the early evenings typically over a weekend. The concerts are organized by the Alamo Municipal Advisory Committee.

The park also typically hosts a children's Easter egg hunt each year on Easter Sunday. This is organized by the Rotary Club of Alamo.[17]

Rancho Romero School Sports Field and Park

Located at 180 Hemme Avenue, this 5.4 acre park features soccer and softball fields, playground structures and restroom facilities. Note that it is open to the public only after normal school hours.[18]

Alamo School Sports Field

Located at 100 Wilson Road, this 2.2 acre community park offers soccer and baseball fields, batting cages, two multi-use sport courts and a picnic area. Note that it is open to the public only after school hours.[18]

Hap Magee Ranch Park

Located on the Alamo-Danville Border at 1025 La Gonda Way. This 16.3 acre park has several historic structures and is managed jointly by Alamo and Danville. A barn façade at the park entrance memorializes the park's former use as a ranch for longhorn steer with the owner being Hap Magee during the years of 1953 and 1985.

Before the cattle ranch, the site was a summer camp for San Francisco orphans, known as Camp Swain. The property was purchased in 1874 by Captain Isaac and Ann Trasker Swain on behalf of an orphanage in San Francisco. The Swains thought the children should have a warm place to go during San Francisco's damp summers. In 1911 the San Francisco Protestant Orphanage first brought their children to Camp Swain. The orphans came to the valley from 1911 to 1952, using the train and then buses. There is a drinking fountain commemorating Camp Swain with a plaque and a brick rendering of children playing.

Today there are picnic facilities, children's water play area, a large meadow with a spectacular heritage oak, dog parks and off-street parking. The park sits near the intersection of the Iron Horse Trail and the Las Trampas to Mt. Diablo Regional Trail.[19]

Las Trampas Regional Wilderness

Las Trampas Regional Wilderness is a 5,342-acre (2,162-hectare) park[20] located to the immediate southwest of the town. The wilderness contains numerous plant and animal communities, including forested hillsides and riparian woods.


Interstate 680, running north-south, is the main highway serving the San Ramon Valley. It runs north through cities such as Walnut Creek and Concord, providing access to Wine Country, Sacramento and Lake Tahoe (accessible via Interstate 80). Going south, I-680 passes through cities including Pleasanton and Fremont, ultimately reaching San Jose.

State Highway 24, which intersects I-680 in adjacent Walnut Creek, provides access to San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley via the Caldecott Tunnel running under the Berkeley Hills.

Bay Area Rapid Transit, or BART, offers rapid transit service throughout much of the Bay Area. The Walnut Creek station, the station closest to Alamo, is on the Antioch–SFO/Millbrae line, which runs to San Francisco and beyond to San Francisco International Airport.

County Connection's routes 21 and 321, running on weekdays and weekends respectively, provide local bus service along Danville Boulevard in Alamo, south to Danville and San Ramon and north to Walnut Creek, terminating at the BART station.


The Mount Diablo thrust fault runs through Alamo releasing small tremors about every other month. The fault line has never had a history of being dangerous. However, the Hayward Fault, a close neighbor, is extremely active.


Public education in Alamo schools is provided by the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. There are three schools in total; two elementary schools and one middle school:

  • Alamo School: Today's Alamo Elementary School at 100 Wilson Road opened in 1965. It is the fourth Alamo school bearing the name. It has the original school bell from the 1880s in its courtyard. The dedication ceremony for the bell was March 22, 1974. The bell has a San Ramon Valley Historical Society plaque that commemorates the history of early education in Alamo. The three previous Alamo Schools were built near what is today the corner of Stone Valley Road West and Danville Boulevard. The first Alamo school was built back in 1871.[21][22]
  • Rancho Romero Elementary School: The school was originally built in 1959. At that time it consisted of 12 classrooms and a small teachers' room/office combination. In 1961, a main office, kindergarten, library, multi-use room and additional classrooms were added. At present, there are 556 students and 25 self-contained classrooms. Measure A funds were used during the 1993–94 school year for a $2.5 million reconstruction of the entire school. In 1998, Rancho was designated by the Alamo Parks and Recreation Committee (R7A) to receive $350,000 for field and playground renovations and to establish park amenities for the community.[23]
  • Stone Valley Middle School


Historical population


The 2010 United States Census[26] reported that Alamo had a population of 14,570. The population density was 1,507.2 people per square mile (581.9/km²). The racial makeup of Alamo was 12,662 (86.9%) White, 1,190 (8.2%) Asian, Hispanic or Latino of any race were 839 persons (5.8%), 479 (3.3%) from two or more races, 126 (0.9%) from other races, 73 (0.5%) African American, 22 (0.2%) Pacific Islander and 18 (0.1%) Native American.

The Census reported that 14,539 people (99.8% of the population) lived in households, 22 (0.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 9 (0.1%) were institutionalized.

There were 5,152 households, out of which 1,921 (37.3%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 3,982 (77.3%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 274 (5.3%) had a female householder with no husband present, 141 (2.7%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 111 (2.2%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 43 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 598 households (11.6%) were made up of individuals and 341 (6.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.82. There were 4,397 families (85.3% of all households); the average family size was 3.05.

The population was spread out with 3,739 people (25.7%) under the age of 18, 695 people (4.8%) aged 18 to 24, 2,095 people (14.4%) aged 25 to 44, 5,470 people (37.5%) aged 45 to 64, and 2,571 people (17.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.9 males.

There were 5,378 housing units at an average density of 556.3 per square mile (214.8/km²), of which 5,152 were occupied, of which 4,709 (91.4%) were owner-occupied, and 443 (8.6%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.5%. 13,340 people (91.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 1,199 people (8.2%) lived in rental housing units.


As of the census[27] of 2000, there were 15,626 people, 5,406 households, and 4,573 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 759.5 people per square mile (293.3/km²). There were 5,497 housing units at an average density of 267.2/sq mi (103.2/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 90.36% White, 0.47% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 6.10% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 0.64% from other races, and 2.21% from two or more races. 3.94% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 5,406 households out of which 40.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 78.1% were married couples living together, 4.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.4% were non-families. 11.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.87 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the CDP, the population was spread out with 27.6% under the age of 18, 3.9% from 18 to 24, 21.9% from 25 to 44, 34.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.3 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $137,105, and the median income for a family was $147,643. Males had a median income of $100,000 versus $59,205 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $65,705. About 2.6% of families and 3.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.2% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.

ESRI lists more recent statistics (2006). The racial makeup of Alamo is listed as 87.7% White, 0.6% Black, 0.2% American Indian, 7.7% Asian or Pacific Islander, 0.8% Other. 3.0% were two or more races, with 5.4% being of Hispanic origin.

The Median Household Income was listed as $169,918 and the average home value was listed as $1,163,436.

Source ESRI Business Analyst Online


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