Orinda, CA

A Brief History of Orinda, California

Thomas Smith

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Orinda, California is a small town located in Contra Costa County, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The area is steeped in history, with four Mexican land grants and the Moraga Adobe, the oldest building in the East Bay, located in the area. It was first named by Alice Marsh Cameron in the late 19th century, likely after the poet Katherine Philips, who was also known as the “Matchless Orinda”.

In the 1880s, United States Surveyor General for California Theodore Wagner built a large estate he named Orinda Park, and with it came the opening of the Orinda Park post office in 1888. The post office’s name was changed to Orinda in 1895.

At the turn of the 20th century, Orinda was also the site of Bryant Station, a stop on the failed California and Nevada Railroad. The area around Bryant Station was known as Orinda Crossroads.

Originally, the area was rural, primarily known for ranching and summer cabins. However, over the years Orinda has grown to become a desirable residential area, with many of its locals commuting to nearby cities for work. The town features a vibrant downtown area, with various restaurants, shops, and other businesses, as well as numerous parks and trails for outdoor recreation.

For those looking for a peaceful, laid-back atmosphere near San Francisco, Orinda is sure to meet their needs. With its history, natural beauty, and convenience to the city, it’s no wonder Orinda remains a popular destination in the East Bay.

For more about Orinda, check out the Bay Area Telegraph.

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Award-winning entrepreneur, and the co-founder and CEO of Gado Images. Thomas writes, speaks and consults about artificial intelligence, privacy, food, photography, tech, and the San Francisco Bay Area. As a professional photographer, Thomas' photographic work regularly appears in publications worldwide. Pitches/news tips: tom@gadoimages.com

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