Walnut Creek, California
|City of Walnut Creek|
Walnut Creek as seen from Acalanes Open Space
Location of Walnut Creek within California
|Incorporated||October 21, 1914|
|• Type||General Law|
|• City Council||Mayor Bob Simmons
Mayor pro tem Loella Haskew
Rich Carlston 
|• State Leg.||Sen. Steve Glazer (D)
Asm. Susan Bonilla (D) and Catharine Baker (R)
|• U. S. Congress||Mark DeSaulnier (D)|
|• Total||19.769 sq mi (51.201 km2)|
|• Land||19.757 sq mi (51.169 km2)|
|• Water||0.012 sq mi (0.031 km2) 0.06%|
|Elevation||131 ft (40 m)|
|• Density||3,200/sq mi (1,300/km2)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|GNIS feature IDs||1660120, 2412174|
Walnut Creek is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States, located 16 miles (26 km) east of the city of Oakland in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. Although not as large as neighboring Concord, Walnut Creek serves as a 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 well as its accessibility by BART. The city's total estimated population, as of 2011, is 65,211.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography and climate
- 3 Open space
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Education
- 6 Economy
- 7 Broadway Plaza
- 8 Culture
- 9 Public transit and bike trails
- 10 Media
- 11 Points of interest
- 12 Notable people
- 13 Sister cities
- 14 See also
- 15 References
- 16 Further reading
- 17 External links
There are three bands of Bay Miwok Indians associated with early Walnut Creek: 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 las 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 Mexican-American 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.
In December 1862 a United States Post Office was established, and the community was named "Walnut Creek". The downtown street patterns laid out in 1871–1872 by pioneer Homer Shuey on a portion of one of his family's large cattle ranches 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 late 1970s. The East Bay Regional Park District's Iron Horse Trail, used by walkers, runners and bikers, runs over what were portions of that branch line. 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 downtown opening of the Broadway Shopping Center (now Broadway Plaza), Contra Costa County's first major retail center, in 1951, the city took off in a new direction, and its population more than quadrupled 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.
Geography and climate
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.8 sq mi (51.2 km2), 0.06% of which is water.
Walnut Creek's warm summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb) is typical of California's interior valleys. In summer, high pressure is in control of the region, leading to almost unbroken sunshine and virtually no precipitation. Days start out cool but quickly warm up, with high temperatures normally in the 80s Fahrenheit (27 to 32 °C). Temperatures of 100 °F (38 °C) or hotter occur numerous times during heatwaves, however. In the winter, the jet stream moves far enough south so that Pacific storms can reach Walnut Creek, bringing much-needed rain—average annual rainfall approximates 20 inches (510 mm), with slight variations occurring in microclimates based on elevation and topography. During particularly cold storms, snow falls on the peak of nearby Mount Diablo, but snow in the valley floor is very rare. There are also plenty of clear, mild days in winter, often with morning frost. 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 2 ESE, California (1893–1974)|
|Record high °F (°C)||80
|Average high °F (°C)||55
|Average low °F (°C)||36
|Record low °F (°C)||17
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||4.52
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||10||9||8||5||3||1||0||0||1||3||6||9||53|
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 (730 ha) 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.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Walnut Creek had a population of 64,173. The population density was 3,246.2 people per square mile (1,253.4/km²). The racial makeup of Walnut Creek was 50,487 (78.7%) White, 1,035 (1.6%) African American, 155 (0.2%) Native American, 8,027 (12.5%) Asian, 125 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 1,624 (2.5%) from other races, and 2,720 (4.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5,540 persons (8.6%).
The Census reported that 63,171 people (98.4% of the population) lived in households, 176 (0.3%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 826 (1.3%) were institutionalized.
There were 30,443 households, out of which 6,363 (20.9%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 13,305 (43.7%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 2,071 (6.8%) had a female householder with no husband present, 844 (2.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,286 (4.2%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 298 (1.0%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 11,884 households (39.0%) were made up of individuals and 6,424 (21.1%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08. There were 16,220 families (53.3% of all households); the average family size was 2.79.
The population was spread out with 10,719 people (16.7%) under the age of 18, 3,599 people (5.6%) aged 18 to 24, 15,137 people (23.6%) aged 25 to 44, 17,653 people (27.5%) aged 45 to 64, and 17,065 people (26.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47.9 years. For every 100 females there were 86.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.0 males.
There were 32,681 housing units at an average density of 1,653.2 per square mile (638.3/km²), of which 20,262 (66.6%) were owner-occupied, and 10,181 (33.4%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.7%. 43,079 people (67.1% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 20,092 people (31.3%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the census 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, 1.07% African American, 0.33% Native American, 9.36% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 1.96% from other races, and 3.25% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.99% of the population.
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.
Walnut Creek residents attend schools in 5 public school districts. 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 Mount 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). The following public schools are within the city limits of Walnut Creek:
- Walnut Creek School District
- Buena Vista Elementary
- Indian Valley Elementary
- Murwood Elementary
- Parkmead Elementary
- Walnut Heights Elementary
- Walnut Creek Intermediate
- 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
- Eagle Peak Montessori (charter elementary)
- Bancroft Elementary
- Valle Verde Elementary
- Walnut Acres Elementary
- Foothill Middle
- Ygnacio Valley High School (Concord, CA)
- Northgate High School
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 of the Immaculate Conception School (Grades: PK – 8)
- Seven Hills School (Grades: PK – 8)
- Springfield Montessori School (Grades: PK – K)
- Walnut Creek Christian Academy (Grades: K – 8)
The Walnut Creek Library and the Ygnacio Valley Library of the Contra Costa County Library are located in Walnut Creek. The Ygnacio Valley Branch, which opened in 1975, is also known as the Thurman G. Casey Memorial Library.
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., has 42,000 square feet (3,900 m2) and an underground parking garage. Construction was completed in 2010 and the library was officially opened on July 17, 2010.
Fundraising and other support is provided by the Walnut Creek Library Foundation.
According to Walnut Creek's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||John Muir Health||4,604|
|6||United States Postal Service||409|
|9||City of Walnut Creek||364|
|10||HCR Manor Care||360|
The Broadway Plaza shopping center has anchor tenants Nordstrom, Macy's, and Neiman Marcus, and is part of the downtown retail and restaurant district. Roads are bicycle and pedestrian friendly, so local residents can travel from places to place by foot. The pedestrian walkways are filled with trees growing every five to ten feet. A County Connection bus dressed up like a trolley-car is a free shuttle provided by the city to bring BART travelers to the downtown area.
In late 2013, the Walnut Creek City Council approved plans to renovate the eastern portion of Broadway Plaza. The four-year $250 million project will include the demolition of 40 stores between Nordstrom and Macy's as well as the parking garages adjacent to those department stores. The plan would add as much as 300,000 square feet of retail space to the 25-acre shopping center, raising the total square footage to 1.1 million.
In early 2014 the Nordstrom parking garage and the strip of adjacent stores have been demolished. The expansion of Macy's is scheduled to start in 2014. A new Nordstrom garage would open by the end of 2014. In 2015, the Macy's garage at the corner of Broadway and Newell would be demolished. A new garage would be built by the end of 2015. In 2016, the Macy's expansion would open. The demolition of the Macy's men's store on the west side of Broadway Plaza street would begin. In 2017, the last of the new buildings are scheduled to be opened.
Lesher Center for the Arts
Three 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.
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.
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.
The Festival Opera Association was founded in Walnut Creek in 1991 to preserve and advance the operatic art form. The company produces a free Opera in the Park in Civic Park in addition to main stage performances at the Lesher Center for the Arts.
Company C Contemporary Ballet
Established in 2002, Company C commissions new work and performs historic modern ballet throughout the Bay Area. Past performances have featured the works of Twyla Tharp, Michael Smuin, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Charles Anderson, and Antony Tudor,
This 3,500-square-foot exhibition space hosts several exhibitions annually, featuring historic and modern art from contemporary artists. The gallery is a community-based facility that provides art workshops, lectures, and educational programs to the public throughout the year.
Civic Arts Education
A community arts education program offering classes to children and adults since 1964. Classes include beginning, intermediate and expert levels in ceramics, sculpture, dance, fiber arts, digital media, photography, drama, drawing, painting, printmaking, glass, jewelry and music. An arts-based preschool and youth arts center are popular year-round programs, all part of the City of Walnut Creek's Arts Recreation & Community Services Department.
Clay Arts Guild
The Clay Arts Guild (CAG) is a non-profit volunteer organization, established in 1964, supporting ceramics arts education under the Civic Arts Education program of Walnut Creek. Sculptors and potters have practiced, taught classes, and given masters seminars through its offices.
Public transit and bike trails
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 and the census-designated area called Waldon), just north of the city limits, named for the neighboring city). BART provides direct service from Walnut Creek to San Francisco heading west and Pittsburg heading east. Other major cities such as Berkeley and Fremont can be accessed via transfers. 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. It is often preferable to take public transit in Walnut Creek due to the large number of auto accidents.
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.
The city of Walnut Creek is served by the daily newspaper, Contra Costa Times published by Bay Area News Group-East Bay (part of the Media News Group, Denver, Colorado), with offices in Walnut Creek. The paper was originally run and owned by the Lesher family. Since the death of Dean Lesher in 1993, the paper has had several owners. "The Times" as it is known, also has a section called "The Walnut Creek Journal".
Walnut Creek TV (WCTV) is the city's government-access television channel, covering local government and community events. WCTV is available in Walnut Creek on Comcast channel 28 (channel 26 in Rossmoor), Astound channel 29, AT&T U-verse channel 99 under the menu option "Walnut Creek Television," and on YouTube.
Claycord.com is an independent news and talk blog serving the greater Walnut Creek metropolitan area.
Points of interest
- Old Borges Ranch is on the National Register of Historic Places
- Howe Homestead Park, 1920's era farm homestead, hosts the Howe Homestead Community garden and provides access to the Shell Ridge Open Space
- Castle Rock Park
- Fossil Hill Trail at Shell Ridge Open Space
- Heather Farm Park features the Gardens at Heather Farm, Clarke Swim Center, all-abilities playground, fishing pond, riparian nature area pond, tennis courts, picnic areas, community center, equestrian center, skate park, off-leash dog park, bike paths, sand volleyball court, and six athletic fields.
- Civic Park features tennis courts, playground, picnic area, community center, gazebo, native plant/butterfly habitat garden, and seasonal outdoor ice rink.
- Walden Park Disc Golf Course
- Boundary Oak Golf Course
- Broadway Plaza shopping center
- Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society
- Lindsay Wildlife Museum
- Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF)
- The Carpenter Gothic chapel of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
- The Contra Costa Labyrinth at Walnut Avenue United Methodist Church
- Alette Coble-Temple, Ms. Wheelchair California 2015
- Steve Alexakos, pro-football player
- Matt Anger, former tennis player
- Tom Candiotti, MLB player for the Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Oakland Athletics.
- Richard Carlson, psychotherapist and writer of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and 30 other motivational books
- Sonja Christopher, contestant on Survivor: Borneo
- Corey Duffel, professional skateboarder, was born in Walnut Creek, and still lives there.
- Tami Erin, currently resides in an apartment while she helps out her Dad. Most notable for her role in the American film version of The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking.
- Kyle Gass, guitar player in Jack Black's band Tenacious D, grew up in Walnut Creek and attended Las Lomas High School.
- Lee Goldberg, television writer-producer (Diagnosis: Murder, A Nero Wolfe Mystery, etc.) and novelist (the Monk novels, etc.) grew up in Walnut Creek, graduated from Northgate High School in 1980, and wrote for the Contra Costa Times.
- Alice Greczyn, actress, was born in Walnut Creek.
- Dan Haren, pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, lives in Walnut Creek.
- Jack Henderson, charity fundraiser and artist
- Marya Hornbacher, author
- Kristian Ipsen, U.S diver, Olympic bronze medalist
- Bessilyn Johnson, daughter of Hiram Penniman and resident of Scotty's Castle.
- Randy Johnson, professional baseball player, was born in Walnut Creek.
- Kira Kazantsev, Miss America 2015, grew up in Walnut Creek.
- Joshua Kors, award-winning investigative reporter, grew up in Walnut Creek, graduated from Las Lomas High School and wrote for the Contra Costa Times.
- Jenny Lynn, IFBB professional figure competitor, and winner of the 2008 and 2007 Figure Olympia.
- Mark "Mad Dog" Madsen, former professional basketball player for the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, was born in Walnut Creek.
- James McCoubrey (1901–2013), supercentenarian, world's oldest living man from 2012 until his death in July 2013.
- John A. Nejedly (1914–2006), former state senator, lived in Walnut Creek for most of his life.
- Jason Newsted, former bassist for the heavy metal bands: Voivod, Metallica and Flotsam & Jetsam, lives in Walnut Creek.
- Aaron Poreda, major league baseball pitcher.
- Markie Post, actress, grew up in Walnut Creek.
- Jeff Richards, writer and featured performer on NBC's Saturday Night Live, 2001–04.
- Bill Rigney, MLB player and Angels' first manager, lived and died in Walnut Creek.
- Lester Rodney, journalist who played a role in breaking down baseball's color barrier.
- Katharine Ross, actress, graduated from Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek (1957).
- Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, puppeteer, was born in Walnut Creek.
- Greg Sestero, actor, was born in Walnut Creek.
- Set Your Goals (band)
- Justin Speier, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim relief pitcher, was born in Walnut Creek.
- Joe Starkey, California Golden Bears and former San Francisco 49ers announcer, lives in Walnut Creek.
- Shoshannah Stern, actress, was born in Walnut Creek.
- This Time Next Year (band)
- Christy Turlington, actress/model, was born in Walnut Creek.
- Lars Ulrich, drummer for the band Metallica.
- Jason Verduzco, American player of gridiron football.
- Joseph R. Walker, mountain man and scout.
- Johnny Weekly, baseball player, died in Walnut Creek in 1974.
- Terrence Wheatley, American football player for the New England Patriots.
- Luke Whitehead, a basketball player for the Gold Coast Blaze.
- The Story So Far (band)
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Walnut Creek.|
- City of Walnut Creek official website
- Walnut Creek Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce
||Martinez||Pleasant Hill • Concord||Clayton|
|Lafayette||Mount Diablo, Brentwood|
|Moraga||Alamo • Danville|