Officially, San Ramon, California, has been around since 1873. But during its formative years, the area was known by various names such as Brevensville, Lynchville, and Limerick. In Spanish, the name San Ramon means Saint Raymond. Interestingly, the city was not named after St. Raymond Nonnatus, a Catholic cardinal from the13th century. Instead, the city took its name from a native sheepherder called Ramon. And later, the San honorific was added to align with Spanish language custom.
In 1851, the first wood frame house was erected in San Ramon. Soon after, the city went through a small housing boom. A post office popped up in 1852 and was followed shortly after by a church, a general store, a grammar school, a jail, and various saloons, washhouses, and blacksmith shops.
At the turn of the century, Bishop Ranch started growing Bartlett pears. At the time, it was considered to be the largest single orchard of Bartlett pears in the world. Looking back, the history of Bishop Ranch has taken many unexpected turns over the years. It started off as a livestock ranch featuring award-winning sheep. Later it diversified its focus with walnuts and pears. Today it has morphed into a vibrant business center. Chevron Corp, for example, calls Bishop Ranch home, as does the west coast offices of AT&T Inc. What a trip it’s been—from herds of purebred sheep, to delicious pears, to a huge business center complex.
San Ramon is part of the Tri-Valley community of cities in Northern California’s East Bay. It shares a flourishing expanse of vineyards with its surrounding neighbors. Nearby Livermore Valley, just 16 miles away from San Ramon, is home to more than 50 wineries. The entire Tri-Valley region is one of the last non-commercialized, independent wine hotspots in the United States. And it exists as a valid alternative to the crowded and expensive wine culture in Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley.
San Ramon has played a big part in Northern California’s ongoing history. Not just a suburb of Oakland, Berkeley, or San Francisco, it has developed a personality separate from metropolitan areas close by. Here’re a few more random facts about the fourth largest city in Contra Costa County:
The Southern Pacific Railroad came to San Ramon in 1891. This helped accelerate development in the surrounding valley and allowed freight in the form of produce and passengers to travel to freely throughout the year.
The Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site is just four miles outside of town in Danville. The playwright lived in the area for a short time, and that’s where he wrote his Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, “Long Day’s Journey into Night”.
Remember the women’s U.S. soccer team from 1996? Hometown gal, Tiffany Roberts (now Roberts Sahaydak) was on the field when the squad beat China for the Gold Medal.
Because of its attention to urban and community forestry programs, the National Arbor Day Foundation anointed San Ramon as Tree City USA in 2001.
In 2002, San Ramon dedicated Memorial Park to the memory of Tom Burnett. Along with 40 other passengers and crewmembers, Burnett died in an airplane crash in rural Pennsylvania a year earlier on September 11th.