History of San Ramon
In 1895 attorney Thomas Bishop acquired 3,000 acres of Norris land (after a divorce case in which Bishop's law firm represented Margaret Norris). The Bishop Ranch raised cattle and sheep and was planted to hay, grain, diversified fruit crops and walnuts. Bishop Shropshire purebred sheep earned numerous awards. The Ranch was partially irrigated from an underground aquifer and at one point possessed the world's largest single orchard of Bartlett pears.The San Ramon Community Hall became the community's center early in 1911, drawing farm and ranch families to dances, school programs and plays. It was still standing in 1960. Residents belonged to several community groups over the years, including the Danville Grange No. 85, Odd Fellows, SRV Farm Bureau Women, Rebeccas, Ramona Club, and Mother's Club.
Modern San RamoN
As with the entire Tri-Valley, agriculture was the basis for San Ramon economy until suburban development began. In 1966 the new Interstate 680 freeway was completed through San Ramon to Dublin. For years a sign "San Ramon Population 100" accurately reflected the number of people in the area, with the whole San Ramon Valley having just over 2000 people for many decades.
The designation "San Ramon Village" first appeared in the 1970 census with a count of 4,084 people, part of a San Ramon Valley population of 25,899. Developers Ken Volk and Bob McClain built the first San Ramon suburban homes close to the county line. A special district, the Valley Community Services district (VCSD) provided the water, parks, sewer, fire protection and garbage collection for the new homes.
In 1970 Western Electric purchased 1,733 acres of the Bishop Ranch and proposed a "new town" complete with a variety of housing, green belts, stores and light industry, placed in the center of San Ramon. Eventually part of the land became new homes and, in 1978, 585 acres became today's Bishop Ranch Business Park, a premier modern office development.
Before San Ramon incorporated, homeowners groups such as the South San Ramon Homeowners and the Homeowners Association of Twin Creeks represented residents' interests before the county. They joined service clubs and others in providing a local voice as developments replaced orchards.
In 1983 San Ramon voters decided overwhelmingly to incorporate as a separate city and took control over development, police, parks and other services. A new library, community center, parks and hospital testify to the energy which the new city displayed. No longer a quiet outskirt of the Bay Area, San Ramon looks to the future and values its past.
Produced by the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, 205 Railroad Ave., Danville 94562 (925) 837-3750, www.museumsrv.org. More historical information is available at the museum.