History of Oakley, California


Oakley is a city located in the county of Contra Costa, California , USA. This falls within the San Francisco Bay Area of nine counties. The population was 35,432 at the 2010 census. Oakley was incorporated into Contra Costa County in 1999 making it the newest incorporated city. Oakley is part of the East Contra Costa Bicycle Plan which includes existing facilities in Oakley as well as plans to expand further. The name "oak" comes from the abundance of oak trees, while the suffix "-ley" comes from the Old English word for "field" or "meadow".


Native Americans Society


The archeologists identified prehistoric sites in the area of Oakley. In the early 20th century, one large shell mound was found near what is now the town's east side. The California Historical Resources Information System’s Northwest Information Center now keeps track of archeological research being carried out in Oakley. In the past 25 years , approximately three dozen such ventures have been completed, yielding just four prehistoric sites in town. The information center, however, believes there is a strong probability that other prehistoric sites will remain within the area.


Attributed to the Bay Miwoks, who inhabited the area between 1100 and 1770 AD, are the first records of known cultural culture in the west delta. The Bay Miwok people, generally referred to by European explorers as the Julpunes or Pulpunes, were organized into "tribelets"—political units that included many relatively permanent villages and a collection of seasonal campsites spread over a well-defined territory.


Spanish Exploration


In the 1770s, Spanish incursions into the Oakley area began. The De Anza expedition of 1775–76 was the first to reach what are now the city limits. Nevertheless, the De Anza expedition returned to Monterey after a failed effort to find a way across the tule swamps toward the Sierra. Subsequent Spanish expeditions did not contribute to colonisation. In the 19th century , Europeans arrived in the Delta, but had been ravaged by malaria and smallpox.


Contemporary History


The name Oakley is of Old English origin and its meaning is "meadow of oak trees". This accurately defines the area when it was first settled and even today, to some degree. The town may have been called Dewey if not for the flip of a coin and cribbage board. It could have been a dew-drop instead of the Oak Leaf emblem. Randolph Marsch, the city's founder, decided to name Dewey, after Admiral Dewey. During the Spanish – American War, Mr. Marsh was impressed by Admiral Dewey 's exploits at the Battle of Manila Bay. His brother J.T. Whightman chose the name "Oakley," as the property was mostly meadows and oaks. They fought over a cribbage game to find out which name would prevail. Marsh may have lost the game and the right to name the town; however, Marsh ensured his immortality by choosing names of street centres: Main, Acme, Ruby, Star and Home, the first initials were spelled as "Marsh."


Oakley founded its first post office in 1898, and only 101 years later in 1999, Oakley became an integrated city. The motto of the town is, "A Place for Families in the Heart of the Delta.”


The vineyards are still in Oakley; most have been here since the end of the 1800s. Early Portuguese and Italian immigrants encountered a Mediterranean climate that they left behind and planted thousands of acres of vineyards. Some of California’s oldest, over 100-year-old, and rarest grapevines continue to be produced here in Oakley.


For Zinfandel, a variety of red wine grapes, almost 80% of Oakley 's approximately 700 hectares is planted. Other grape varieties in Oakley include: Mourvèdre, a red grape used to produce both solid, dark red and rosé wines; Carignane, another red grape, is one of the most commonly available grapes in the world. Such three varieties also make up much of the ancient vines of Oakley (aged 80 – 120).


Other grapes are cultivated in Oakley: Palomino is a white grape; Sémillon is a golden-skinned grape; other red grapes include; Grenache, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Barbera and Alicante Bouschet. The grape production of Oakley can be measured conservatively at approximately 2000 tons. Such grapes are sold to many local wineries including: Cline, Bogel, Bonnie Dunes, The Three Wine Company, Lucca Winery, Gallo and Rosenblum Cellars.

This amazing city prides the following parks:


  • Big Break Regional Shoreline

  • Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge

  • Nunn-Wilson Family Park

  • Antioch Bridge

  • Antioch/Oakley Regional Shoreline 

  • Contra Costa Canal

  • Sherman Island

  • Pistachio Park


And of course, if you are in need of an amazing dentist, call Balfour Dental today or stop by for a visit at our office located at 100 Cortona Way!

View from the Park

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