Where’s Waldon: And Other Stories of East Bay Places

One of the more interesting aspects of census data are changing place names over the decades. This post is a little more lighthearted, less serious, and highlights some of the fun/historical/cool data from the census.

The focus of this post are places in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties in the San Francisco Bay Area, California.

Where’s Waldon?

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Waldon was a Census Designated Place (CDP), an unincorporated area in the middle of Contra Costa County, California. It only existed for the 2000 Census, and had a April 1, 2000 population of 5,133. Where the name “Waldon” came from, I have no idea (and neither does Wikipedia!) It was renamed for Census 2010 as “Contra Costa Centre” with a April 1, 2010 population of 5,364. It’s basically an “unincorporated island” around the Pleasant Hill BART station.

Alvarado and Decoto are former places in Alameda County. We have population values for Alvarado for 1870-1880 (315 and 364 persons); and for Decoto in 1950 (2,830 persons). These two unincorporated places merged to form the City of Union City, in 1959.

Castro Valley is the largest unincorporated place in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has population data from 1960 to the present. Other unincorporated places surrounding the City of Hayward include Ashland and Cherryland (population values from 1970-Present); Fairview (population values form 2000-Present); and San Lorenzo (population values for 1880, and then 1960 to Present).

I’ve never heard of Lorin before. Lorin is South Berkeley, with a population of 743 according to the 1890 Decennial Census. Lorin merged with Berkeley in the early 1900s, and the community name came into disuse.

Komondorski Village was an unincorporated community in Camp Parks, just east of Dublin. Komondorski had a 1960 population of 1,006. This was a challenge to research since the population spreadsheet I inherited had it spelled “Kamondorski.”

Niles is a part of the City of Fremont, but had separately reported population data in the 1880 (population 136) and 1950 Census (population 1,519). Niles is famous for being the site of Charlie Chaplin and Bronco Billy’s film studios in the early 20th Century. Other City of Fremont communities with population data include Centerville (1880 and 1950 Censuses); and San Jose Mission (1880 Census).

Temescal is now a neighborhood in north Oakland, and joined Oakland in 1897. Temescal has a 1890 population of 2,032. The name “Temescal” is derived from American Indian languages for “Sweat House.”

My spreadsheet has a place called “Goldengate” in Alameda County, with a 1890 population of 788 persons. I can’t find reference to “Goldengate” on the WWW, but I’m suspecting it’s West Berkeley. Maybe I’ll have to go to a real library to figure this one out!

Well, this post is getting a bit long, so I’ll tackle Contra Costa County another day!

 

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