Where’s Waldon? Places in Contra Costa County (Part 2)

Today’s post examines the interesting places in Contra Costa County, California. Yesterday I posted about Waldon, which is now Contra Costa Centre. Waldon/CCC is a small unincorporated “island” between Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill, just around the Pleasant Hill BART station.

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Mountain View is not just a City in Santa Clara County, but also an unincorporated “census designated place” (CDP) in Contra Costa County. (This was a big headache for me in my former career, when the Census Bureau showed a massive increase in commuters from Contra Costa County to Santa Clara County. I questioned the Bureau folks about this, and they found out that they had mis-coded Mountain View CDP to Mountain View City. Thankfully they corrected the data! This was in the early 2000s, and was before Google boomed to be one of the largest employers in Silicon Valley. I thought it was due to the Kaiser Hospital in Martinez being in the Mountain View CDP, but I’m not sure about this.)

The 2010 Census added eleven new unincorporated places (CDPs) in Contra Costa County:

  1. Acalanes Ridge CDP (Population 1,137)
  2. Alhambra Valley CDP (Population 924)
  3. Camino Tassajara CDP (Population 2,197)
  4. Castle Hill CDP (Population 1,299)
  5. Montalvin Manor CDP (Population 2,876)
  6. Norris Canyon CDP (Population 957)
  7. North Gate CDP (Population 679)
  8. North Richmond CDP (Population 3,717)
  9. Reliez Valley CDP (Population 3,101)
  10. San Miguel CDP (Population 3,392) (Not to be confused with the San Miguel CDP in northern San Luis Obispo County!)
  11. Shell Ridge CDP (Population 959)

It seems the Contra Costa County planners were busy before the 2010 Census to make sure that all or most of Contra Costa County residents were counted in either incorporated or unincorporated places!!

These eleven communities existed before 2010: they were just created to provide convenience and better neighborhood statistics for county and local planners and officials. Unfortunately, the wikipedia pages don’t provide an etymology (Toponymy, to be precise) of the origins of these particular place names.

Saranap is an interesting place with data compiled from the 1950, 1960 and 2010 decennial censuses (2010 population: 5,202). Saranap was a train stop on the Sacramento Northern inter-urban railway, and was named after the railroad developer’s daughter (Sara Napthaly). It’s an unincorporated county island between Lafayette and Walnut Creek.

Other bygone places names (aka ghost towns), associated with the Black Diamond Mines in eastern Contra Costa County, include:

And lastly these posts on Alameda and Contra Costa County places shouldn’t omit the community of Canyon. Canyon is a small backroads community between Oakland and Moraga, and yet is not an officially recognized “Census Designated Place” even though there is a Canyon post office! Why? I don’t really know.

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