City of Richmond
North of Berkeley and El Cerrito, the historic city of Richmond stretches from the bay all the way to Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, which runs along the crest and into the canyons of the easternmost hills of the coast range. A transportation hub, there is a combined BART Station and Amtrak Station, and a quick commute to Marin County as well as an alternative route into San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge. It is also within easy reach of the I-80 corridor to San Francisco.
In 1895, Augustin S. Macdonald visited Point Richmond and conceived the idea of a transcontinental rail terminal and ferry service to provide a direct route from Richmond to San Francisco. Macdonald presented his idea to the Santa Fe Railroad and in 1899 the railroad established its western terminus in Point Richmond. The first overland passenger train arrived in Richmond from Chicago in 1900. In 1901, Santa Fe moved its shops to Richmond and the Standard Oil Company built its refinery.
In 1905, Richmond’s 2,118 citizens voted to incorporate as a city, but it wasn’t until the 1940’s that Richmond’s population boomed. Between January 1941 and August 1945, its bustling World War II era shipyards provided jobs to 90,000 people, most of whom came to the city from elsewhere for the employment. Richmond’s Rosie the Riveter / World War II Home Front National Historical Park preserves and interprets the stories and places of our nation’s home front response to World War II.
Richmond’s 32 miles of shoreline provide a home for a marina, two yacht clubs, California’s third-largest deepwater shipping port, and a newly developed bayside trail for walking, birding, or simply enjoying the unobstructed views of Mt. Tamalpais, the Golden Gate Bridge, and San Francisco. It also enjoys many large parks, including Alvarado Park, an expansive, lovely natural area adjacent to Tilden Park, and Point Molate, a former U.S. Navy facility. Richmond’s many public festivals include the Cinco de Mayo Festival, the Juneteenth Parade, the Richmond Homefront Festival, and a wonderful Fourth of July Festival celebrated July 3rd with a spectacular firework display and live symphonic music in the recently renovated Ford Motor Assembly Plant on the bay. Another feature of Richmond is the Richmond Art Center, known as one of the best places in the East Bay for art classes of all kinds.
As with any large city, Richmond is made up of many neighborhoods, among them are Richmond Annex (The Richmond Annex Neighborhood Council), Richmond North and East (North and East Neighborhood Council), Richmond View (which even has some horse stables in the hills bordering Wildcat Canyon), Point Richmond, Marina Bay and Brickyard Cove.
Richmond still offers relatively affordable housing in comparison to neighboring cities, and it continues to attract businesses. A successful new shopping mall was put in on McDonald Avenue with a Target, bank, and many other popular businesses. Hilltop Mall offers many shopping choices, and San Pablo Avenue is lined with a variety of great inexpensive restaurants with cuisine from countries all over the world including Vietnamese, Salvadoran, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, American barbecue and an assortment of fast food chains.
Richmond Annex is a safe, stable neighborhood comprised mostly of well-tended and attractive two- and three-bedroom bungalows on tree-lined streets. The affordability factor allows many first-time buyers to enjoy pride of ownership. Eighty percent of the homes are owner occupied.
The Annex has a tight-knit sense of community, with a neighborly sense of helping each other out. The Richmond Annex Neighborhood Council meets one a month and acts as a “Watch Dog” group looking out after the interests of those who live here. The Senior Center on Huntington Ave. has long been a great social meeting place. There are two Tot Lots where the smaller residents have a great time playing to their hearts’ content.
Point Isabel just a couple minutes west on the Bay, where acres and acres of shoreline await canine friends who are delighted to be able to cavort freely off leash.
The residents here love the location and the ability they have to get anywhere in Albany and Berkeley quickly, as well hopping on the I-80 freeway in seconds. The Annex residents walk to shops, great restaurants, an organic grocery store and even a beautifully rennovated Art Deco Movie theater.
The larger Bay Area cities are easily accessible via BART and AC Transit bus. San Francisco is about a 20 minute commute. Marin is about 15 minutes away.
Marina Bay (Marina Bay Neighborhood Council), along with Brickyard Cove, is a most prestigious Richmond address. Residents of this upscale enclave enjoy spectacular views and waterfront activities right at their doorstep.
The properties here are comprised of luxurious waterfront homes, townhouse developments and high-rise condominiums and are occupied by professionals, affluent retirees and vacation homeowners.
Popular with boaters and yachtsmen, the Marina Bay (Marina Bay Yacht Club) basin has near perfect sailing conditions. Because it is protected by nearby Tiburon and Angel Island, sailors usually enjoy sunny weather, smooth water and steady breezes. The Point Richmond Yacht Club is on the west side of the hill.
Several grassy areas and parks dot the modern waterfront, and walkers, joggers and cyclists all take advantage of the spectacular bayside paths.
North and East
Neat rows of charming bungalow homes, shady trees and playing children are familiar sights in the pleasant Richmond neighborhood known as North and East.
An affordable alternative to similar neighborhoods in other East Bay communities, North and East is a popular place for first time homeowners, new families and young singles to settle down.
Residents here enjoy access to all the parks, beaches and waterfront activities and amenities of Richmond as well as a plethora of nearby retail centers. Additionally, North and East is near the Richmond Art Center, a nationally recognized contemporary visual arts and education center exhibiting the work of emerging Bay Area artists and offering instruction to children and adults through year-round classes and workshops in a variety of artistic mediums.
Part of the City of Richmond, this charming, quaint waterfront town affectionately known as the “Richmond Riviera” is minutes from every convenience, yet at the same time worlds away. It’s the type of place where you can stroll along the water, enjoy the cool bay breezes and enjoy breathtaking sunsets.
Residents of this friendly, pedestrian-oriented urban village are within walking distance to independently owned shops, galleries, grocery stores, cafes, restaurants, parks, beaches, a public library and even a community playhouse. The beautiful 1926 natatorium known locally as “The Plunge” was recently renovated and reopened on August 13th 2010. It offers free swimming sessions to the public.
Point Richmond was once an island surrounded by marshland. It also was Richmond’s central downtown area from the late 19th century until the early 20th century, when the present downtown superseded it as the busiest part of town. As the oldest neighborhood in Richmond, Point Richmond is dotted with historic Victorian homes, many lovingly restored to their original grandeur. A large number of homes in this area enjoy stunning daytime and evening bay views. Many residents are sailors with boats at the local marina and yacht club. Brickyard Cove features a large well-designed condominium complex with unparalleled Bay views, plus waterside contemporary homes, on the west hillside of Point Richmond.
Point Richmond has access to excellent public transportation, including the Richmond BART and Amtrak Station, and bus service into San Francisco and surrounding communities. San Francisco is 35 minutes by freeway and the city of Oakland is a 20-minute drive.
One of the last neighborhoods in the Berkeley/El Cerrito Hills Range where you can find beautiful view homes at really affordable prices, Richmond View is a genuine neighborhood. Made up of an unusually wide diversity of people, it is a friendly place where people know each other and help each other when needed.
Because it abuts both Wildcat Canyon Park and the El Cerrito Golf Club, many residents are people who are drawn to the natural quiet of this almost rural area. There is an excellent corner store in the neighborhood offering fine food, much of it organic, and it is just a five-minute drive to larger stores such as Safeway, fine restaurants, and the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station. This is the kind of great neighborhood that people grown up in and then stay to raise their own kids.
Despite its name, much of Richmond View is actually in unincorporated Contra Costa County. Some people also call it East Richmond Heights.
A town with a country feeling, near regional parks, the San Pablo Reservoir which is open for hiking and fishing and wonderful Tilden Park. This scenic valley is governed by both the city of Richmond and the county. Most of the newer developments are within Richmond, although many residents say they live in El Sobrante to avoid confusion. The newer developments are quite nice with attractive homes, many with pleasant hill views. The older, unincorporated neighborhoods range from standard ranch style homes to horse properties. The weather is usually warmer in El Sobrante than towns closer to the bay and avoids the morning and evening fog off the bay.
All the schools are in the West Contra Costa Unified School District, and there are also several well respected private schools. El Sobrante is only 14 miles from the Bay Bridge toll plaza. The San Pablo Dam Road goes directly to Orinda in East Contra Costa. Depending on where you live in El Sobrante, it can be more convenient to drive to the Orinda BART station to commute to San Francisco.
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Catherine@CatherineKrueger.com 7502 Fairmount Avenue
El Cerrito, CA 94530