Orinda, California - Located
in the San Francisco East Bay over the hill or through the Caldecott Tunnel
on Highway 24 from Oakland and Berkeley, Orinda is a beautiful city tucked
into green hills and valleys away from the San Francisco fog. Primarily a commuter
city, the homes are mostly built on hillsides amongst eucalyptus and pines.
With beautiful houses (costing over a million dollars), wooded areas and a downtown region located in the
valley, Orinda enjoys sunnier days, warmer temperatures and a feeling of
escape from the big city life of San Francisco.
Orinda is served by a Bay Area
Rapid Transit District (BART) station which many commuters take into the
city. Incorporated in 1985, the city of 12.8 square-miles enjoys many
natural areas such as Tilden Park, San Pablo Reservoir, Briones Open Space,
and Lafayette Reservoir. The City has received the designation of
“Trail Town U.S.A.” by the American Hiking Association.
Orinda acquired its name from
the 17th century poet Katherine Fowler Philips who was known by her friends
as the "Matchless Orinda". In the late 1800's a local family named their
parcel of land Orinda Park for this favored author. Previous to that time in
1835 the Mexican government granted 13,326 acres of land to Joaquin Moraga
and his cousin Juan Bernal. This land grant was identified as Rancho Laguna
de los Palos Colorados. Moraga's Adobe, built in 1841, remains today on a
hill site above the present Del Rey Elementary School in Orinda. Although
the adobe is part of a private residence, it is a local and California state
The area south of Orinda lies on a portion of Rancho Laguna de los Palos
Colorados. Orinda's northern part lies on the 22,000-acre land grant known
as Rancho El Sobrante, which was received by Victor and Juan Castro from the
Mexican government in 1841.
Orinda Village was formed in 1924 and the Caldecott Tunnel opened in 1937.
The deLaveaga Station, the only remaining station of the California & Nevada
Railroad, was declared an historic landmark in the year 2000. Additional
Orinda landmarks include a 14+ acre site within the original Miner Ranch
property and original Orinda Store on Orinda Way.
deLaveaga Train Station, ca 1890
Things to do:
The Farmers' Market runs from May 1st to mid-November. Held on Saturdays
from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., it is located in Orinda Village, beginning at
the intersection of Orinda Way and Camino Sobrante.
Festival season runs from June to October at the beautiful Bruns Memorial
Amphitheater in Orinda. The Festival's conservatory operates throughout the
year, featuring programs for children, teenagers, young actors, teachers and
Orinda Film Festival features the best in Indie films. It includes 80 to 100
screenings, many held at the historic Orinda Theater. Location: Phone: (925)
Summer Concerts in Community
Center Park usually held Saturday evenings beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Theatre Square. The historic
Orinda Theatre, a beautifully refurbished art deco masterwork, is the
centerpiece of Orinda's Theatre Square with restaurants, offices and more
than 30 stores. (925/254-9060)
Independence Day celebration. The Orinda community celebrates Independence
Day every year.
Joaquin Moraga Adobe -
California Landmark #509 was built in 1841. It is the oldest remaining adobe
house in Contra Costa County. Built by Joaquin Moraga on a portion of
Ranchos Laguna de los Palos Colorados, a Mexican land grant awarded to
Joaquin Moraga and his cousin, Juan Bernal, in 1835. The adobe was restored
in 1941 by Mrs. James Irvine. It was remodeled and incorporated into a
home in 1964 by then owner Donald Manuel. The property was later owned by
the Claxton family.