Pleasanton (formerly, Alisal and Pleasonton) is a city in Alameda County,California, incorporated in 1894. It is a major suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area located about 25 miles (40 km) east of Oakland, and 6 miles west of Livermore. The population in July 2007: 66,544 at the 2000 census. In 2005 and 2007, Pleasanton was ranked the wealthiest middle-sized city in the United States by the Census Bureau. Pleasanton is home to the headquarters of Safeway Inc., Oracle and Kaiser Permanente have offices in Hacienda Business Park. Although Oakland is the Alameda County seat, a few county offices and a courthouse are located in Pleasanton. Additionally, the main county jail is in the neighboring city of Dublin. The Alameda County Fairgrounds are located in Pleasanton, and the annual County Fair is held there during the last week of June and the first week of July. Shadow Cliffs Regional Park is located on the east side of town.
Pleasanton was founded by Ben, an Alameda County justice of the peace, and named after his friend, Union army cavalry Major General Alfred Pleasonton. A typographical error by a U.S. Postal Service employee apparently led to the current spelling. One of the earliest houses built in the valley in 1854 is still standing and serves as the centerpiece of the Alviso Adobe Community Park. In the 1850s, the town was nicknamed "The Most Desperate Town in the West" and it was ruled by bandits and desperados. Main Street shootouts were not uncommon. Banditos such as Joaquin Murrieta, upon whom the legend of Zorro is based, would ambush prospectors on their way back from the gold rush fields and then seek refuge in Pleasanton. This reputation passed and in 1917, Pleasanton became the backdrop for the film Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, which starred Mary Pickford. The town was once home to Phoebe Apperson Hearst, who lived in a 50-room mansion on a 2,000 acre (8 km²) estate, now the site of Castlewood Country Club.
Pleasanton is located at and is adjacent to Hayward, Livermore, and Dublin. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 21.8 square miles (56.5 km²), of which, 21.7 square miles (56.1 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (0.78%) is water. On the east side of town on Stanley Blvd. near the Livermore border is Shadow Cliffs Regional Park, a lake that holds swimming, fishing, boating, and a waterslide. On the west side is the Pleasanton Ridge with the two parks Pleasanton Ridge and Augustin Bernal Park. Much of Pleasanton is drained by the Arroyo del Valle and Arroyo Mocho watercourses. Pleasanton lies along the route of the historic First Transcontinental Railroad.(37.672530, -121.882517)
|Weather data for Pleasanton, California|
|Record high °F (°C)||75 |
|Average high °F (°C)||58 |
|Average low °F (°C)||37 |
|Record low °F (°C)||17 |
|Precipitation inches (mm)||2.99 |
|Source: The Weather Channel 2008-04-24|
Because of the preservation of Pleasanton's historic downtown area, many examples of architectural styles dating back to the mid-1800s exist. Buildings in Gothic Revival, Pioneer, Italianate, Commercial Italianate, Colonial Revival, and Queen Anne styles can be found within walking distance of each other.
One of the icons of downtown Pleasanton is the Kolln Hardware building, located at 600 Main Street. It is designed in the Commercial Italianate style, but the prominent five-sided corner tower and a few other features are indicative of the Colonial Revival style. The structure mixes in a little bit of Queen Anne design in the tower and gable. This building was built in 1890 and has always housed a hardware store, first by the Lewis Brothers, then Cruikshank and Kolln. The hardware store has been known as Kolln Hardware since 1933. Only recently, in 2004, Kolln Hardware shut its doors. Bud Cornett, a Pleasanton developer, purchased the landmark and has invested in its renovation and earthquake retrofitting. After more than 100 years serving the community as a hardware store, Comerica Bank is set to take over the space.
La Hacienda del Pozo de Verona (The House of the Wellhead of Verona) was another Pleasanton landmark that was destroyed by a fire in 1969. Construction was originally started by architect A.C. Schweinfurth for William Randolph Hearst in the 1890s. Phoebe Apperson Hearst had the hacienda remodeled and expanded by architect Julia Morgan for use as her primary residence after her husband died. The estate was built upon a 453-acre rancheria obtained in 1886 by George Hearst, who intended to use the location for a race horse farm. The name was inspired by the circular, carved marble wellhead purchased by Phoebe and William in Verona, Italy and installed in the middle of the courtyard. The hacienda was the only female-owned estate to be mentioned in Porter Garnett's Stately Homes of California. The architecture of the hacienda has been called California Mission style by various sources. The original architect used the term "provincial Spanish Renaissance", while Garnett wrote it would be more accurately called "Hispano-Moresque".Moorish influence was found throughout the estate, such as in the guardhouses which stood on either side of the courtyard entrance. The hacienda was topped by imported red Spanish tiles and had undecorated walls of white stucco. After Phoebe's death in 1919, William had the wellhead and other furniture and objects moved to Hearst Castle at San Simeon and sold the estate.
Pleasanton continues to maintain a small town flavor with regular events for the community. Every Saturday morning the Farmers' Market sets up on Angela, off Main Street. The Alameda County Fair runs annually at the Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. The Fairgounds in Pleasanton are also home to California's Biggest Scottish Highland Games once a year.
For many years, the Pleasanton Downtown Association has organized and held the popular First Wednesday celebrations from May through September. On every first Wednesday of those summery months, Main Street is blocked to traffic and adopts a street fair atmosphere. Each First Wednesday celebration is given a different theme and planned with related activities. Typically the first First Wednesday's theme is Cinco de Mayo since May is the first month for these street parties. At this local event, businesses and organizations from downtown and around the Tri-Valley set up booths in the center of the street. A local band performs in the Round Table Pizza parking lot, which is closed off for dancing. The parking lot is also set up as a kind of beergarden, with beer and wine available for consumption.
Another Pleasanton Downtown Association tradition is the Friday Concerts in the Park series. Every Friday from June until September the PDA schedules different local bands to perform in the evenings at the Lions' Wayside Park off of First Street. The events are free of charge and draw a crowd. Locals will start laying out blankets in the park on Friday mornings as a way to reserve a spot. The music is generally eclectic. Past acts have included Tommy and the Four Speeds, The CoolTones, Night Fever Band, Night Shift, Midnight Hour, Magic Moments, La Ventana and Public Eye.
Due to its central location within the "Tri-Valley," a group of neighboring cities including Livermore, and Dublin, Pleasanton is home to most of the local media. This includes cable access station TV30, radio station 101.7 KKIQ, and newspapers Pleasanton Weekly, Tri-Valley Herald and Valley Times.
Pleasanton experienced a major economic boom starting in the early 1980s, largely associated with the development of a number of business parks, the largest of which is the Hacienda Business Park. These host a number of campus-like clusters of low-rise and medium-rise office buildings. Pleasanton has been successful in attracting a number of corporate headquarters, such as those of Safeway, Inc., Thoratec Corporation, Polycom, Shaklee Corporation, and Ross Stores. Despite an increase in office space vacancy rates in 2000–2004, economic development has remained strong through the middle of the decade.
Pleasanton was also the headquarters of the former PeopleSoft, Inc. (which was acquired by Oracle Corporation), Documentum (which was acquired by EMC Corporation), E-Loan (which was acquired by Popular, Inc.), Spreckels Sugar Company (which was acquired by Imperial Holly) and the home loan operation of Providian (which was acquired by Washington Mutual, itself later acquired by JPMorgan Chase). Oracle maintains the former Peoplesoft campus as a major division and is the second-largest employer in Pleasanton, behind Safeway. In addition, Pleasanton is the site of a large AT&T campus.
Other companies with major operations in Pleasanton include Hitachi High Technologies America, Inc., Sage Software (Accpac, etc.), CooperVision, Clorox, Fireside Bank, Roche, BMC Software, Applied Biosystems, EMC Corporation, Portrait Displays, Inc. and Symantec.
In the retailing field, Pleasanton has one major regional mall (Stoneridge Shopping Center) and a number of other shopping centers. Most national and regional retailers have a Pleasanton location; besides the anchor tenants Nordstrom, Macy's, Sears, and JC Penney at Stoneridge, notable large stores elsewhere in the city include Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Kohl's, and Borders Books.
In addition to the business parks and retail centers, Pleasanton is known for its lively downtown, which is home to a number of fine-dining, casual, and ethnic restaurants, specialty retailers, and service businesses. A redesign of Main Street in the 1990s emphasized pedestrian traffic and outdoor dining.
According to the latest U.S. Census information, Pleasanton is the wealthiest midsize city in the nation. In 2005, the median household income in Pleasanton was $101,022, the highest income for any city with a population between 65,000 and 249,999 people. Similarly, for 2007, the median household income rose to $113,345, also the highest in the category.
As of the census of 2000, there were 63,654 people, 23,311 households, and 17,390 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,938.1 people per square mile (1,134.1/km²). There were 23,968 housing units at an average density of 1,106.3/sq mi (427.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.44% White, 3.38% African American, 0.33% Native American, 10.69% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 2.35% from other races, and 3.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.87% of the population.
There were 23,311 households out of which 40.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.7% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.4% were non-families. 19.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.15.
In the city the population was spread out with 28.2% under the age of 18, 5.5% from 18 to 24, 33.4% from 25 to 44, 25.3% from 45 to 64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.3 males.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $113,345, and the median income for a family was $131,048. Males had a median income of $95,465 versus $60,493 for females. The per capita income for the city was $51,623. About 3.6% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.4% of those under age 18 and 3.8% of those age 65 or over.
Pleasanton has a council-manager form of local government. The City Council consists of: Mayor, Jennifer Hosterman; Vice Mayor, Cheryl Cook-Callio; Councilmembers, Cindy McGovern; Matt Sullivan; and Jerry Thorne. The City Manager is Nelson Fialho.
In the state legislature Pleasanton is located in the 10th Senate District, represented by Democrat Ellen Corbett, and in the 15th, 18th, and 20th Assembly Districts, represented by Democrat Joan Buchanan, Democrat Mary Hayashi, and Democrat Alberto Torrico respectively. Federally, most of Pleasanton is in California's 11th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +1 and is represented by Democrat Jerry McNerney. A small part of Pleasanton is in the 13th district, which has a Cook PVI of D +22 and is represented by Democrat Pete Stark.
Pleasanton is situated at the crossroads of two major Interstate Highways, I-580 and I-680, which mirror the prehistoric crossroutes of Native American tribes who used the precursor paths as major trading routes. This fact was first discovered with the excavations for Hacienda Business Park, revealing significant tribal artifacts and human skeletal remains.
The eastern terminus of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) commuter train system's Dublin/Pleasanton - SFO/Millbrae Line is located in Pleasanton. Another station, the West Dublin/Pleasanton station, is under construction in the median of I-580 just west of the I-680 interchange between the Castro Valley and Dublin/Pleasanton stations. Construction estimates for this station are $100 million, with funding coming from a unique public-private partnership and transit-oriented development (TOD) project on adjacent BART-owned property. Construction on the station began in October 2006, and is slated for completion in 2009.
Pleasanton's two comprehensive high schools, Amador Valley and Foothill, are ranked by Newsweek among the top 400 high schools in the nation. There are also two continuation high schools: Village and Horizon; the latter is for school age mothers and young fathers. There are a number of private schools in Pleasanton, including Carden West School and Hacienda School.