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Richmond Photographs

Richmond is a city in western Contra Costa County, California, United States. It is in the East Bay, part of the San Francisco Bay Area. It almost surrounds the city of San Pablo, and the unincorporated areas of North Richmond, El Sobrante, and East Richmond Heights. Bay Area Rapid Transit and Amtrak share a station in Richmond, which serves as a regional transit interchange. The city is headed by mayor Irma A. Anderson. As of the July 1, 2005 US Census estimate, the city has a population of 102,186, while the California Department of Finance estimates the city's population at 103,468, as of January 1, 2006. This makes Richmond the 56th largest in the state behind Berkeley and ahead of Santa Clara, which are both Bay Area neighbors.

History

Burns Family of 124 10th Street, Richmond (1910)
Burns Family of 124 10th Street, Richmond (1910)

Richmond was founded and incorporated in 1905, carved out of the Rancho San Pablo, from which the nearby town of San Pablo has inherited its name. Until 1919 the city had the largest winery in the world and the small but abandoned village of Winehaven remains fenced off along Western Drive in the Point Molate Area. In the 1920s the Ku Klux Klan was active in the city. In 1931 Ford Motor Company opened an assembly plant in the south side of town; it is now on the National Register, has undergone major rehab, and is now in the process of leasing out space to businesses, the National Park Service, and others.  The Ford Company moved to Milpitas in 1955, not the 1970s.. The plant moved to Milpitas in the 1970s. The city was a small town at that time, until the onset of World War II which brought on a rush of migrants and a boom in the industrial sector. The former Standard Oil set up operations here in 1901, including a refinery (now the Chevron refinery) and tank farm, and a pier into San Francisco Bay south of Point Molate for small oil tankers. The western terminus of the Santa Fe Railroad was established in Richmond with ferry connections at Ferry Point in the Brickyard Cove area of Point Richmond to San Francisco.

The San Pablo ferries passengers across the San Francisco bay
The San Pablo ferries passengers across the San Francisco bay

During World War II, four of the Kaiser Shipyards were established along the Richmond waterfront, employing thousands of workers, many recruited from around the United States. Many of these workers were housed in specially-constructed houses scattered throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including Richmond, Berkeley and Albany. A specially-built rail line, the Shipyard Railway, transported these workers to the shipyards. Kaiser's Richmond shipyards built 747 Victory and Liberty ships for the war effort, more than any other site in the U.S. The 747 ships were not all Liberty and Victory ships.  Other types were built as well.  Though Liberty and Victory were certainly the most numerous.

The city broke many records and even built one large liberty ship in a record seven days. Even over the entire wartime period, the average is closer to one every 2 days The Kaiser shipyards averaged, at their peak, about one ship per day. The medical system established for the shipyard workers eventually became today's Kaiser Permanente HMO. One of Kaiser's medical centers is today located in Richmond.

Point Richmond had originally been the commercial hub of the city, but a new downtown arose in the center of the city. The new downtown was populated by many department stores such as Kress, J.C. Penney, Sears, Macy's, and Woolworth's. During the war the population increased dramatically and topped-off at around 99,000 residents in 1950. By 1960 the much (but not all) of the temporary housing built for those building ships for the Navy was torn down and the population dropped to about 71,000. Many of the people who moved to Richmond were black and came from the Midwest and South. Most of the white men were overseas at war and this opened up new opportunities for minorities and women. Women found a new sense of independence and did not all return to the home after the war. This era also brought with it the innovation of daycare for children, as a few women could care for several dozen women's children while most of the mothers went off to work in the factories and shipyards.

USS General A. W. Greely (AP-141) built in Richmond
USS General A. W. Greely (AP-141) built in Richmond

In the 1970s the Hilltop area was developed in the northern suburbs of the city which further depressed downtown. In the late 1990s and early 2000s the Richmond Parkway was built along the western industrial and northwestern parklands of the city connecting Interstates 80 and 580.

In the early 1900s, the Santa Fe railroad established a major rail yard adjacent to Point Richmond. The railroad constructed a tunnel through the Potrero San Pablo ridge to run a track from their yard to a ferry landing from which freight cars could be transshipped to San Francisco. Where this track crosses the main street in Point Richmond, there remain two of the last operational wigwag grade crossing signals in the United States, and the only surviving examples of the "upside-down" type. The wigwag is an obsolete type of railroad crossing signal which was phased out in the 1970s and 80s across the country. There was controversy in 2005 when the State Transportation Authority ordered the BNSF railroad company to upgrade the railroad crossing signs to the city's dismay. A compromise was reached that included installing new crossing equipment while not removing, but simply shutting off the historic ones and preserving their functionality for special events.

The Pullman Company also established a major facility in Richmond in the early 20th century . The facility connected with both the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific and serviced their passenger coach equipment. The Pullman Company was a large employer of African American men who worked mainly as porters on the Pullman cars, many of whom settled in the East Bay, from Richmond to Oakland, prior to World War II.

City's centennial logo
City's centennial logo

In 2006 the city will be celebrating its centennial. MacDonald Avenue the designated main street in the city's main street redevelopment project is being nicknamed the 100 years street and being remodeled partly for this reason. The city plans on welcoming another 100 years, while ceremoniously leaving the problems of the past behind.

Geography

Richmond is located at 3756′13″N, 12220′31″W (37.936874, -122.342057)GR1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 52.6 mi (136.2 km). 30.0 mi (77.6 km) of it is land and 22.6 mi (58.5 km) of it (42.98%) is water. The city enjoys 32 miles of waterfront, more than any other city in the Bay Area.

The city borders San Francisco Bay to the southwest and San Pablo Bay to the northwest, and includes Brooks Island and the Brother Islands entirely; and ⅓ of Red Rock Island.

Richmond's landscape as seen from the air
Richmond's landscape as seen from the air

There are several cities and unincorporated communities surrounding or bordering Richmond. To the south is the city of Albany which is in Alameda County and the city of El Cerrito. The cities and unincorporated areas of, East Richmond Heights, Rollingwood and, El Sobrante lie to the East. North Richmond to the west and San Pablo to the east are almost entirely surrounded by Richmond's city limits. To the north, Richmond borders the city of Pinole and the unincorporated areas of Bay view- Montalvin, and Tara Hills. Richmond borders Alameda, San Francisco, and Marin counties in the Bay and Red Rock Island.

Climate

Monthly Annual Rainfall
Month cm./in.
JAN 124.7/4.91
FEB 112.0/4.41
MAR 89.4/3.52
APR 34.3/1.35
MAY 13.7/0.54
JUN 4.3/0.17
JUL 1.8/0.07
AUG 2.3/0.09
SEP 6.9/0.27
OCT 31.8/1.25
NOV 88.1/3.47
DEC 83.8/3.30

Richmond, like much of the coastal East Bay, enjoys a very mild Mediterranean climate year round. The climate is slightly warmer than the coastal areas of San Francisco, the Peninsula, and Marin County; it is however more temperate than areas further inland. The average highs range from 57 F (14 C) to 73 F (23 C) and the lows between 43 F (6 C) to 56 F (13 C) year round. On average the warmest month is September and Richmond usually enjoys a strong "Indian Summer" every year; which is warmer than the "real" summer itself. January is on average the coldest month.

The highest recorded temperature in Richmond was 41.6C/107F in September 1971 while the coldest was -4.4C/24 F in January of 1990.

The rainy season begins in late October and ends in April with some showers in May. Most of the rain however occurs during stronger storms which occur between November and March and drop 3.3 to 4.91 inches of rain per month. January and February are the rainiest months.

Like most of the Bay Area, Richmond is made up of several microclimates. Southern parts of the city and the ridges receive more fog than northern areas. Summer temperatures are higher in inland areas, where the moderating influence of San Francisco Bay is lessened. The average windspeed is 6 to 9 miles per hour with stronger winds March through August, the strongest winds are in the month of June. The city also enjoys more than 80% sunshine 7 months out of the year and 10 with 60% or more. December and January are the darkest months with about 45% average brightness. The city experiences virtually no snowfall ever, and brief hail annually. The city is very humid in the morning with the lowest humidity being in the high 70%s. This may be due to San Francisco Bay's notorious fog and also the fact that a lot of Richmond lies on a flat coastal plain of predominantly reclaimed swamplands. Morning humidity is 75% to 92% year round, however afternoon humidity is more volatile. This percentage is in the high 20%s to mid 30%s May through October (the summer months) and climbs or descends through 40% to 70% during the winter bump.

Mean Annual Temperatures
Celsius Fahrenheit JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
High' High 14C/57 16/61F 17C/63F 19C/66F 20C/68F 22C/71F 21C/70F 22C/71F 23C/73F 22C/72F 18C/64F 14C/57F
Low Low 6C/43 7C/45F 8C/47F 9/48F 11C/51F 12C/54F 13C/55F 13C/56F 13C/56F 12C/53F 9C/48 6C/43F
[

Environment

An endangered California Clapper Rail
An endangered California Clapper Rail

Richmond is home to many species of animals. Canada Geese migrate and stop in the city annually. Harbor seals call the Castro Rocks home as Pigeons and Seagulls glitter the sidewalks and parking lots. Tadpoles and frogs can be found in the local creeks and vernal pools. Field mice and lizards rush about your feet in open spaces. Mosquitoes can prick and irritate the inhabitants to an extent, usually limitedly to moderately. Herons and Egrets can be found nesting in protected areas on Brooks Island. Deer, Falcons, Racoons, Ducks, Foxes, Owls, and Mountain Lions call Wildcat Canyon and Point Pinole Regional Shoreline home; as do horses in stables at the earlier. Crabs and other fish can be caught on one of the many fishing piers. A license is needed for fishing on the waterfront or city waters but not on the piers, where in addition to crabs, sturgeon are plentiful and popular. Striped bass, bay rays, leopard sharks, perch, kingfish, and flounders are also available. Lady Bugs, Humming Birds, and Bats are important in fertilizing local plantlife.

Endangered Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse
Endangered Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse

Richmond is one of the few places where you can find the rare Olympia Oyster on the west coast, near the polluted waters near the Chevron Refinery. Stray and domestic Cats, Ferretts, Squirrels, Moths, Dogs, and Rabbits roam the neighborhoods. Red-tail hawks patrol the skies as Crows perch on power lines. Sheep graze at Point Pinole. Monarch butterflies migrate through the city on their path between Mexico and Canada. Wildcat Marsh offers visitors two ponds where Canada geese often rest. The park also is the home of the endangered Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse and California Clapper Rail. There is also another endangered species in the city, the Santa Cruz Tarweed which remarkably survives on the patch of dirt alongside interstate 80. Bats can be seen flying at dusk. Wildcat Canyon also hosts falcons and vultures. The soils of the entire city are plentiful with ants and spiders. Snails can be found in most gardens.

Disasters

Map showing the Hayward fault running through the eastern Richmond hills and the hilltop area through to San Pablo Bay
Map showing the Hayward fault running through the eastern Richmond hills and the hilltop area through to San Pablo Bay
Map showing how the Loma Prieta earthquake effected Richmond and the Bay Area at large
Map showing how the Loma Prieta earthquake effected Richmond and the Bay Area at large

Richmond lies in the volatile California region that has a potential for devastating earthquakes. In the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake the city was effected with many buildings damaged. There was minor damage in the Richmond earthquake of 1995. The Napa and Gilroy tremors also were felt in Richmond and knocked objects over. The city has also had at least one minor tornado.

Various industries have released dangerous chemicals into the air in the city. This has reached a point where an emergency warning siren system has been installed to warn people to, "shelter in place", and "shelter, shut, and listen". The vast majority of the spills are from the Chevron oil refinery; which is one of two of the largest refineries in the state. The refinery usually releases Sulfur Trioxide and the local hospitals fill with patients complaining of burning eyes & skin, and sore throats. The refinery had ten accidents in ten years. The 10th accident occurred on 25 March 1999, when there was an explosion in one of the hydrocracking units, sending several hundred people to local hospitals with smoke-related injuries. The county's emergency warning sirens did not fire for 20 minutes after the explosion.

The General Chemical corporation released an immense amount of pollutants in 1993 causing western Contra Costa county and northwestern Alameda county to shut down for three days. People where asked to not leave their homes if at all possible during this time. Afterwards residents were asked to hose down the entire surface of their houses, lawns, backyard objects, and driveways to washout the pollutants. The company was forced out of town after the spill.

An oil refinery
An oil refinery

Demographics

Historical Population
1910 6,802
1920 16,843
1930 20,093
1940 23,642
1950 99,545
1960 71,854
1970 79,043
1980 74,676
1990 87,425
2000 99,216
Present 103,464

As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 99,216 people in the city and, 34,625 households, and 23,025 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,309.5/mi (1,277.8/km). There were 36,044 housing units at an average density of 1,202.3/mi (464.2/km). The racial makeup of the city was 31.36% White, 36.06% Black or African American, 0.64% Native American, 12.29% Asian, 0.50% Pacific Islander, 13.86% from other races, and 5.27% from two or more races. 26.53% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The city is the 44th Blackest in the nation by percentage tying with Chattanooga.

There were 34,625 households out of which 33.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.5% were married couples living together, 20.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.5% were non-families. 26.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.82 and the average family size was 3.44.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.7% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 94.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $44,210, and the median income for a family was $46,659. Males had a median income of $37,389 versus $34,204 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,788. About 13.4% of families and 16.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.1% of those under age 18 and 11.8% of those age 65 or over. Richmond has the 507th highest income in the state ahead of Isleton and behind Sun City

Statistically Richmond is the most dangerous city in California, surpassing Compton in 2006. For every 100,000 people there were 38.3 murders, 50.4 rapes, 485.8 robberies, 512 assaults, 1110.7 burglaries, 3497.4 counts or larceny and 2471.4 thefts of vehicles.

75.4% of denizens (over the age of 25) were high school graduates, while 22.4% have earned Bachelor's Degrees and 8.3% had a graduate or professional degree. 7.7% of the population was unemployed and those who were took 34.3 minutes to commute to their jobplace.

33.2% of the population (age 15 and over) has never married, while 46.3% is currently wed. 11.1% have already dovorced, 3.1% is currently separated, and 6.4% has been widowed.

20.6% of the population was born internationally; of which 15.4% in Latin America and 8.7% Asia.

During the daytime the population shrinks by 6.2% due to commuting while 23.3% of the population stays within the city limits for work. 20.5% of the jobs offered in the city are in the educational, health, and social service fields, while 10.9% are professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste disposal, and 10.4% is retail.

Economy

U.S.S. Oglala at the Port of Richmond
U.S.S. Oglala at the Port of Richmond

Many industries have been pursued in Richmond. It had a dynamite and gunpowder works (closed in 1960, now Point Pinole), the last active whaling station in the country at Point Molate (closed in 1971), and one of the world's largest wineries (closed by Prohibition in 1919).

During World War II Richmond was developed rapidly as a heavy industrial town, chiefly devoted to shipbuilding. Its major activity now is as a seaport, and 26 million tons of goods were shipped through Port Richmond in 1993, mostly oil and petroleum products. Chevron USA has a major oil refinery in the city, with a storage capacity of 15 million barrels (2,400 m). The Social Security Administration employs over 1,000 at its regional office and program service center in downtown Richmond. Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in the Downtown is one of the largest employers. Galaxy Desserts is run, operated, and manufactures deserts in the city. Treeskunk Productions a video game animation studio is based in the town. Bay View recording studios are located in the city, and have worked with artists such as Smash Mouth.

The city has been appraised as valuing at a total of US$8,123,083,355.

Top 27 Employers

This is a list of the top emplyoyers of the city. These range from retail giants like department stores and home improvement stores to local industries. The city is home to an immense refinary and also high-tech companies and labs.

  1. Chevron U.S.A. Inc.,
  2. The Permanente Medical Group,
  3. Berlex, Inc., pharmaceutical company
  4. Costco Wholesale,
  5. Macy's, department store
  6. California Austism Foudation,
  7. Palecek Imports, Inc.,
  8. Veriflo Division,
  9. The Home Depot,
  10. Dicon Fiberoptics, Inc.,
  11. QRS Corporation,
  12. TPMG Regional Laboratory,
  13. Sealy Mattress Company,
  14. Sears Roebuck & Company,
  15. Richmond Wholesale Meat Company,
  16. Alan Ritchey, Inc. - Postal Facility,
  17. Grace Baking Company,
  18. Mulberry Thai Silks, Inc.,
  19. Kaiser Permanente Optical Manufacturing,
  20. J.C. Penney Corporation,
  21. Kensington Laboratories, Inc.,
  22. MHN Services,
  23. Safeway Stores, Inc. Bakery,
  24. Sims Metal America,
  25. Foss Maritime Company,
  26. Making Waves Education Program,
  27. Wine Warehouse - North,

Business

The Hilltop Area includes Hilltop Mall, which features a Sears, J.C. Penney, Macy's, and many other chain stores. It also includes Hilltop Auto Mall and a movie multiplex with 16 theaters in the Hilltop Plaza shopping center. A controversial upscale Wal-Mart has been proposed to fill the vacant fourth anchor spot left vacant in the mall after the demise of Emporium-Capwells.

23rd street has gentrified into predominantly Latino neighborhood over the last twenty years. The businesses on this trunk route are now majority Latino owned/operated and oriented.

In the downtown area Richmond Shopping Center was built as part of the city's revitalization efforts.

Pacific East Mall on Pierce Street has many Asian stores and is the only Asian themed shopping center outside of the South Bay and San Francisco Peninsula.

MacDonald 80 Shopping Center is a very large commercial plot along the trunk route of MacDonald Avenue and was once anchored by the now defunct Montgomery Wards. After this store closed the shopping center turned into a ghost town, however the city is currently revitalizing it by attracting a large bix-box store to the area from neighboring El Cerrito.

Big-box stores in town include Costco in the Point Isabel area and a Home Depot, which is partially in Richmond and partially in El Cerrito.

Housing Boom

The former Kaiser Shipyards were transformed starting in the late 1980s into a multiunit residential area, the Marina.

Starting in the early 2000s the city began an aggressive redevelopment effort spurring exurban tract housing, condominiums, town homes, a transit village, and terraced hillside subdivisions. Since 1996 new homes have increased in price by 32% and 65.6% in total amount of new dwellings built annually.

Country Club vista is a development surrounding the Richmond Country Club to the south and north. It encompasses suburban style tract houses with cul-de-sac courts and small yards.

Sea cliff at Point Richmond is a development of luxury waterfront homes built on a terraced hillside in exclusive Point Richmond.

Between Hilltop Mall and Country Club Vista, San Marcos has popped up. It is a series of about ten condominium multistory buildings.

An artist's conception of the new station
An artist's conception of the new station

Richmond Transit Village has been constructed in the former west parking lot and an adjacent empty lot of the Richmond BART and Amtrak station. The development is part of the city's downtown revitalization efforts.

Casinos

Many casinos have been proposed for the West Contra Costa area. Point Molate would have a casino, resort, and a luxury shopping mall. Sugar Bowl Casino proposes a casino, steakhouse, and a buffet. Casino San Pablo has already been built in neighboring San Pablo; with 2,500 slots. The projects have been the subject of much civic debate supporters contend that the often cash-strapped government would get a major new source of revenue, while opponents air their concerns over the ramifications including an increase in already high crime rates, lowered property values, and worsening neighborhood quality of life.

 

Great American Boycott of 2006 The predominantly Latino storefronts of the 23rd Street business district were all closed for the general strike and the usually bustling district became tantamount to a one-day ghost town. Many Latinos from the area protested in San Francisco. There was also a protest in Richmond all on 23rd Street. One lane on 23rd Street was closed to allow traffic to pass. About 25,000 participated.

Richmond like all of California is served by Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein. In the House of Representatives however the city is served by Congressman George Miller. For state senate by Don Perata and state assembly member Loni Hancock. And finally at the county level by John Gioa.

In 2006 the city implemented a computer program that it had ordered from a German firm that provides the city with multifaceted statistical interactive maps. These maps cover such areas as singage locations, streets, crime hot-spots, and type of zoning.

Crime

The city of Richmond has in recent years suffered from a high crime rate, so serious that the mayor at one point requested a declaration of a state of emergency. Murder, vehicle theft and larceny rates are all high, although they tend to be concentrated in certain areas such as as the Iron Triangle and areas surrounding the unincorporated ghetto of North Richmond.

In 2006 Jos Santos Bonilla the regional leader of the Mara Salvatrucha better known as the MS-13, was arrested in Richmond by local police in conjunction with the FBI by a raid on a local residence where he was staying.

Schools

The public schools in Richmond are administered by the West Contra Costa School District, formerly the Richmond School District. This district encompasses the cities, towns, CDPs, and unincorporated areas of Western Contra Costa County. These include: Richmond, San Pablo, El Cerrito, Kensington, Pinole, Hercules, Rodeo, North Richmond, El Sobrante, Crockett, Bay view -Montalvin, Rollingwood, East Richmond Heights, and Tara Hills. There are also numerous private schools, mosty Catholic schools under the authority of the Oakland Diocese.

The city hosts eight high schools, three middles schools, sixteen elementary schools, and seven elementary-middle schools; there are also three adult education schools.

The Contra Costa Community College District serves the entire county attend classes at Contra Costa College, most of the campus is in San Pablo, although some of the land is in El Sobrante; it is sometimes mistakenly believed to be partially in Richmond.

Attractions and Landmarks

Point Richmond, which is in effect a town within Richmond is known for its small town charm and its quaint mom and pop shops. The Point, as it is known by locals offers visitors and locals alike owner-operated stores, coffee shops, and historic benches and streetlights. The Hotel Mac Restaurant has a reputation as being a good place to eat; this opinion however is far from universal.

Masquers Theature is a performing arts center that offers shows and productions year round. Hotel Mac is one of the oldest buildings in the area and has classic early 1900s architecture, along with many of the buildings found in the area it is over one hundred years old. There is also The Plunge, a Natatorium which is beloved by the community. It has been closed due to the building being unsafe for earthquake conditions and the city wanted to demolish it at one point, however this was halted by neighborhood opposition and a fundraising campaign continues to, "Save the Plunge!" which is the grassroots slogan.

U.S.S. Sausalito (PF 4)
U.S.S. Sausalito (PF 4)

Ferry Point, The Ferry Point Tunnel, is one of the oldest tunnels in California. The Rail tunnel was completed in 1900, while the road tunnel (just to the east of the RR tunnel) was built in 1915.  This structure still stands, bringing access to many attractions and neighborhoods in Brickyard Cove. This tunnel goes to the Golden State Railroad Museum, the S.S Red Oak Victory ship, and many beaches and parks, and of course to Ferry Point where an abandoned ferry-rail pier still stands with a historic ferry slip still standing even though somewhat damaged from a fire. It can be viewed from a parallel adjacent fishing pier.

S.S. Red Oak (A.K. 235) in drydock, 1944
S.S. Red Oak (A.K. 235) in drydock, 1944

The S.S. Red Oak Victory Ship is a restored World War II liberty ship, it was the 558th ship made in Richmond. Liberty ships transported troops and supplies during World War II. Squeeze in the ship, and see what a warship looked like in World War II. Richmond once was home to the Kaiser Shipyards. Also, the Red Oak Victory is no longer at the old Wharf #1 (thru the tunnel).  It is now at old Shipyard #3, and is reached by traveling along Canal Blvd.  However, one can go thru the tunnel, turn left at Brickyard Cove and follow the road which now connects with Canal. The Red Oak Victory is owned by the Richmond Museum Association

During World War II the city sprawled and the population of the city to increased dramatically. This led city leaders to construct the Richmond Civic Center. Construction on the new Civic Center began in 1949 and was substantially completed by 1950. This center houses the city hall, a small convention center, library, hall of justice, police headquarters, and arts center.

The Richmond Public Library which is the only public library independent of the Contra Costa County Public Libraries system lies in the heart of the civic center. It houses over 204,686 books; 4,014 audio materials; 5,277 video materials; and 491 serial subscriptions.

Richmond-San Rafael Bridge
Richmond-San Rafael Bridge

The Richmond-San Rafael bridge extends 5.5 miles, across San Pablo Bay. The bridge is the origin of the term rollercoaster span, due to its curves, bumps, and appearance which also have earned the bridge itself the nickname of, The rollercoaster bridge. The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge was opened on Sept 1, 1956, and it connects Contra Costa County with Marin County. Automobiles are charged a 3-dollar toll in the westbound (towards Marin) direction only.

The Golden State Railroad Museum is complex series of miniature railroad exhibits in a museum in the Brickyard Cove area of Point Richmond. A visitor can operate trains of various eras which chug past miniature freight and passenger terminals, trestles, tunnels, and meticulously detailed town and city scenes, many of which are copied from real life scenes in of the 1950s era.

The Santa Fe Railroad Terminal operated as the western terminus for railroad from the late 1800s and late 1900s. It has now been transformed into a museum to exemplify the feel of the terminal in that era.

At the corner of Washington and Park avenues lies the Indian Statue. It was constructed in 1909 by the Women Improvement group. The Indian statue in the Point is not the original.  The original disappeared under mysterious circumstances in the late 1930s or early 1940s.  The one that you see now was put up, about 1984. 

Keller Beach is the city's only beach. It is located at Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline, a park in Brickyard Cove. The beach offers picnicking, sunbathing, wading, and swimming. The beach is looked on upon by vehicles exiting the Brickyard Cove drive, Ferry Point tunnel and houses on the steep cliffs above. The beach, as with most of the cove, offers spectacular panoramic bay views of the Oakland hills, bridges, the San Francisco skyline and the Golden Gate.

Point Molate Beach Park is a park on the western coast of Richmond along Western Drive. It was originally a Chinese shrimp camp in the 1870s.

Point San Pablo yacht harbor is the port of call for hundreds of private boats.

East Brother Light Station on East Brother Island of the Brother Islands is host to an exclusive Bed and Breakfast. It is only accessible by private boat. Visitors come and stay for the day and picnic for free or they may pay for a room.

Rosie logo
Rosie logo

The Rosie the Riveter/World War II home front National Historic Monument is located in Richmond and commemorates women's shipbuilding and support for the war effort in the 1940s.

Leisure and culture

Several regional parks administered by the East Bay Regional Park District lie within the city limits, including the Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline and the Point Pinole Regional Shoreline. They are linked by the San Francisco Bay Trail. Part of the former shipyard is now a Marina.

People can catch a show at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, Hilltop Multiplex, or Masques Theaters in Point Richmond.

The Richmond Art Center, founded by Hazel Salmi in 1936, is one of the oldest continually operating non-profit art centers on the entire West Coast of the United States. Its programming includes exhibitions, adult and youth education, and community initiatives. The Center currently (as of 2005) provides some of the only arts education programming in the Richmond City School District, relying primarily on public donations and private grants as its means of support.

The Richmond Progressive Alliance and Green Party are active political parties in Richmond. The House Rabbit Society has its national headquarters in Richmond.

Richmond is home to the National Institute of Art and Disabiltites, also known locally as the NIAD Art Center. NIAD is a non-profit organization hosting over sixty client artists weekly. NIAD's client artist's work can be seen at NIAD's on-site gallery, the Florence Ludins-Katz Gallery. NIAD has a gift shop.

There are dozens of gathering places for various relgions in the city, and some which are not represented within the city limits can be found very nearby. Christian denominational churches include the: Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses; Kingdom Land Baptist Church; Grace Baptist Church; Grace Lutheran Church; Temple Baptist Church; Unity Church of Richmond; Holy Trinity Episcopal Church; Holy Mission Christian Center; St. David Catholic Church. Furthermore there is a Muslim mosque (Muhammad Mosque); a Sikh gurdwara in El Sobrante; a Hindu temple in Vallejo; a Unitarian Universalist church in El Cerrito; a Roman Catholic cathedral in Oakland; a Jewish Synagogue (Temple Beth Hillel) in El Sobrante; and a Buddhist priory in Albany (Berkeley Buddhist Priory)

From 1996 to 2002 geekfest was held on the beach in Point Molate every few weeks or monthly by S.P.A.M. Records. The festival was a community service for youth discontent with the only under 21 club. So they started their own thing. It was free and ravish.

Parks & Recreation

Richmond is under the authority of the East Bay Regional Parks District, a consortium of most of the Parks and Recreation lands and facilities thought Alameda and Contra Costa County.

Wildcat Canyon Regional Park is by far the largest park in the city. It features San Pablo Creek, trails, forests, picnic areas, and a play structure for children, as well as horses for rent and mountain biking trails. High school students practice cross-country in the park. It is situated in eastern Richmond hills and stretches into Berkeley as it crosses into Alameda county as Tilden Regional Park.

Map of the Richmond Greenway Project
Map of the Richmond Greenway Project

The Richmond Greenway is a project costing millions of dollars to transform an old railine into a walking, jogging, and biking trail. It will be a corridor spanning east west from the end of the Ohlone Trail that follows the BART like from El Cerrito to Berkeley. It will also follow the BART line to Richmond station and continue on to Point Richmond. Pedestrian bridges will be used to cross major avenues such as San Pavlo Avenue and 23rd Street. An additional side project will ad a bike lane/bike trail between the Richmond Greenway and the Ohlone trail at Potrero Avenue via 23rd Street, Carlson Boulevard, Cutting Boulevard, and Potrero. It is currently under construction.

The city boasts 292.6 acres of parkland.

Richmond boasts several marinas, including The Brickyard Cove Yacht Club, Point San Pablo Yacht Club, Marina Bay Marina, and Channel Marina.

Media

There are four local newspapers: the Richmond Post, Fronteras (a Spanish-language newspaper), the Richmond Globe, and the West County Times, variation of the County Times. A local cable access TV station, KCRT-TV, mainly plays historical archives but also airs City Council Meetings and music videos. Richmond is also host to the West County Times one of several regional times newspapers for the East Bay. KNEW (AM) transmitts from towers at Point Isabel.

Major trunk streets

  • Marina Bay Parkway, serves as a link between I-580 and the Marina Bay neighborhood, it turns into 23rd street after crossing 580.
  • Marina Way and Harbour Way/Harbour Way South, run north-south.
  • MacDonald Avenue, is the principal city street of Richmond, running east-west from Point Richmond through downtown to San Pablo Avenue. It is nicknamed, the Parade Street, 100 year street, and the Main street. The latter coming from the Richmond redevelopment agency's plan to deem this street the Main Street of town. It is currently being repaved and refitted with new lampposts and trees.
  • Cutting Boulevard, is similar to MacDonald, but secondary to it and runs from the same end points, but runs through the South Side of Richmond.
  • 23rd Street, runs through the heart of the city North-South from where it turns to Marina Bay Parkway at I-580 through this heavily Latino business district and neighborhood to San Pablo avenue in the city of San Pablo.
  • Barrett Avenue, serves as a secondary to MacDonald parallel one block north.
  • Giant Highway, is a street in the northern part of town which runs between San Pablo and the Leroy Heights neighborhood.
  • Hilltop Drive, is a trunk street running from the Richmond Parkway, crossing San Pablo avenue, passing Hilltop Mall and continuing past Interstate 80 into El Sobrante.

Notable citizens

Congressman George Miller
Congressman George Miller
Actor Glenn Plummer in Saw II
Actor Glenn Plummer in Saw II
Rocker Les Claypool
Rocker Les Claypool

Athletics

Music

  • Master P, rapper and founder/owner of the P. Miller brand of clothing. Richmond is his hometown where before hitting it big, he founded three music stores.

Others

  • George Miller congressman was born in Richmond, and represents it within the seventh district of California.
  • Laci Peterson, once worked in Richmond for a wine distributor, in marketing. Her mutalated torso was found in Point Isabel.
Mugshot of sex worker Divine Brown
Mugshot of sex worker Divine Brown

Neighborhoods

The city of Richmond has a diverse array of neighborhoods as diverse as the population. There are: houses, town homes, farms, ranches, tract housing, houseboats, mobile homes, apartments, condominiums, Victorian & other historical buildings where people live. They are located in the hills, in the flatlands, on the waterfront, on stilts, in mobile home parks, around train stations, or on islands.

Atchison Village, is a neighborhood between the southern end of the Iron Triangle and Point Richmond. The Atchison Village complex was wartime housing along with two other sites, were meant to be permanent.

Many of the homes were built as World War II temporary "war housing". It is now on the national register of historic places. It is nearly a gated community since there are only two through streets; it has a village feel to it.

Point Richmond and Brickyard Cove This area is known throughout the area for its quaint small town feel, and as being the nicest area of Richmond. The neighborhood was the city's central downtown area during the late 1800s until the early 1900s when the present day downtown rose to prominence and superseded The Point as the busiest part of town. However the neighborhood has maintained many of its trademark mom n' pop shops and has fiercely resisted large chain stores from moving in; including a lost battle to Starbucks Coffee. The neighborhood is situated in the Southwestern corner of the city between Interstate 580 and the San Francisco bay at the foot of the Richmond-San Rafael bridge. There is a large hill which the "town" is built around on three sides. Many houses including historic Victorians adorn the view. Many of the area businesses are housed in century old buildings dating back to before the founding or incorporation of town. The Plunge, is a local landmark swim center, or Natatorium. The hill overhead is Miller-Knox regional park. There is a tunnel through this hill named Ferry Point tunnel, since trains used to drop passengers off here to continue onto San Francisco by ferries, before bridges connected the shores of the bay. The area on this side of the tunnel is known as Brickyard Cove. The Cove is home to Keller Beach, one of the only publicly accessible beaches in Richmond and the adjacent area features a large picnicking and biking park area. Continuing along the road is the S.S. Red Oak Victory ship which is part of a local National Historic Monument; it is a restored Victory ship made in the city during World War II. Further along lies the Brickyard Cove Yacht club one of many marinas in the city, but by far the most exclusive. There are condiminiums and brand new luxury tract homes terraced into the hills as well as Mc Mansions on stilts along two Spits. The condo's amenities include a swimming pool, tennis court, sauna, and spa.

Carriage Hills is a neighborhood subdivision in rural eastern Richmond; an area that is largely unincorporated in the El Sobrante area. The area features spectacular green rolling hills views in the rainy season and beautiful wheat colored grasslands in the dry season. It also enjoys views of the San Pablo Reservoir, where much of the West County area of Contra Costa County gets its water from.

They city's Downtown is characterized by the large Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Social Security Administration Building, and The Richmond BART/Amtrak Inter modal station and Metro Walk Transit Village. There is also the Richmond shopping center with a supermarket, shops, and fast food. The majority of the buildings are commercial, government, and transportation; except the transit village which is made up of live/work loft-type townhouses. To the east is the Richmond Civic center, which houses various city services headquarters, the main library branch, and city hall.

The Hilltop area is in the northeastern part of town centered around Hilltop Mall. It features many housing developments as of right now, from single-family homes to condominiums.

Marina Bay, is located in Richmond's protected Inner Harbor, is was developed in the mid 1980s as a city effort to clean up, what had been up to that point the defunct WWII-era Kaiser Shipyards. The area is home to many retail and industrial businesses and has been planned and effected as a upper-scale residential waterfront community with condominiums and townhouses. The city considers it one of its success stories and uses it as an example for other projects throughout the area. The San Francisco Bay Trail runs though the neighborhood from Point Isabel and currently ends here, although it is planned to be connected to Point Richmond and also downtown to the Richmond Greenway. The area hosts a 750-berth Marina, which can be inferred from the area's name. Shimada Friendship park is a monument to one of Richmond's sister cities, Shimada, Japan; the area hosts parts Home front/Rosie The Riveter National Monument.

Parchester Village is a neighborhood in northwestern Richmond. It lies along the Richmond Parkway between the Richmond Country Club, Point Pinole, and an undeveloped gap north of North Richmond. Its streets are named after the last names of the city's African American pastors of the time. It was envisioned as the first integrated neighborhood, but after being unsuccessfully marketed as so, the developers decided to make it a Coloured Only development.

Pullman is a neighborhood in the city named after the Pullman Company, founded by prolific industrialist George Mortimer Pullman, who in 1910 built their main facility on the 22 acres that would become this neighborhood. This facility, The Pullman Shops, served as the main manufacturing and repair facility for the famous Pullman sleeping car ubiquitous throughout the United States for much of the 20th century. During World war II the this facility played an important role in the war effort due to the need for rail transport and its close location to Port Chicago, the main ship building facility for the pacific theatre of operations. The Richmond facility was closed on December 31, 1959. The Pullman building is still standing.

Today, Pullman has been redeveloped primarily into residential units, like apartments. However, there are a few neighborhood businesses along Carlson and Cutting Boulevards. A Railroad is located on the border. BART subways and Amtrak trains run to the the south of the area.

Richmond In Literature and Film

Books

  • In Contempt (Mass Market Paperback) by Christopher A. Darden, Jess Walter, ReganBooks; Reprint edition (February 1997) (Christopher Darden, one of the prosecutors in the criminal case against O.J. Simpson, grew up in Richmond, California.)
  • Photographing the 2nd Gold Rush: Dorothea Lange and the East Bay at War 1941-1945 (Paperback) by Dorothea Lange, Charles Wollenberg, Heyday Books (August 1995).
  • Richmond (Images of America) (Paperback) by Donald Bastin, Arcadia Publishing (SC) (November 2003).
  • Tales from the Iron Triangle: Boyhood Days in the Bay Area of the 1920s (Hardcover), by James Polese, Ocean Tree Books; 1st ed. edition (September 1994).
  • To Place Our Deeds: The African American Community in Richmond, California, 1910-1963 (Paperback) by Shirley Ann Wilson Moore, University of California Press; 1 edition (February 5, 2001.

Film

  • Many scenes from the Robin Williams film, Patch Adams where filmed during a week in Point Richmond.
  • The basketball movie, Coach Carter was filmed in Richmond High School. It was based on the story of their basketball team being benched for poor grades despite an undefeated season.

See also

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: 3:2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3:3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 3:4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 3:5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 3:6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 3:7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 3:8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. 3:9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 3:10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.



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