San Ramon celebrates 150 years of community

Skyler Spears
Two CSF volunteers, Odelia Chong, left. and Aisha Khandelwa, right, pose for a photo outside of City Hall in celebration of San Ramon’s 150th Anniversary

At the Crow Canyon Iron Horse Trail Crossing, San Ramon citizens of all ages waited along with San Ramon Mayor Bill Clarkson and Commissioner Philip G. O’Loane to begin the 1.5 mile walk to City Hall of Sept. 9 to celebrate 150 years of community in San Ramon.

Mayor Clarkson and Commissioner O’Loane arranged a hike along the scenic Iron Horse Trail to explain how San Ramon developed from a village to a populous city. Before the walk, O’Loane showed the crowd a map of the San Ramon hiking trails and explained some of the future developments in store, like an Iron Horse Trail Crossing to be built on the intersection of the trail and Bollinger Canyon Road to control rush hour traffic.

During the hike, San Ramon residents had the chance to explore the extensive Chinese contributions to railroads along the Iron Horse Trail, remains of the San Ramon village and architecture of the suggested Spanish mission in San Ramon. After the hike, residents from the Crow Canyon and California High School Walk arrived at City Hall welcomed with festive balloons, pretzels, popcorn and detailed  exhibits of San Ramon history. Visitors received rulers and cards for arriving at the event.

Eventually, the city officials, including Mayor Clarkson, began to give their speeches to commemorate the 150th anniversary of San Ramon.

City Manager Joe Gorton, Planning Commissioner Jeanne Benedetti, Council Member Harry Sachs, Clarkson and other officials explained the history of San Ramon in great depth. Clarkson mentioned that San Ramon was as old as European California because the Spanish suggested San Ramon as a mission while traveling through the state. It has old relationships with the Gold Rush — two men, known as the Weemer Boys who worked at Sutter’s Mill, lived in San Ramon. Eventually, many new facilities such as schools, a post office, and shops were built. These developments transformed the San Ramon village into the populous city of San Ramon.

“I feel I am 150 years old. It’s very exciting to see the city grow and prosper and knowing the background of your community,” said Gorton.

The officials at the birthday party enthusiastically introduced many of the facilities in modern day San Ramon, like the city’s highly advanced schools. Many high quality services such as the park system, cricket fields, soccer turf fields, entertainment and the living space maintain high living standards in San Ramon, according to the officials.

“Looking at [the] vision of the public, our job is to promote quality of life and community’s residence and promote the wellbeing of people for the community as a whole,” said Sachs.

Many of the older facilities also helped San Ramon grow from a village to a city. There were small buildings like the post office, stage stop, livery stables, stagecoach stop, hotels, saloons, Chinese wash houses for laundry, shoe shop, blacksmiths and a few houses. The main public buildings included a school, church, jail and community hall. Most of these buildings were along the county round (San Ramon Valley Boulevard) and Old Crow Canyon Road (Deerwood Road).

“Education, [a] great school district, the library over there … Beautiful education has contributed to this city’s growth the most,” said Clarkson.

Concerning future developments, San Ramon officials have two priorities. First, a city center with a variety of amenities will be built, to give the community a place to gather. In order to control traffic at the center, parking garages will be built for visitors. Secondly, the San Ramon officials have designed multiple plans to reduce traffic, especially on roads like Bollinger Canyon Road and near City Hall. There will be an Iron Horse Trail Crossing built and more lanes added to Bollinger Canyon Road.

“San Ramon is a desirable place for people to live and we need to build carefully. We need to pick which projects to build, [which] to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to them,” said Clarkson.

Over the course of 150 years, the San Ramon village has grown into a populous city as a result of construction and education.