Brentwood (Images of America: California) Paperback by Carol A. Jensen (Author), East Contra Costa Historical Society (Author) The beautiful Brentwood area of Contra Costa County is the oldest continuously populated community in California inland from the great coastal centers. Californios eschewed this challenging portion of the Central Valley, so pioneering physician John Marsh established a permanent settlement here in 1837 at his Rancho Los Meganos. Soon, the burgeoning viniculture, wheat, orchard, and cattle operations attracted many Gold Rush miners back to their original agricultural callings, now in the California Delta. The 1860s arrival of British agribusiness concern Balfour Guthrie Investment Company soon established the largest grain-export and fruit-packing venture in the West. Brentwood Township, established in 1878 and named for Marsh’s ancestral home in England, includes some of the state’s most bountiful land. The region fostered the greatest wheat production west of the Mississippi River during the 19th century.
Antioch (CA) Images of America Book, by Antioch Historical Society (Author): When the first settlers arrived here in 1850, they could never have guessed that their tiny settlement would one day be home to over 100,000 souls, scores of factories, and the gateway to the California Delta with some of the most productive agricultural lands in the world. In earlier days, the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers were the main routes into the state’s interior, as the swampy delta land had yet to be tamed. Antioch and nearby Pittsburg served as major depots for supplies to the Sierra gold fields, stockpiling lumber, produce, hay, dry goods, medicine, and fuel from the Stewartville, Empire, and Judsonville coal mines. Named in 1851 after the biblical city in Syria, this town served for many years as the Bay Area’s easternmost outpost and provided its inhabitants with a bounty both man-made and natural.
Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, CA (IMG) (Images of America) (Images of America (Arcadia Publishing)): From the 1860s to the turn of the 20th century, the Mount Diablo Coal Field was the largest coal-producing region in California and once boasted five thriving communities. With the decline of coal mining some residents turned to ranching. Later rich deposits of sand were mined for glass and foundry use. In 1973, the East Bay Regional Park District acquired the land. Today visitors to Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, located 45 miles east of San Francisco, can explore miles of trails, tour the Hazel-Atlas silica sand mine, and visit historic Rose Hill Cemetery.