http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2008/06/27/danville-timeline


Danville Express

- June 27, 2008

Danville Timeline

People have lived in the San Ramon Valley for at least 5,000 years. The Tatcan Indians' homeland was the watershed of San Ramon Creek. Their main village was probably near the Danville Oak.

* The Danville Oak was a sprout in the 1700s.

* In April of 1772 a Spanish expedition came through the valley for the first time and camped in Danville.

* The Rancho of the San Ramon Valley was granted to Mariano Pacheco and his uncle Bartolome Pacheco in 1833. It covered all of today's Alamo and Danville, over 8,000 acres.

* The California Gold Rush began in 1848, bringing thousands of new settlers to California.

* California became a state in 1850.

* The first post office in the San Ramon Valley was established in Alamo in 1852. Danville's post office began in 1860 with Danville Hotel owner Henry Harris as postmaster.

* Danville was named for Dan Inman, a successful miner who bought land in today's Old Town with his brother Andrew in 1858.

* Danville Grange No. 85 was founded in 1873. The Grange was a fraternal order that focused on good farming practices and good citizenship. Members built a Grange Hall in 1874 on Front Street.

* Agriculture was the business of the valley for over a 100 years. Walnuts and fruit trees predominated in the twentieth century.

* The San Ramon Branch Line of the Southern Pacific opened from Avon (near Martinez) to San Ramon in 1891, bringing a new era to the Valley. A large depot was built in Danville.

* Also in 1891, John Hartz subdivided his ranch land just east of the Danville station, which created Hartz Avenue and, eventually, a new downtown.

* In 1892 the Danville Hotel opened for business on Railroad Avenue, operated by George and Mary McCauley.

* The new Danville Grammar School was dedicated in 1896 on Front Street.

* The Social and Fraternal Hall was constructed on Front Street in 1913. The old Grange Hall became the second story. This structure is now called the Village Theatre.

* The brick San Ramon Valley Bank opened on the corner of Prospect and Hartz in 1908.

* St. Isidore's Catholic Church was dedicated at Linda Mesa and Hartz in 1912.

* The San Ramon Valley Union High School opened to students in 1917.

* In 1925 the Veterans' Memorial Hall was constructed to honor veterans of the Great War.

* Mt. Diablo State Park opened with public access to the summit in 1931.

* In 1932 the original Presbyterian Church (1876) on burned down. A new, mission-style church was constructed in 1933. This building was restored by Danville and opened as the Town Meeting Hall in 1989.

* Eugene and Carlotta O'Neill lived in the western hills of Danville from 1937 to 1944. Here the Nobel-prize-winning playwright wrote "A Moon for the Misbegotten," " Long Day's Journey Into Night" and "The Iceman Cometh."

* 1958 marked the Hay Days celebration of Danville's Centennial, including a parade, carnival, Miss Pioneer Belle contest and barbeque.

* In 1982 voters created the Town of Danville and elected a Town Council. John May was the first Mayor.

* After Southern Pacific abandoned its right of way in 1978, advocates organized to create the Iron Horse Regional Trail in 1984. Today the trail is 30 miles long.

* In 1996 the Danville Library and Community Center were built.

* The Oak Hill Community Center opened in 2007.

Museum of the San Ramon Valley, May, 2008

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