An Early History of Concord, California
Once the Town of Todos Santos on the Land Grant of Monte Del Diablo
Content provided by the Historical Society of Contra Costa County
- A small tribelet of Chupcan (Bay Miwok) Indians were the first inhabitants of the valley. Dominated by a great mountain to their south, the Chupcan lived along the valley's streams, which flowed north to the wide tule marshes on the edge of the Bay. They shared the valley and the oak-covered hills with tremendous herds of elk, deer and antelope. Salmon filled the streams; grizzly bears roamed foothills.
- In 1772 Spanish explorers, led by Captain Pedro Fages and Father Juan Crespi, became the first outsiders to cross this area. For the next 50 to 60 years, the Spanish would explore, but not settle in our valley.
- In 1828, Don Salvio Pacheco petitioned the Mexican government for lands in the valley and received the "Monte del Diablo" land grant in 1834. The 17,921 acre grant covered our valley from the Walnut Creek channel east to the hills and generally from the Mt. Diablo foothills north to the Bay.
- The name "Monte del Diablo" originally had been used by Spanish soldiers to describe a dense thicket (monte) of willows at the north end of our valley. The soldiers believed the thicket was possessed by evil, devilish Man spirits, hence the name "Monte del Diablo," thicket of the devil.
- Don Salvio's son, Fernando Pacheco, was sent immediately to occupy the grant and begin cattle operations on the Pacheco family's new Rancho. The family joined him in 1846. Don Salvio's grand adobe, which is still located in downtown Concord, became the business, social and cultural center of the region. Don Fernando's adobe, now a nationally registered historical landmark, was built several miles north on low hills overlooking the Bay.
- Don Francisco Galindo married Don Salvio's daughter, Maria Dolores Manuela. The Galindo's wood frame home, also a national landmark, remains today at the interesection of Clayton Road and Amador Avenue, one block west of Galindo Street.
- A new town called Pacheco, adjacent to the Rancho, prospered as an industrial and transshipment center. Its prosperity was short lived due to fires, flooding and the 1868 earthquake.
- In 1868, Don Salvio Pacheco, his son Fernando, and his son-in-law Francisco Galindo created a new town at the center of their Rancho. They called their new town Todos Santos (All Saints), and, in 1869, offered lots free to the merchants and residents of Pacheco. Its perimeter was marked by Bonifacio Street on the northwest, East Street on the northeast, Contra Costa Street on the southeast, and Galindo Street on the southwest.
- The name Todos Santos would not identify the new town for long. Within months after Todos Santos had been recorded as the official name, Concord was heralded by the Contra Costa Gazette as the actual name. In an article dated April 17, 1869, the paper congratulated the residents of Concord for adopting such a meaningful name for their new village. They highlighted the harmonious spirit and euphony of this fine name. Despite later published reminders and protests by Fernando Pacheco, Concord became the name of our new town.
- By 1879, a population of 300 was reported. It would double by February 1905, when incorporation of the "Town of Concord" was approved by a local two-vote margin.
- It would take 35 years for the population to double again. Small town Concord would begin World War II with an extraordinary high school, a modern hospital, five churches, two railroads, a fine library, a nationally recognized central plaza, two cinemas, a full-service downtown commercial area, tree-lined streets, comfortable homes, and a population of only 1,400. The war years brought exposure; the postwar years began a population boom. By 1948, the population had grown to 6,500.
- Today, the farms, orchards, and the old Rancho are neighborhoods; the classic old downtown has a multistory skyline. Concord has a diverse population approaching 130,000 and is the largest city in Contra Costa County. Confident of its future, Concord is especially proud of its rich history.