Alameda County, CA

Alameda County (al-uh-ME-duh) is a county in the state of California in the United States. As of the 2005 census, the population was 1,436,435, making it the 7th-most populous county in the state. Its county seat is Oakland. Alameda County is included in the San Francisco Bay Area, occupying much of the East Bay region.

History

The county was formed on March 25, 1853, from a large portion of Contra Costa County and a smaller portion of Santa Clara County.

 

The Spanish word alameda means "a place where poplar trees grow," a name originally given to the Arroyo de la Alameda (Poplar Grove Creek). The willow and sycamore trees along the banks of the river reminded the early explorers of a road lined with trees, also known as an alameda.

 

The county seat at the time it was formed was located at Alvarado; it was moved to San Leandro in 1856 where the county courthouse was destroyed by the devastating 1868 quake on the Hayward Fault. The county seat was then re-established in the town of Brooklyn from 1872-1875. Brooklyn is now part of Oakland, which has been the county seat since 1873.

 

Much of what is now considered an intensively urban region, with major cities, was developed as  a trolley car suburb of San Francisco in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The historical progression from Native American tribal lands to Spanish, then Mexican ranches, then to farms, ranches, and orchards, then multiple city centers and suburbs, is shared with the adjacent and closely associated Contra Costa County.

 

Events

The annual county fair is held at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. The fair runs for three weekends from June to July. Attractions include horse racing, carnival rides, 4-H exhibits, and live bands.

 

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 821 square miles (2,130 km2), of which 739 square miles (1,910 km2) is land and 82 square miles (210 km2) (10%) is water.[9]

 

The San Francisco Bay borders the county on the west, and the City and County of San Francisco, California has a small land border with the city of Alameda due to land filling.[10] The crest of the Berkeley Hills form part of the northeastern boundary, and reach into the center of the county. A coastal plain several miles wide lines the bay; and is Oakland's most populous region. Livermore Valley lies in the eastern part of the county.

 

The Hayward Fault, a major branch of the San Andreas Fault to the west, runs through the most populated parts of Alameda County, while the Calaveras Fault runs through the southeastern part of the county.

Government

Main article: Government of Alameda County, California

The Government of Alameda County is defined and authorized under the California ConstitutionCalifornia law, and the Charter of the County of Alameda.[29] Much of the Government of California is in practice the responsibility of county governments such as the Government of Alameda County, while municipalities such as the city of Oakland and the city of Berkeley provide additional, often non-essential services. The County government provides countywide services such as elections and voter registration, law enforcement, jails, vital records, property records, tax collection, and public health. In addition, it is the local government for all unincorporated areas, and provides services such as law enforcement to some incorporated cities under a contract arrangement.

It is composed of the elected five-member Alameda County Board of Supervisors (BOS) as the county legislature, several other elected offices and officers including the Sheriff, the District AttorneyAssessorAuditor-Controller/County Clerk/Recorder, and Treasurer/Tax Collector, and numerous county departments and entities under the supervision of the County Administrator. In addition, several entities of the government of California have jurisdiction conterminous with Alameda County, such as the Alameda County Superior Court.

 

Colleges and universities

Alameda County is home to the University of California, Berkeley, the flagship campus of the University of California system, and one of the largest and most prestigious research universities in the world.

 

Other colleges and universities located within Alameda county include:

 

  1. Berkeley City College

  2. California State University, East Bay, one of the campuses of the California State University system

  3. Chabot College, a two-year community college, part of the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District

  4. College of Alameda, a two-year community college, part of the Peralta Community College District of northern Alameda County

  5. Expression College for Digital Arts

  6. Graduate Theological Union, a consortium of several Bay Area seminaries, affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley.

  7. Holy Names University

  8. Laney College, a two-year community college, part of the Peralta Community College system

  9. Las Positas College

  10. Merritt College, a two-year community college, part of the Peralta Community College system

  11. Mills College, a private 4 year women's college and coeducational graduate school

  12. Ohlone College, part of the Ohlone Community College District

  13. Samuel Merritt University

 

School districts (K–12)

 

  1. Alameda Unified School District

  2. Albany Unified School District

  3. Berkeley Unified School District

  4. Castro Valley Unified School District

  5. Dublin Unified School District

  6. Emery Unified School District

  7. Fremont Unified School District

  8. Hayward Unified School District

  9. Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District

  10. Lammersville Joint Unified School District

  11. New Haven Unified School District

  12. Newark Unified School District

  13. Oakland Unified School District

  14. Piedmont Unified School District

  15. Pleasanton Unified School District

  16. Rancho Bonito Unified School District

  17. San Leandro Unified School District

  18. San Lorenzo Unified School District

  19. Sunol Glen Unified School District

 

 

Parks and recreation

There are more than 350 parks located within the county.[40] The East Bay Regional Park District operates within Alameda and neighboring Contra Costa County, with numerous parks within the county, including, Tilden Regional ParkRedwood Regional Park, and Anthony Chabot Regional ParkEastshore State Park is located partially along the bay shore of northern Alameda County. The San Francisco Bay Trail, a project of the Association of Bay Area Governments, will run along the bay shore of the county. The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District is the largest special park district in California.

 

Mass transit

  1. ACE train – commuter rail using existing railroad tracks; primarily brings commuters from San Joaquin County to Santa Clara County

  2. AC Transit – local bus system in western Alameda County and west Contra Costa County, with additional service across the three bridges from Alameda County to downtown San Francisco, San Mateo, and Palo Alto

  3. BART – commuter rail centered on northwest Oakland, primarily serving commuters to downtown San Francisco and downtown Oakland

  4. Capitol Corridor – commuter rail using existing railroad tracks, extending from San Jose to Sacramento, running through western Alameda County

  5. WHEELS – bus system in the cities of southeastern Alameda County

  6. Union City Transit – local city bus service within Union City in addition to AC Transit

  7. Emery-Go-Round – free bus service in Emeryville.

  8. Alameda / Oakland Ferry and Harbor Bay Ferry – connect Oakland, Alameda, and Bay Farm Island with downtown San Francisco

  9. San Joaquins – Amtrak route between Oakland and Bakersfield through Fresno and the Central Valley

  10. VTA – commuter service between southern Alameda county and job centers in the Silicon Valley

  11. Dumbarton Express – additional service across the Dumbarton Bridge between Fremont and Palo Alto

 

Airports

The main airport is the Oakland International Airport, with two general aviation airports, the Hayward Executive Airport and Livermore Municipal Airport, which is currently being shared with the USAF for the Fighter Chicks production and training.

 

Services

The county operates hospitals and primary care clinics, through the Alameda County Medical Center. The Alameda County Community Food Bank nonprofit provides food bank resources to residents. The Family Emergency Shelter Coalition coordinates services for homeless families.

 

Landmarks

Alameda County has eight National Historic LandmarksThe Abbey, Joaquin Miller HouseFirst Church of Christ, ScientistUSS Hornet (CVS-12) (aircraft carrier)Lake Merritt Wild Duck RefugeLightship WAL-605, ReliefParamount TheatrePotomac (Presidential yacht), and Room 307, Gilman Hall, University of California, Mile High Race Track in Rancho Bonito. The county has a large number of National Historic Places, as well as a number of California Historical Landmarks.

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