A Black Diamond in the Ruff

Trip Start Jun 04, 2010
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Trip End Sep 08, 2010


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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Before we begin our Adventure here is a bit of history about the town we live in......
Pittsburg (formerly Black Diamond and New York of the Pacific) is a city located in eastern Contra Costa County, California, the outer portion of the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. The population was 63,264 at the 2010 census.

Rancho Los Medanos (from the Spanish: Rancho Los Medaņos meaning Sand Dunes Ranch) was a 8,859-acre Mexican land grant in present day Contra Costa County, California given in 1839 by Governor Juan Alvarado to Jose Antonio Mesa and Jose Miguel Garcia. The name "los medanos" is derived from the sand hills located along the San Joaquin River on its northern boundary. Rancho Los Medanos was located at the junction of the San Joaquin River and the Sacramento River, extending eastward along the south shore of Suisun Bay to Antioch. The rancho lands included present day Antioch and Pittsburg.

In 1849, Colonel Jonathan D. Stevenson (from New York) bought the Rancho Los Medanos land grant, and laid out a town he called New York of the Pacific. By 1850, this venture failed.  With the discovery of coal in the nearby town of Nortonville, California, the place became a port for coaling, and adopted the name Black Diamond, after the mining firm that built the Black Diamond Coal Mining Railroad from there to Nortonville.  Because of the industrial potential of the site, a name change to Pittsburg was proposed in 1909.

Pittsburg, originally settled in 1839, was called first "New York Landing", then the post office first opened in 1868 as Black Diamond, ", before citizens voted on "Pittsburg" on February 11, 1911. 

The name "Pittsburg" has at least two origins.  First, it was the name of a coal mining company that built a railroad in 1865 on the eastern edge of what is now the city.  Second, some citizens wanted to honor Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, (without the "H"), because of the city's relations with the steel building industry, which was first established by the Columbia Geneva Steel Company.  The original town site fronts on the Sacramento River Delta, reflecting its origins as a deep water channel river port. 

Since the early 1900s, the city has grown inland to the south, then spread east and west along State Route 4, now a freeway carrying resident commuters to jobs in the San Francisco Bay-Oakland Region.  In the process, the former town of Cornwall, California was absorbed.  The city has enjoyed continued residential redevelopment growth near its northern boundary, as well as ongoing construction of major subdivisions in the southwest hills.  

Camp Stoneman, located in the area, was a major staging area for the United States Army during World War II and the Korean War.  Named after George Stoneman, a cavalry commander during the Civil War, the camp was activated in 1942 and decommissioned as a military post in 1954.  Remnants of the camp still remain around Pittsburg today.
Running past Pittsburg is The California Delta which is located roughly between Sacramento on the north and Stockton on the south and encompasses about 1,000 miles of waterways. The main contributing rivers are the Sacramento River, coming in from the north, and the San Joaquin River, coming in from the south. Other rivers feeding into the two major rivers include the American River, the Mokelumne River, the Cosumnes River and the Calaveras River. Before these rivers empty into the Pacific Ocean through the San Francisco Bay, they pass through some of the best boating waterways in the country. The California Delta is a labyrinth of sloughs with names like Potato Slough, Whites Slough, Snodgrass Slough, Lost Slough, Georgiana Slough, Steamboat Slough, and many, many more. As one explores these watery avenues, vistas of vine-covered trees, blackberry brambles, and tule grasses appear at almost every turn. There is abundant wildlife, including the great blue heron, egrets, ducks, geese, and, of course, fish. The California Delta truly is a boater's and fisherman's paradise.Along the way, you'll pass through small towns such as Courtland, Locke, Walnut Grove, Isleton and Rio Vista, and of course out Town of Pittsburg to name a few. Courtland is famous for its annual Pear Fair, held on the last Sunday of July every year. The town of Locke celebrates Asian Pacific Heritage Month in May, hosting a weekend party for the public with Lion dances, martial arts demonstrations and more. Isleton hosts the Isleton Cajun Festival (formerly the Crawdad Festival) on Father's Day weekend, and Rio Vista hosts the Bass Festival in October, celebrating the abundant fishing in the California Delta.  Pittsburg holds the Seafood Festival in mid-September where you can purchase almost any kind of seafood available while watching boat races or listening to the music of many great local bands.Whether by boat or by car, there is plenty to do for all, so come on out and enjoy!
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