Richmond, California

Richmond, California

Infobox Settlement
official_name = City of Richmond, California
motto = The City of Pride and Purpose


seal_size = 162

mapsize =
map_caption =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = California
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Contra Costa
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Gayle McLaughlin (G)
leader_title1 = Senate
leader_name1 = Tom Torlakson (D)
Don Perata (D)
leader_title2 = Assembly
leader_name2 = Loni Hancock (D)
leader_title3 = U. S. Congress
leader_name3 = George Miller (D)
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 136.2
area_total_sq_mi = 52.6
area_land_km2 = 77.6
area_land_sq_mi = 30.4
area_water_km2 = 58.5
area_water_sq_mi = 22
area_water_percent = 42.98
population_metro =
population_urban =
population_as_of = 2007
population_total = 101454
population_density_km2 =
population_density_sq_mi =
timezone = PST
utc_offset = -8
timezone_DST = PDT
utc_offset_DST = -7
postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 94802
area_code = 510
latd = 37
latm = 56
lats = 13
latNS = N
longd = 122
longm = 20
longs = 31
longEW = W
elevation_m = 57
website =
footnotes =

Richmond (IPAEng|ˈɹɪtʃmənd) is a city in western Contra Costa County, California, United States. The city was incorporated on August 7, 1905. [ East Shore and Suburban Railway Chronology] , "El Cerrito Historical Society", June 2007, retrieved August 15, 2007] It is located in the East Bay, part of the San Francisco Bay Area. It is a residential inner suburb, as well as the site of heavy industry, which has been undergoing a shift towards a service and commercial economy since the 1970s. Richmond almost completely surrounds the city of San Pablo, and the unincorporated areas of North Richmond, El Sobrante and East Richmond Heights.

The city is headed by mayor Gayle McLaughlin, making Richmond the largest city in the country with a Green Party mayor. [cite web | title = Green Party mayor takes the reins | publisher = San Francisco Chronicle | date = January 10, 2007 | url = ] As of the July 1, 2005 U.S. Census estimate, the city has a population of 102,186, while the California Department of Finance estimates the city's population at 103,468, as of January 1 2006. [ [ E-1 Population Estimates for Cities, Counties and the State with Annual Percent Change — January 1, 2006 and 2007] California Department of Finance, May 2007.] This makes Richmond the 56th largest city in the state behind Berkeley and ahead of Santa Clara.


The Ohlone Indians were the first inhabitants of the Richmond area, settling an estimated 5,000 years ago.cite web | title = History of Richmond | publisher = City of Richmond | url = | accessdate = 2007-06-25]

The name "Richmond" appears to predate actual incorporation by more than fifty years. Edmund Randolph, originally from Richmond, Virginia, represented the city of San Francisco when California's first legislature met in San Jose in December 1849, and he became state assemblyman from San Francisco. His loyalty to the town of his birth caused him to persuade a federal surveying party mapping the San Francisco Bay to place the names "Point Richmond" and "Richmond" on an 1854 geodetic coast map, which was the geodetic map at the terminal selected by the San Joaquin Valley Railroad; and by 1899 maps made by the railroad carried the name "Point Richmond Avenue," designating a county road that later became Barrett Avenue, a central street in Richmond.

Richmond was founded and incorporated in 1905, carved out of Rancho San Pablo, from which the nearby town of San Pablo inherited its name. Until 1919, the city had the largest winery in the world; the small abandoned village of Winehaven remains fenced off along Western Drive in the Point Molate Area. In the 1920s the Ku Klux Klan was active in the city. In 1930 the Ford Motor Company opened an assembly plant in the south side of town, which is now an abandoned industrial area (the plant moved to Milpitas in the 1970s). The city was a small town at that time, until the onset of World War II which brought on a rush of migrants and a boom in the industrial sector. Standard Oil set up operations here in 1901, including a refinery and tank farm, which are still operated by Chevron. There is a pier into San Francisco Bay south of Point Molate for oil tankers. The western terminus of the Santa Fe Railroad was established in Richmond with ferry connections at Ferry Point in the Brickyard Cove area of Point Richmond to San Francisco.At the outset of World War II, the four Richmond Shipyards were built along the Richmond waterfront, employing thousands of workers, many recruited from all over the United States, including many African-Americans and women entering the workforce for the first time. Many of these workers lived in specially-constructed houses scattered throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including Richmond, Berkeley and Albany. A specially-built rail line, the Shipyard Railway, transported workers to the shipyards. Kaiser's Richmond shipyards built 747 Victory and Liberty ships for the war effort, more than any other site in the U.S. [cite web | title = Rosie the Riveter--World War II Home Front National Historical Park: World War II in the San Francisco Bay Area | publisher =National Park Service | url = | accessdate = 2007-06-26] The city broke many records and even built one Liberty ship in a record five days. On average the yards could build a ship in thirty days. The medical system established for the shipyard workers eventually became today's Kaiser Permanente HMO. [Rickey Hendricks, "A Model for National Health Care: The History of Kaiser Permanente" (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1993), 40-47, 63] One of Kaiser's medical centers is located in Richmond.

Point Richmond was originally the commercial hub of the city, but a new downtown arose in the center of the city. It was populated by many department stores such as Kress, J.C. Penney, Sears, Macy's, and Woolworth's. During the war the population increased dramatically and peaked at around 99,000 residents in 1950. By 1960 much of the temporary housing built for the shipyard workers was torn down, and the population dropped to about 71,000. Many of the people who moved to Richmond were black and came from the Midwest and South. Most of the white men were overseas at war, and this opened up new opportunities for ethnic minorities and women. This era also brought with it the innovation of daycare for children, as a few women could care for several dozen women's children, while most of the mothers went off to work in the factories and shipyards.In the 1970s the Hilltop area including a large shopping mall was developed in the northern suburbs of the city; this further depressed the downtown area as it drew away retail clients and tenants. In the late 1990s and early 2000s the Richmond Parkway was built along the western industrial and northwestern parkland of the city connecting Interstates 80 and 580.

In the early 1900s, the Santa Fe railroad established a major rail yard adjacent to Point Richmond. The railroad constructed a tunnel through the Potrero San Pablo ridge to run a track from their yard to a ferry landing from which freight cars could be transshipped to San Francisco. Where this track crosses the main street in Point Richmond, there remain two of the last operational wigwag grade crossing signals in the United States, and the only surviving examples of the "upside-down" type. The wigwag is an antiquated type of railroad crossing signal which was phased out in the 1970s and 80s across the country. There was controversy in 2005 when the State Transportation Authority ordered the BNSF railroad company to upgrade the railroad crossing signs. A compromise was achieved that included installing new modern crossing equipment while not removing, but simply shutting off the historic ones and preserving their functionality for special events. [ [ "Going Wiggy over Wig-Wags - Pt. Richmond’s Wig-Wag Controversy," by Jim Mallory] ,, July 6, 2002, retrieved May 18, 2007]

The Pullman Company also established a major facility in Richmond in the early 20th century. [ [ Pullman Shop official website] ] The facility connected with both the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific and serviced their passenger coach equipment. The Pullman Company was a large employer of African American men, who worked mainly as porters on the Pullman cars. [ [ A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum official website] ] Many of them settled in the East Bay, from Richmond to Oakland, prior to World War II.

In 2006 the city celebrated its centennial. This coincided with the repaving and streetscaping project of Macdonald Avenue. The city's old rundown commercial district along Macdonald has been designated the city's "Main Street District" by the state of California. This has led to funding of improvements in the form of state grants. [ [ TTCA Welcomes the City of Richmond Into the California Main Street Program.] , Business Wire, December 13, 2007, retrieved May 24, 2007]


Richmond is located at coor dms|37|56|13|N|122|20|31|W|city (37.936874, -122.342057).GR|1

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 52.6 sq mi (136.2 km²). 30.0 sq mi (77.6 km²) of it is land and 22.6 sq mi (58.5 km²) of it (42.98%) is water. The city sits on convert|32|mi|km of waterfront, more than any other city in the Bay Area. [ Statistics of Richmond, California] , City] The city borders San Francisco Bay to the southwest and San Pablo Bay to the northwest, and includes Brooks Island and the Brother Islands entirely, and half of Red Rock Island.

There are several cities and unincorporated communities surrounding or bordering Richmond. To the south is the city of Albany which is in Alameda County and the city of El Cerrito. The cities and unincorporated areas of, East Richmond Heights, Rollingwood and, El Sobrante lie to the East. North Richmond to the west and San Pablo to the east are almost entirely surrounded by Richmond's city limits. To the north, Richmond borders the city of Pinole and the unincorporated areas of Bayview-Montalvin, and Tara Hills. Richmond borders Alameda, San Francisco, and Marin counties in the Bay and Red Rock Island.

The city is within the 94801, 94803, 94804, 94805, and 94806 ZIP Codes. [ City of Richmond Geographic Information System Viewer] , retrieved August 1, 2007]

Geographic Location
Centre = North Richmond, San Pablo
North = Tara Hills
Northeast = El Sobrante
East = East Richmond Heights
Southeast = El Cerrito
South = Albany
Southwest = San Francisco Bay
West = San Rafael
Northwest = San Pablo Bay


Many industries have been and are still sited in Richmond. It had a dynamite and gunpowder works (the Giant Powder Company, closed in 1960, now the site of Point Pinole Regional Shoreline), the last active whaling station in the country at Point Molate (closed in 1971), and one of the world's largest wineries (Winehaven), closed by Prohibition in 1919.

During World War II, Richmond developed rapidly as a heavy industrial town, chiefly devoted to shipbuilding. Its major activity now is as a seaport, with 26 million tons of goods shipped through Port Richmond in 1993, mostly oil and petroleum products. Chevron USA has a major oil refinery in the city, with a storage capacity of 15 million barrels (2,400 m³). The Social Security Administration employs over 1,000 at its regional office and program service center in Downtown Richmond. Kaiser Permanente's Richmond Medical Center hospital in the Downtown Richmond is one of the largest employers in the city. Galaxy Desserts is run and operated in the city. Vetrazzo, an award winning green business that manufactures Recycled Glass Countertops out of waste glass such as beer bottles and old traffic lights, is located in the refurbished Ford Assembly Plant. Treeskunk Productions a video game animation studio is based in the town. Bay View recording studios are located in the city, and have worked with artists such as Smash Mouth.


The Hilltop Area includes Hilltop Mall, which features a Sears, J.C. Penney and Wal-Mart in addition to Hilltop Auto Mall and a movie multiplex with 16 theaters in the Hilltop Plaza shopping center. The 23rd Street corridor has evolved into a predominantly Latino neighborhood over the last twenty years as have the storefronts.Fact|date=June 2007 In the downtown area, Richmond Shopping Center was built as part of the city's "main street" revitalization efforts. It is anchored by a Foods Co. supermarket and a Walgreen's pharmacy. The Macdonald 80 Shopping Center is a commercial plot along the trunk route of Macdonald Avenue which has been designated the city's main street under the aforementioned program. It was once anchored by the now-defunct Montgomery Wards and a Toys'R'Us. Construction is currently underway of a Target store in the location as an anchor for a new shopping center. [cite web
title=Macdonald 80 Shopping Center: Draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration
publisher=Pacific Municipal Consultants
month=June | year=2004
] "Big-box" stores already in the city include Costco in the Point Isabel area and a Home Depot which is partially in Richmond and partially in El Cerrito. A controversial Kohl's department store has been proposed for Point Isabel. (See Point Isabel) [ New Kohl's store proposed for Richmond] , by Katherine Tam, Contra Costa Times, May 30, 2008, access date August 8, 2008]

Construction boom

The former Richmond Shipyards were transformed starting in the late 1980s into a multiunit residential area, Marina Bay. Starting in the early 2000s, the city began an aggressive redevelopment effort spurring exurban tract housing, condominiums, townhomes, a transit village, and terraced hillside subdivisions. Since 1996, new homes have increased in price by 32%, and there has been a 65.6% increase in the total amount of new dwellings built annually.

Country Club vista is a development surrounding the Richmond Country Club to the south and north. It includes suburban style tract houses with cul-de-sac courts and small yards. Seacliff, at Point Richmond, is a development of luxury waterfront homes built on a terraced hillside. San Marcos is a series of about ten condominium multistory buildings between Hilltop Mall and Country Club Vista. Richmond Transit Village has been constructed in the former west parking lot and an adjacent empty lot of the combined Richmond BART and Amtrak station. The development is part of the city's downtown revitalization efforts.

The headquarters for the Mechanic's Bank is located in the Hilltop neighborhood; the bank's origins are in providing banking for World War II shipyard workers.


Many casinos have been proposed for the West Contra Costa area. Point Molate would have a casino, resort, and a luxury shopping mall. Sugar Bowl Casino proposes a casino, steakhouse, and a buffet. Casino San Pablo has already been built in neighboring San Pablo, with 2,500 slots. The projects have been the subject of much civic debate supporters contend that the often cash-strapped government would get a major new source of revenue, while opponents air their concerns over the ramifications including an increase in already high crime rates, lowered property values, and worsening neighborhood quality of life.

Point Molate is currently slated to either become a housing and conference center or a casino resort shopping area, or even a large regional park. [ [ Time Bomb Or Treasure] ,, "San Francisco Chronicle", April 9, 2001]


Richmond city government operates under a council-manager system with 9 members (including mayor and vice mayor) elected to alternating 4-year terms. [cite web | title = Richmond Government | publisher = City of Richmond | url = | accessdate = 2007-06-27]

Politically, the city is a Democratic stronghold. By the early 1990s, not a single Republican remained on the council. Most mayors have been African-American. George D. Carroll, who was voted by the City Council to become Mayor on July 6, 1964, was described at the time as "the first Negro mayor in California and first in America with the exception of small, scattered all-Negro communities in the Deep South," [ "Negro Councilman Elevated to Richmond Mayor's Post", "Oakland Tribune", July 7, 1964, p19 ] . Rosemary Corbin was the mayor throughout the 1990s and was an exception, as she is white. In the early 2000s Gayle McLaughlin was the first Green elected to the council, with the support of the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), a coalition of liberal Democrats, progressive independents, and Greens. In November 2006, McLaughlin was elected mayor. The city council has four African Americans, four whites and two Latinos. Richmond has formerly been home to black culture and activist movements, most notably the Black Panther Party.

In 2006 the city implemented a computer program that it had ordered from a German firm that provides the city with statistical interactive maps. These maps cover such areas as signage locations, streets, crime hot-spots, and zoning information. [ [ The City of Richmond, California, Implements Enterprise Framework] , ESRI] In 2007 the city won a contest in which its previously substandard website was upgraded and improved to make it more modern and functional. The prize includes 2 years of free webmastering. [ [ Grand Prize-Winning “Extreme Makeover” Website Is Unveiled!] , CivicPlus, January 5, 2007, retrieved June 24, 2007]

There has recently been controversy regarding appointments of councilpersons Sandhu and Thurmond who were not elected at-large or were appointed to the ballot on a Yes/No basis. [ [ Council shifts way it fills seats] , Contra Costa Times, by Joshua Geluardi, March 11, 2007, retrieved May 25, 2007]

Recently Mayor McGlaughlin and Councilperson Butt have opposed Chevron's plans of modifications to the refinery that would increase pollution by using dirtier, thicker, but cheaper crude oil. [cite web | last = Johnson | first = Chip | title = California city questions Chevron's refinery upgrade | publisher = San Francisco Chronicle | url = ]

The city of Richmond has eight community centers which are located within city parks. Many of the city's community centers were closed in the early 2000s following budget miscalcuations and financial difficulties. In the 2006 city elections many candidates ran on platforms promising to reopen these community centers, most of which had been closed due to budget cuts. That election also featured a city sales tax increase, Measure Q, which failed.

There are 53 voting precincts in Richmond. During the last regular election on November 7, 2006 21,575 of 37,605 (57.37%) registered voters cast their ballots. [ OFFICIAL RESULTS OF THE 2006 MUNICIPAL ELECTION HELD ON NOVEMBER 7, 2006] , retrieved August 2, 2007]

Great American Boycott

During the Great American Boycott of 2006 the predominantly Latino storefronts of the 23rd Street business district were all closed for the general strike and the usually bustling district became a one-day ghost town. Many Latinos from the area participated in large rallies on Oakland and San Francisco. Others protested locally, along 23rd Street in Richmond. One lane on 23rd Street was left open to allow traffic to pass.


Richmond is served by the Richmond Police Department and Richmond Fire Department. Dozens of parks are run by the Richmond Parks & Recreation Department. The Richmond Civic Center is currently undergoing a seismic upgrade and renovations program. Some buildings are being refurbished while other will be replaced. [ Civic Center Revitalization] , Mitigative and negative declaration, City of Richmond website, retrieved August 1, 2007]

The city has in recent years suffered from a high crime rate, so serious that the city council at one point requested a declaration of a state of emergency and asked for the intervention of the Contra Costa County Sheriff and the California Highway Patrol in order to ameliorate crime waves. [ [ 4 on council call for a state of emergency] , by Jim Herron Zamora,, "San Francisco Chronicle", June 17, 2005, retrieved May 24, 2007] Murder, vehicle theft and larceny rates are all high, although they tend to be concentrated in certain areas such as the Iron Triangle and areas surrounding adjacent unincorporated North Richmond, which is outside the jurisdiction of the Richmond Police Department.

In 2004, Richmond was statistically the second most dangerous city in California, surpassing Oakland and was named the 8th most dangerous city in the country. [ [ The Iron Triangle: Richmond's Forgotten Neighborhood] , North Gate News Online.] However, those rankings have changed and Richmond is now the third most dangerous in California behind Compton and Oakland and 11th most dangerous nationally according to the Morgan Quitno rankings. [ [ Report finds St. Louis most dangerous U.S. city.] For every 100,000 people there were 38.3 murders, 50.4 rapes, 485.8 robberies, 512 assaults, 1110.7 burglaries, 3497.4 counts or larceny and 2471.4 thefts of vehicles. Richmond had 42 murders in 2006; and the city experienced a record of 62 homicides in 1991. [ [ Profile 4: Comprehensive Homicide Initiative] , Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, US Department of Justice.]

Current mayor Gayle McLaughlin is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, [cite web | title = Mayors Against Illegal Guns - Coalition Members | publisher = Mayors Against Illegal Guns | url = | accessdate = 2007-06-26] an organization formed in 2006 and co-chaired by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston mayor Thomas Menino. The city is also participating in the California Cities Gang Prevention Network. [ [,126626.shtml California Cities Gather to Share What's Working in Effort to Stem Gang Violence] ] Gangs are a serious problem for the police department as they cause violence and shootings. Many gangs graffiti their "tags" to mark their territory thus blighting the city with vandalism. A high ranking MS-13 (or "mara salvatrucha") leader, José Santos Bonilla, was captured in the southwestern Annex neighborhood in 2006. [ [ Leader of notorious MS-13 gang arrested] , by Jason B. Johnson, "San Francisco Chronicle", July 27, 2006, retrieved June 26, 2007]

Richmond is also home to the West County Detention Center in the Point Pinole area. It is a male and female county prison.

RichmondWorks and Richmond Summer YouthWorks are city programs which aim to decrease unemployment and crime and have led to hundreds receiving employment at area retail businesses. [cite web | title = Operation Safe Homes | publisher = The U.S. Conference of Mayors | url = | accessdate = 2007-06-27]

Fires, medical emergencies and other disasters are handled by the Richmond Fire Department which has seven fire stations in the city.


The public schools in Richmond are administered by the West Contra Costa Unified School District, formerly the Richmond Unified School District. There are also many private schools, mostly Catholic schools under the authority of the Diocese of Oakland.

The city has four high schools: De Anza High School, Salesian High School, Richmond High School, and Kennedy High School. There are also three middle schools, sixteen elementary schools, and seven elementary-middle schools. Richmond also hosts three adult education schools.

The Contra Costa Community College District serves all of Contra Costa County, and Richmonders who decide to attend a community college typically go to Contra Costa College, located in the neighboring city of San Pablo.

79.8% of Richmonders have a high school diploma or equivalent compared with 84.2% nationally, however 27.1% have a bachelor's degree compared with a statistically negligibly different 27.2% countrywide.

All Richmond schools have banned junk food, such as candy, soda, twinkies, pizza, and other like items in attempt to curb childhood obesity and change children's eating habits. It has been speculated that this was done preemptively since some believe the state will soon mandate such restrictions. [ [ Contra Costa, Calif., School District Bans Soda, Junk Food, by Kara Shire] , "Contra Costa Times", August 30, 2003, retrieved May 24, 2007]

Since the implementation of an exit exam requirement for California high schools, the CAHSEE, some Richmond high school students have been protesting the requirement. In 2007, over 28% of Richmond High School students has passed the CAHSEE, a prerequisite for graduating. [ [ Richmond students protest Exit Exam results] , Oroville Mercury Register, June 7, 2007, 2007-06-07] Some students were angered with the new CAHSEE requirement. They sued the district in the pursuit of eliminating the requirement. In July 2007 a compromise was reached in which the district would provide 2 additional years of educational assistance for the purposes of passing the exam.

Attractions and landmarks

The city of Richmond has dozens of parks, National Historic Park, and 10 sites listed under the National Register of Historic Places [ Impromptu Web Query ] ]

Point Richmond, which is in effect a village within Richmond, is known for its small-town charm and its quaint shops. "The Point", as it is known by locals, offers owner-operated stores, coffee shops, and historic benches and streetlights. The Masquers Playhouse is a performing arts center that offers shows and productions year round. Hotel Mac is one of the oldest buildings in the area and has classic early 20th century architecture, like many other buildings in the area. There is also The Plunge, a natatorium which had been closed due to seismic safety issues. The city expressed a desire to demolish the building at one point, but this was halted by the actions of a neighborhood preservation campaign which continues its mission to "Save the Plunge!".

The Ferry Point Tunnel is one of the oldest tunnels in California. Built in 1899, this structure still gives access to many attractions and neighborhoods in Brickyard Cove. The tunnel goes to the Golden State Railroad Museum, the USS "Red Oak Victory", and many beaches and parks, and to Ferry Point where an abandoned ferry-rail pier still stands with a historic ferry slip still standing, though somewhat damaged by fire. It can be viewed from an adjacent fishing pier.

The USS "Red Oak Victory" (AK-235) is a restored World War II Victory ship, the 558th ship made in Richmond. Liberty and Victory ships transported troops and supplies during World War II.

During World War II the city sprawled and its population increased dramatically. This led city leaders to construct the Richmond Civic Center in 1957. This center houses the city hall, a small convention center, library, hall of justice, police headquarters, and arts center.

The Richmond Public Library, the only public library independent of the Contra Costa County Public Libraries system, lies in the heart of the civic center. It houses over 204,686 books, 4,014 audio materials, 5,277 video materials, and 491 serial subscriptions.

The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge extends convert|5.5|mi|km|1 across San Pablo Bay. The bridge is the origin of the term "rollercoaster span", due to its curves, bumps, and appearance which have also earned the bridge the nickname of "The Rollercoaster Bridge". It was built in 1957, and connects Contra Costa County with Marin County. Automobiles are charged a $4 toll in the westbound (towards Marin) direction only.

The Golden State Railroad Museum is a complex series of model railroad layouts in a museum in the Brickyard Cove area of Point Richmond. A visitor can operate trains of various eras, and there are miniature freight and passenger terminals, trestles, tunnels, and meticulously detailed town and city scenes, many of which are copied from real life scenes of the 1950s.

The Santa Fe Railroad Terminal operated as the western terminus for the railroad from the late 19th century to the late 20th century . It has now been transformed into a museum to exemplify the feel of the terminal in that era.

The Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park is in Richmond, and commemorates women's shipbuilding and support for the war effort in the 1940s.

Keller Beach is one of the city's beaches, located at Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline, a park in Brickyard Cove. It offers picnicking, sunbathing, wading, and swimming. The beach is overlooked by vehicles exiting the Brickyard Cove drive, Ferry Point tunnel and houses on the steep cliffs above. The beach, as with most of the cove, offers spectacular panoramic bay views of the Oakland hills, bridges, the San Francisco skyline and the Golden Gate.

Point Molate Beach Park is a park on the western coast of Richmond along Western Drive. It was originally a Chinese shrimp camp in the 1870s.

Point San Pablo yacht harbor accommodates hundreds of private boats.

East Brother Light Station on East Brother Island (one of the Brother Islands) is host to an exclusive bed and breakfast. It is only accessible by private boat. Visitors come and stay for the day and picnic for free or they may pay for a room.

The city also is also home to a radio controlled model airplane airport, Breuner Airfield that is located in Breuner Marsh a contested piece of land and near Point Pinole Regional Park in the Parchester Village neighborhood.

Leisure and culture

Several regional parks administered by the East Bay Regional Park District lie within the city, including the Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline and the Point Pinole Regional Shoreline. They are linked by the San Francisco Bay Trail. Part of the former shipyard is now a marina.

The Richmond Art Center, founded by Hazel Salmi in 1936, is one of the oldest continually operating non-profit art centers on the entire West Coast of the United States. Its programming includes exhibitions, adult and youth education, and community initiatives. The Center currently (as of 2005) provides some of the only arts education programming in the Richmond City School District, relying primarily on public donations and private grants as its means of support.

There is also the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, Hilltop Multiplex, or Masquers Theaters in Point Richmond.

The Richmond Progressive Alliance and Green Party are active political parties in Richmond. The House Rabbit Society has its national headquarters in Richmond.


Richmond is home to the [ National Institute of Art and Disabilities Art Center] , also known locally as the NIAD Art Center. NIAD is a non-profit organization hosting over sixty client artists weekly. NIAD's client artist's work can be seen at NIAD's on-site gallery, the Florence Ludins-Katz Gallery. NIAD has a gift shop.

The Hyphy subculture and sub genre of rap music originated in Richmond and surrounding cities. [ Hip-Hop Car Stunt Leaves 2 De] , Associated Press, by Garance Burke, December 29, 2006, retrieved August 12, 2007]

From 1996 to 2002 a "geekfest" was held on the beach in Point Molate every few weeks or monthly by S.P.A.M. Records. The festival was a community service for under 21 year olds.Fact|date=August 2007


There are dozens of gathering places for various religions in the city, and some which are not represented in the city can be found nearby. Christian denominational churches include the: Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses; Kingdom Land Baptist Church; Grace Baptist Church; Grace Lutheran Church; Temple Baptist Church; Unity Church of Richmond; Holy Trinity Episcopal Church; Holy Mission Christian Center; St. David Catholic Church, Faith Temple C.O.G.I.C., and Faith Tabernacle A.O.H. Church Of God; and the Largest Church in Richmond, Hilltop Community Church which is Assemblies of God.

Parks and recreation

The city has convert|292.6|acre|km2|1 of parkland, that is 1.5% of the city's land territory. A new national park, Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park is now under construction in the former Kaiser shipyards and other wartime industrial sites in Richmond. The park is a memorial to the six million women who labored on the home front, symbolized by the mythical figure "Rosie the Riveter". Richmond was selected for the park because it has many intact buildings that were constructed for 56 wartime industries. Its four shipyards produced an amazing 747 large ships and set production records. The home front changed Richmond from a predominantly rural community of 23,600 residents to a diverse population of over 100,000 people within a year. Industries operated around the clock and public housing, schools, day care centers, health care and merchants mobilized to support the new workforce that arrived on the city's doorstep. Fortunately, Richmond's turbulent and productive home front years were well chronicled and photographed. The National Park Service provides interpretive services and operates a Visitor Center in the craneway of the Ford Assembly Building.

Richmond also has number of local parks and two large regional parks are under the authority of the East Bay Regional Parks District, a consortium of most of the Parks and Recreation lands and facilities of Alameda and Contra Costa County.

Wildcat Canyon Regional Park is the city's largest park at convert|2428|acre|km2|0. The park once housed a dance hall and roller rink and has distinctive stonework throughout, which was the rationale for its placement on the National Register of Historic Places. [ [ Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline | East Bay Regional Parks ] ] It features San Pablo Creek, trails, forests, horseback riding, picnic areas, and a play structure for children, as well as horses for rent and mountain biking trails. High school students practice cross-country in the park. It is situated in the eastern Richmond hills and stretches into Berkeley's Tilden Regional Park in Alameda County. The park has diverse animal and plant life including great horned owls, opossums, king snakes, rubber boas, turkey vultures and many others.

Point Isabel Regional Shoreline is the largest off-leash dog park in the United States. [ [ Point Isabel Shoreline the largest off-leash dog park in the nation] , by Glen Martin, San Francisco Chronicle, August 16 2004, retrieved July 25 2007]

The Richmond Greenway is a project costing millions of dollars to transform an old rail line into a walking, jogging, and biking trail. It will span east to west from the end of the Ohlone Trail that follows the BART line from El Cerrito to Berkeley. It will also follow the BART line to Richmond station and continue to Point Richmond. Pedestrian bridges will be used to cross major avenues such as San Pablo Avenue and 23rd Street. An additional side project will add a bike lane/bike trail between the Richmond Greenway and the Ohlone trail at Potrero Avenue via 23rd Street, Carlson Boulevard, Cutting Boulevard, and Potrero. It is currently under construction.

Richmond is home to four marinas: the Brickyard Cove Yacht Club, Point San Pablo Yacht Club, Marina Bay Marina, and Channel Marina in the Santa Fe channel.

The city has annual Juneteenth and Cinco de Mayo celebrations in addition to a fireworks show at Marina Bay on the 4th of July.



There are three local newspapers: the Richmond Post, the Richmond Globe, and the West County Times, variation of the County Times. Richmond is also host to the West County Times one of several regional times newspapers for the East Bay.


A local cable access TV station, KCRT-TV, mainly plays historical archives but also airs City Council Meetings and music videos.


KNEW (AM) transmits from towers at Point Isabel. [ USGS] , Information System, access date August 10, 2008]


Port of Richmond

The Port of Richmond, located in along the city's southern coast beside the Richmond Inner Harbor, handles the third-largest shipping tonnage in California annuallyFact|date=August 2007, a total of 19 million short tons. It ranks number one for ports of the San Francisco Bay for vehicles and liquid bulk. [cite web
title = Richmond, CA - Official Website - Port Operations
publisher = City of Richmond
url =
accessdate = 2007-06-26
] In addition to these commodities, the port can also handle dry-bulk, break-bulk, and containers. Seven of the terminals are city-owned, in addition to 5 dry docks, while there are 11 privately-owned terminals. The port is served by a rail network operated by four major rail companies.


Highways and expressways

*Interstate 80 cuts through the eastern and northeastern portions of the city, through a mostly residential area, connecting to Pinole, Hercules and then on to Vallejo via the Carquinez Bridge in the eastbound direction, and through, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville and eventually terminating in San Francisco via the Bay Bridge in the westbound direction. The weekday westbound morning commute on I-80 through Richmond lies within the most congested stretch of freeway in the Bay Area, according to Caltrans, and has been ranked as such since 2001. [cite web
title=Bay Area Freeway Congestion Up for Third Straight Year in 2006
publisher=Metropolitan Transportation Commission
date=June 18 2007

*Interstate 580 curves along the southern waterside of Richmond and merges into I-80 in Albany in the southern Oakland/San Francisco direction while slicing through mixed medium and heavy industries and homes through Point Richmond and onto the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge over the San Pablo Bay segment of the San Francisco Bay into San Rafael and Marin County.

*The Richmond Parkway, built in the between the early 1990s and early 2000s connects I-580 in the Point Richmond area in the southwest to the Hilltop Area and I-80, it runs along the city's heavily industrial western side and through unincorporated area of North Richmond. It has been proposed that it be upgraded to a state highway and be redesignated: State Route 93 and transferred to the authority of Caltrans.

*San Pablo Avenue (State Route 123) runs through Richmond and San Pablo to Pinole, Hercules and to its terminus in Crockett and south through El Cerrito, Albany, Emeryville, and until it runs into Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland.

Major trunk streets

*Macdonald Avenue is the "mainstreet" of Richmond, running east-west from Point Richmond through downtown to San Pablo Avenue. It is nicknamed the "Parade Street," "100 year street," and the "Main street."Fact|date=February 2008 The latter comes from the Richmond redevelopment agency's plan to deem this street the Main Street of town. It is currently being repaved and refitted with new lampposts and trees.
*Cutting Boulevard parallels Macdonald Avenue to the south, traveling from Point Richmond to Arlington Ave. near the top of the hills. It is a busy commercial and commute route. In 1990, a major improvement program was designed by the city also involving Knox Freeway.
*23rd Street runs through the heart of the city north-south from where it turns to Marina Bay Parkway at I-580 through this heavily Latino business district and neighborhood to San Pablo Avenue in the city of San Pablo.
*Barrett Avenue parallels Macdonald Ave several blocks north; it is slightly less traveled and has less activity than Macdonald.
*Marina Bay Parkway serves as a link between I-580 and the Marina Bay neighborhood, it turns into 23rd street after crossing 580.
*Marina Way and Harbour Way/Harbour Way South run north-south.
*Giant Highway, named for the former Giant Powder Company, runs in the northern part of town between San Pablo Avenue and the Leroy Heights neighborhood.
*Hilltop Drive is a trunk street which runs from Richmond Parkway, crosses San Pablo Avenue, passes Hilltop Mall and continues over Interstate 80 into the neighboring city of El Sobrante.

Public transportation


Amtrak provides intercity passenger rail service from Richmond Station, an intermodal connection shared with the BART system. The station is located downtown and has a transit center with connections to AC Transit and Golden Gate Transit buses as well as taxis.

There are two Amtrak lines serving this station. The regional San Joaquin Route runs from nearby Oakland to the south through Richmond and Martinez to the Central Valley through Stockton and Fresno, terminating in Bakersfield. Passengers continuing on to Los Angeles or other points in Southern California may transfer at Bakersfield for connecting Amtrak Thruway bus services.

The second Amtrak line, the Capitol Corridor runs from San José to the state capitol, Sacramento, through Richmond, Fairfield, and Davis; some trains continue to the northern Sacramento suburb of Auburn. This route is the third most heavily used Amtrak line in the United States. [ [] , Capitol Corridor, Stations (map), retrieved July 5, 2007]

BART has one station in the city of Richmond, mentioned above, which serves as the northern terminus of the Richmond-Millbrae and Richmond-Fremont lines. Two other stations are located near Richmond, El Cerrito del Norte and El Cerrito Plaza, both in El Cerrito. The Richmond BART station had over 1.7 million passengers in 1998 while the Amtrak station carried 238,893 in 2006.

Before AC Transit and BART the Key System provided a network of several rail lines on the East Shore and Suburban Railway. [ keysystemmap.gif] , BayRails, retrieved August 13, 2007]


AC Transit provides 14 bus lines in the city including local service throughout the city including BRT line 72R along San Pablo Avenue, "Transbay" commuter service across the Bay Bridge to the San Francisco Transbay Terminal and also owl "All-Nighter" service along the BART line. The lines are: 7, 52L, 70, 71, 72, 72M, 72R, 74, 76, 376, 800, H, L, LA

In June 2007, after engaging with the community for feedback with public hearings, AC Transit implemented the West Contra Costa County Service Plan which realigned existing service finds to reroute portions of certain lines, eliminate service to areas with low ridership, and replace service in some areas with service from a different route providing direct service to areas previously requiring tedious transfers. Furthermore, a great effort was made to provide a better transfer at Richmond Station as well as the Richmond Parkway Transit Center. The changes are covered by Phase I and use no new monies which would be required to completely implement the plan: Phase II. Phase II will use Regional Measure J funds to expands service providing lines along corridors which are undeserved or not served, and increasing hours and decreasing headways. Two of the greatest changes will be extending BRT service to Richmond Parkway Transit Center and providing service along the Ohio Avenue corridor. These changes have effected the northern neighborhoods of the city and the adjacent communities of El Sobrante and San Pablo the most. Phase I was originally supposed to be implemented in late 2006, but the implementation has been delayed until June 2007. Phase II has a target date of mid-2008. [ [ New Date: Upcoming Service Changes] , AC Transit Marketing, March 15, 2007, retrieved June 7, 2007] [ [ AC Transit Service Changes] , retrieved June 7, 2007] [ [ West County Service Plan Community and Drivers Input (PDFs)] , retrieved June 7, 2007] [ [ West Contra Costa County Service Plan (PDFs)] , retrieved June 7, 2007]

Golden Gate Transit provides a service from San Rafael in Marin County across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to Richmond and El Cerrito del Norte BART stations with routes 40 and 42.

Vallejo Transit (line 80) and Fairfield/Suisun Transit (line 85) provide feeder services from Solano County, primarily Vallejo but also Fairfield, Vacaville and other cities to El Cerrito del Norte BART.

WestCat provides similar feeder service from other West County cities like Pinole and Hercules. In addition to service in northern Richmond's Hilltop neighborhood. Lines running through Richmond are: 16, 17, 18, 19, 30Z, C³, J, JX, JPX [ [ WestCat System Map] ,, retrieved June 26, 2007]

Commercial and cargo rail

The Union Pacific Railroad (UP) has a mainline passing through Richmond. This line was formerly operated by the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP).

The BNSF Railway (BNSF) has a yard and that serves as the Northern California terminus of their line that goes to their main classification yard at Barstow, CA via the San Joaquin Valley. The track was formerly operated by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (ATSF). Many years ago, the ATSF offered rail car ferry service from Point Richmond to San Francisco. The partially-burnt remnants of the ferry pier can still be seen at Point Richmond.

The Richmond Pacific Railroad (RPRC) is a class III shortline railroad operating on convert|2.5|mi|km|1 of track, providing switching services at Richmond's wharves. The RPRC is owned by the Levin-Richmond Terminal Corporation and was formerly known as the Parr Terminal Railroad (PRT).


Richmond had commuter ferry service from the Richmond Ferry Terminal to the San Francisco Ferry Building on weekdays and Fisherman's Wharf on weekends in addition to special Giant's Ballpark service during the baseball season. The voyage took approximately 45 minutes one-way. The service began in 1999, but was discontinued in the late 2000s in the economic downturn following the dot-com bust. Ferry ridership plummeted and the service became economically unsustainable, which led Red and White Fleet to discontinue the service. The Richmond ferry terminal is at Ford Point located adjacent to the historic Ford Plant in Marina Bay which is now open as an industrial park and under renovation. The terminal had its own dedicated AC Transit feeder service from Point Richmond and downtown Richmond with route 374 also now discontinued. [ [ MTC - News - Transactions ] ] [ [ Richmond Ferry to Sail] , "San Francisco Chronicle".] [ [ Richmond Ferry Wins Praise But Few Riders] , "San Francisco Chronicle".] A new ferry service from Richmond is planned for 2008 by the San Francisco Bay Area Water Transit Authority. The new ferry will take only half an hour to San Francisco and will use the existing terminal and parking facilities at Ford Point. [ [ Water Transit Authority ] ] Recently most of the city council except Tom Butt and Mayor McLaughlin have lost interest in the project instead supporting using the site for expanded Toyota vehicle importation parking which that company has expressed an interest in. [ [ Berkeley Daily Planet - Friday June 03, 2005 ] ]

Pedestrian and bike lanes

The city has aggressively developed its portions of the San Francisco Bay Trail and has more than any other city at present. The total is convert|17|mi|km|0 [ 2007 State of the City Address] , by Gayle McLaughlin, March 6, 2007, Gayle McGlaughlin website, retrieved August 3, 2007] and more is to be built. The city is also currently developing the Richmond Greenway a rails to trails project running parallel to Macdonald Avenue which will feed into the Ohlone Trail which serves as feeder service for the El Cerrito del Norte BART station. There is also the Hercules Bikeway connecting the Ohlone Trail with Hercules, which runs along the neighborhoods of East Richmond and El Sobrante. There is a trail under construction along Wildcat Creek to connect the Bay Trail and Wildcat Marsh with Wildcat Canyon Regional Park. The city also has many miles of trails in that park in addition to Miller/Knox, Point Isabel, and Point Pinole parks, among others.

Municipal services

Richmond's waste disposal and recycling is handled by the Richmond Sanitary Service. Water is provided by the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), while sewers are operated by the city government. The city's electricity and gas is provided by the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E).

Notable citizens


*Brian Abshire, Olympic track & field athlete (1988 Olympian) in the 3000 meter steeplechase [ [ Regional News] , California Track and Running News]
*Courtney Anderson, NFL Raiders #88 professional football player. [ [] , Courtney Anderson profile, retrieved June 23, 2007] [ [] , 2007 Draft: Prospect Profiles, Courtney Anderson, retrieved June 23, 2007]
*Ken Carter: Richmond High School coach, inspiration for 2005 film "Coach Carter" [ [ Coach Carter movie official website] ,, retrieved May 17, 2007]
*Dave Smith, major league baseball pitcher for the Astros, Cubs, and Padres [ [ Baseball Reference profile of Dave Smith] ,, retrieved May 17, 2007.]
*Lamont Thompson, NFL football defensive back for the Tennessee Titans and the Cincinnati Bengals [ [ Database Football profile of Lamont Thompson] ,, retrieved May 17, 2007.]
*Ricky Jordan, Philadelphia Phillies baseball player [ [] , Ricky Jordan profile, retrieved July 2, 2007]
*Ricardo Valenzuela a soccer referee. [ U.S. Soccer Referees Work More Than 400 Professional & International Games in July...] , August 6, 2004, retrieved August 8, 2008]


*George Johnson, supercentenerian, World War I veteran. [ [ Secrets of living a long life] , by Chip Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, May 1, 2001, retrieved June 17, 2007]
*Lucretia Edwards, local preservation activist and environmentalist [ [ Lucretia Edwards Shoreline Park] , City of Richmond, retrieved May 17, 2007.] [ [ Open Space Advocate Honored With a Park, by John Geluardi] , "Berkeley Daily Planet", January 2, 2004, retrieved May 17, 2007.]
*Master P, rapper and founder/owner of the P. Miller clothing, former local businessman [ [ profile of Master P] , , retrieved May 17, 2007.]
*Rag Bone famous for producing and making songs with local rappers like Murcielago, Gibby, Lito, GrapeZ & MaYhem. you could find him at "myspace.com5104life".


Richmond has many distinct neighborhoods. The city can roughly be divided into the northern Hilltop/El Sobrante, eastern Central/East Richmond, downtown/Iron Triangle and Southern Point Richmond/Marina Bay areas.

Richmond in literature, film, and music


*"Richmond - Windows to the Past", an oral history based photographic history by Susan Alcorn (1980).
*"In Contempt" (Mass Market Paperback) by Christopher A. Darden, Jess Walter, ReganBooks; Reprint edition (February 1997) (Christopher Darden, one of the prosecutors in the criminal case against O.J. Simpson, grew up in Richmond.)
*"Photographing the 2nd Gold Rush": Dorothea Lange and the East Bay at War 1941-1945 (Paperback) by Dorothea Lange, Charles Wollenberg, Heyday Books (August 1995).
*"Richmond" (Images of America) (Paperback) by Donald Bastin, Arcadia Publishing (SC) (November 2003).
*"Tales from the Iron Triangle: Boyhood Days in the Bay Area of the 1920s" (Hardcover), by James Polese, Ocean Tree Books; 1st ed. edition (September 1994).
*"To Place Our Deeds: The African American Community in Richmond, California, 1910-1963" (Paperback) by Shirley Ann Wilson Moore, University of California Press; 1 edition (February 5, 2001).
*"Gypsies: The Hidden Americans" (Paperback) by Anne Sutherland, 1975; Re-issued 1986 by Waveland Press, Inc. This book is an anthropological study of a group of American Rom (Gypsies) living in Richmond (Barvale), California. It is based on fieldwork done during 1968-70. In this book, Richmond was given the pseudonym of "Barvale" in order to protect the anonymity of the subjects.Fact|date=December 2007Or|date=December 2007

Film and television

*Many scenes from the Robin Williams film, Patch Adams were filmed during a week in Point Richmond.Fact|date=June 2007
*The basketball movie, Coach Carter although filmed in across the bay in San Francisco was based on the story of the Richmond High School Basketball team being benched for poor grades despite an undefeated season.
*Many parts of the Mel Gibson movie Forever Young were filmed in Point Richmond.Fact|date=February 2007
*DeVry College has made a commercial showing businesses along San Pablo Avenue in Richmond.

ister cities

Richmond, California has three sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:

* The "twin town" of Shimada, Japan (Japanese: 島田市, 日本). flagicon|Japan
* The port city of Regla, Cuba. flagicon|Cuba
* Zhoushan, China (Chinese: 舟山市, 中华人民共和国). flagicon|China


*Martin Luther King, Jr. had planned to visit Richmond just prior to his assassination. [ [ Son of King shining light on poor, by John Geluardi] , "Contra Costa Times", May 1, 2007, retrieved May 25, 2007]

ee also

*East Richmond Heights
*North Richmond
*Point Richmond
*El Sobrante
*Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park
*USS Tacoma (PF-3)


External links

* [ City of Richmond] Official website
* [ Neighborhood Councils and Groups] (City of Richmond) []
* [ Richmond Main Street project] Downtown redevelopment information
* [ US Census Bureau] - Richmond city factsheet
* [ West Contra Costa Unified School District]
* [ Richmond Annex Neighborhood Council]
* [ Richmond Museum of History] website
* [ Richmond Greenway] - Information about Bay Trail "Richmond Greenway" trail and bike trails project.
* [ CCC Point Richmond] Pt. Richmond development lobbyists and neighborhood group
* [ Belding Woods]
* [ Point Molate stuff]
* [ Marina Bay]
* [ News article on FBI raid on MS-13 hideout] and [ Pictures]
* [ World Gazetteer profile for Richmond]
* [ History of the Pullman Shops]
* [ Map showing the modern location of the Pullman neighborhood]
* [ Richmond neighborhood councils contact list]
* [ Masquers Theature]
* [ Article regarding Refineries and Richmond]
* [ USGS Faultline interactive for Richmond and East Bay]
* [ Unofficial Regla Sister City Web Site]
* [ Bay Crossings "Point Molate: Waterfront Dream or Terrorist Nightmare?"]

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