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Unlike Danville, Blackhawk is not a town; it is a census-designated place in Contra Costa County, California. It lies east of Oakland and Danville. Blackhawk is governed by county rules and regulations and a homeowner association. Blackhawk traces it’s history to the Easton family. The Eastons are regarded as the founding fathers of Blackhawk. The family named their horse Blackhawk after Black Hawk, who was a smart and intense Indian who led the war against President Andrew Jackson’s army. The Indians were against the relocation of their tribes to West of the Mississippi.
The Easton family then moved to California with their horse and in 1917 established a ranch called Blackhawk in Danville. Later on in the 1920’s, the ranch became famous for it’s Shire horses. The ranch was later sold to Raymond Force. He is the owner of the Caterpillar Tractor Company. The Force family used the ranch as their summer home up until 1941 when they moved in fully. The Force family also used the space to test out new Caterpillar equipment.
The land has passed through the hands of two other owners after the Force family, including Castle and Cook and Howard Peterson. Castle and Cook Ltd is a Hawaiian based sugar and pineapple company. They took over Blackhawk after the Forces passed away in 1956. They run the place from 1956 to1964. Howard Peterson enjoyed the property up until 1975 when he sold it to Ken Behring, a Florida developer. Prior to selling the estate, Howard had been able to convince the EBMUD to include the ranch in the water service area’s district. It was in 1975 that the property was zoned as a subdivision and it’s taxes raised to a $100,000. With no intention of developing the property, Howard Peterson sold Blackhawk to Ken Behring after secluding 300acres that would serve as his home.
When Behring bought Blackhawk, he had big plans for the property. As a developer, he intended to build 4800 units on 4200 acres. This did not come easy as he faced opposition from a group of residents who referred to themselves as “Amigos de Diablo.” The group accused Behring of promoting urban sprawl and promoting environmental degradation among other issues. The press took this as a chance and nicknamed the feud as “Blackhawk Wars” in reference to the Indian wars from which the property’s name was derived. Despite the heavy opposition that Behring faced, the Board of Supervisors approved of his development plan. The protestors did not take this kindly, and after collecting signatures from other residents, they filed for a referendum to amend the Board’s initial decision. Behring, however, did not put up with their opposition and had them sued for slander by his company. After all the back and forth, Behring however finally reduced his development plan by half, reducing the number of homes from 4800 homes to 2400 homes. This left 2000 acres unused of which he had set aside for the expansion of the adjacent Mt Diablo State Park.
Today the community is known as Blackhawk, and it has six smaller gated estates within. The six communities are connected by a 3-mile long trail. They include:
Hidden Oaks. Of the six gated communities, Hidden Oaks was the first community to be completed in Blackhawk in 1979.It has 206 units. The units are each situated on half acre plots.
Oakridge. This community has medium sized homes. The homes are situated on plots that range from 2000-3000 square feet.
Saddleback. This was the second community to be completed in Blackhawk, and it is home to the most lavish people in Blackhawk. The houses in this community occupy a space of not less than five whole acres.
Silveroak. Of the six communities, this is the only one with condos.
Silver Maple. This gated community consists of roughly 110 custom made homes. The homes are situated on plots that range from 2500 to 5000 square feet.
Last but not least, Blackhawk Country Club which is also referred to as Main Gates. It is the largest community of all the six.
Blackhawk is small, but it has some popular landmarks including Blackhawk Country Club, Blackhawk Museum and Blackhawk Plaza. The Blackhawk Country Club was opened in 1979, the same year in which the first community in Blackhawk was completed. The Country Club caters exclusively to the residents of the Blackhawk community. The Country Club is 4800 acres in size and is located at the foot of Mount Diablo. The club has two golf courses, one of which (the Lakeside course) hosted an event on the LPG tour from 2005-2010 and a newer course called Falls Golf course. The Blackhawk Tennis Club boasts of 20 fully operational courts, a clubhouse, and a pro shop. The Swimming club has a competition-sized pool, a spa and offers a range of instructional programs. The Club also has a Sports and recreational center that has several basketball courts, a children’s park and an amphitheater among others.
Of the 4800 acres, the club utilizes 1000 acres for the Club’s facilities (golf courses, the recreational center) and allows a natural hillside view for it’s residents. 2000 acres was what Behring left aside for expansion of the adjacent Mount Diablo state park. 45 acres is dedicated to a business center, and the rest is for the residential homes discussed above.
Amenities and places to visit
Blackhawk Plaza is located outside the Blackhawk Country Club. It has numerous restaurants; retail stores a movie theater and the Blackhawk Museum. It is a place you must visit whenever you are in Blackhawk; the range of restaurants offering different mouthwatering cuisines, the retail shops from which you can splurge on and of course the movie theater where you can watch all your favorite movies. The restaurants have a wide cuisine from Chinese food, Italian, and your basic burger. Other features in the plaza include Crunch Fitness where you can work out and get in and stay in shape, Starbucks for your cup of coffee, Core Power Yoga where you can also keep in shape, Blackhawk Plastic Surgery, and Blackhawk Grille.
The Blackhawk Museum is an Automotive museum that is well known for it’s collection of classic and rare cars. It is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute. Together they have brought exhibits from across America. The Museum is located inside the Blackhawk Plaza and is home to over 90 classic cars and other automotive treasures like old school gas pumps and classic American jukeboxes. Some unique pieces featured in the museum include a John. F Kennedy limousine and a Chinese Hongqi which was the first Chinese automobile brought to America. It also hosts other events with the help of the Smithsonian Institute.
Blackhawk has a total population of about 9400 people as per the 2010 United States Census. With the said population, the community has a population density of around 1600 people per square mile. The community has a mixture of all races that get along well with about 77% of the population being white. All of the population resides in households. So if you are ever in Blackhawk a prosperous and happy community, be sure to visit the antique Automobile Museum and the various amenities found in the Blackhawk Plaza.