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Oakley is a city located in Contra Costa County, California, USA. It is part of the nine counties that make up the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. According to the national census, the population of Oakley was 40,144 on January 1, 2016. Oakley is also the most recently incorporated city in Contra Costa County – securing incorporation in 1999. As part of the East Contra Costa Bicycle Plan, the city is currently going through residential, commercial and utility expansion. With a diverse population, Oakley is known for its homes, businesses, and schools.
Oakley has a storied past, which has drawn several archeologists to the area. In fact, archeologists found a number of prehistoric sites in the Greater Oakley area. This includes a shell mound, which was discovered in the early part of the 20th century – near the modern day east edge of town. The area had so many sites that the Northwest Information Center of the California Historical Resources Information System had to take over. Under their tutelage, they are able to monitor and manage all archeological digs and investigations done in Oakley. To date, there have been over 36 projects completed – including the discovery for four predominant prehistoric sites. However, investigations continue as many feel there are more sites and objects to discover.
The Early History of Oakley
Like so many towns and cities in the USA, Native-Americans were definitely the first inhabitants of Oakley. In fact, the first accounts of identifiable cultural communities in the West Delta are connected to the Bay Miwoks. They occupied the city, outskirts, and region between 1100 and 1770 AD. The Bay Miwok people – also known as Julpunes or Pulpunes – were organized into several tribes. These tribes created the first permanent villages and seasonal campsite in and around Oakley.
The Spanish Arrive
The Spanish arrived in Oakley in the 1770s. They were part of the De Anza expedition from 1775-76 – but failed to find a route through the tule swamps to Sierra. With this failure, they returned to Monterey. However, there were more Spanish and other European incursions into the area – resulting in the Delta formation and settlements in the 19th century.
Modern Oakley History
The name, Oakley, is Old English in origin and means “meadow of oak trees”. This still reigns true today with so many parks and forested areas that blanket Oakley. The European/American settlers – at first – decided to name the city Dewey. In fact, the official City founder Randolph Marsh came up with this name, after Admiral Dewey. The Mayor was incredibly impressed with Admiral Dewey’s bravery at the Battle of Manila during the Spanish-American War. However, his close friend – J.T. Whightman – preferred the name Oakley. He felt the name truly represented the area as a whole, which was a haven for Oak trees and Mother Nature at her best. The name was actually decided over a game of cribbage, which Whightman won. However, there are several downtown streets in Oakley named after Mayor Marsh. These include Main, Acme, Ruby, Star and Home – spelling the name “Marsh”.
Oakley got its first post office in 1898, and became a fully incorporated city 101 years later in 1999. Oakley’s city motto is “A Place for Families in the Heart of the Delta.”
Education in Oakley
As a residential haven for families, Oakley is home to several schools and learning centers. The city holds a fine educational record with standards of excellence across many grades. There are seven elementary schools in the area, along with four middle schools and one high school. Most students love to study at the Oakley Library, which is also a quiet place for students to congregate and participate in academic and social activities. The library is part of the Contra Costa County Library, which features countless books, novels, e-books, computers, studying centers, Wi-Fi and all the latest technologies.
Notable Residents of Oakley
Oakley has produced a number of notable names and personalities over the years. In fact, so many celebrities have come and gone through Oakley – with its serene and tranquil environment. Some of the notable names include:
· Joe Mixon – the star running back for the University of Oklahoma Sooners – 2015 – present.
· Nguyen Do – the poet laureate, translator and editor. He has authored thirteen books to date and recently relocated from San Francisco to Oakley.
· Lisa Joann Thompson – famous dancer, actress, and choreographer – she starred in Fame L.A. and In Living Color. She was also a regular on Motown Live and lived in Oakley during her high school years. Lisa attended Liberty High in Brentwood.
Things to do In Oakley – Points of Interest
As mentioned earlier, Oakley is the perfect place for natural lovers. There are so many parks and outdoor activities in Oakley for the entire family. From bird watching and jogging to biking and hiking, the area is full of mass vegetation, exotic plants, flowers and much more. There are also barbecue pits situated within several parks, along with nautical and boating activities. Many people also travel to Oakley for camping expeditions, scout jamborees, or simply to enjoy the comfortable weather with friends and loved ones. Whether for residents of visitors alike, here are some of the top places in Oakley you should visit:
Big Break Regional Shoreline
This area is synonymous with waterfowl and fishing activities. It is also a great place for hunting and outdoor expeditions. As a popular regional park in Oakley, Big Break is part of the East Bay Regional Park District System. The entire park is located within the Contra Costa County system in Northern California. From Anaheim to Oxnard, thousands of guests and visitors flock to the part each spring and summer to see exotic birds in their natural habitats. There are, of course, barbecue pits and resting stations located throughout the park. Forest Rangers are also on hand in case of emergencies, and there are also small snack stations and kiosks located in and around the park. This is perhaps the most attractive and engaging park in the Greater Oakley area – and definitely a spot that cannot be missed when visiting or planning to relocate.
Creekside Park is another famous park in Oakley. This park is full of Oak, Elm and Pine trees – and features contemporary and modern mechanical art exhibits. The park is also known for its fun-filled rides and plenty of activities for the kids. The area is perfect for nature walks and hiking with plenty of bicycling paths as well. If you love the great outdoors, Oakley is truly a great place to work and raise a family in.
Restaurants in Oakley
There are plenty of continental and American restaurants in Oakley. From sizzling steak and fried chicken to Italian and Chinese, the area features a number of elegant and exquisite eateries. This includes but is not limited to:
· Black Bear Diner – Great American food at great prices. Comfortable seating and décor, along with the best coffee and dessert selections in town. Whether in the mood for cheeseburgers, fries, pies, or even potato pancakes – Black Bear Diner is truly the pace to be in Oakley.
· Silver River Restaurant – The Best Chinese food in the Bay Area. From beef and chicken fried rice to lemon chicken and egg rolls, this too is one of the top restaurants in the city.
For more information on working or living in Oakley, simply check the Web or contact City Hall today!