Sunday, August 19, 2007

Concord is the largest city in Contra Costa County, California, USA. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 121,780. It is considered one of the major suburbs of San Francisco Bay Area. Until 1995 the city was the eastern terminus of the Concord line of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) commuter train system; the line has since been extended eastward to Pittsburg/Bay Point.

The valleys north of Mount Diablo were inhabited by the Miwok people, who hunted elk and fished in the numerous streams flowing from the mountain into the San Francisco Bay. In 1772 Spanish explorers began to cross the area, but did not settle here. In 1834 the land surrounding Mount Diablo was granted to Don Salvio Pacheco (for whom the nearby town of Pacheco is named).
Concord was founded under the name of Todos Santos (a name still borne by the central city plaza and park between Willow Pass Road and Salvio Street), on the initiative of Pacheco in 1869. It achieved prominence in the 19th century as a result of most residents of Pacheco relocating to Concord to avoid the devastation of fire and flood which crippled Pacheco's formerly booming economy. Concord was incorporated on February 5, 1905.
The area around Concord in the surrounding Ygnacio and Clayton Valleys was a large agricultural area. Crops that were grown included grapes, walnuts, wheat, hay, and even tomatoes. The area to the east (site of the Concord Naval Weapons Station) was the site of a few enormous wheat ranches (5000+ acres), and was almost a sea of wheat all the way to the marshes bordering Suisun Bay. During Prohibition, many vineyards were removed and replaced with walnut orchards. The town of Cowell, now incorporated into Concord, produced cement.


Main article: Port Chicago disaster Port Chicago disaster
On the evening of December 23, 1985, two days before Christmas, a twin-engine Beechcraft Baron, executing a missed instrument approach procedure from an approach to runway 19R of Buchanan Airport, lost control and crashed into the roof of nearby Sunvalley Mall, killing the pilot and two passengers and seriously injuring 84 Christmas shoppers in the crowded mall below, mainly by spraying them with burning fuel. Four of the victims on the ground later died from their injuries. The accident brought increased local opposition to the airport, and caused Pacific Southwest Airlines to cancel scheduled passenger service that had been planned for the new year.

Sunvalley Mall plane crash
As of the census


Concord has been primarily a bedroom community for San Francisco and Oakland over the last forty years, but during the last decades, jobs within the city have increased. Corporations with strong Bay Area regional ties, such as Chevron and Bank of America, have established extensive back-office operations there, diversifying the local economy.

To the north of the city of Concord is the U.S. Naval Weapons Station which was established in 1942. The station functioned as a World War II armament storage depot supplying ships at Port Chicago. The Concord NWS supported war efforts through the end of the Gulf War, processing and shipping out thousands of tons of ammunition to the Middle East.

Naval Weapons Station
The Concord NWS was listed as a Superfund cleanup site on December 16, 1994. 32 areas of the facility were identified as having been contaminated with heavy metals including zinc, copper, lead, cadmium, and arsenic, as well as semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOC) and organochloride pesticides. An area of great concern is the risk to the endagered the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse and the California Clapper Rail. Remediation is underway at the site with some sites having soil removed and others being capped to prevent spread of conatminants.

Superfund cleanup sites
Until 1995 the city was the eastern terminus of the Concord line of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) commuter train system; the line has since been extended eastward to Pittsburg/Bay Point. The County Connection provides limited public transportation in the city and to other points in the county. Buses run from the North Concord BART station to Martinez, the county seat.
Buchanan Field Airport is a private airfield in the City of Concord.

Concord, California Transportation
Concord is served by the Mount Diablo Unified School District. Concord's Mount Diablo High School is home to several acclaimed California academies, specifically the Digital Safari, a three-year program involving the integration of multimedia with the core curriculum through integrated, project-based learning. The headquarters of the Kabul Soccer Club is located in Concord.
Concord's De La Salle High School is home for the record winning streak of 151 games set by the football team between 1992 and 2004. During that span, De La Salle won 12 California North Coast sectional championships, and was named national champion five different times (once by ESPN, four times by USA Today).
California State University, East Bay campus in Concord.

Concord is the home of the annual Concord Jazz Festival and was the home of the Concord Records jazz record label until it was bought in 1999.
Jazz musician Dave Brubeck was born in Concord, as was actor Tom Hanks, Olympic gold-medalist Natalie Coughlin and mixed martial artist Gil Castillo. Actor/Comedian Carlos Alazraqui attended Concord High School. Concord is the original home of the counter-cultural icons Negativland.
Concord is also home to the 12-time World Champion Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps. The corps is made up of talented musicians from around the world. The Concord Blue Devils are the most decorated drum and bugle corps in the history of Drum Corps International.
Public Access Television is operated through TelVue Virtual Television Networks.

Points of interest

Six Flags Waterworld Concord
Pixie Playland
Concord Skatepark
Willow Pass Community Park
Newhall Community Park
Lime Ridge Open Space
Matteo's Dream - a playground for children of all abilities Parks

Tom Hanks Actor
Dave Brubeck Jazz musician
Natalie Coughlin Olympic gold-medalist Sister City

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