When Captain Pedro Fages sailed into San Francisco Bay on March 20, 1772, he knew he had discovered a special place. To ensure that Spain held onto its stake in the area, land was given to retired Spanish solider Don Luis Maria Peralta, who called his 43,000-acre grant Rancho San Antonio. In 1842, Don Jose Joaquin Estudillo, also a retired Spanish solider, was granted 7,000 acres which he named Rancho San Leandro.
Estudillo’s son-in-law John Ward mapped the town site in 1855. Miners, both successful and not, settled in the area during and after the 1849 Gold Rush. During the late 19th century and into the early 20th, cherries were a major crop in San Leandro. The annual Cherry Festival – first held in 1909 – is a reminder of the early days of the city. San Leandro was the Alameda County seat from 1856 to 1868. The city was incorporated on March 21, 1872.
San Leandro’s prime location between Silicon Valley and the city of San Francisco has contributed to its economic prosperity. The city’s manufacturing and commercial areas serve local and international markets. Burgeoning industries created a need for homes for the increasing population and shopping areas to serve those living and working in the city.
The pride that many residents have in their city is largely due to San Leandro’s success in creating a hometown that meets the community’s needs with good neighborhoods, good schools and plenty of recreational opportunities. Marina Park, one of 23 in the city, has bayside picnic areas and a shoreline trail. Other city parks have ball fields, courts, picnic areas, playgrounds and pools. Professional sporting events, world-class shopping and restaurants, and the awe-inspiring Golden Gate Bridge are just a few of the exciting attractions within easy reach of San Leandro residents.
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