COMMUNITY PROFILE: Blackhawk
Blackhawk is an exclusive gated community east of Danville and by some considered part of the greater Danville community. There are two golf courses, a large shopping center, a sports complex, and numerous restaurants in Blackhawk.
Blackhawk Country Club membership is limited to homeowners and others by invitation only. Proprietary members have equity in the assets and property of the Club and enjoy reciprocal privileges at many private golf and country clubs
This is a great place to live and to raise a family. The schools are exceptional and security and safety are unparalleled. However, the drawback for some people is the isolation from highways and public transportation. Though some see this as a big plus.
Homes in Blackhawk tend to have larger lots compared to most newer luxury homes, and a younger generation of buyers seem to prefer larger homes to larger lots. For people who enjoy country club amenities and large lots, Blackhawk is ideal. Blackhawk also offer many luxury townhomes and villas.
Blackhawk is a separate census-designated place as of 2010, but unincorporated, so not an independent city or town. However, there is a powerful Home Owner’s Association (HOA) that has the authority over most of the community, has the purview to contract for private and public police services, and maintains strict control over the use of land and facilities. The governing body is the Board of Directors. There are five other private communities which are loosely called Blackhawk outside the gates and jurisdiction of the HOA, but these also have HOAs which cooperate in some aspects of services and rights to amenities.
Blackhawk is effectively surrounded by Danville and San Ramon, though it is completely out of San Ramon’s official sphere of influence. While independent in many ways, all three of these communities share schools and a broader sense of community, especially between Blackhawk and Danville. While Blackhawk is outside of the town limits, it is considered Danville by the Post Office and many county records, and Blackhawk Plaza draws clientele from all three communities. This being said, real estate values in Blackhawk more closely track the values of newer luxury communities in San Ramon, than the average-value trends in the older parts of Danville.
In Spanish times this was part of the grazing land for Mission San Jose. When the mission lands were confiscated after Mexican independence, the land was acquired by the Castro and Pacheco families who continued to own it into the early period of United States governance. The settling of Alamo and Danville during the Gold Rush brought Americans to the area. Many were squatters on established haciendas, but the impoverished Mexican owners did not have the resources to combat these and other clever legal claims.
Originally the name Blackhawk came from an Indian warrior for whom the 1832 Black Hawk Indian wars were named. The name was then given to a famous horse, called Black Hawk, which the pioneer Easton family brought to California in the 1800s. They named their Hillsborough ranch Blackhawk, and when Ansel Mills Easton bought his ranch outside Danville in 1917 he used the name again. During the 1920s the ranch was recognized for breeding prize Shire horses (photo left).
In 1934 the land was sold to Raymond Force the president of Caterpillar Tractor Company, who expanded the ranch by buying neighboring lands. He lived there, used it as an active ranch, and tested tractor prototypes. When he died in 1956, the land was bought by land company, Castle and Cooke, who nine years later sold it to the neighbor, Howard Peterson, the owner of the Triple J Ranch and the Northern California Caterpillar dealership.
The land remained as an active cattle ranch into the mid 1970s, but a pre Proposition-13 reassessment by the County enticed Peterson to sell the land. In 1975 Florida developer Ken Behring, bought the land with a plan to develop 4800 dwelling units over 4200 acres. Critics and environmentalists wrangled with the Blackhawk Development Corporation and the plan was reduced to 2,400 home sites and more than 2,000 acres was dedicated to open space and the Mount Diablo State Park.
Blackhawk schools are considered to be excellent. All public schools are part of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, which also serves Danville, San Ramon, Alamo, Diablo, and all unincorporated areas from Alamo south to the Alameda County border. This is one of the largest districts in California but is considered to be well run and financially sound. The District is among the few in Northern California with a strong track record for providing special education programs for autistic, developmentally disabled, and special needs kids.
Though impacted class sizes and special needs sometime create exceptions, most kids who live in Blackhawk attendTassajara Hills Elementary School, Diablo Vista Middle School, and Monte Vista High School. These are all very good schools.
Twenty years ago, people looking for the best schools settled in Lamorinda or Piedmont, but the schools in the Tri Valley now have spectacular test scores and innovative programs. Monte Vista High is ranked above long-prestigious Acalanes High in Lafayette, and just below Miramonte in Orinda in East Bay ranking.
Above 900 reflects excellence, and scores above that level tend to fluctuate from year to year. At that point the opportunities are there for dedicated students, and outside opportunities and influences may be individually more critical.
Monte Vista High School - API 913
Diablo Vista Middle School - API 925
Tassajara Hills Elementary School - API 941
High Schools Map - Shows State API Score by Location
(Above 900 is excellent - Under 700 is scary)