COMMUNITY PROFILE: Pacheco
Pacheco, while not an incorporated city is considered a "census designated place" and has a dedicated post office. The population is less than 4,000 people. Police and administrative services are provided directly by Contra Costa County.
What is now Pacheco mostly consists of a retail strip along Pacheco Boulevard (continuation of Contra Costa Blvd in Pleasant Hill), a limited gaming casino, a large mobile home park, several multiunit home developments and a few tracts of moderate income homes. It is bordered by Pleasant Hill to the south, Martinez to the west and north, and Buchanan Airport to the east (part of Concord).
Though the location is excellent for transportation and convenience, and the schools are well rated, Pacheco has a local stigma thus real estate does not typically command the values of bordering Martinez and Pleasant Hill. Homes on the east side of Highway 680 are negatively impacted by airport noise. This phenomenon may not be perpetual as logical buyers may in the future drive up values, as they have in Martinez in the last few decades.
Pacheco was once the largest town in Contra Costa County in the period from the Gold Rush to post Civil War. The community was named in the 1850s for Don Salvio Pacheco the grantee of the Rancho Monte del Diablo Mexican land grant. Don Salvio was serving as a senior civil servant at the Pueblo of San Jose when he received the “Monte del Diablo” land grant in 1834. His 17,921 acre rancho covered an area from Walnut Creek east to the hills east of Concord, and generally from the Mt. Diablo foothills north to the Suisun Bay. The Pacheco family were among the few Mexican landowners in Contra Costa to successfully preserve their title after the Mexican American war. Clearly much land was lost to squatters and speculators, but the Pacheco family worked well with the Americans and integrated well into the top of the new order.
In the 1850′s, the new California cities on the coast and in the central valley were creating a major demand for food and raw materials. The Rancho Monte del Diablo, and the new American settlers in the Central Contra Costa, provided the cattle, grains, lime and coal which were in such short supply.
In 1853 the first home was built along Pacheco Slough, by G. L. Walrath, with redwood timbers and boards brought from Moraga. The town was laid out in 1857 along the main road to Martinez, at the tip of Pacheco Slough, four miles from Suisun Bay. That same year a large grain warehouse, a dwelling house, and a flour mill were built.
Pacheco was briefly a prosperous commercial center from the late Gold Rush period through the Civil War era. During this period, the four-mile long Pacheco Slough was deep enough to receive seagoing vessels. The post office was established at Pacheco in 1859. Main Street was lined with stores on both sides, and there was a 4 story steam powered flour mill (image right). At this time Pacheco also had a lumber yard, soda works, leather shop, brickyard, saddle shop, blacksmith shop and two hotels.
Soon after the Civil War a series of events crippled the local economy: the flour mill burned down in 1867, an earthquake wrecked many buildings in 1868, and then a succession of fires and floods hit during the next few years. Pacheco Slough filled with silt and was no longer navigable by 1870.
Many businesses and residents moved to Port Costa, Todos Santos (now Concord), and Martinez. In order to attract businesses, the developers in Todos Santos offered free lots to Pacheco businesses willing to relocate. Though the flour mill was rebuilt and operated until 1912, this was the sole industry, and few people lived here. Pacheco reverted to farm land and marsh area; however the Post Office remained in operation until 1913.
Not much changed in Pacheco until after WWII, and then only slowly did retail expansion migrate down Contra Costa Blvd from Pleasant Hill, and residential development extended along Center Avenue from Martinez. The Pacheco Post Office was reopened in 1955.
After annexation by the cities of Pleasant Hill, Martinez, and Concord, which surround Pacheco, there is little land left. Also two major freeways Highway 4 and Highway 680 cross at Pacheco, and among the roadways, interchange, and ramps, much of the community is hemmed-in. Most of the usable land was developed in the 1950s and 1960’s so little has changed here other than repurposing and upgrading since then. What is left of Pacheco today is roughly .75 square miles.
Kids living in Pacheco attend schools in the Mt. Diablo School District, where schools are in common with Pleasant Hill, Martinez, and Pacheco. While overall the Mt. Diablo School District has seen a decline, the schools serving Pacheco children are among the better in the district.
College Park High School - API 817
Valley View Middle School - API 805
Hidden Valley Elementary - API 860
Valhalla Elementary - API 869
High Schools Map - Shows State API Score by Location
(Above 900 is excellent - Under 700 is scary)
Great Schools - Martinez (no separate coverage for Pacheco)