Long considered a premiere residential community, San Ramon offers its residents scenic beauty, good schools and ease of access to the best of Northern California recreational and entertainment offerings.  Within the City are three golf courses, fifty-four parks, three community centers, and two aquatic centers.  More than 20 biking and walking trails, including the Iron Horse Trail which was once the right-of-way for the Southern Pacific Railroad, meander through the City. 

Incorporated in 1983, the population is now approaching 75,000.  Rapid growth was sparked in the mid-1960s by the completion of Interstate 680; ranches and farms in the area gave way to prestigious housing communities.  The location close to the junction of highways 580 and 680, make the San Ramon area an important crossroad.  BART service to nearby Dublin Station enhances the commute appeal of this area.

Bishop Ranch, other office parks, and the San Ramon Regional Medical Center, have evolved since the early 1980s. Now nearly 1,000 companies from more than 30 industries are located in San Ramon, including: Chevron, AT&T and IBM.  The new City Center complex (image right) will house a city hall and library as well as significant retail and office space.  The project is expected to provide 16,000 new jobs over the next 15 years.


The San Ramon Valley was once home to the largest concentration of Native Americans in America, with two Ohlone tribes occupying most of the area .  In the late 1790s, Spanish padres founded Mission San Jose; leading to the aggressive indoctrination of the  tribes and subservience to the mission culture.  The valley was used as pastureland to support the Mission cattle.

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The Mexican government, in the early 1830’s granted two ranchos in the valley:  Rancho San Ramon in the south and Rancho San Ramon Valley in the north.  The admission of California to the United States in 1850 brought  American settlers to the Valley, and the demise of the ranchos.

Early settlers Leo and Mary Jane Norris purchased 4,450 acres of the 16,000 owned by Jose Maria Amador.  Other early settlers included William Lynch, James Dougherty and Samuel Russell.  In 1852, Joel and Minerva Harlan purchased land from Norris and built their home on what became the Alameda-Contra Costa County line in 1853.  Many of the hills, canyons and streets throughout the Valley are named after other early settlers.  The Harlan home, built in 1858, and Wiedemann home (1865) still stand in their original locations.  Built in 1877, the Glass House has been moved to Forest Home Farms.

After years of changing names, when a permanent post office was established in 1873, the area was finally named San Ramon.  Prior to that time, it had been called Brevensville (for blacksmith Eli Breven), Lynchville (for William Lynch) and Limerick (honoring the Irish heritage of the many Irish settlers).

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The 1860’s saw a great deal of change in the Valley.  The first church was dedicated in 1860, the general store was built in 1863.  By 1864, a stage line was established by Brown and Co. running from San Ramon to Oakland.  San Ramon Grammar School opened its doors in 1867.

The arrival of the Southern Pacific railroad line in 1891 represented more progress.  Residents could easily travel to and from the area, and farmers had more reliable transportation to the Bay for their crops.  San Ramon served as the terminus for the line until 1909 and constructed a two-story depot, which included the engine house and a turnaround for the locomotive.

Bishop Ranch was established in 1895 when Thomas Bishop acquired 3,000 acres of Norris land.  Bishop Shropshire purebred sheep earned numerous awards, and at one point the ranch possessed the world’s largest single orchard of Bartlett pears.

The San Ramon Branch Line railroad opened in 1891 after much dreaming, lobbying and planning for rail service by local citizens.  Train service would allow freight and passengers to be transported during the rainy seasons when county roads were impassable.  The San Ramon Branch Line extended 20 miles north from San Ramon to Avon.  In 1909 SP extended the line to Pleasanton where it connected to the Oakland/Tracy line.

Although the Branch Line was a significant transportation asset for people in the valley, it soon came under the same technological and economic pressures as the rest of railroading.   The San Ramon two-story depot was removed in 1927.  Passenger service dwindled as automobiles, trucks and buses became more common.  Passenger trains gave way to freight trains with a passenger car attached.  Finally passenger transport ended on the Branch Line in 1934.

The Valley was little affected by the early 20th Century.  Though the opening of the Caldecott tunnel enhanced transportation, and  some post WWII housing came to the Valley, most development came further west in Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill and Concord.   But after the freeway was expanded in the 1960s. San Ramon boomed, and has continued to grow ever since, with a City in support of growth and higher density housing options.


San Ramon schools are considered to be excellent with some slightly more distinguished than others.  As with  many communities the homes served by the higher rated schools are typically higher priced.

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All public schools in San Ramon are part of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, which also serves Danville, Alamo, Blackhawk, 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.

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.   Dougherty Valley High is ranked above long-prestigious Acalanes High in Lafayette, and is second only to Miramonte in Orinda in East Bay ranking.

According to the California Academic Performance Index (API), the SRVUSD ranks 6th among all California unified school districts and is the highest ranking district with enrollments of 9,000 or more.  The District  has received the State Department of Education's Distinguished Schools Award (schools in the district have received this honor more than 50 times, more than any other district in northern California), and recognition by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon Schools.

All of the school scores are good.  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.

School Rankings

  • Bollinger Canyon Elementary School  - API 930

  • Country Club Elementary School – API 892

  • Coyote Creek Elementary School – API 962

  • Golden View Elementary School – API 959

  • Hidden Hills Elementary School – API 972

  • Live Oak Elementary School – API 972

  • Montevideo Elementary School – API 925

  • Neil Armstrong Elementary School – API 926

  • Quail Run Elementary School – API 927

  • Twin Creeks Elementary School – API 890

  • Walt Disney Elementary School – API 912

  • Gale Ranch Middle School – API 943

  • Iron Horse Middle School – API 921

  • Pine Valley Middle School – API 919

  • Windemere Ranch Middle School – API 987

  • California High School- API 887

  • Dougherty Valley High School – API 928

High Schools Map - Shows State API Score by Location

(Above 900 is excellent - Under 700 is scary)


School Boundary Map

API Reports by School

Great Schools - San Ramon