History of Danville, California


Danville – “The Heart of San Ramon Valley”

Danville is a town in California’s Contra Costa county. It sits in the San Ramon Valley between Mount Diablo on the eastern side and the breathtaking Las Tampas (or Tampos) mountain range on the western side. Because of its location, Danville is called as “The Heart of the San Ramon Valley.”

Inhabited by the American Indians and invaded by the Spaniards

Before Danville became the booming and progressive town it is today, hundreds of years ago Native American (Bay Miwook) Indians inhabited the area, mostly living by the creeks. During the searing summer months these Indians would camp on Mount Diablo.

When the Spaniards established missions in the Americas, Danville was made as part of the mission San Jose and was used as its grazing ground. It also became a Mexican land grant named Rancho San Ramon.

Danville as a proper town

The formation of Danville as a proper town began to take shape in 1859. Brothers Daniel and Andrew Inman who and literally struck gold and made a fortune during the California gold rush, used their earnings to buy 10,000 acres of land in the area. The brothers also erected a building which was to be used for a blacksmith trade.

Danville was partly named after Daniel Inman. There was even a suggestion that they name the town as Inmanville, but they rejected it. Daniel Inman, a modest man, chose the name Danville in honor of his mother, who was born and raised in Danville, Kentucky.

In 1860, a post office was built in the town. Hotel owner Henry W. Harris became Danville’s first post master. Around that time Danville was just a tiny village with its resident head count numbering to just about 20, according to Harris. The very few houses that were built on the area were mostly concentrated near the creek on the Waterfront Street (which is now just Front Street). Some of these very old homes are still standing up to the present.

The size of the town changed soon enough. With the discovery of Danville’s fertile soil as well as the stories of prosperity in California, more people (mostly consisting of farmers) came from the Mid-West and Eastern regions of the country traveled far to settle in Danville and its surrounding valleys. With the town’s agreeable and gentle climate, it attracted more farmers to settle in the area. Wheat was abundantly grown in the area. The population of Danville and surrounding areas ballooned to about 1800, a far cry from the 20 population count about nine years previous.

Danville — and ideal place for work and play

Danville’s population has slowly but steadily multiplied. In 1960, the town estimated its population count as 12,700; a decade later it jumped into 15,900. In 1975 population soared to 21,100 and in 1980 it soared even higher to 26,500. With the town growing, Danville’s residents voted to have their community incorporated in 1982.

Over the past few years, Danville has added a few more modern buildings and constructions, making it ideal as a place of business and investment. Despite the hard-earned progress it has achieved, Danville retains much of its quaint small-town charm and natural beauty, making the town a perfect place to shop, dine, play, and relax.


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