History of Diablo

Diablo CC Cars

Thank you for joining us along our journey into the history of the San Ramon Valley area. Today we are going to dive into the history of a lesser known community in the region called Diablo, California. This area is much smaller than either San Ramon or Danville, but it is rich in history, which makes this community worth a closer look.

Diablo, California got its name in part due to its proximity to nearby Mount Diablo. The mountain got its name in the early 1800s and we will explore the history of Mount Diablo in a future installment of our series. The word ‘diablo’ means “devil” and is prevalent in this area.

William Cameron was a prominent owner in the area shortly after the Gold Rush. He owned 1,300 acres from 1870 to 1876. He helped to develop what was known as the Green Valley and Mt. Diablo Summit Road Company and the first road was completed in 1874.

The area remained ranchland for quite some time going through various name changes such as the Railroad Ranch, Cook Ranch, and Oakwood Park Stock Farm. The Farm encompassed 6,000 acres and there they harvested hay, wheat, barley, alfafa, and orchard fruits. Also on the property was a reservoir known as Diablo Lake. Its 30 million gallons provided irrigation for the crops and recreational uses for the locals.

Robert Noble Burgess

Robert Noble Burgess, circa 1912

In 1912 Oakwood Stock Farm was transformed into a fancy summer resort. The man behind this endeavor was entrepreneur, Robert Noble Burgess. The resort eventually covered 50,000 acres and was known as one of the first country clubs in California. Over time a new resort was built and known as Mount Diablo Park Club. This club included a golf course, horse stables, tennis courts, a swimming pool and beaches on Diablo Lake. The area catered to the more well to do members of society.

Burgess expanded the club and bought a power line in 1912 from the town of Danville. He also convinced Oakland Antioch & Eastern to extend the electric railway there from Danville in 1916. That same year a new road to the resort was finished and the post office was established. In 1917 the Red Horse Tavern and the Chalet were built to house tourists and guests in the area.

In 1919 shortly after World War I ended, Burgess dissolved his company and sold his house. However, his legacy and the Diablo Country Club live on today. In 1961 the members bought the club and it has remained member-owned to this day. Although it is no longer the only country club in the Tri Valley area, its historical significance is unparalleled.

This article is part of our series showcasing some of the important people, places and events that have shaped modern-day San Ramon Valley. Click here to read all the related articles.

If you are planning to move to the San Ramon Valley area, contact Villa Properties at (925) 519-0794 for help in finding your perfect home.