Lafayette, California is a city located in central California. It is a part of Contra Costa County in California and had a population of 25,391 as of the 2020 census. Formerly known as La Fayette, the city was named for the Marquis de Lafayette, who was a French military officer during the American Revolutionary War and played a pivotal role in the victory of the colonists over the British Empire. Lafayette was originally settled in 1848. As a city it was founded in 1857 with the establishment of its first post office by the U.S. Postal Service, and this is also when it received its name as prior to this it did not have one, and finally incorporated into the state of California in the year 1968. Before Lafayette received its official name, it was sometimes called Dog Town, Brown’s Corner, Brown’s Mill, and more. The town was named by Benjamin Shreve who owned a roadside hotel-general store. Shreve later served as the city’s first permanent postmaster and held that position for 30 years. A historical site in the city of Lafayette is the Lafayette Park Theater, which first opened in 1941 and continued to operate through 2005 when it ceased operations. It was a movie theater until it was closed, though the building is still standing and could be reopened in the future.
Lafayette is located near Berkeley and Oakland, two other well-known cities in California, and is a part of the San Francisco Bay Area. Lafayette is located about 21 miles away from the city of San Francisco, about a half an hour drive, and is a popular home for commuters who work in the city but choose to live elsewhere. The East Bay Municipal Utility District operates the Lafayette Reservoir, a standby water supply for their customers and a popular recreation area for hiking, jogging, fishing, boating, and picnicking. Briones RegionalPark also extends into part of northern Lafayette. Briones Regional Park is a 6,117-acre regional park that is part of the East Bay Regional Regional Park District and was established in 1967.
Lafayette is separated from the cities of Berkeley and Oakland by the Berkeley Hills, which are a part of the Pacific Coast Ranges located on the northside of the valley that includes the San Francisco Bay. The Pacific Coast Ranges are a set of mountain ranges on the West Coast of North America all the way from Alaska to central Mexico. Like much of that region of California, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Lafayette has a distinctly Mediterranean climate, but Lafayette in particular can experience drastic differences in temperature from other cities in the Bay Area due to its location in the hills. Summers remain warm, dry and sunny while winters are generally cool and damp.
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