Orinda, California is a city located in central California that is a part of Contra Costa County and of the San Francisco Bay Area. As of the 2020 census, Orinda had a population of 19,514. Settled in the 1880s, Orinda’s first post office was opened in 1888. Theodore Wagner, a United States Surveyor General, built an estate named Orinda Park. It was from this that the city eventually grew and its name was eventually changed from Orinda Park to just Orinda. The city was officially incorporated in 1985. Prior to that, it began gaining popularity as a year-round residence following the completion of the Caldecott Tunnel in 1937. The Caldecott Tunnel is a tunnel that runs through the Berkeley Hills. California State Route 4 runs through Caldecott Tunnel, which was named for Thomas E. Caldecott who was a mayor of the nearby city of Berkeley. Orinda was also a stop on the California and Nevada Railroad. The California and Nevada Railroad was a steam railroad that ran in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. The railroad eventually was foreclosed on in 1902. The stop located at Orinda was Bryant Station.
The oldest standing building in the East Bay is located in Orinda, California. It is known as the Moraga Adobe and was built in 1841. It was originally built by Don Joaquin Moraga and is part of a 20-acre property that is still attached to the original building.
Like the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area, Orinda’s climate is characterized as Mediterranean. Winters tend to be cool and rainy and warm, dry summer. There are some cities in the region, including Orinda, that experience drastic changes in temperature because of its location within the Oakland Hills. The Hills also block much of the fog that is characteristic of the Bay area, and the area is more susceptible to heatwaves and other stark temperatures. Its higher elevation can also lead to increases in precipitation compared to other nearby cities like Berkeley and Oakland. Orinda is located about 17 miles away from the city of San Francisco and is a popular year-round residence for commuters who work in San Francisco but choose not to live there permanently.
Orinda’s public schools are a part of the Orinda Union School District. The city has four public elementary schools including Sleepy Hollow Elementary, Wagner Ranch Elementary, Glorietta Elementary, and Del Rey Elementary. The city’s high school, Miramonte High School, is a part of the Acalanes Union High School District. The city also has a number of private schools located there, including a Montessori school.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city of Orinda has a total area of 12.87 square miles. Of that, 12.85 square miles is made up of land and just 0.02 square miles is made up of water.
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