Brentwood is a town in the U.S. county of Contra Costa, California. It is situated in the San Francisco Bay Area’s East Bay area. As of 2010, the population is 51,481, an increase of 121% from 23,302 in the 2000 census. Brentwood began as a community in the late 19th century and is still known throughout the Bay Area for its agricultural products, mainly its cherries, corn and peaches. Since 1990, many of the ancient farms and orchards have been substituted by suburban developments because of urban sprawl. Brentwood is largely residential, with population development rates in the triple digits in the 1990s and 69% between 2000 and 2010. An official estimate showed that over the period 2010 to 2016 the population increased by nearly 21 percent.
Brentwood was originally laid on land donated from property owned by John Marsh, a pioneer in the East Contra Costa County who acquired Rancho Los Meganos from Jose Noriega in 1837, the land on which Brentwood was built. Marsh was one of California’s richest males and played a key role in becoming independent of Mexico and part of the United States. His letters extolling California’s agricultural potential have been released throughout the East in journals. They led to California’s first wagon trains. Marsh encouraged this and permitted fresh arrivals to remain in his ranch until they were able to settle down. Rancho Los Meganos became the California Trail’s terminus.
Brentwood was named after Marsh’s ancestral home, the town of Brentwood in the county of Essex, England. The first post office of Brentwood was established in 1878. The town was incorporated in 1948. The British investment firm, Balfour, Guthrie & Co., purchased the John Marsh ranch in 1910. The firm has also invested strongly in other agricultural properties in California. In 1910, the Brentwood Hotel was constructed across from the railway station at Oak Street and Brentwood Boulevard. This substituted an previous hotel that had been burnt down in 1903 on the same site. In 1967, the hotel was destroyed and substituted by a service station.
Mount Diablo is obviously seen from Brentwood, as is prevalent with many East Bay cities in Contra Costa County. Brentwood is situated on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta alluvial plain. Brentwood lies center right in the image shown on the right, and Antioch lies center left. North Peak appears between the two towns in the foreground and mainly hides Oakley’s town.
The East Bay Regional Park District is a special district of the San Francisco Bay Area that operates in Alameda County and Contra Costa County’s East Bay counties. Trails and parks of the East Bay Regional Park District are located in Brentwood.