Originally called “The Comers”, Walnut Creek became an incorporated city in 1914. The city received its present name from a term by the Moraga expedition to describe the creek that flowed through Diablo Valley, “un arroyo que llama los nogales” (a creek called the walnut trees), which was later changed to the English name of Walnut Creek.
Settlers were first attracted to the area during the Gold Rush era. During this period the valley’s principal crops were cattle, wheat, fruit and nuts. The Southern Pacific Railroad opened service to Walnut Creek in 1891, and in 1909 the Oakland-Antioch Railway opened commuter service from Walnut Creek to the metropolitan Bay Area. Completion of the Caldecott Tunnel into Oakland and the Bay Bridge to San Francisco made the area more attractive to those who commuted to San Francisco by automobile.
Since the 1950′s Walnut Creek has been one of the Bay Area’s most desirable residential communities. Today, Walnut is primarily a bedroom community, with about 64 percent of the city’s housing units occupied by homeowners. Attractive shopping areas and financial, service research and development, and light manufacturing establishments constitute Walnut Creek’s economic base. Despite the fact that a large portion of the community’s land has already been developed, Walnut Creek continues to attract new residents.