Albert Lopez
Planning Director

General Plans, Ordinances & Policies

Historic Preservation

Alameda County's Historic Heritage

Before the European settlement of the San Francisco Bay Area, the region was occupied by Native Americans known as the Ohlone. The Ohlone territory extended along the coast from the mouth of San Francisco Bay in the north to Carmel in the south, and as far as sixty miles inland. Spanish settlement occurred in the 18th century when Juan Bautista de Anza led an expedition of the area. Later, Spanish settlers would construct Mission San Jose which is located in present day Fremont. Mexico gained control of the area after it achieved independence from Spain. As a result of the Mexican-American War, the area became a part of the United States in 1848 and in 1853 the boundaries of Alameda County were formed. The gold rush and the various economic opportunities that resulted from it would bring Dutch, Anglo and Portuguese immigrants in mid 19th century. The unincorporated areas of Alameda County would remain largely rural until the post World War II period when the communities of Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, Hillcrest Knolls, and San Lorenzo were transformed into suburban bedroom communities to accommodate population growth arising from the "baby boom" and influx of people to the area seeking work. The historical progression from Native American tribal lands to Spanish, then Mexican ranches, thence to farms, ranches, and orchards, suburbs and eventually urban areas has occurred in less than 150 years.

Alameda County's Historic Preservation Ordinance

On January 10, 2012 the Board of Supervisors adopted a Historic Preservation Ordinance for unincorporated Alameda County. The Ordinance codifies:

  • How the Alameda County Register of Historic Resources is defined and maintained
  • How properties can be added or removed from the Register
  • Which alterations to historic properties, if any, are subject to review
  • Incentives (grant monies, etc.) that may apply to historic properties

A copy of the Ordinance may be found here* (PDF - 3.37 MB).

For information on the development of the Ordinance, please click here.

Alameda County Parks, Recreation and Historical Commission

The Parks, Recreation and Historical Commission (PRHC) was established by the Board of Supervisors to assist in the protection, preservation, and promotion of historic resources within Alameda County. It is comprised of volunteer community representatives appointed by the Board of Supervisors. It advises the Boards of Zoning Adjustments, Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors on recreation and parks issues in Alameda County.

The PRHC generally meets the first Thursday of every month. Meetings begin at 3:30 PM and are held in the Public Hearing Room (Room 160) at 224 W. Winton Avenue, Hayward, CA.

Additional Information

Staff Contacts

Liz McElligott, Assistant Planning Director, Planning Department

Phone: (510) 670-5400