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Livermore

Livermore (formerly Livermores, Livermore Ranch, and Nottingham) is a city in Alameda County. The population as of 2010 was 80,968. Livermore is located on the eastern edge of California’s San Francisco Bay Area.

Livermore was founded by William Mendenhall and named after Robert Livermore, his friend and a local rancher who settled in the area in the 1830s. Livermore is the home of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Its south side, home to local vineyards, has developed several executive subdivisions near Ruby Hill. The city has also redeveloped its downtown district. The city is considered part of the Tri-Valley area, including Amador, Livermore and San Ramon Valleys.

According to the latest U.S. Census information, Livermore is the third wealthiest midsize city in the nation. In 2005, the median household income in Livermore was $96,632, which ranked it the third highest income midsize city (between 65,000 and 249,999 people) just behind number two Newport Beach, CA ($97,428) and Livermore’s western neighbor, Pleasanton, CA ($101,022).

History

Before its incorporation under the Roman Catholic Mission San Jose in 1796 and prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 18th century, the Livermore area was home to the Ohlone (or Costanoan) native people. The Livermore-Amador Valley was primarily used as grazing land for Mission San Jose’s thousands of cattle and sheep until secularization of California missions from 1834 to 1837 opened great amounts of land throughout California for Mexican land grants. The fourth and second largest of these land grants were the Rancho Las Positas grant, made to rancher Robert Livermore, a naturalized Mexican citizen of English birth, and Jose Noriega in 1839. Robert Livermore was as much interested in viticulture and horticulture as he was in cattle and horses. In 1846 he was the first in the area to plant both vineyards as well as orchards of pears and olives. The first building on his ranch was an adobe on Las Positas Creek. In 1849 a two-story “Around the Horn” house was added and was believed to be the first wooden building in the valley.

After the discovery of gold in California, Livermore became a popular ‘first day’ stopping point for prospectors headed for the Mother Lode country. It was usually one day’s journey by horse or stagecoach when starting from San Jose, California.

Robert Livermore died in 1858 before the establishment of the town that bears his name. His ranch included much of the  present-day city. The city itself was established in 1869 by William Mendenhall, who had met Robert Livermore while marching through the valley with Fremont’s California Battalion. Livermore was officially incorporated on April 15, 1876. During Livermore’s early years, it was also quite well known for the many large hotels that graced the downtown streetcorners, before new buildings replaced them. Livermore is also notable for the Italian families that played a role in the formation of its wineries. Since it has a Mediterranean climate, the Italian families found it a good location to grow wine grapes, which also helped contribute to the development of the early city.

The Livermore Ranch post office operated from 1851 to 1853. The Nottingham post office opened in 1869, the name was changed to Livermore in 1870.

In 1942, the U. S. government bought 692 acres (2.80 km2) of ranch land, bounded by Vasco and Greenville roads and East Avenue, and built the Livermore Naval Air Station. This facility operated until it was decommissioned in 1946. In 1952, the government established Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on the site. In 1956, Sandia National Laboratories opened up across East Avenue.

Demographics

The 2010 United States Census reported that Livermore had a population of 80,968. The population density was 3,216.1 people per square mile (1,241.8/km²). The racial makeup of Livermore was 60,418 (74.6%) White, 1,702 (2.1%) African American, 476 (0.6%) Native American, 6,802 (8.4%) Asian, 277 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 6,960 (8.6%) from other races, and 4,333 (5.4%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16,920 persons (20.9%).

The Census reported that 80,458 people (99.4% of the population) lived in households, 389 (0.5%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 121 (0.1%) were institutionalized.

There were 29,134 households, out of which 11,238 (38.6%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 17,058 (58.6%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 2,834 (9.7%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,407 (4.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,584 (5.4%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 206 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 5,997 households (20.6%) were made up of individuals and 2,099 (7.2%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.76. There were 21,299 families (73.1% of all households); the average family size was 3.19.

The population was spread out with 20,636 people (25.5%) under the age of 18, 6,176 people (7.6%) aged 18 to 24, 22,530 people (27.8%) aged 25 to 44, 23,284 people (28.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 8,342 people (10.3%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.3 years. For every 100 females there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.9 males.

There were 30,342 housing units at an average density of 1,205.2 per square mile (465.3/km²), of which 20,399 (70.0%) were owner-occupied, and 8,735 (30.0%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.5%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.8%. 56,967 people (70.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 23,491 people (29.0%) lived in rental housing units.