A Brief History of Antioch


A Brief History of Antioch

I’m Ed Smith and I’m an Antioch personal injury lawyer. Antioch is great place to live, work and raise a family. Let’s not forget about Antioch’s rich history. Today, I’ll give you a brief history of Antioch.

Antioch Today

Antioch currently boasts a population of more than 100,000 people and is home to many locally-owned businesses. Although it is far from the “New York of the Pacific,” as it was once called, Antioch remains a bustling city as it connects the San Francisco Bay Area to the rest of California.

Early Antioch

Antioch emerged as a city in the 1800s to welcome freight and passengers travelling inland during the Gold Rush. It was officially incorporated as a city in 1850 as large numbers of people fled the city of San Francisco during a major cholera outbreak. Antioch, then known as Smith’s Township, provided a welcome relief from dangers of the city while still being close to industry.

Antioch continued to grow throughout the late 1800s as first coal and then copper was discovered in the mountains overlooking the town. Prosperity bubbles created by these discoveries quickly burst, however, bringing great hardship for many of the local residents.

Antioch and the Growth of Industry

As Antioch struggled to recover from its failed mining industries, businesses sprung up to fill the void. The Antioch Ledger, a local newspaper, began publishing newspapers in 1870 and did not miss an issue during its 47 years of print. Other businesses that emerged continue to exist today.

The Antioch Lumber Company emerged to provide much needed jobs. The agriculture industry also boomed. Many Antioch residents began to engage in the growth and distribution of celery, asparagus, and potatoes. These industries continue to be important to Antioch today.

Antioch and Its Early Religious Institutions

Churches also began to emerge, with the First Congregational Church coalescing in 1900. This church was the first established religious organization in Antioch and is still represented in Antioch today. The Catholic Church also began establishing itself in Antioch around this time. It initially provided services to miners, but also quickly grew a large following.

Antioch and BART

Antioch maintained steady growth throughout the 20th century until the extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system into Pittsburg in 1972. This drew many additional residents from the Central Valley seeking high paying jobs in the Bay Area.

The Antioch Bridge

In 1972, Senator John Nejedly acquired the funds for the construction of the Antioch Bridge connecting Sherman Island to Antioch. This bridge now serves as a major thoroughfare for commuters travelling from the Central Valley into the Bay Area. The current bridge replaced a vertical lift bridge completed in 1926.

Antioch’s Past Today

Visitors and locals can still see remnants of Antioch’s past in local parks and along the riverfront. The Black Diamond Mines Regional Park takes visitors back to this area’s early mining history. There, visitors can also see the old townsites of Somersville and Nortonville, in addition to the old cemetery for both populations. Along the riverfront, aged bricks and historic storefronts allude to a time long passed.

The Griswold House and the old Riverview Union High School are also charming windows to the past. The Griswold House was the home of the captain of the ship that first settled in Antioch and is the oldest dwelling in Contra Costa County. Riverview Union High School was built in 1911 and housed students until 1931 when the building became used for government offices. The building is still used by the Antioch Historical Society.

Antioch Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, an Antioch personal injury lawyer. If you, or a loved one has been hurt in an accident, please call me at (925) 428-5220 for free, friendly advice. You may also call toll free at (800) 404-5400.

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I am a California member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

Please view my Past Verdicts and Settlements.

Content Sources:

Image Source: By LPS.1 (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

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