City of San Leandro History Walk

Click here for the History Walk Videos

(Hover over or click the image for an enlarged view)

The History Walk includes three different types of markers

  • Three concept pylons on West Estudillo
  • A wall detailing San Leandro Plaza and city growth and development at the bus stop on E. 14th Street at the Plaza
  • 12 markers at historic buildings or sites

West Estudillo Concept Pylons

Important themes in the history and development of San Leandro

Ohlone People & Spanish Ranchos

The first people in this area were hunters and gatherers who developed a complex culture and religion centered on the natural world. Spanish colonization beginning in 1769 brought a rapid transformation to a life centered on the Catholic Church and an economy based on the hide and tallow trade.

Agriculture & Cherries

San Leandro as a town began when Mexico ceded California to the United States and gold was discovered, bringing thousands of people from the United States and the world to California – many 49ers then settled in this area to farm. San Leandro developed as an agricultural community, and cherries were an important crop.

For more information: San Leandro Cherry Festivals

Transportation & Industry

Differences in transportation from Ohlone to Spanish to American periods reflect changes in culture in this area. The railroad was an essential element in the development of the town. Industry developed alongside agriculture, and Daniel Best Agricultural Works brought the first large sustained payroll.

Daniel Best Agricultural Works

For more information:

San Leandro Plaza

History Wall

E. 14th Street and Davis

The heart of San Leandro has seen many celebrations and gatherings and was the crossroads of the city and county. The history wall here gives an overview of Plaza development and the growth of San Leandro.

San Leandro Plaza,ca. 1885






San Leandro Plaza, ca. 1930





Site Markers

Casa Peralta 

384 W. Estudillo Ave.

Three descendants of the land grant Peralta family lived in this home. In 1926 Herminia Peralta Dargie remodeled it as a grand Spanish villa. Tiles in the courtyard depict the story of Don Quixote.

For more information:

County Courthousesite

Marker SW corner Davis & Clarke

San Leandro was the Alameda County seat from 1856 until 1873. The building was destroyed in the 1868 Hayward Fault earthquake.

For more information:

Alameda County Courthouse in San Leandro (Davis and Clarke), ca. 1856


This was the site of San Leandro’s city hall from 1876 until 1939, when it moved to its present location on E. 14th Street.


Alameda County Courthouse in San Leandro (Davis and Clarke) after 1868 earthquake:


Town Hall site
250 Davis St.

For more information:



Helen Lawrence Building

835 E. 14th Street

This building was dedicated to Helen Lawrence, San Leandro’s mayor from 1941 until 1944. She was San Leandro’s first female mayor and one of the country’s first Portuguese mayors.


1120 E. 14th Street

The União Portuguesa do Estado da California (Portuguese Union of the State of California) was founded in 1880. The current building replaced the old U.P.E.C. in 1964. The U.P.E.C. houses a cultural center and the J. A. Freitas Library, the most complete library of Portuguese materials in California.

Best Building 

E. 14th St. & Estudillo Ave.

Built in 1910 by Daniel Best to house the San Leandro Bank, this white terra cotta-faced building with classic revival ornamentation on the upper floor is typical of business buildings constructed at the turn of the century.

Masonic Temple

1374 E. 14th St.

The Masonic Temple Building was dedicated on April 15, 1910 and is still the home of Eden Lodge #113 of the Freemasons. Eden Lodge was instituted in San Leandro in 1857, the first fraternal order established here.

Blacksmith Shop and Home, Site of Methodist Church

1363 Hays St.

The first church in San Leandro was the First Methodist Church built in 1856. Next door was Sarmento’s Blacksmith Shop. The blacksmith shop building and the Sarmento home around the corner at 308 W. Joaquin are still standing.

Sarmento Blacksmith Shop and First Methodist Church, Hays Street, ca. 1897

Union/Lincoln School site

Marker on W. Juana between Clarke and Carpentier

Lincoln School was built in 1910 on the site of the old Union School. It faced W. Joaquin and was bounded by Clarke, Carpentier, and W. Juana. It was torn down in 1979.

Del Monte Cannery and Ballpark

San Leandro Blvd. at BART station

For most of the 20th Century, a cannery on this site employed hundreds of laborers to preserve peaches and other produce from the nearby farms. The San Leandro Baseball Club organized in 1903, and the ballpark was constructed in 1909 at Parrott and San Leandro Blvd.

Daniel Best Home

1315 Clarke St.

Built in the 1870s, this home was bought in 1886 by Daniel Best, a San Leandro pioneer and inventor. Daniel Best Agricultural Works, on Davis Street a few blocks from here, manufactured farm machinery, and Best’s son merged the company with Holt to create Caterpillar Tractor.

For more information: