Tassarjara Valley History
The earliest known inhabitants of the area were members of the Bay Miwok Tatcan tribe.
The first writing that mentions the area is in the notes of an expedition in 1772 led by Spanish explorer Pedro Fages and missionary
Father Juan Crespí who thought the area would be a suitable location for one of the California Missions.
Early One-Room School House on Finley Road
Local resident and historian Beverly Lane wrote about the area in an article Presenting the Past published in the Danville Weekly.
Tassajara Creek begins in the foothills of Mount Diablo and drains south.
It is part of the huge Alameda Creek watershed, which covers 405,000 acres in two counties.
The portion of this watershed in Contra Costa County is called the Upper Alameda Creek Watershed and encompasses 40,000 acres.
After the Gold Rush, settlers moved into the Tassajara Valley with their families and raised a variety of crops including hay,
grains, orchards of fruit and nuts, vineyards and tomatoes. Nina McPherson Williams loved growing up in the valley and wrote:
“In the land of sunshine in the county of Contra Costa, along an oak-rimmed stream, lies the Valley of Tassajara.
Rich fields of native grasses gave the valley much fame from olden times to the present.”
Immigrants from many areas settled in the valley - Portuguese, Danes, Welsh and Scots.
The Tassajara Grammar School provided a place for these settlers to educate their children,
share parties and create new communities. Student names in the school registers reflected their family origins:
Williams, McPherson, Finley, Bettencourt, Lawrence (Portuguese), Rasmussen and Hansen.
The second school house, built in 1889, has been restored, at 1650 Finley Road.