Canyon is located in a densely wooded region in the far west corner of Contra Costa County. Currently home to less than 80 residences, Canyon prides itself on its redwood trees, its creek, community, school, post office, and an abundance of oxygen.
A little more than 150 years ago, Canyon served as a lumbering center and its thousand year old redwoods were shamefully used to build towns and cities throughout the Bay Area and outer regions.
In 1850, Canyon was occupied by dairy ranches. By 1900, the ranches disappeared, the redwoods returned, and Canyon began attracting many campers, hunters, fishermen, and hikers. To accommodate the frequency of these visitors, a number of saloons, hotels, and a general store opened up, and in the early 1900’s, Canyon became a summer resort area.
In 1913, the Oakland and Antioch Railway was established bringing many visitors through Canyon. The lumbering had stopped and the redwoods attracted many visitors.
In 1918, the school and post office were built as the Canyon community began to flourish. Home to more than 150 residences, the community was built in and around a redwood grove filled with many picnic tables and a general store (formerly the Redwood Inn).
The 1920’s brought many summer home subdivisions to Canyon and the Great Depression increased the year-round population. There were no streetlights, sidewalks, sewers, and natural gas in Canyon.
After World War II, much of Canyon was bought up by the East Bay Municipal Utilities District EBMUD as a watershed, and the number of residences steadily declined.
In the 60’s and 70’s, Canyon served as a community hotspot for hippies who regularly met in the redwood grove on weekends.
Today, Canyon still retains its quality of life, marked by the abundance of redwood trees, creeks, clean air, its community, school, and post office.
Eye on the Bay: Road To Nowhere “Canyon” (Aired 2/14/2011) – 22 Minutes
Sacramento Northern Railroad Documentary
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