About Livermore

Livermore, incorporated in 1876, is the oldest city in the Livermore Valley

William Mendenhall, The Founder of the town of Livermore
William Mendenhall (born April 20, 1823, died Nov 20, 1911 at the age of 88), is credited as the city's founder. In 1869 he established a 100 acre townsite on his property, naming it after Robert Livermore. He donated 20 acres of this land to the Central Pacific Railroad for the track right of way so that the railroad, which was the final leg of the transcontinental railroad, would come through Livermore. The town occupied the area from 4th St to the railroad tracks (which were then a bit south of Railroad Ave), and from P St to Livermore Ave (Lizzie Street). At that time Laddsville was just east of Livermore, being in the 1st street area about a half mile east of Livermore Ave. The prosperous city had an extensive mercantile and wine industry in the late 19th century.


The 50-square-mile area of Livermore Valley surrounded by coastal mountains and foothills offers fertile ground for industry and agriculture. It had more than 50 wineries up until Prohibition and contributed significantly to the state’s oenology and viticulture with the development of Chardonnay clones, overhead irrigation, and mechanical harvesting. Livermore vineyards, such as Wente Vineyards and Concannon Vineyards , have graced the valley since 1849. Livermore Valley wineries were also the first to bottle varietal labeled Chardonnay (came from Wente Vineyards), Sauvignon Blanc (came from Cresta Blanca Winery) and Petite Sirah (came from Concannon Vineyard). Nearly 80% of California's Chardonnay vines trace their genetic roots to a Livermore Valley clone.

Sauvignon Blanc, which was first planted from cuttings from Château d’Yquem in 1869, put Livermore Valley on the international wine map in 1889, with Charles Wetmore's dry white wine from Cresta Blanca winery winning the Grand Prix at the International Paris Exposition. By the way, it was this international fair when the 1,000 foot “Grand Lady of Iron,” better known as the Eiffel Tower , first welcomed attendees as a centrepiece to the massive celebration of French culture, better known as the Exposition Universelle.

This scenic ranching community took on a dual personality when, in 1952, a surplus World War II naval base was transformed into the internationally renowned Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory . The city welcomed Sandia National Laboratory in 1956. These labs helped swell the city's population from 4,000 residents in 1950 to 40,000 in 1970. Livermore's population is now almost 90,000 people.

Today, Livermore's centralized location, pro-business attitude, and scenic setting make it an ideal community for new businesses. Comcast Cable, FormFactor and US Foodservice have discovered that Livermore provides a cost effective alternative to other Bay Area locations.

The valley is experiencing a wine-making Renaissance and is becoming recognized as one of the California's premiere wine regions with over 40 wineries and more than 5,000 acres of vineyards growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Petite Sirah, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Viognier, Semillon, Zinfandel and a few Italian and Spanish varieties.

Livermore's downtown is the place to be. It is a vibrant district that serves the living, dining , shopping, cultural, and entertainment needs of the city.

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