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Toasting Pinole Valley - The best green deal in the city’s history

By George R. Vincent, Co-founder Pinole Historical Society


I-80 freeway collapse in Pinole 5-12-69

Are you new to Pinole, or have you been living here with no time to delve into its rich history?

History can easily become a casualty of our hurry-up society of texting mania and drive-through fast foods. When your kids ask for homework help with a Pinole history assignment, do you embarrassingly have to tell them to go ask mom or dad, or grandma or grandpa? Well, help is on the way. This historical tour will give you a thumbnail introduction to one of our community’s historical pillars. Perhaps it will even give you a more satisfactory mental high than your Starbucks Espresso Macchiato.


Pinole’s roots extend in many directions. However, to appreciate the town’s beginnings and growth, we must look to the rural Pinole Valley hinterland.

An 1880s history book described Pinole as “The little hamlet by the pebbly bay, located at the mouth of the beautiful valley by the same name.” By the 1920s, a local contest officially nicknamed Pinole “The Sunkissed Gem by the Bay.”


The San Pablo Bay and Pinole Valley were to figure prominently in Pinole’s population growth and attraction of residents. Pinole’s yawn time as a sleepy village and the rural face of Pinole Valley both ended with the opening of the I-80 freeway in the late 1950s.


The freeway surgically cut Old Town Pi