Remember when? Once upon a time, Walnut Creek looked like this.

I actually don’t remember when Walnut Creek looked like this. This photo was taken long before my arrival in town: at Kaiser hospital in a year I won’t disclose. Actually, this photo by Ted Gurney shows North Main Street looking north from Mt. Diablo Boulevard in 1952. Hmm, 1952. My parents moved to Walnut Creek a year later.

This photo is part of an interesting exhibition of photos, Then and Now, on display in the City Council chamber at City Hall. The exhibition consists of 25 such historic photos of Walnut Creek, dating back to 1927, that are then juxtaposed with 2008 photos showing the same locations. The new photos were taken by Andy Smith, a senior planner with the City’s Community Development Department and an accomplished amateur photographer. He selected the vintage photos and then sought out to capture images of the same place years later in order to show how a community like Walnut Creek changes through time.

Thanks to Brad Rovanpera, the city’s public information officer and expert historian, for sharing this photo.

6 thoughts on “Remember when? Once upon a time, Walnut Creek looked like this.

  1. Thanks for the heads up, will checkout the show. I came to Concord in 1958 and seen the area grow a lot too.


  2. My parents moved to the area in the in 1959. Concord had a population of around 20,000 people AND there were actual walnut groves in Walnut Creek!!! Our neighbors had horses and my siblings & I would go cow-tipping for entertainment.


  3. This was Walnut Creek before the freeways were constructed and everyone had to drive through town to get anywhere. There was relief from traffic congestion for a while after the freeways were built, but then City Hall figured a way to recreate the old days and allowed overdevelopment downtown.


  4. The City put a similar pic into the 2025 General Plan and wrote, “Traffic has always been a problem in Walnut Creek”. No context, such as, this is a pic of everyone fleeing a fire, or huge crowds at the Walnut Fest. No, this is everyday……


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