A BIT OF HISTORY
The 250 homes of present-day Ridgeview Gardens occupy land where cattle and sheep once grazed along the banks of Arroyo Sierra Creek in the Bennett Valley area.
In the early 1970s, the land was developed for homes, starting on the west side of the creek – Marin Drive, Contra Costa and Calaveras (which somehow got misspelled as Calavaras). The first houses were put in by North Pacific Construction Co., headed by Robert E. Pixton.
The city mandated the formation of a homeowners’ association with a community pool. The Declaration of Restrictions (also known as CC&R’s) for Ridegeview Gardens, Unit No. 1, was filed in October 1972. Articles of Incorporation of the Ridgeview Gardens Homes Association were filed the following month.
Construction east of the creek was taken over by Valley View Homes in 1974 – named for F. Wayne Valley, founder of the Oakland Raiders. Valley’s Besco Co. became part of Singer Housing Co. – an offshoot of the Singer Sewing Machine Co. In August 1974, Singer Housing Co. filed a Declaration of Annexation for Ridgeview Gardens Unit #2. The CC&R’s applied to the whole neighborhood.
Valley View Homes were later marketed as The Oaks in Bennett Valley, at a time when the neighborhood had towering oak trees. One remnant of the oaks’ presence can be seen in an odd bulge in the curb line on the east side of Silverwood Street, where the curb bent around a stately oak tree that’s no longer there. One oak remains at 4253 Brookshire Circle.
Model homes of The Oaks in Bennett Valley were located at 4232, 4236, 4240 and 4244 Brookshire Circle. You can still see where wooden posts were sunk in the driveways for the signs touting the model homes.
Ross Eyre, currently retired and living in the neighborhood, was a salesman for the development. He has brochures from those days showing prices for the homes ranging from $39,900 to $46,450. He says it was hard to sell the homes in what was then a fairly remote area. In fact, the development “was a dog on the market,” he says. Eventually, they all sold – and values have skyrocketed in the decades since then.
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