Orinda, California

Orinda is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. The population was 17,599 at the 2000 census. The town is East of and just over the hill from Oakland and home to many affluent professionals who commute to downtown Oakland, San Francisco and Walnut Creek. The city is well known in the area as one of the most desirable addresses in the East Bay, due its excellent public schools, high-priced real estate and naturally scenic landscape. While the city is in close proximity to nearby urban areas, it has maintained a very cozy, small town atmosphere.

Originally a rural area mainly known for ranching and summer cabins, the land which became the town was named by Alice Marsh Cameron in honor of the poet Katherine Philips ("Matchless Orinda" being a nickname for Phillips). Orinda's popularity as a year-round place to live increased after the Caldecott Tunnel was completed in 1937, providing quicker access to points west including San Francisco. Bisected by Highway 24, and framed by its rolling, oak covered hills, the city of Orinda was incorporated on July 1 1985. The Northern portion of the city, crowned by the Orinda Country Club, is very hilly and dotted with multi-million dollar custom homes. The Southern portion of the city is known as the "Glorietta" area, because of a main boulevard, is flatter and has more modest homes that are still mostly over one million dollars.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.6 square miles (32.7 km²), of which, 12.6 square miles (32.6 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.32%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 17,599 people, 6,596 households, and 5,243 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,398.2 people per square mile (539.7/km²). There were 6,744 housing units at an average density of 535.8/sq mi (206.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.6% White, 0.5% Black, 0.15% Native American, 9.24% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.64% from other races, and 2.84% from two or more races. 3.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,596 households out of which 36.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 72.3% were married couples living together, 5.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.5% were non-families. 16.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 3.2% from 18 to 24, 20.5% from 25 to 44, 32.1% from 45 to 64, and 18.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $187,637, and the median income for a family was $192,531. The per capita income for the city was $95,428. About 1.1% of families and 1.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.1% of those under age 18 and 1.5% of those age 65 or over.


The Orinda school system is noted for its excellence in all levels by California standards. Both the lower district (elementary and middle schools) and the upper district (high school) are the top ranked districts in their categories for the state of California. The town's only high school, Miramonte, is a part of the Acalanes Union High School District, the highest ranked high school district in the state of California based on the 2007 Academic Performance Index, or API. Miramonte averages approximately 1400 students per year. Miramonte features strong athletic teams. The varsity football team has been successful for a number of years and has won state and league championships on numerous occasions. The school has produced such NFL players as Ken Dorsey, Drew Bennett and Bryan Barker. Water polo is also a popular sport, with notables including Kirk Everist '86 (US Olympic Team '92 and '96), Heather Petri '96 (Silver: 2000 Olympics ; Bronze: 2004 Olympics), and Michael Sharf (NCAA All-American, 2007 US National Team Member). The school's track, cross country, swimming, baseball, tennis, soccer, lacrosse, and golf teams all have had remarkable success as well. The only middle school is Orinda Intermediate School. The four public elementary schools are Sleepy Hollow Elementary, Wagner Ranch Elementary, Glorietta Elementary and Del Rey Elementary. The middle and elementary schools comprise the Orinda Union School District, the highest ranked K-8 school district in California.

Sports, recreation and the arts

The Orinda Film Festival

Starting in 2002, Orinda began hosting the Orinda Film Festival, an annual regional film festival taking place at the historic Orinda Theater. In 2005, actor William Hurt attended the festival to promote the film The Blue Butterfly in which he played a leading role. The festival was last held in 2005.

The California Shakespeare Theater

The internationally known California Shakespeare Theater performs from June to October at the Bruns Memorial Amphitheater (located on land leased from EBMUD in the hills north of highway 24). The Theater's conservatory operates throughout the year, featuring programs for children, teenagers, young actors, teachers and adults.

Swimming and waterpolo

Orinda has several summer league swim teams that compete for a championship cup in mid-August every year, the OMPA (Orinda Moraga Pool Association) Championship Meet. Over two thousand individual swimmers typically participate in the meet. Orinda is also home to the popular year-round swim team, Orinda Aquatics, which practices at Campolindo High School in Moraga. Numerous competitive swimmers (and waterpolo players) from Orinda have gone on to compete for major colleges and in the Olympics.

Famous current and former residents

Neighboring cities

The cities of Orinda and Lafayette, along with the town of Moraga, are collectively known as "Lamorinda".



External links

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