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November 16, 2010 > History: Union City housing in the early 1970s

History: Union City housing in the early 1970s

By Myrla Raymundo

What was Union City like many years ago? The area was just a vast piece of land when agriculture was an often-profitable prospect in Alameda County. With its fertile soil, marshes, and proximity to San Francisco, farmers were able to easily exploit the resources located in the County. Union City formed in 1958 from the towns of Alvarado and Decoto.

Henry C. Smith's town of New Haven, formed in 1851 became Alvarado in 1853 and the County seat. People worked and built small, modest homes. Streets were lined with beautiful homes, some large and some little lined up by the railroad tracks.

The town of Decoto was formed in 1867 when the Western Pacific Railroad purchased 284 acres from the three Decoto Brothers. During the winters, 27,000 trees were planted. The area was mostly orchards and farmland. Homes were built and lined up along narrow streets, some beautiful with artistic designs.

In the early 1970s, immigrants came to settle in Union City. At that time, it began to change from a small agricultural town to a residential community with the construction of housing subdivisions such as:

Casa Verde Housing
The west side of Union City was first used as pastureland. Here, Casa Verde, one of the first housing complexes, was built. It is a big sprawling piece of land with hundreds of upscale housing built in the early 70s. There are two, three, four, and even some five-bedroom homes with huge living rooms, family rooms, fireplaces, and dining rooms. Some have swimming pools, nice gardens, and barbecue pits. The construction of this area brought many new arrivals to Union City.

Dry Creek Apartments
As you pass by Whipple Road along Mission Boulevard, you will see the Dry Creek Apartments. It is surrounded by a 1,000-acre ranch and State Horse Park trails set among giant trees on a natural creek. It offers quiet seclusion in a luxurious setting. Facilities include a heated pool, health spa, planned recreation, and security guards.

You'll pass by a rainbow of gladioli on the right, and a stream flowing on the left until the narrowing lane comes to a fence which leads to the "secret garden." This is the Dry Creek Cottage and Garden. At the end of the apartment complex there is also a beautiful house that used to be the old Decoto School House.

The Tropics
Passing Alvarado-Niles east, you'll find casual California living at its very finest. The Tropics is a custom designed mobile home community in a park setting for people 55 and above only. Each home unit is planned to provide maximum privacy, spaciousness, and easy living, with quiet, relaxing surroundings and no through traffic. The residential park setting includes a big, beautiful, air-conditioned clubhouse with l6,000 square feet of indoor recreational facilities, including saunas, library, ceramics room, billiard and card rooms, plus a large outdoor heated swimming pool by a waterfall.

Today, Union City's diverse community can be found in a variety of housing including upscale homes with one and two-story designs and three-car garages. The homes are beautifully detailed with accents and amenities. Housing in Union City has come a long way from its early years.

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