Livermore (formerly Livermores, Livermore Ranch, and Nottingham) is a city in Alameda County, California, in the United States. With an estimated 2014 population of 86,870, Livermore is the most populous city in the Tri-Valley. Livermore is located on the eastern edge of California’s San Francisco Bay Area. The incumbent Mayor of Livermore is John Marchand, a registered Democrat.
Livermore was founded by William Mendenhall and named after Robert Livermore, his friend and a local rancher who settled in the area in the 1840s. Livermore is the home of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, for which the chemical element livermorium is named (and thus, placing the city’s name in the periodic table). Livermore is also the California site of Sandia National Laboratories, which is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Its south side is home to local vineyards. The city has redeveloped its downtown district and is considered part of the Tri-Valley area, comprising Amador, Livermore and San Ramon valleys.
The Livermore Area Recreation and Park District (LARPD) is a special independent park district that was created by the vote of the public in 1947 and runs the parks and other facilities in the city of Livermore and most of the unincorporated areas of eastern Alameda County. LARPD operates 42 facilities, including neighborhood, special use, community and regional parks and sport fields, a family campground at South Lake Tahoe, the Ravenswood Historic Site, The Barn, the Veterans Building, the Carnegie Building, the Bothwell Recreation Center and the new Robert Livermore Community Center. LARPD runs the May Nissen Community Park and Swim Center at 685 Rincon Ave and is open to swimmers with a $0.25 admission price from mid-June through end of August—closed Sundays. May Nissen Park includes a tot lot, group picnic area, barbecue pits, picnic tables, preschool, basketball court, restrooms, horseshoe pits, softball areas, tennis courts, two swimming pools, and a dog park. Max Baer Park has been the home of the Intermediate Little League World Series since 2013.
Brushy Peak Regional Preserve, located near Livermore, is jointly operated by the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District and the East Bay Regional Park District.
The extensive gravel deposits around Livermore have led to extensive gravel extraction that is still on-going. Shadow Cliffs Park along Stanley Boulevard west of Livermore is a popular 266-acre (108 ha) park that includes a 80-acre (32 ha) lake in an old Kaiser Industries gravel pit and is used extensively today for swimming, boating, and fishing.
Del Valle Regional Park, 10 miles (16 km) south of Livermore, includes a 5-mile-long (8.0 km) lake with all kinds of water-oriented recreation. The parking/entrance fee is $6 per vehicle and $4 more per trailered boat. The park opens at 6 AM in the summer and 7 AM in the winter. It has approximately 5,000 acres (2,000 ha) of oak-covered hills that can be used for hiking, horseback riding, and nature study. The lake is used by sailboats, sailboards and fishing boats as well as recreational swimmers.
Del Valle Park has the eastern gateway to the Ohlone Wilderness Trail, a 28-mile (45 km) scenic back country hiking trail. The Del Valle Family Campground has 150 sites, 21 of them with water and sewage, and electrical hook-ups. Picnicking sites are available.
LARPD operates parks and facilities of 1,842 acres (745 ha), with 1,432 acres (580 ha) open space. It runs an extensive selection of classes on a wide variety of subjects. LARPD has its own, five-person board of directors that is elected by the citizens to staggered four-year terms and meets at 7 p.m. on the second and last Wednesday of each month inside the Cresta Blanca Ballroom at the Robert Livermore Community Center, 4444 East Avenue. They are paid $100/meeting with a maximum of $500/month. The General Manager of LARPD is Timothy Barry—selected by the board and paid $137,160/yr plus unspecified benefits including Alameda County retirement plan (ACERA) with 29.13% of LARPD salary contribution rate to a well paid retirement plan. In addition, there are 13 paid holidays, vacation, sick leave, medical, dental, life insurance, etc. adding about $55,000/yr in benefits to the General Manager’s salary. The organization and facilities are extensive and LARPD hires many part-time workers (up to about 430 at peak times) from Park Rangers to referees in its extensive programs and classes with a permanent staff of about 63. The 2012-2013 operating budget of LARPD is $16,393,564 plus a capital budget of $3,870,971. Their source of operating income is property taxes, user fees, charges and grants. Unfortunately, the state has cut down on their share of property taxes as the state re-allocate more to itself and their never ending fiscal crisis’s. LARPD serves an area that encompasses about 115,000 people.
Livermore’s culture retains some vestiges of the farming, wine growing and ranching traditions that have existed in the valley since the time of Robert Livermore, but now largely reflects a suburban population. Since 1918, Livermore has each June hosted the Livermore Rodeo, called the “World’s Fastest Rodeo”, that claims it has more riders per hour than any other event of its type. There are several wine-tasting tours of the many Livermore area wineries that occur periodically throughout the summer. This culture was documented in the photoessay Suburbia in 1973 by then-native photographer Bill Owens, with the photos shown in numerous exhibits.
Livermore has a strong blue-collar element, as well as many professionals who work at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and other work sites in the high tech industries within the Bay Area. Recent housing development has included the addition of hundreds of million-dollar homes set among the southside’s vineyards, as well as a multimillion-dollar renovation of the downtown area. Renovations included office buildings, the Livermore Cinemas, the Bankhead Theatre, and a multistory parking structure. The Livermore Civic Center includes a state-of-the-art library that opened in 2004, with a front mosaic by Maria Alquilar.
Livermore has several golf courses located near the city: Las Positas municipal golf course, and the 18 hole Poppy Ridge and Wente Vineyards courses. Springtown Golf Course closed October 15, 2015. Livermore Municipal Airport (LVK) is accessible to business jets, serving the entire Tri-Valley area. The city is home to Bay Area Rosal, a professional indoor soccer team. Each summer Livermore has a farmer’s market which bring farm-fresh produce directly to the consumer.
In 2010, proposed projects included extension of the BART high-speed rail system to Livermore, with an underground downtown station, and a regional performing arts center between Livermore Avenue and L Street.
Arts organizations supported by the city include the Livermore-Amador Symphony, Del Valle Fine Arts, producer of classical music events, and in the valley at large, the Valley Concert Chorale, Livermore Valley Opera, the Valley Dance Theatre, a classical ballet company and the Livermore Art Association.
There are over fifty places of worship in Livermore.
Camp Wonder opened its first summer camp for children with special medical needs in Livermore in 2001.
One of the largest districts in Livermore is Springtown, the northeast area of the city north of Interstate 580. Originally conceived as a retirement community in the early 1960s, Springtown has slowly transformed into a community of young families and commuters from the greater Bay Area. Along with the new population, comes a transformation and updating of the cookie-cutter homes, with many formerly 2/1 or 2/2 homes being converted into larger residences. It has yet to be determined what the city, who had purchased the Springtown Golf Course from the association, will do with the excess land.
The downtown area or central district has two movie theaters, a community theater, and space for open-air concerts. The North Livermore district is north of the Union Pacific Railroad that cuts through downtown. The South Livermore district, including areas of unincorporated land, has over 40 wineries.
The Livermore area is the home of two DOE National Laboratories. The laboratories are known worldwide, and attract significant attention both for their scientific research and for their major roles in developing the United States nuclear arsenal.
The largest employer in Livermore is the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), a federally funded research and development center funded by the Department of Energy which is operated by a limited liability consortium named Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS), a joint venture company of Bechtel National, the University of California, BWX Technologies, URS, and Battelle. The lab is the location of the IBM Sequoia supercomputer. The lab was the co-discoverers of new superheavy elements 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, and 118. The chemical element with atomic number 116 was given the name livermorium, after the laboratory, in 2012
LLNL is the location of the world’s highest-energy laser, the National Ignition Facility (NIF), a project designed to create the first sustained, controlled nuclear fusion reaction, which would generate fusion power, a potential energy source.
Livermore is also the California site of Sandia National Laboratories, which is operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed-Martin owned Company.
The two National Laboratories, along with other stakeholders, including the University of California, Berkeley, UC Davis, and regional cities, partnered to create the i-GATE (Innovation for Green Advanced Transportation Excellence) National Energy Systems Technology (NEST) Incubator. The 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m2) i-GATE NEST campus was created to stimulate large-scale, high-tech business development drawn by the two labs. Initial focus of the campus will be solar energy, fuel cells, biofuels, LED lighting, and other related technologies. i-GATE shares its facilities with the hackerspace Robot Garden, which provides public access on Saturdays from 11 AM to 3 PM.
One of California’s oldest wine regions, the Livermore Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) played a pivotal role in shaping California’s wine industry. In the 1840s, California pioneers looking for outstanding vineyard sites began planting grapes in the region. Robert Livermore planted the first commercial vines in the 1840s. After California joined the union as the 31st state in 1850, pioneer winemakers C. H. Wente, a first-generation immigrant from Germany, (founder of Wente Vineyards), James Concannon, a first generation Irishman, (founder of Concannon Vineyard), and Charles Wetmore, a Portland Maine born American and pioneer of California, (founder of Cresta Blanca Winery) recognized the area’s winegrowing potential and bought land, planted grapes and founded their wineries in the 1880s. Charles Wetmore went to France in 1878 when he was appointed a delegate for the California Viticultural Association to the Paris Exposition. Charles was able in 1882 to obtain Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscat de Bordelais cuttings from one of the most prestigious vineyards in France, Chateau Yquem. These superior clones helped revitalize the California wine industry. In 1889 Charles won the grand prize for his first pressing (1884) in the 1889 Paris Exposition. Charles shared these cuttings with other growers including C. H. Wente who used the Chateau Yquem grape cuttings to eventually produce their Chateau Wente wine.
Gillig Corporation, a large manufacturer of buses, moved its factory to Livermore in May 2017 and, at the time of the move, the company estimated its employment at the new facility to be 800 initially and 850 after the filling of then-open positions.
Livermore’s largest employers, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory with about 6,800 employees and Sandia National Laboratory with 1,150 employees, are U.S. government-owned facilities located just outside the city and are not included in the above table.
Interstate 580 is Livermore’s primary east-west six-lane freeway. I-580 passes the outskirts of Livermore before it heads east through the Altamont Pass to the Central Valley and Interstate 5. I-580 and I-5 are the main route of San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles truck shipping traffic. Interstate 680 lies about 10 miles (16 km) west of Livermore. Highway 84 heads southwest from I-580 to Fremont. Vasco Road, an unnumbered highway that is maintained by Alameda and Contra Costa counties, connects Livermore to Brentwood and the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta area.
Livermore Municipal Airport (LVK) is located 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Livermore and is a division of the Public Works Department; it is owned and operated by the City of Livermore. They are the main airport in the Tri-Valley area. Approximately 600 aircraft are based on Livermore Airport, which has over 150,000 annual aircraft landings and take-offs each year. The airport serves private, business, and corporate tenants and customers and covers about 650 acres (260 ha). The main lighted runway is 5,250 feet (1,600 m) long. The main terminal building covers 2,400 square feet (220 m2). The airfield is accessible 24 hours a day and is attended by city employees during the hours listed under “Airport Services”. The manned air traffic control tower is operated by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees daily from 7:00 A.M. until 9:00 P.M. There is an open airshow which is held annually on the first Saturday of October from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM showing vintage World War-II aircraft and other displays.
The WHEELS bus system operates in Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, and the surrounding unincorporated areas of Alameda County. It has connections to Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) stations in Dublin and Pleasanton.
Livermore has two stations for the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE), a commuter train which runs from Stockton to the San Jose area. One station is at Vasco Road, and the other is in downtown Livermore at its Transit Center. The Transit Center has a free multistory parking garage and connections to the WHEELS bus system.
There is a petition drive to bring the Bay Area Rapid Transit system to Livermore. The group that started the petition was founded by the former mayor of Dublin, Linda Jeffery Sailors, who was successful in extending BART to Dublin/Pleasanton, currently the closest station to Livermore. If BART does come to Livermore, the system would connect to the ACE Train.
Radio station KKIQ is licensed in Livermore and broadcasts in the Tri-Valley area.
The Independent is a local newspaper founded in September 1963. It is located in the Bank of Italy Building.
Livermore has five landmarks listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the Bank of Italy Building, the Hagemann Ranch Historic District, the D. J. Murphy House, the Livermore Carnegie Library and Park and Ravenswood Historic Site.
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