One of the oldest towns in California, Antioch has undergone several name changes – East Antioch, Smith’s Landing, Marsh’s Landing – but ultimately landed on its current moniker in 1851 when the town’s new minister persuaded residents to name the town after the biblical city of Antioch. Built on the San Joaquin River, near its convergence with the Sacramento River, one can still spot ships heading up the deep-water channel to Sacramento.
The discovery of coal in 1859 resulted in several small villages, which ultimately joined either Antioch or nearby Pittsburg. Though the mines have long ceased operations, Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, part of the East Bay Regional Park District, is more than 6,000 acres of parklands offering hiking, picnicking and nature and history studies.
Antioch has seen much growth over the past 30 years, primarily as a bedroom community as real estate prices drive buyers further out from the Bay Area. Retail growth along the east side has augmented the shopping and dining opportunities, and the proximity of the rivers ensures that water-related recreation abounds.