It was once the site of Mt. Diablo Winery, the largest winery in Contra Costa County. As reported in the Daily Alta California newspaper in 1890, the deputy Internal Revenue collector seized the winery and distillery for “illicit distilling,” Government officials were now in charge of the place.
It is not known how this event ended, but the grape growing continued – with a wide variety of grapes planted.
Several different people owned the land and structures until 1941, when W.H. Easley bought the property. He founded a 7-Up bottling company and added an airstrip he used to fly between Clayton and San Francisco on business. The property included a three-story stone winery, which had a capacity of 400,000 gallons of cooperage.
The Easleys own the property today, and the ranch has been used for many community gatherings.
I interviewed several current owners of homes in Easley Estates, with most everyone saying how much they love the proximity to downtown. They participate in downtown activities such as bocce ball, Art & Wine and Okotberfest. They love being able to walk to the music in the park, car shows, the rib cook-off and the Fourth of July parade.
People appreciate the big yards and friendly neighbors. Since the pandemic hit, all of the neighbors go outside on Friday or Saturday evenings and have a drink. One fellow said he hardly knew his neighbors until the past couple of years and now has made new friends.
Some streets still have original owners, while others are getting a new group of younger owners with children. One owner likes the fact that there are not a lot of streets and mainly one street in and one street out.
I found that a majority of the owners lived in the county or at least in the Bay Area before they moved to Easley, though they might be from other states originally. There are always quite a few lifelong California residents who love our state and want to stay.
I tried to find out something they didn’t like about the neighborhood, but no one could think of anything. One long-time owner mentioned the noisy parties at the ranch early on, but they don’t have those barn dances anymore.
Lynne French is a Realtor with Compass Real Estate and captain of the Lynne French Team. Originally from Chicago, Lynne French came to San Francisco at the height of the 1960 and started a boutique at age 21. She went on to open two other shops. As industries shifted, Lynne took off on an adventure as a truck driver. For 10 years Lynne owned, operated and drove her big rig throughout the 48 states. One day, her truck broke down for the last time, and it was time to move on. In 1993 an ad for real estate training caught her eye and she began her real estate career as an assistant. Eventually she struck out on her own and had to hire her assistant to handle the volume of work. Lynne's decision to become an office in 2005 came from a sincere alignment with three basic principles: hire the best people, give them the best tools, create thriving communities. When not helping her clients, Lynne and her husband Danny enjoy country living within the foothills of Mt. Diablo.