A brief history of the City of Hayward

haywardSeal-50The city of Hayward is located in Alameda County, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area’s “East Bay”. With a population of approximately 170,000, Hayward is the sixth largest city in the Bay Area and the third largest in Alameda County. The city was devastated in 1868 by an earthquake. Hayward’s economy centered on the food canning industry beginning in the early 20th century up to the early 1980s.

The City’s History

Hayward was originally known as “Hayward’s,” then as “Haywood,” later as “Haywards,” and eventually as “Hayward.” The city was named for William Dutton Hayward, who established a hotel in 1850.

When William Hayward was the road commissioner for Alameda County, he used his authority to build a network of roads in the city. The town “Haywards” was chartered by the state in 1876. In 1910 the city was renamed “Hayward” (the “s” was officially dropped). William Dutton Hayward died in 1891.

Hayward grew steadily in the late 19th century through agriculture and tourism. The city grew tomatoes, peaches, cherries, and apricots, among other crops. Chicken and pigeon farms were also predominant. The South Pacific Coast Railroad that ran between Oakland and San Jose was built but was destroyed in 1868 earthquake.

World War II brought an economic and population boom to the area, when factories were built to produce military equipment and supplies. Many of the factory workers remained in the city after the war.

Satellite communities

Russell City (now the Industrial Park area of the city), Shafer Park, and Mount Eden (a former city populated by people from Mt. Eden, Kentucky) were incorporated into Hayward in the 1950s. Stokes Landing, Hayward Heath and Eden Landing were unincorporated townships that are now also part of Hayward.


The city has a total area of 63.7 square miles (165 km2). Some 45.3 square miles (117 km2) is land and 18.4 square miles (48 km2) is water. The Hayward Fault runs through much of Hayward, including the downtown area.

The cities and towns around Hayward include San Lorenzo, Cherryland, Ashland, San Leandro, Castro Valley, Union City, Fremont, Sunol, Fairview, and Pleasanton.

Demographics [per 2010 census]

Officially, Hayward has a population of 144,186, making up a density of 2,261.8 people per square mile. The racial and ethnic makeup of Hayward, per the 2010 census, is: 49,309 (34.2%) White; 17,099 (11.9%) African American; 1,396 (1.0%) Native American; 31,666 (22.0%) Asian [10.4% Filipino; 3.9% Chinese; 3.0% Indian; 2.7% Vietnamese; 0.5% Japanese; 0.5% Korean; 0.2% Cambodian; 0.1% Pakistani]; 4,535 (3.1%) Pacific Islander; 30,004 (20.8%) from other races; and 10,177 (7.1%) from two or more other races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 58,730 persons (40.7%), giving Hayward an aggregate Hispanic/Latino population plurality.

About Julius Willis

A former Philippines newspaper publisher and businessman, Julius resettled in California, USA, where he simultaneously worked as an instructional and technical writer and engineering department manager and taught college for 26 years. Now retired, he serves as a member of the Alameda County Housing & Community Development Advisory Committee. He also served as a member of the City of Hayward's General Plan Task Force and the city's Planning, Personnel, Citizens Advisory, and Community Services commissions.
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