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city, Contra Costa county, northwestern California, U.S. It lies in the San Ramon Valley, east of both San Francisco and Oakland. Spanish explorers arrived in the region in the 1770s, and in the early 1800s the area became part of a Mexican land grant. The city, settled in 1849 during the Gold Rush (the first American settler was William Slusher, a squatter who built a home along what was called Nuts Creek), was first known as The Corners but was renamed (c. 1862) for the abundance of walnut trees. The Central Pacific Railroad reached Walnut Creek in 1878, and by 1914 an electric commuter line had connected it with Oakland. Walnut Creek is the commercial and shipping centre for nearby agricultural (fruit, walnuts) and industrial areas. It is also a bedroom community of greater San Francisco (with which it is linked by the Bay Area Rapid Transit system) and has a concentration of retirement homes. Local attractions include the Gardens at Heather Farms and the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, a wildlife-rehabilitation and educational centre. Mount Diablo State Park is east of the city. Inc. 1914. Pop. (1990) 60,569; (2000) 64,296.