Blackhawk Ranch was established in 1917 by Ansel Mills Easton and his son-in-law William Q. Ward, in an area east of the San Ramon and Sycamore Valleys. The name came from a famous Irish racehorse named Blackhawk that Easton’s family had once owned. The land passed through the hands of several owners, including Raymond Force (the owner of the Caterpillar Tractor Company), the Hawaii-based sugar and pineapple company Castle & Cooke and Howard Peterson (owner of Peterson Tractor).
In 1975, Peterson sold the land to Florida developer Ken Behring, who planned a housing development of 4800 dwelling units over 4200 acres (17 km²) of land. Critics charged that the plan would have various negative impacts, related to urban sprawl, environmental damage and violations of the County General Plan. A group of environmentalists and local residents called Amigos de Diablo organized against the Blackhawk Development Corporation, but were sued for libel. The Blackhawk Development Corporation finally reduced the number of homes planned to 2400 and offered more than 2000 acres (8 km²) of open space to Mount Diablo State Park.
Blackhawk Country Club
Opened in 1979, Blackhawk Country Club is a highly exclusive 4,800 acre (19 km²) country club community at the base of Mt. Diablo where luxurious residential neighborhoods are surrounded by thousands of acres of permanent open lands. Eagle Ridge Dr. gives way to a separate gate which leads to extremely exclusive estates, including the 28,673-square-foot (2,663.8 m2) Behring estate. In the middle of Country Club West is the 6,904 yard (6,313 m) Lakeside golf course, designed by Bruce Devlin and Robert Von Hagge. The Lakeside course annually hosts the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge, an event on the LPGA Tour. The newer 6,700 yard (6,126 m) Falls golf course, designed by Ted Robinson, winds through Country Club East. Blackhawk’s Tennis Club includes 20 tennis courts, a clubhouse and a pro shop. The Blackhawk Swim Club includes a competition-sized pool, a spa and dressing rooms and offers instructional programs. The 25 acre (100,000 m²) Sports and Recreation Center includes basketball courts, outdoor volleyball courts, a children’s play park, Olympic-sized pool, sports fields and an amphitheater.