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During this period, "Berkeley" was mostly a mix of open land, farms, and ranches, with a small, though busy, wharf by the bay.In 1866, Oakland's private College of California looked for a new site.For his services to the King of Spain, he was granted a vast stretch of land on the east shore of San Francisco Bay (the contra costa, "opposite shore") for a ranch, including that portion that now comprises the City of Berkeley.Luis Peralta named his holding "Rancho San Antonio".The rest of the land was surveyed and parceled out to various American claimants (See Kellersberger's Map).Politically, the area that became Berkeley was initially part of a vast Contra Costa County.
A horsecar ran from Temescal in Oakland to the university campus along what is now Telegraph Avenue. By the 1870s, the Transcontinental Railroad reached its terminus in Oakland.However, legal title to all land in the City of Berkeley remains based on the original Peralta land grant. sovereignty after the Mexican–American War, and especially, the Gold Rush, saw the Peraltas' lands quickly encroached on by squatters and diminished by dubious legal proceedings.The Peraltas' Rancho San Antonio continued after Alta California passed from Spanish to Mexican sovereignty after the Mexican War of Independence. The lands of the brothers Domingo and Vicente were quickly reduced to reservations close to their respective ranch homes.The area near the university became known for a time as "East Berkeley".Due to the influence of the university, the modern age came quickly to Berkeley.