When Spanish-led explorers of the 1700s came through present-day Pinole, they ran out of provisions. Lucky for them the local indigenous people shared a flour made of maize, chia and other grasses and herbs. The meal was called “el pinole” and thus their camp, and the town, was named.
Wealthy merchant families began to move in and by 1903 Pinole was an incorporated town, complete with a post office, two churches, a school, saloons, hotels, and shops. You can still get a sense of the Old Town walking the streets of Pinole today. This historic place retains an old-fashioned vibe, and upwards of 20,000 residents enjoy it. Pinole is a great choice for new families. It’s affordable, and one can still go down to the Pinole creek, feed the ducks and then have a picnic in the park. The Saturday Farmer’s Market is also a local favorite where neighbors go for fresh food, flowers, and entertainment.
The downtown area, with many turn-of-the-century buildings, is being preserved as a historic area. But in an entirely different direction, Pinole has also become a canvas for young artists: there is no shortage of space for creativity, and local graffiti artists have taken full advantage! You can read about that and other hidden treasures of Pinole here.