Rare bird's-eye view of Richmond, California by E. J. Henderson, the original developer of the Richmond Annex.
In 1895, Augustin S. Macdonald visited Point Richmond and conceived the idea of a transcontinental rail terminal and ferry service to provide a direct route from Richmond to San Francisco. Macdonald presented his idea to the Santa Fe Railroad and in 1899 the railroad established its western terminus in Point Richmond. The first overland passenger train arrived in Richmond from Chicago in 1900. In 1901, Santa Fe moved its shops to Richmond and the Standard Oil Company built its refinery.
When Richmond was incorporated as a city in 1905, it had a population of 2,150 and was already an established industrial town. The city charter was adopted in 1909, and by 1910 the town numbered 7,500. Within a few years, the following substantial industries relocate to Richmond: Winehaven, Pullman Palace Car Shops, American Radiator, Standard Sanitary Company, Stauffer Chemical Company, and several others less well-known. Town sites began to emerge around these industries, as Rancho San Pablo's vast grain fields were subdivided into uniform city lots.
As the city grew during the 1920s and 1930s, Richmond's Downtown emerged as the City's business and retail center. The elegant Carquinez Hotel (later renamed Hotel Don) opened its doors in 1925 and soon became the center of the City's social and civic life. Construction of shipping port terminals began in this period. By 1907 harbor construction was being promoted and significant dredging and terminal construction was authorized by bond issues in 1912 and 1920.