Fascinating facts about Albany Hill

little hill plaque in sidewalkel cerrito

plaque in sidewalk in El Cerrito; photo by Pierre La Plant

  • Albany Hill is composed of sandstone and shale formed over 145 million years ago in the Jurassic period.
  • Huchiun people lived along the creek on the north end of the hill for thousands of years. Evidence of their presence shows in the morteros they created in rocks on the east side of the hill, where they pounded acorns and grass and wildflower seeds. Flecks of shells from former shellmounds are also evident in the soil along trails.
  • Early Spanish explorers called the hill El Cerrito de San Antonio.
  • Gun powder companies planted eucalyptus trees on the hill in the 1860’s to buffer neighbors from explosions coming from their operations on the west side of the hill.
  • Plants and animals inhabiting the hill are a mix of coastal/bayside species and those found in the bay hills to the east of Albany (the range of hills extending from Carquinez Straits to Niles Canyon).
  • Surveys by UC scientists have found over 100 species of native plants, over 100 species of butterflies and moths, and about 50 species of birds.
  • Although it’s not fenced off 11 acres on the southwest end of Albany Hill are still privately owned and vulnerable to development.
4*Sun, May 23, 2010 10-56 AM

bumble bee in mules ears flower; photo by Pierre La Plant