Hercules — History

Hercules has a rich and dynamic history.

In 1879, the California Powder Works purchased the current site of the City of Hercules for a new manufacturing plant. In 1881, the company began producing dynamite. They called it Hercules Powder after the Greek mythical hero associated with strength and power.

Named after the famous product made there until 1970, the City of Hercules was incorporated on December 15,1900. Plant managers became city leaders and the California Powder Works continued to thrive and grow through World War II. Growing Bay Area populations, changing economic trends, and other factors eventually led to the closure of the dynamite plant in the 1970s.

With the plant permanently closed, Hercules was able to begin its transition into a popular bedroom community, with its first housing subdivision built in 1975. In the 1980s, Hercules was named one of California’s fastest growing suburbs. In the later half of the 1990s, city leaders realized the community was ready for something more, while still preserving our history and quality. With input from private and public stakeholders the Central Hercules Plan was created. Based on a desire for a coherent vision, walkability, interconnectedness, and meaningful neighborhood centers, the plan laid out how four under-developed areas would be transformed into thriving, district neighborhoods. Today, these Hercules locales are blossoming with new retail and dining options, and brimming with neighbor-oriented activities.

In 2003, several new home subdivisions opened in Hercules. Two included live/work buildings, the first step towards Hercules’ future as a transit-oriented community,