San Lorenzo is a census-designated place (CDP) located in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area in Alameda County, California, United States. The population was 23,452 at the 2010 census. It is an unincorporated community, located at the banks of San Lorenzo Creek. It was originally named Squattersville in 1851, but later renamed to San Lorenzo.
In 1944, under contract to the U.S. Navy, The David D. Bohannon Company began construction of San Lorenzo Village, which was one of the nation's first planned communities, with parcels designated for schools, churches, parks, and several retail centers. Bohannon's pioneering pre-cutting techniques, referred to as the "California method," were used in later developments, such as the more famous Levittown, Pennsylvania.
San Lorenzo is located on the route of El Camino Viejo on land of the former Rancho San Lorenzo, a Mexican land grant given to Guillermo Castro in 1841, and the former Rancho San Leandro, granted to José Joaquin Estudillo in 1842.
Early residents during the California Gold Rush era lived here as squatters along the border between Rancho San Lorenzo and Rancho San Leandro. The informal name given to the area was Squatterville.
The first post office opened in San Lorenzo in 1854.
Many of the early inhabitants are buried in San Lorenzo Pioneer Cemetery, including Moses Wicks, who brought oysters to San Leandro Bay from Patchogue, Long Island. The cemetery is maintained by the county and the Hayward Area Historical Society.
San Lorenzo was mostly farmland, a significant center of production of fruit and flowers, from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century.
In 1944, under contract to the U.S. Navy, The David D. Bohannon Company began construction of San Lorenzo Village, a tract of two- and three-bedroom homes for workers in the East Bay's war industries.