On March 10, 1853, Henry C. Smith, assemblyman of the state senate from Santa Clara County petitioned the state legislature for the creation of Alameda County from the counties of Contra Costa and Santa Clara.

Since the time of California statehood, Alameda County did not exist. The Alameda Creek was the dividing line between Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties. Mr. Smith, a resident of New Haven (Alvarado), felt San Jose was too far away as a county seat and he felt the sympathies of the San Jose County seat did not coincide with those of Washington Township.

With the help of Horace W. Carpentier, assemblyman from Contra Costa and a resident of Oakland, they put through the legislature a bill to carve Alameda County from Contra Costa and Santa Clara Counties.

On March 25, 1853. Alameda County was created. A government was set up and a home needed to be found for the county seat. Mr. Smith favored his hometown, New Haven. Mr. Carpentier favored his hometown, Oakland. When put to a vote, Smith won 19 – 17. But the county seat was named after former Governor Juan Alvarado, not New Haven. The town of Alvarado was created.

Alvarado won the county seat because at this time the bulk of the population in the county lay in the southern portion of Alameda County. Within a few years. this advantage would disappear forever as Oakland, San Leandro, Alameda and other towns in the north of the county outgrew their southern counterparts.