First incorporated in 1892, Vacaville, CA is located in Northern California and is a part of Solano County. With a population of 102,386, according to the 2020 Census, it is the third-largest city in Solano County, after the cities of Vallejo and Fairfield. It is the 75th most populous city in the state of California and the 314th largest city in the United States overall. Vacaville also falls within the Sacramento Valley, located about 35 miles from the city of Sacramento and 55 miles from the city of San Francisco.
The earliest pioneer settlers arrived in what would become Vacaville in 1842. Juan Manuel Cabeza Vaca and Juan Felipe Peña received a Mexican land grant of 44,000 acres and eventually built their homes in the Lagoon Valley area. Peña’s family home is still standing and is the oldest standing building in Vacaville. It was formed into a township following a land sale in 1851 and was named after Vaca as a part of that agreement. As produce companies were established and thrived in the area, the community continued to grow and Vacaville officially became a city in 1892.
One of the primary attractions for visitors to Vacaville is a series of three freestanding walls that local artist Guillermo Wagner Granizo installed ceramic tile murals on between 1992 and 1995. The murals depict significant moments of the history of the city and landmarks, including the founders of Vacaville, the early schools there, depictions of the fruit industry that was such a driving force in the city’s growth, Hamburger Hill, and others. Another attraction is the annual Vacaville Fiesta Days, a festival that also includes a parade and other activities. Another significant point in Vacaville is The Nut Tree. Originally opened in 1921 as a roadside fruit stand, it eventually grew and at one point included a restaurant, toy store, gift shop, the Nut Tree Railroad, and even the Nut Tree Airport, a functioning airport that is now owned and operated by Solano County. Over the years the Nut Tree was visited by a number of notable guests including Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Bing Crosby, Shirley Temple Black, and more. Today the Nut Tree is still a massive development and attraction as “California’s Legendary Road Stop,” with a number of retail businesses, dining, shopping, and entertainment establishments.
Vacaville is home to a number of endangered species of plants, some of which can be found in the Lagoon Valley Regional Park. Vacaville has a total area of 28.6 square miles, according to the United States Census Bureau. Of that, 29.19% is land and 0.23% is made up of water, with the only significant body of water being the Lagoon Valley Lake.
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