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Sunday, May 17, 1998

History centers, sites found all over county

Kristin Delaplane

Many are looking for volunteers to help out

History centers and historical sites in Solano County serve as resources and many offer tours and programs for groups and schools as a means of teaching people about the region’s exciting past.

These centers for history generally welcome and need volunteers, and offer a variety of ways in which volunteers can participate. They also are always appreciative to receive local artifacts and photographs.

Following is a listing of some of the centers, sites and resources in Solano County.

Solano County

The Solano County Archives is a repository for original Solano County government records.

Held in the collection are assessment rolls from the 1850s, county clerk records, court records, county recorder documents, newspapers, aerial photographs, maps and more. It is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays at 1745 Enterprise Drive, Bulding No. 2, Room A, Fairfield. Call 421-4843.

The Solano Historical Society is devoted to collecting, preserving and distributing local history.

Society meetings feature presentations on Solano County history. An annual spring tour is made to points of historical interest in Northern California.

Pioneer Day, a fair featuring speakers and focusing on local families and history, is held in September. The society is supported solely by membership dues and contributions. Fees include a subscription for the Solano Historian, a twice-yearly publication with articles and photos on local history. Contact the society at Box 922, Vallejo 94590.

The Solano County Genealogical Society is headquartered in the historic Town Hall in Vacaville where they maintain an extensive reference library, and publish books and files on the early pioneer families.

Keynote speakers and genealogists provide information on researching family trees and family history at their monthly meeting. The society also publishes two newsletters for members.

The center periodically offers classes on researching family trees. Library hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays and the third Saturday of the month. (Closed Federal Holidays and from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.)

The Solano County Genalogical Society is located at 620 East Main Street, Vacaville. The monthly meetings are the fourth Thursday of the month, except July, August and December. The November meeting is usually on the third Thursday of the month. The meeting time is at 7 p.m. at the Fairfield Senior Center, 1200 Civic Center Drive, Fairfield. Call 446-6869.

The Solano County Public Libraries are an excellent resource for local history. In addition to books and newspapers on microfilm, some libraries serve as archives for rare, local reference material and special collections.

Also, grand jury reports, environmental impact studies and the vertical Files as relates to major businesses and areas of interest to each community. Many libraries also carry past copies of the Solano Historian, a bi-annual publication. Individual libraries and their special collections listed with appropriate city headings.


The Fairfield-Suisun Community Library’s collection includes several unique, irreplaceable books on local history available on request only.

A large collection of high school yearbooks from Armijo and Fairfield high schools are among the collection. Editions of The Daily Republic (formerly Solano County Herald) are on microfilm dating from 1855.

The library is located at 1150 Kentucky Street, Fairfield, or call 421-6500.


The Vacaville Museum, A Center for Solano County History, is located on Buck Avenue and focuses on the interpretation and presentation of local Solano County history.

Currently on exhibit is “Nut Tree Remembered, A Nostalgic Look Back at a California Original,’’ and tells the story of the Nut Tree from 1921 until its closure in 1996.

Because of its popularity, the exhibit has been held over until May 24.

A small Solano County exhibit upstairs includes fruit ranching equipment, colorful fruit labels and a selection of the museum’s extensive flatiron collection.

The main gallery features innovative exhibits centered on aspects of local history. The museum gift shop offers a selection of local historical publications, posters and resource packets. Research materials are available by appointment.

A Museum Family Membership is $30 a year, wand benefits include a quarterly newsletter, free admission, invitations to preview galas a discount on store items. Museum hours and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sundays. Admission is $1 for adults and 50 cents for students. Wednesdays are free.

The museum is located at 213 Buck Avenue, Vacaville. Call 447-4513.

The Vacaville Heritage Council was instrumental in saving the historic Town Hall and is headquartered there.

The council has a vast library of archival material that includes the history of all of Solano County. It also has a large collection of Western history books and literature and is a lending library.

They feature a darkroom facility and will copy photos of local historical interest at no charge, although donations are appreciated.

Membership is $3 a year and the hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Vacaville Heritage Council is located at 620 East Main Street, Vacaville, with a mailing address of P.O. Box 5477, Vacaville 95696-5477. The telephone number is 448-6737.

The Vacaville Public Library has The Reporter from 1883 on microfilm. Also, Wickson, ‘‘Vacaville Early Fruit District,” (1888 Crystal), “Beginnings of Vacaville’’ (1933), ‘‘Vacaville, An Enterprising Center’’ (1947).

It is located at 1020 Ulatis Drive, Vacaville. Call 449-6290.


The Dixon Historical Society meets quarterly featuring programs relating to the pioneers and early days in the area. Speakers are available for schools and organizations, and the society mans booths at fairs and other events.

Packets of stationery featuring historic buildings are available for $5. An annual publication at $5 each features articles and oral histories. The group meets quarterly. Announcements made in local newspapers. Call 678-2440.

Silveyville Cemetery District offers genealogical information from burial permits. Located at 7661 Rio Dixon Road, Dixon, the office is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 678-5578.

The Dixon Public Library is the source for the city’s archival material and photographs. Microfilm of the Dixon Tribune dating from 1874 are available, as well as specialty news clippings.

There also is information on the neighboring areas Binghampton, Denverton, Elmira, Maine Prairie and Silveyville. Photocopies of original photographs are available.

It is located at 230 N. First Street, Dixon. Call 678-5447.

Travis Air Force Base

The Travis Air Force Museum’s exhibit hall covers over 15,000 square feet of aviation and aerospace displays.

An adjacent 200,000 square feet outdoor area is for an exhibit of military aircraft.

Featured exhibits include an Iraqi anti-aircraft gun captured during Desert Storm, a display showing the China-Burma-Indian Theater of WW II, aviation videos and a Tuskegee Airman. The museum provides a number of educational services and maintains a growing research library of technical orders, aircraft manuals and books on aviation.

Memberships offered, and the museum and gift shop are open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays, except for federal holidasy. Admission is free, although donations are welcome. It is located on Travis Air Force Base. Call 424-5605.

Suisun Valley

Martin-Suisun Historic Park is planned as a memorial to pioneer Samuel Martin and the Suisunee Indian tribe that inhabited the Suisun and Green Valleys.

The site, located across from Solano Community College, includes evidence of 4,000 years of Indian presence, a religious petroglyph and numerous bedrock mortars, and the Samuel Martin stone farmhouse built in 1861.

It was renovated and enlarged by esteemed architect Julia Morgan in 1929.

There are plans are for a visitor center, with displays to show the local Indian culture and agricultural development in the area. An arboretum of native Indian plants will be included. Volunteers are being sought to help realize this project. Call 864-1305.

The Gomer Bakery & Restaurant is housed in the historic Gomer School surrounded by vineyards and walnut trees.

It was built as a school in the 1860s. When it burned down in the 1900s, it was rebuilt and has since been restored to the original 1860s style.

It is now a school for the culinary arts for adults and high school students, and is open to the public as a restaurant. Lunches are served 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Closed in the summer.

The menu features a daily entree, deluxe salads, sandwiches and hamburgers. Specials are old-fashioned sourdough bread and chocolate chip cookies. Banquet facilities with gourmet fare catered is available. Donations of 1800s antiques are being sought. Call 425-3017.

The Solano Community College Library has large a collection of Solano County newspapers on microfilm, including Solano County Herald from 1855 on and Solano County Press from 1868 on.

The library also has a full collection of the Solano Historian, documented history of the Suisun Marsh and open space plans.

Library hours are 7:45 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays and 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, and is located at 4000 Suisun Valley Road, Suisun Valley. Call 864-7132.