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From Apricots to Homes

John Rico

The recent annexation of nearly 200 acres of prime agricultural lands to the city of Vacaville on Pleasants Valley Road (extension of Orchard Ave.) will eventually spell the end of an area which figured prominently in the agricultural past of Vacaville. Shortly after the Vaca and Pena families came to this valley, the area was known as UIatis Valley, named after the Indians bearing that name. In later years the name somehow was changed to Vaca Valley.

Annexation to the city of Vacaville of this area was with only one purpose in mind — the subdividing of the land into lots, and already plans are on the drawing boards for homes to be built there.

Shortly after World War II, when Vacaville started its greatest growth, home builders eyed all of Vaca Valley as prime areas for subdivisions, and before long new subdivisions had covered hundreds of acres of lands in the vicinity.

Irate land owners, not wanting to be encroached upon by these subdivisions, banded together and placed a barricade in the way for future expansions into Vaca Valley. This action forced builders to go into other directions, primarily east of Vacaville into what is now known as the Fairmont area.

But in recent years the decline of the fruit industry has brought about a change among some of these Vaca Valley landowners. They have tired of battling the elements, diminishing production, and lowering prices for their fruits, and have voluntarily agreed to accept annexation to the city, which will eventually make possible sale of their properties for home sites.

All of the acreage in the area annexed is supplied, or can be supplied with irrigation water from the Solano Irrigation District. The land is the choicest in all of the Vacaville area, and bountiful crops could be produced on those lands, but the sight of ready cash being flashed by potential sub dividers has left its mark.

Another annexation of approximately 1000 acres on Browns Valley Road will not take out of production choice agricultural acreages because for as long as most people can remember the area has been used for grazing of cattle, with the exception of a small acreage in orchards.

Strange as it may seem some of the lands in this latest annexation were utilized for a golf course back in the days when golfers wore baggy short pants. The few golfers here in those days could not afford the plush green courses which are familiar sights today. The tees and greens were sand covered and rolled, and the fairways grew with wild oats and other stray grasses.

Some of the older residents of the area will well remember this golf course, as well as an earlier winery which operated on the site many, many years ago. The excavation used as the wine cellar is still evident on the site.

These two recent annexations, plus others to come, are necessary for a growing community. At times one wonders just where all of these new residents are coming from.

A survey shows that Vacaville at present is a “bedroom” community — a place fairly well secluded from the hectic pace of the larger metropolitan areas.

Despite the growth of the community and surrounding area in the past 25 years, there still exists plenty of elbow room here, and such will be the case for many, many years to come.