Vacaville, California

Vacaville, California

May 15, 2021

So far I have not been able to find a photo that defines Vacaville -- other than this image about its outlet mall. But surely there is more to this city than the outlets??

While the following Wikipedia article does not define Vacaville as being in the Central Valley, my research (see bottom of this post) indicates it is. Why is that important? For being so close to San Francisco, it is a completely different climate. Driving here from Napa, I crossed over a mountain range. On this eastern side of the range, I could tell from the vegetation that this is hotter and drier area. I am always surprised by the size of the Central Valley and how hot it gets here in the summertime.

As I drove here from Napa, I saw signs for Redding, California and was taken back to my days of managing Covanta's investments in renewable power plants. We owned four wood burning plants in the Redding area with a field office in Redding. They were always a headache. Fuel supply was the biggest issue as the plants turned a waste product into a profit center for the fuel suppliers. They knew what we were being paid for our product (electricity) and would squeeze us by never charging us so much that we wouldn't buy their fuel and just enough that we could eek out a profit if we operated the plants efficiently. I met some great people managing that business and learned more about wood-burning power plants than one person should know. Probably a CLM - "career limiting move."

Here some information about Vacaville and the Central Valley:

Vacaville is a city located in Solano County in Northern California. Sitting approximately 35 miles from Sacramento and 55 miles from San Francisco, it is within the Sacramento Valley but is also considered, at least by some agencies, to be part of the San Francisco Bay Area. As of the 2010 census, Vacaville had a population of 92,428, making it the third largest city in Solano County.


Prior to European contact, the indigenous Patwin tribe lived in the area with the Ululato tribelet establishing a chiefdom around the Ululato village in what is now downtown Vacaville along the Ulatis Creek.

The early settler pioneers of the land were Juan Manuel Cabeza Vaca and Juan Felipe Peña who were awarded a 44,000-acre Mexican land grant in 1842. The same year in 1842, Vaca and Peña's families settled in the area of Lagoon Valley. Peña's Adobe home is the oldest standing building, built in 1842.

Discussions for the sale of a portion of land to William McDaniel began in August 1850. A written agreement was signed on December 13, 1851 forming a township, nine square miles of land were deeded to William McDaniel for $3,000, and the original city plans were laid out from that. In the agreement, McDaniel's would name the new town after Juan Manuel Cabeza Vaca.

In 1880, Leonard Buck created the California Fruit Shipping Association, as well as the L.W. and F.H. Buck Company, an early company selling auctioned fruit in the state, and Vacaville was soon home to many large produce companies and local farms which flourished due to the Vaca Valley's rich soil.

It officially became a city in 1892.

In 1885, the first grade school built was Ulatis School. In 1898, the town's first high school was built, Vacaville Union High School.

In August 2020, parts of Vacaville were evacuated due to the Hennessey Fire, which resulted in the burning of over 315,000 acres in five counties, including in Vacaville where farms and homes were destroyed.


There are a number of rare and endangered species in the Vacaville area. Endangered plants which have historically occurred in the vernal pool areas in and around Vacaville include Legenre limosa, Plagiobothrys hystriculus, Downingia humilis, Contra Costa Goldfields (Lasthenia conjugens), and Showy Indian clover (Trifolium amoenum). To this day Trifolium amoenum can still be found in Lagoon Valley Regional Park.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.6 square miles 99.26% of the area is land and 0.74% is water. Excluding the Putah South Canal and minor local creeks, the only significant body of water within the city is the 105-acre (0.42 km2) Lagoon Valley Lake.

The unincorporated communities of Allendale and Elmira are generally considered to be part of "greater" Vacaville.


Vacaville has a typical Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Characteristic of inland California, summers can get quite hot. Autumns are warm in the early part but quickly cool down as the wet season approaches. Winters can be cool, and often foggy, but are mild compared to other regions. Spring is a rather pleasant season with fairly mild temperatures and not so much rain. The greater majority of precipitation falls in the autumn, winter, and spring months with little to none in summer.

According to National Weather Service records, average January temperatures in Vacaville are a maximum of 55.4 °F and a minimum of 36.7 °F. Average July temperatures are a maximum of 95.2 °F and a minimum of 56.1 °F. There are an average of 87.7 days with highs of 90 °F or higher. There are an average of 30.7 days with lows of 32 °F or lower. The record high temperature was 116 °F on July 23, 2006. The record low temperature was 14 °F on December 26, 1924.

Average annual precipitation is 24.55 inches. There are an average of 57 days with measurable precipitation. The wettest year was 1983 with 48.90 inches and the driest year was 2012 with 5 inches. The most precipitation in one month was 19.83 inches in January 1916. The most precipitation in 24 hours was 6.10 inches on February 27, 1940. Snowfall is rare in Vacaville, but light measurable amounts have occurred, including 2.2 inches in January 1907 and 2.0 inches in December 1988.[



The 2010 United States Census reported that Vacaville had a population of 92,428. The population density was 3,233.5 people per square mile. The racial makeup of Vacaville was 61,301 (66.3%) White, 9,510 (10.3%) African American, 846 (0.9%) Native American, 5,606 (6.1%) Asian (3.3% Filipino, 0.7% Chinese, 0.6% Indian, 0.5% Japanese, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.3% Korean), 532 (0.6%) Pacific Islander, 8,136 (8.8%) from other races, and 6,497 (7.0%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21,121 persons (22.9%); 17.0% of Vacaville is Mexican, 0.9% Puerto Rican, 0.5% Salvadoran, 0.3% Nicaraguan, 0.2% Guatemalan, and 0.2% Peruvian.

The Census reported that 91.3% of the population lived in households and 8.6% were institutionalized.

There were 31,092 households, out of which 11,747 (37.8%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 16,347 (52.6%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 4,068 (13.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,686 (5.4%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,892 (6.1%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 208 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 7,053 households (22.7%) were made up of individuals, and 2,689 (8.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71. There were 22,101 families (71.1% of all households); the average family size was 3.19.

The population was spread out, with 21,511 people (23.3%) under the age of 18, 8,963 people (9.7%) aged 18 to 24, 26,269 people (28.4%) aged 25 to 44, 26,016 people (28.1%) aged 45 to 64, and 9,669 people (10.5%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 112.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.1 males.

There were 32,814 housing units at an average density of 1,148.0 per square mile , of which 63.4% were owner-occupied and 36.6% were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.1%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.8%. 59.0% of the population lived in owner-occupied housing units and 32.3% lived in rental housing units.


As of the 2000 census there were 88,625 people living in the city.


Personal income

According to the city of Vacaville, in 2019/2020, median household income was $82,513, which was 39 percent above the national average and 19 percent higher than the state average.

In 2007, the median income for a family was $63,950. Also in 2007, males had a median income of $43,527 versus $31,748 for females and per capita income for the city was $21,557. 6.1% of the population and 4.3% of families lived below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 7.4% of those under the age of 18 and 4.8% of those 65 and older lived below the poverty line.


There are biotechnology/pharmaceutical facilities operated by Genentech, ALZA Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, and Novartis International AG. On May 14, 2014, ICON Aircraft announced they would consolidate all company functions in a new 140,000-square-foot facility in Vacaville.[24] Two state prisons are located in Vacaville: California State Prison, Solano and California Medical Facility. The latter prison houses inmates undergoing medical treatments.

Top employers

According to the City's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

Arts and culture

Between 1992 and 1995, local artist Guillermo Wagner Granizo installed twenty outdoor ceramic tile murals, set into three freestanding walls near City Hall entitled, "Vacaville Centennial". The murals depict various aspects of the history of the city of Vacaville, including the early pioneers Juan Manuel Vaca, Juan Felipe Peña and William McDaniel, the early fruit industry, the first schools, Peña Adobe Park, the Nut Tree (a 1920s roadside fruit and nut stand), various parades, the annual tree lighting ceremony, "Hamburger Hill", and the factory outlet stores, among others.

The city includes several historic buildings and places, including Peña Adobe, Will H. Buck House, Pleasants Ranch, and Vacaville Town Hall.


The city holds annual Vacaville Fiesta Days, that happens downtown, which includes a parade that features the public school marching bands, gymnasts, and even an electric car showcase, among other things.[27] Other sites for tourists include the Vacaville Premium Outlets and the Nut Tree, which is home to a train for children, a carousel, and even a life-size checkerboard, as well as numerous stores and dining establishments. Every Friday during the summer the city holds the Creek Walk in Down Town Vacaville. Every December, the city holds a Festival of Trees in the ice skating rink and the Tree Lighting Ceremony, in which residents of Vacaville gather downtown to see a 50-foot (15 m) tree illuminate and enjoy festive music played by the Jepson Band, hot chocolate, and horse-drawn carriage rides. The Jimmy Doolittle Center at the Nut Tree Airport displays aircraft from as early as 1912 and is home to the Jimmy Doolittle Shell Lockheed Vega. Displays also include personal items of General Doolittle and items related to the Doolittle Raid of 1942.

Notable people

(B) denotes that the person was born in Vacaville.

  • Arthur Adams (born 1963), comic book artist known for Longshot and Monkeyman and O'Brien

  • Brothers Wayne and Trent Gardner - founders and members of American prog metal band Magellan

  • Dennis Alexio (born 1959) – kickboxer, eight-time world champion (B)

  • Chris Begley – member of the band Fight Fair

  • Andy Bloom (born 1973) - Olympic shot putter, NCAA champion in shot put and discus

  • Frank H. Buck - politician, fruit baron, developer of Beverly Hills, California (B)

  • Jarrett Bush – NFL player, Green Bay Packers, Will C. Wood High School alumnus (B)

  • Kyle DeVan – offensive guard for Indianapolis Colts[37]

  • Jermaine Dye – Major League Baseball player; 2005 World Series MVP with the Chicago White Sox (B)[38]

  • Tony Gonsolin - Pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers (B)

  • Xzavie Jackson – defensive end for Cincinnati Bengals

  • Stefan Janoski - skateboarder

  • Willis Linn Jepson - botanist and conservationist (B)

  • Josh Kaddu - linebacker for the Miami Dolphins

  • Bonnie McKee - pop singer and songwriter (B)

  • Vince Newsome - NFL player for Los Angeles Rams, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens; in 1983, became first Vacaville resident drafted into NFL

  • Frank Parker - actor, played Grandpa Shawn Brady on Days of Our Lives

  • Papa Roach – rock band

  • Aaron Pauley - bassist and vocalist of rock band Of Mice & Men

  • Michael Polenske - vintner[42]

  • A. Purves Pullen (a.k.a. Dr. Birdbath) – voice actor known for mimicking birds and animals, including bird sounds in the Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

  • Jacoby Shaddix – lead singer of rock band Papa Roach[43]

  • Casey Sheehan – awarded Bronze Star with Palm Fronds posthumously for actions in Iraq on April 4, 2004

  • Cindy Sheehan – political activist

  • Jessica Sierra - singer

  • Greg Tagert - baseball manager

  • Thomas Williams – linebacker for USC Trojans and NFL[

  • Luzena Wilson - California Gold Rush entrepreneur and memoirist

California Central Valley

The Central Valley, also known as the Great Valley of California, covers about 20,000 square miles and is one of the more notable structural depressions in the world. Occupying a central position in California, it is bounded by the Cascade Range to the north, the Sierra Nevada to the east, the Tehachapi Mountains to the south, and the Coast Ranges and San Francisco Bay to the west. The Valley is a vast agricultural region drained by the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. The Valley averages about 50 miles in width and extends about 400 mi northwest from the Tehachapi Mountains to Redding. Generally, most of the valley lies close to sea level and the land surface has very low relief, but is higher along the valley margins.

The Central Valley can be divided into two large parts: the northern one-third is known as the Sacramento Valley and the southern two-thirds is known as the San Joaquin Valley. The San Joaquin Valley can be split further into the San Joaquin Basin and the Tulare Basin. The San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys meet in the Delta area where the combined discharge of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers flows through the Central Valley's one natural outlet, the Carquinez Strait, on its way to San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Just east of the Delta, several streams issue from the Sierra Nevada into the valley and flow to the Delta in an area referred to as the Eastside Streams.

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