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Stroll Through History
Frank S. Freeman acquired 160 acres of land in 1857 and began to develop a town that he hoped would be a trading center for one of the richest crop-growing areas in America. Freeman was giving land to anyone who would clear it and build their home on it. In 1859, Freeman suggested to the post office that the town be called Woodland and the post office accepted. In 1861, the Woodland Post Office was established and Freeman was made the Postmaster. The 1860's was a time of opportunity for Woodland. The town became the Yolo County seat permanently after Washington, California (now a part of West Sacramento) flooded. Schools, homes, churches, and a cemetery were built at this time. In 1869, the California Pacific Railroad Company constructed a line between Davisville (now Davis) and Marysville with a Woodland station. The rail line expanded and was eventually acquired by Southern Pacific Railroad. The track was then relocated from College Street to East Street, the eastern edge of the city at that point. The addition of the railroad is what led to the expansion of Woodland as a town. The City of Woodland was incorporated in 1871 and its residents soon had a multitude of services such as regular train and telegraph operations, telephone services, gas, water, electricity, street lights, and graveled streets. In 1910 Woodland was the most populous city in the county with a population of 3,187 and for the next forty years Woodland continued growing slowly but steadily in population, businesses and industries. Its economics were based mainly on agricultural related fields; three rice mills, a sugar beet refinery and a tomato cannery were built during this time. The post-war era spurred much growth in Woodland; between 1950 and 1980, Woodland's population tripled. Industrial plants and distribution centers have grown in the northeast, and there are new subdivisions and shopping centers around the town's area. Woodland has a collection of some of the finest Victorian and craftsman houses in the country. The downtown is home to many antique shops and quaint restaurants. Since the late 1960s, there has been an increase of interest in preserving the town's historic buildings, and an impressive number of them have been restored for use as homes, offices, stores and museums. Woodland's 'Stroll Through History' began in 1989 to showcase many of the Victorian homes and other historical sites throughout the city. As soon as you leave the City limits, you are surrounded by some of the richest farmland in the world. It acts as a buffer to the urban sprawl confronting the rest of the Sacramento area and offers a visual delight when driving around the area. The City of Woodland has over 160 acres of parks and recreation areas which are used by over 45,000 park users each year!