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Woodland City

Woodland City Hall is located at 300 First Street, Woodland, CA 95695; phone: 530-661-5800.

Beginnings [1]

The selection of Woodland as the county seat in 1862, twelve years after the County of Yolo was established, was a significant event in the development of the city. Franklin S. Freeman, a local landowner and businessman who is credited with being the founder of the city, deeded a city block, now known as Courthouse Square, on June 11, 1862, for $300 to the County of Yolo "as a public square upon which public buildings of said county shall be erected and stand...forever." A courthouse was built on the square in 1863, and an adjacent Hall of Records was erected in 1889. The foundation of the original courthouse was faulty and had to be repaired. It was further weakened by the earthquake of 1902 and was condemned as unsafe in 1911. After two unsuccessful bond elections, voters approved $200,000 in 1916 for the construction of a new courthouse. The old courthouse was razed, and the cornerstone of the present courthouse was laid on January 18, 1917, in an elaborate ceremony. Construction proceeded throughout that year, and the Board of Supervisors met for the first time in the new courthouse on March 4, 1918, at which time the old Hall of Records was also razed. Within two months the impressive new building, which stood alone in the middle of the square, was surrounded by walkways, flower beds, shrubs and trees.

The City of Woodland was incorporated in 1871 and soon became the social and commercial as well as governmental center of the county. Hotels and office buildings grew up near the Courthouse. A large opera house was built a block away, on Second Street between Court and Main Streets, in 1885. It was destroyed by fire in 1892, and a new opera house was built in 1895 which has recently been restored and today is a California State Park. Three historic civic buildings near the Courthouse are still in use. The Woodland Library on First Street, a Carnegie library built in Mission Revival style in 1904, is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Woodland City Hall on First Street and the Post Office on Court Street, both originally built in 1935 and recently restored, are impressive Spanish Revival style buildings. The new County Administration Building was constructed in 1984 on the west side of Courthouse Square principally because the site is the governmental and commercial center of the city and county. The Woodland City Council designated the square a Historical District on March 5, 1985.

Woodland as described in 1939 [2]

Woodland, trade center of a productive area, has its compact central business district of modern shops, bustling with traffic. Woodland's first settler arrived in 1853; two years later a blacksmith shop was set up, about which soon clustered stores and saloons. Experiments in irrigation were begun in the vicinity with the diversion of Cache Creek in 1856. First named Yolo City and nicknamed "By Hell" for an early saloonkeeper's favorite oath, Woodland acquired its present name suggested by the grove of huge oaks in which it stood when the post office was opened in 1859.

  1. Federal Writers' Project, Works Progress Administration, California: A Guide to the Golden State, American Guide Series, Hastings House, Publishers, New York, 1939.
  1. Earl A. Balch, Director of Parks, Museums & Grounds and Shipley Walters, historian, Yolo County, Yolo County Courthouse, Yolo County, CA, nomination document, 1985, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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