100 years of Davis


G Street makeover, centennial celebration take over Downtown Davis

The area in Northern California previously referred to as “Davisville” officially became the City of Davis on March 28, 1917. Within the subsequent few years, the City Council, commissions, roads and infrastructures were established. Since UC Davis opened to students in 1908, the city’s population has grown from around 900 to over 66,000 residents.

For its centennial, the City of Davis is designating the southeast corner of 2nd and G Streets as “Centennial Plaza.” New landscaping will be installed, along with hardscape, artwork, interpretive historical signage, a time capsule and a public plaza.

Other annual community events and gatherings will be held with the centennial in mind, including a Fourth of July county fair, taking place in Community Park, Davis Neighbors’ Night Out and Picnic Day. On Apr. 4, current City Council members will recreate some of first ordinances introduced in 1917, which included keeping wildlife off streets.

“The city was created in 1917 to create a pressurized water system, purchase firefighting equipment and start providing services for the 977 residents for the Davisville at that point,” said Bob Bowen, the public relations manager for the city of Davis.

After the city had incorporated its infrastructure and laid the groundwork for building the community, the next step was expanding its population. The UC System then incorporated Davis.

“Certainly the coming of the university –– that’s probably the single biggest thing that has happened,” said Mayor Robb Davis. “It was a commitment on the university and the city to make a bike-friendly city –– to create a campus that’s walkable and bikeable with a unique transit. One of the things that makes Davis unique is really strong commitments to aggressively conserving farmland and open spaces in our community.”

100 years later, Davis is still continuing to expand. The number of Davis residents has rapidly increased since the college brings in both students and community members. As a college and town, Davis is renowned for its bike culture.

“Today, [Davis] is most well known for UC Davis and bicycling,” Bowen said. “Around the world, our so-called brand is as a college town and the most bicycle friendly town in the U.S.”

Bowen, who is the longest employed City of Davis worker with 40 years of service, is presenting a historical slideshow on the city’s birthday, March 28. This will consist of images from Special Collections at the UC Davis Shields Library, including some photos from Harry Hazen, a student who studied at the University Farm, now known as UC Davis, from 1916-18. Hazen’s photos also show the aftermath of the November 1916 fire in Davis. The slideshow will be shown on March 28, the 100 year mark of Davis, at noon in the Davis Varsity Theater.

“[The City of Davis is most well-known for] the university, bicycles, and community atmosphere,” said Stacey Winton, a media and communications officer for the City of Davis.

The community atmosphere has been positive and full of energy, one of the many traits that the people of Davis admire.

“Davisites care, and that really speaks to a lot of things,” Bowen said. “They care about the environment, programs for kids for education, coordinating with the university and helping those who can’t help themselves.”

Written by: Kaelyn Tuermer-Lee — city@theaggie.org