Our historical page is divided into two sections: Dates and
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1869 – City of Lodi founded in August; Charles O. Ivory and
John M. Burt establish the “Ivory Store”, which was located at
the corner of Pine and Sacramento Streets; it acted as a magnet
of sorts, drawing homesteaders and other businesses to the area.
1874 – March 21, Assembly Bill 639 changes town’s name from
Mokelumne to Lodi.
1876 – The Lodi Flouring Mill is established in a brick
building at the southwest corner of Main and Locust Streets; it
was capable of producing more than 200 barrels of flour a day.
1878 – Lodi’s population is 450; Gertie DeForce Cluff
establishes Lodi’s first newspaper the Valley Review; San
Joaquin County is divided into five townships (now called
Districts) with Lodi in the 4th called the Elkhorn Township.
1880 – San Joaquin County raises the largest single wheat
crop in the world – some 3.4 million bushels, much of it grown
1881 – Ralph Ellis, with his sons, founds the Lodi News Sentinel, originally
headquartered on Elm Street.
1886 – Grown without irrigation, 3,000 carloads of
watermelons were shipped from Lodi.
1887 – Fire destroys downtown area along the west side of the
00 block N. Sacramento Street, between Pine and Elm streets.
1888 – Benjamin F. Langford launches the original Bank of
Lodi with a capital stock of $25,000.
1891 – Limited water and gas is service provided to citizens.
1896 – Tom and Wood Henderson buy hardware dealership from
John Collins, and Henderson Bros. Hardware is born (Note: The
company closed in 2001).
1897 – Wilhelm and Charlotta Heib arrive in Lodi with their
eight children; they were the first of a wave of migration by
Dakotans of German descent – a group that would shape the City’s
development through the present day.
1899 – Lodi is said to have 2,346,061 grapevines.
1900 – Lodi is the second largest community in San Joaquin
County with a population of 1,500; in the Spring, Dr. Wilton
Mason owns the first automobile in Lodi.
1905 – The Opera House (now Thornton House Furniture) was
built on School Street, the Lodi Improvement Club (now the Lodi
Woman’s Club) was formed, and in August the Central California
Traction Company began construction of an electric passenger
rail line linking Lodi to Stockton and Sacramento.
1906 – November 27, residents, by a two to one margin, voted
for incorporation and elected the following individuals:
- F.O. Hale (Trustee)
- J. M. Blodgett (Trustee)
- G.E. Lawrence (Trustee)
- L. Villinger (Trustee)
- C.A. Rich (Trustee)
- J. M. McMahon (Clerk)
- W. H. Lorenz (Treasurer)
- H. B. Coleman (Marshall)
On December 3, 1906, the San Joaquin County Board of
Supervisors ordered, decreed, and declared that Lodi was duly
incorporated as a municipal corporation.
On December 6, 1906, the County’s order was filed in the
California Secretary of State’s Office, which is the official
date of Lodi’s incorporation.
On December 7, 1906, Lodi’s five-man Board of Trustees meets
for the first time; George E. Lawrence becomes Lodi’s first
Mayor; the first City limits was bordered by Lockeford Street,
Hutchins Street, Cherokee Lane, and a line 1,600 feet south of
Lodi Avenue; Lodi’s population reaches 1,946.
1907 – Spring, Lodi’s population exceeds 2,000; at a cost of
$500 the mission-style arch is built at Pine and Sacramento
Streets; the Tokay Carnival was held on September 19-21 to
“advertise to the world the beauty and value of the Tokay
grape”; Central California Traction Company line formally opens;
Emerson School opens as part of Salem School District located on
Hutchins and Elm Streets (Note: The school was destroyed in 1954
because it was considered unsafe; the City purchased the
property in July 1955 and later created a park in its place).
1910 – City purchases the Cary Bros. company – Lodi Water,
Gas and Electric for $35,000; on February 12, the first
permanent Lodi Library building on Pine Street is dedicated (now
the Carnegie Forum and location of City Council meetings); the
first municipal sewer system is built.
1912 – Lodi’s first City Hall / Fire Station is built at 114
N. Main Street for $3,998.
1913 – October 6, Lodi Union High School opens for classes on
a 12-acre site located on the corner of Hutchins and Walnut
Streets (Note: In 1956 a “west” campus was built on Oak and
Pacific Streets where the current Lodi High School stands; the
older site was designated as the “east” campus until 1972, when
it was officially named Tokay High School); the City Hall Fire
Station housed the City’s first fire truck, a $5,950 Seagrave.
1914 – A jail building was finished near the City Hall and
the City’s first civic complex was completed.
1916 – April, the first City park is established and named
for City trustee and second Mayor, Frank O. Hale; Lincoln School
was built on what became Cherokee Lane; Farmers and Merchants
Bank is founded.
1919 – A & W Root Beer is introduced for the first time; the
brand would expand to become well known from coast to coast, as
well as in many foreign countries.
1920 – Congress enacts prohibition; although some farmers
pulled up vines to plant other crops, the wine industry in Lodi
continued to thrive.
1921 – February 1, John F. Blakely becomes City Clerk and
serves to his retirement in 1952 (Note: From 1906 to 1948 the
City Clerk was also the Chief Administrator, an elected
position); on February 22, Clyde Needham School on Pleasant
Avenue is dedicated in honor of the first Lodi resident killed
in World War I; Woodbridge School is built for the Woodbridge
School District (Note: Woodbridge School became part of Lodi
Unified School District in 1967 and was annexed into the City of
Lodi in 2001).
1923 – Garfield School opens on Garfield and Flora Streets
(Note: In 1975 the school was declared unsafe and demolished).
1924 – A second Fire Station is built at Maple Square,
located at Lodi Avenue and Sacramento Street, just west of the
railroad tracks, so that trains can no longer block fire trucks
responding to the west side of Lodi.
1926 – November, Super Mold Company, located on Sacramento
Street, one of Lodi’s largest industries of the century, started
producing the world’s first successful full-circle tire
retreading mold, the Supertreader.
1928 – February 22, the $70,000 two-story, brick Italian
Renaissance-style City Hall at 221 W. Pine Street is dedicated;
the City paid cash for the building and furnishings.
1934 – September 7-9, the first Lodi Grape Festival was held;
5,686 carloads of grapes were said to be shipped from Lodi this
1936 – Through the federally funded Works Progress
Administration, the National Guard Armory was built.
1940 – Lodi’s population reaches 11,079; a stadium is built
on Stockton Street.
1941 – December 10, Lodi conducts a test blackout, four days
after the United States entered World War II.
1946 – April 1, General Mills announces it will build a plant
1948 – Citizens change Lodi to a council-manager form of
government; Nick Felten, Sr., builds the first shopping center
“Tokay Shopping Center” located outside the downtown area at
Lockeford and California Streets; on June 5, General Mills
1950 – November 20-23, a flood threatens the area and 1,000
people living along the river are evacuated from Woodbridge and
Lodi; George Washington Elementary School opens with 11
classrooms on West Lockeford Street.
1952 – April 7, Lodi Memorial Hospital, named to honor those
who died in World War II, accepts its first patients.
1955 – Leroy Nichols Elementary School named after a retired
District Superintendent opens on Crescent Avenue; Blakely Park
is named after retired City Clerk John F. Blakely; Farmers and
Merchants Bank opened a detached drive-up bank facility at Lodi
Avenue and Church Street – the first in California; on December
23-24, volunteers spend the holiday weekend sandbagging Turner
Road to hold back floodwaters; 400 threatened homes were saved,
but homes on Laurel Avenue flooded with inches of water.
1956 – The Federal Government officially recognizes Lodi as a
winegrape growing district, allowing vintners to label their
wine as coming from Lodi; on April 9, the Lodi Arch is
refurbished at a cost of $10,000.
1958 – Erma B. Reese Elementary School located on West Elm
Street opens; Lodi’s populations passes 20,000.
1960 – Lawrence Elementary School located on Calaveras Street
begins serving Lodi students in the fall.
1963 – Lakewood Elementary School on north Ham Lane opens
with 21 classrooms.
1965 – January 4, Senior Elementary School opens with 22
classrooms on Ham Lane (Note: It was later named Lodi Middle
School); on June 8, voters pass first municipal bond measure in
44 years, the $7.2 million bond called for a public safety
building on Elm Street housing police and fire departments and a
courtroom, a sewage treatment plant at White Slough, and a
revised storm drainage system where basins were dug to hold
rainwater and serve as City parks during dry weather.
1966 – Tokay Colony School opens on East Live Oak Road,
replacing a one-story schoolhouse built in 1909; Vinewood
Elementary School, located on West Tokay Street, opens with
1967 – Eighteen Lodi area elementary schools merge with the
Lodi Union High School District to create Lodi Unified School
District; the boundaries follow those of the high school
district, which was created in 1922; the District encompasses
about 350 square miles (Note: Since unification, some property
was transferred to Lincoln, Stockton, Tracy, and Galt School
Districts); on June 8, ground is broken for the White Slough
sewage treatment plant; a group of doctors join to build
Community Hospital on Lower Sacramento Road; in September the
$1.1 million public safety building on Elm Street housing the
police and fire departments and a courtroom opens.
1968 – Lodi Memorial Hospital adds a $1 million wing.
1970 – Lodi Unified’s first continuation high school, known
as the north campus, originally located at Lockeford and
Calaveras Streets, is relocated to West Walnut Street and
renamed Liberty High School.
1974 – March 17, an arson fire destroys 21 classrooms and
administrative offices of Tokay High School, located on the
corner of Hutchins and Walnut Streets; in June, a $13.7 million
school bond was approved to build new Tokay High School on
1977 – Heritage Elementary School opens in the location of
the old Garfield School on Flora Street; on September 6, the $8
million Tokay High School opens at its new location on Century
Boulevard and Ham Lane.
1979 – Robert Mondavi buys the land and historic buildings
on Woodbridge Road, which will become the Woodbridge Winery – one of the
largest table wine labels in the nation; on April 14, the new
$2.5 million Lodi Library building at Locust and Church Streets
1980 – Lodi High School graduates Michael Crete and Stewart
Bewley gain national limelight with the invention of the Wine
Cooler; in 1984, the company, California Cooler is sold to wine
and spirits giant Brown-Forman for $55 million; on March 6, the
City buys old Lodi Union High School buildings and grounds for
$475,000 and fundraising for today’s Hutchins Street Square
1981 – Voters enact Measure A, a controversial initiative,
which required voter approval of all annexations (Note: this
initiative kept growth in check until 1989 when the Third
District Court of Appeals ruled it unconstitutional); September
10, Lodi Arch is officially named California Landmark #931; a
few months later, the Arch was declared a National Historical
1983 – The modern day Bank of Lodi is founded.
1986 – Lodi viticulture area receives official recognition as
an appellation, accelerating the push toward the quality table
wine market among Lodi wine makers.
1989 – August 15, the old Carnegie Library is re-dedicated as
Carnegie Forum where the City Council and civic commissions hold
1990 – Lodi’s population exceeds 50,000; Beckman Elementary
School located on Scarborough Drive opens
1996 – City Hall’s $3 million renovation is completed.
1998 – Hutchins Street Square’s final project, the Performing
Arts and Conference Center is completed; on October 8, the
Downtown Gateway on School Street is dedicated.
1999 – October 21, the Lodi Station featuring the renovated
Southern Pacific Railroad station building is dedicated;
population reaches 55,800.
2000 – U.S. Census Bureau reports that Lodi’s population is
2001 – The Lodi Arch Bear is rededicated on June 14 after
being restored and given a 23-karat, gold-leaf finish.
2002 – Two blocks of Elm Street, between Church and
Sacramento Streets, were rebuilt with the upgrading of
utilities, rebuilding of the street, addition of street trees
and decorative lighting, and the creation of a pedestrian plaza
with additional trees, paving stones, and decorative concrete
graphic “sun” in the middle of the block.
2002 – March 18, a dedication is held for the return of
Amtrak passenger rail service to Lodi. The Amtrak service
connects Lodi up and down the San Joaquin Valley to Sacramento
and the Bay Area with connections to southern California and the
rest of Amtrak’s rail system.
2002 – Lodi’s first 329-stall parking structure is completed
on the old railroad depot property east of Sacramento Street,
north of Pine Street. The structure includes 14,000 square feet
of retail/office space for lease.
2002 – May 22, dedication of the Lodi Area All U.S. Military
Veterans Plaza, located in the civic center mall. The project
includes a wall of water, eternal flame, sphere, obelisk, and 13
plinth stones featuring inspirational writings submitted by the
winners of the project poetry contest.
2002 – November 20, Council adopted resolution designating
the “Rose” as the official flower of the City of Lodi.
2003 – December 22, dedication of the Lodi Police
Department’s new facility, located at 215 West Elm Street. The
structure is approximately 59,000 square feet with 51,000 of
that dedicated to police and jail services.
Click on any photo for a larger version. Thanks to
Steve Mann for providing these.
Sacramento and Pine
Sacramento and Pine
School and Oak
School and Pine
School and Pine - Early Parade
South School St
Arch - 100% American
Bank of America
Bank of Lodi
Bank of Lodi
Bauden and Wells
Pine at Sacramento
First Christian Church
Grape Harvest Wagons
Historic Catholic Church
Lodi High School
Lodi High School
Lodi High School
Lodi Post Office
Lodi Union High
Lodi Union High
Main and Pine
Oak at School
Parade at Sacramento and Pine
Pine and School
Pine and Main
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