Rancho Cordova, California, United States

History | Geography | Economy | Points of interest | Transport | Utilities | Public safety

🇺🇸 Rancho Cordova is a city in Sacramento County, California, United States which was incorporated in 2003. It is part of the Sacramento Metropolitan Area. In 2010 and 2019, Rancho Cordova received the All-America City Award.

History Originally called Mayhew's Crossing and Hangtown Crossing (c. 1855) during the Gold Rush era, the area was renamed Mayhew Station and Mills Station (c. 1900), respectively. The city itself was named for the Cordova Vineyard, which was located in the centre of the Rancho Rio de los Americanos land grant. Other names of the town included Cordova Vineyards and Cordova Village, before it was officially named Rancho Cordova when a post office was established in the community in 1955.

In the Gold Rush era of mid-19th-century California, Placer mining took place around Rancho Cordova, and some traces of it can still be found. The elevation of the generally level terrain is approximately 118 feet (36 m) above mean sea level. Lone Star Gravel Company and other companies have historically extracted younger gravels at depths of 30 to 40 feet (12 m) without encountering groundwater, which is characteristically found at about 100 feet (30 m). Partially confined groundwater generally flows to the southwest.

In 1844, the Mexican governor of California granted 35,000 acres on the south bank of the American River to the American entrepreneur William Leidesdorff. He died in 1848 and the property, which he called Rancho Río de los Americanos, passed to his mother, Anne Marie Spark. Captain Joseph Folsom purchased the Rancho from the heirs and founded a town in 1855 which he named after himself – Folsom. The old Leidesdorff adobe was constructed in 1846 in the vicinity of Routier Station.

As the miners left Sacramento traveling to the foothills in search of gold, way stations grew up along the first dirt trails, and later more formal roads, that took travelers east. Commercial establishments, hotels, or ‘stations’ were developed at one-mile intervals along the route. Many of the stations ultimately also became the US Post Office for their area, and many of these early settlers served as postmaster or postmistress.

Travelers and miners apparently headed out L Street from Sacramento (the approximate alignment of present-day Folsom Blvd) along a plank, or macadam, road that ended at present day Bradshaw Road. Brighton, also called Five Mile Station, was the site of three inns. One inn, the Magnolia House, established in 1849, was the first stop on the Pony Express Route. The location is today marked by the old Brighton Station building, visible on the south side of Folsom Boulevard where the overpasses for Highway 50 and the light rail are located. One closer stop, at four miles, was known as Hoboken or Norristown, in the vicinity of CSUS. The old Perkins building, where the Jackson Highway leaves Folsom Boulevard, and Manlove were both locations for way stations.

The vicinity of Bradshaw was Ten Mile Station, the Patterson's "American Fork House", established in 1852, and the beginning of large farms, vineyards, and orchards. Up the road was Routier Station, established in 1871. Mrs. Mayhew left Mayhew Station to take over as PostMistress at Routier Station when the post office opened in 1887. Mr. Patterson was Postmaster there for a while also. Joseph Routier was widely renowned for many years for the quality of his produce. In 1866 the railroad built the train station between Folsom Boulevard and the tracks due to the size and dependability of the crop, and the need for a formal packing shed to house the produce waiting for the train. (The station still exists as Pfingst Realty Mr. Pfingst died in 2007; the structure is owned by his daughter.)

At eleven miles, the road forked. The Coloma Road went north along the river to Coloma and the northern mines, very close to its present location; the southerly fork headed for White Rock and the Southern Mines. The area was first known as Hangtown Crossing, referencing the route to Old Hangtown – or Placerville. The southerly fork was the White Rock Road, known at that time as the White Rock – Clarksville Immigrant Road. The outcropping of white rock marked the entry into El Dorado County, and Clarksville was the first sizable settlement over the hill. 15 Mile House was built in 1850, and is commemorated with a brick cairn on White Rock Road in front of the CalTrans Emergency Ops building. It was managed by A.M. Plummer until purchased in 1857 by its most famous innkeeper, H.F.W. Deterding. His son Charles ran the hotel until at least 1890, and their hospitality was known far and wide. 15 Mile House was the second official Pony Express remount station. Eleven miles east of that, the third remount station was located at Sportsman Hall at Mormon Island, before the express riders went over the mountains headed for St. Joseph, Missouri. The Mormon Island ruins surface from under Folsom Lake at Dike 8 during low water years.

There were also way stations along the Coloma Road, such as the 14 Mile House, built on the Coloma Road in 1850 by Mr. Rush, the original builder of Deterding's 15 Mile House. In 1852 early settlement of the Mills area included a two-story inn owned by Louis Lepetit. Four stage lines came through there, and split, with two going south-east to Placerville, and two following the river to Coloma. In the 1880s a fire destroyed the inn, and Mr. Lepetit may have rebuilt across the road on the north side.

A strong community of vineyards and orchards had grown up between the 1850s and the 1880s. Maps of the area show the familiar names of Studarus, Williamson, Mendonca, Kelley, Carroll, Shields, Dauenhauer, Lauridson, Kilgore, and Deterding. The list goes on with names that to a small extent, have been preserved as place names. John Studarus was one of the early settlers. He had thirteen children. The presumed eldest, Charles, operated the family farms; John Jr., the second or third eldest, purchased five acres of land at Hangtown Crossing, near Lepetit's site, and built a hotel. In 1911, he built the present day Mills Station. It was a general commercial building, housing a tavern and grocery store. The second floor was a large ballroom, where he celebrated the opening of the building by issuing an open invitation to everyone around to attend a grand ball. The building also housed the Post Office, and two of his children, William Henry and Helen, both ran the Post Office at various times.

William Henry Studarus died perhaps in the late 1970s, and Helen Studarus McCray, whom everyone remembers as the Post Mistress, died in 1982 or 1983. William Henry also helped his father run the store, selling groceries, hardware, and gasoline. At sometime prior to the war, the county established a branch of the free library, which local residents also remember coming to.

In 1949 Mills Station was bought by Mr. and Mrs. Lerch, parents of later Fire Chief Bob Lerch and famous baseball player Randy Lerch. Their daughter, Mrs. Doris Lauridson, held her wedding reception in the ballroom on the second floor in 1950. The general store, library, and gas station continued to serve the community. Mills Fire Department has been photographed several times with its fire trucks and firemen on parade out front. Gasoline was sold there (the pumps are visible in the 1952 photo). The building that previously sat across the street, housing the Sharp Shop, was a fire house, along with another small building on the east side of Routiers Road between Folsom Blvd. and Horn Road. The Sharp Shop, a lawn mower repair business, was finally demolished in about 2002. At that time it had deteriorated and the original walls had been replaced with corrugated metal panels, leaving virtually nothing of the original structure.

Tom Raley bought Mills Station in 1956. In 1972 after negotiations between the Fire District, Sacramento County, Raley's, and the Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, the building was moved to back north of the Boulevard about 200 feet. It was renovated as a restaurant but was never quite successful, and changed hands many times over 20 years. The last tenant moved out in August 1991 and the building sat idle, used only by vagrants and transients. It was secured, preserved, and moved once again. In its final life, Mills Station has been restored as a community centre at the Mather Field / Mills Light Rail Station approximately 1,000 feet from its original location. The agricultural heritage of Rancho Cordova fell onto hard times in the 1930s and 1940s. Along with Joseph Routier's nationally recognised produce, wine from Roland Federspiel's Cordova Vineyards had been served at White House table during the Teddy Roosevelt presidency. Unfortunately, northern California went through a lengthy period of drought. Making things worse, the State Legislature raised property tax rates, setting values at "the highest and best use" as opposed to the actual use of the land. It became more and more difficult for farmers to keep their land in production.

At this point, all of the young men returning from World War II were looking for places to settle down, find a job, buy a home, and raise their families. Roland Federspiel formed a partnership with Glenn Ahlstrom and a contractor named Jacobsen to build homes on land that had previously been vineyards. Up until that point after the War, there had not been any production housing in the United States. Homes had been constructed individually or in small numbers.

Construction began at the intersection of Folsom Boulevard and Zinfandel Drive. The first three homes on the west side of the street were the model homes. Duplexes on the opposite corners originally housed the sales office and post office, then the first office of The Grapevine newspaper.

Federspiel had chosen the name Cordova Vineyards with a nod to the Cordoba Region in Spain, and wanted to preserve the Cordova name. Glenn Ahlstrom drove down to San Francisco in his old woodie station wagon and physically brought back the first ‘post box’. The US Postal Service agreed to let them use the name Rancho Cordova as it was just the right size to fit around the circle of the old postal franking stamp. They named the streets for wine grapes. It is a treat to find some of those old grapes coming back into production again, with wines like Malbec and Barbera. In recognition of that heritage, Elliott Homes named all of the streets in the Villages of Zinfandel at Stonecreek for wineries around the world when they began to build at the south end of Zinfandel in 2000.

The community grew, and Folsom Boulevard began to fill in with commercial enterprise. Early structures included the Cordova Village Shopping Center and George E. Johnson's Cordova Inn. (George E. Johnson is the father of restaurateur Eppie Johnson. The ‘E’ stands for Eppaminondous, and Eppie used it to name a more formal restaurant on Zinfandel around 1980. The building is still in operation as a restaurant today, but is on the fourth restaurant chain since then.)

Most of the residents of the 1950s and 1960s came to work at either Aerojet, during the height of the space race, or were stationed at Mather Air Force Base. There were only a little over 1,000 homes in the Mather housing area, so most people lived off base. Along with other people who found the new Rancho Cordova a desirable place to live were the many people who came to open businesses and establish all of the organizations that any true community needs in order to thrive and prosper. Early residents opened gas stations, insurance agencies, the Hallmark Store, Baskin Robbins Ice Cream, the veterinary office, medical offices, a travel agency, churches, and the florist shop. These community builders were also the principals at the junior and senior high schools, the manager at the Chamber of Commerce, the general manager at the Park District, the chief at the Fire District, pastors and priests. They founded local branches of Rotary, Kiwanis, Optimist Club, JCs, the Moose, and the Elks.

There were attempts to incorporate Rancho Cordova in 1961 and in 1978. The 1978 effort was kept alive over the next 20 years, finally getting on the ballot in November 2002. It passed with a record 77% of voters in support, a record that still stands today.

Geography According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 33.9 square miles (88 km²), of which 33.5 square miles (87 km²) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km²) of it (1.08%) is water. Rancho Cordova lies within the Sacramento Valley.

Economy According to Rancho Cordova's 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city include: 1 State of California; 2 Centene; 3 Delta Dental of California; 4 Sacramento County Office of Education; 5 Franklin Templeton Investments; 6 VSP Global; 7 Foundation Health Special Services; 8 J P Aerospace; 9 Mather Aerospace Modelers Inc.; 10 Dignity Health.

Points of interest The City of Rancho Cordova has a growing arts scene, a unique Barrel District, 26 miles of bike and pedestrian trails, 70 acres of creek channels and tributaries, and many free events. Rancho Cordova has six miles of the American River, as well as Soil Born Farms and Rancho Roots, the only working urban farms in the region. • American River Parkway • Sacramento Children's Museum • The MACC: Mills Station Arts and Culture Center • Barrel District • Soil Born Farms • Rancho Roots • Aerojet/Rocketdyne • Edward Kelley School • Historic Sheepherder Bar & Grille - Oldest Building in Rancho Cordova - Established 1913 - 11275 Folsom Blvd Sheepherderbg

Transport Rancho Cordova is served by Sacramento Regional Transit's various bus lines and the Gold Line light rail line. According to the US Census Burea's American Community Survey for 2021, fewer than 0.5 percent of Rancho Cordova commuters employ public transportation.

Utilities The city is served by four water agencies and one sewage treatment agency.

Electricity is provided by Sacramento Municipal Utility District and natural gas is provided by Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Public safety Since incorporating in 2003, Rancho Cordova has maintained a law enforcement services contract with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and formed the Rancho Cordova Police Department. While deputies assigned to the Rancho Cordova Police Department wear unique "Rancho Cordova" uniform patches and drive police vehicles with "Rancho Cordova" markings, they are, in fact, sheriff's deputies. The structure of the contracted Rancho Cordova Police Department closely mirrors that of an independent police department and includes detectives, traffic enforcement, community service officers, patrol, and administration functions. Per the contract, the City of Rancho Cordova pays the salaries for 55 sworn and 7 non-sworn staff. This arrangement for contracted law enforcement services is fairly common among California cities because it requires fewer overhead costs than running an independent police department and allows the city to avoid long-term pension obligations for police employees.

The Rancho Cordova Police Department's force is hand-picked because of their skill and passion for the community. The Rancho Cordova Police Department uses a four-pronged policing approach to keep the community safe: community-oriented policing, crime prevention, problem-oriented policing and intelligence-led policing.

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District provides fire/EMS services.


Rancho Cordova has a population of over 79,332 people. Rancho Cordova also forms one of the centres of the wider Sacramento-Roseville Metropolitan Area which has a population of over 2,462,000 people.

To set up a UBI Lab for Rancho Cordova see: https://www.ubilabnetwork.org Twitter: https://twitter.com/UBILabNetwork

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Rancho Cordova has links with:

🇧🇾 Grodno, Belarus 🇨🇷 Turrialba, Costa Rica
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license

East of: -121.3

🇺🇸 Citrus Heights -121.29

🇺🇸 Roseville -121.284

🇺🇸 Rocklin -121.233

🇺🇸 Manteca -121.216

🇺🇸 Folsom -121.15

🇺🇸 Modesto -121

🇺🇸 Ceres -120.95

🇺🇸 Turlock -120.847

🇺🇸 Placerville -120.797

🇺🇸 San Luis Obispo -120.65

West of: -121.3

🇺🇸 Stockton -121.301

🇺🇸 Bend -121.315

🇺🇸 Carmichael -121.322

🇺🇸 Lodi -121.335

🇺🇸 Elk Grove -121.365

🇺🇸 Tracy -121.421

🇺🇸 Sacramento -121.495

🇺🇸 West Sacramento -121.517

🇺🇸 Oroville -121.55

🇺🇸 Gilroy -121.567

Antipodal to Rancho Cordova is: 58.7,-38.583

Locations Near: Rancho Cordova -121.3,38.5833

🇺🇸 Carmichael -121.322,38.619 d: 4.4  

🇺🇸 Citrus Heights -121.29,38.695 d: 12.4  

🇺🇸 Roseville -121.284,38.748 d: 18.4  

🇺🇸 Folsom -121.15,38.667 d: 16  

🇺🇸 Elk Grove -121.365,38.409 d: 20.2  

🇺🇸 Sacramento -121.495,38.582 d: 17  

🇺🇸 West Sacramento -121.517,38.567 d: 19  

🇺🇸 Rocklin -121.233,38.8 d: 24.8  

🇺🇸 Davis -121.733,38.55 d: 37.8  

🇺🇸 Lodi -121.335,38.131 d: 50.4  

Antipodal to: Rancho Cordova 58.7,-38.583

🇫🇷 Saint-Pierre 55.478,-21.342 d: 18073.3  

🇫🇷 Le Tampon 55.515,-21.278 d: 18066.9  

🇫🇷 Réunion 55.532,-21.133 d: 18051.2  

🇫🇷 Saint-Benoît 55.713,-21.034 d: 18042.8  

🇫🇷 Saint-Paul 55.27,-21.01 d: 18033.6  

🇫🇷 Saint-Paul 55.279,-21 d: 18032.6  

🇫🇷 Saint-Denis 55.457,-20.867 d: 18020.8  

🇲🇺 Mahébourg 57.7,-20.407 d: 17991.7  

🇲🇺 Curepipe 57.517,-20.317 d: 17980.8  

🇲🇺 Vacoas-Phoenix 57.493,-20.3 d: 17978.8  

Bing Map

Option 1