NoeHill Travels in the American West: California

National Register of Historic Places in Solano County

Old Barn on Pleasants Valley Road Southwest of Winters 19 August 2012
(Click Photo to Zoom)

The buildings of Pleasants Ranch are not visible from the highway, but this farm on the other side of Pleasants Valley Road provides an idea of the landscape in this part of Solano County between Winters and Vacaville.

National Register #06000280
Pleasants Ranch
8212 Pleasants Valley Road
Between Winters and Vacaville

The Pleasants family pioneered the valley that bears their name. In 1856, six years after settling in the valley, William J. Pleasants purchased his first one-hundred and sixty acres and established what is now Pleasants Ranch. Over several decades Pleasants increased his holdings until the ranch encompassed between 3,500 and 4,000 acres of valley and hill land that stretched from ridge top to ridge top across the valley.

William Pleasants was one of the earliest fanners in this area to concentrate on orchard crops and became one of the largest and most important growers in the region. His experiments with various orchard species played a role in establishing and refining the fruit production of the area. In the 1880s Pleasants embarked on an ambitious program of building beginning with the tool house and culminating in the 1890s with the building of a major new residence and a number of new barns just after the turn of the century.

The Pleasants Ranch is a local example of a significant reorientation in California agriculture that took place between 1870 and the Great Depression of 1930. The shift in California from stock and grain production to the development of nut, fruit and vegetable crops between 1870 and 1930 was an agricultural shift of major economic proportions. It accounted in large part for the national and international importance of California's agricultural production after 1880 and was largely responsible for the extraordinary wealth that agriculture has produced in the state.

Excerpted from the NRHP nomination.

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