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This photo of the Davis Arch, which celebrates Davis as the home of the University Farm and the gateway to Yolo County, dates to 1916, a year before the city was incorporated.

Happy 100th Birthday, City of Davis!

Happy 100th birthday to the City of Davis which was incorporated exactly a century ago today on March 28, 1917!

Prior to the city’s incorporation in 1917, the town’s citizens were subject to a county-administered form of government. The first effort to create a city government was defeated in December 1911 by a vote of 92 to 103. By 1916, residents were again advocating for incorporation. A disastrous fire on November 13, 1916, which destroyed much of the downtown business district, underscored the need for city services, including a fire department.

As The Sacramento Union newspaper reported at the time, “The businessmen believe if the town had a single line of hose the fire could have been checked at the start. It is probable that the fire will hasten the incorporation of the town.” And it did. On March 20, 1917, residents voted in favor of incorporation: 231-87. A resolution declaring the incorporation of the City of Davis was adopted by the Yolo County Board of Supervisors on March 26 and was recorded with the California Secretary of State on March 28, 1917.

 Be sure to visit the Shields Library exhibit, Davis 1917-2017: Celebrating 100 Years of Community, which draws from more than fifteen of the Special Collections manuscript, photograph, pamphlet, and map collections to illustrate the history of Davis in the last century.


Archives and Special Collections Campus and Local History