Landmark Buildings History and Architecture
Greater Second Baptist Church
435 SECOND STREET, WOODLAND
The Greater Second Baptist Church was founded in 1910 by two remarkable women, Mrs. Isabella Clayton and Mrs. Sophie Raymus. It was the first and only African-American church in Yolo County. The first pastor was the Reverend E.B. Reed. The congregation drew from the pioneering African-American families of Yolo County, many of whom made the journey to California as early as 1849.
The traditionally styled colonial building with adjacent parsonage was lost to a fire in the early 1970’s and the new church was built at the same location and dedicated in 1972.
For over one hundred years, the Greater Second Baptist Church has maintained its traditions as a center of worship and community for the descendants of Yolo Counties proud African-American pioneers.
Sacramento-Woodland Electric Depot:
SECOND AND MAIN STREET | 1912
On July 4, 1912, Woodlanders celebrated the first train to enter the newly constructed Sacramento-Woodland Electric Depot building. Designed in a mixture of California Mission style and contemporary California style by architect/engineer Arthur D. Nicholson, the building features arches, smooth plastered walls. A mission style quatrefoil and rounded roof parapet shapes the arched main entrance. A tall rounded tower with Mexican tile roof extending over this central parapet anchors the Main Street elevation while a shorter Mission style bell tower was placed on the Second Street side. The train track led from the east down Main Street to Second Street where the trains entered the building on the diagonal making it possible to exit at the rear of the building to the freight yards. The tracks also extended down Second Street to Beamer. During World War II portions of those tracks were torn up and given to the scrap metal drive. Traces of the tracks could still be seen as late as the 1970’s.
The passenger terminal was on the Main Street side of the building and Railway Express was on the Second Street side. For 25 cents a Woodlander could ride to Sacramento arriving in 25 minutes. Trains left on the hour and returned on the half-hour. Better transportation by far than available today. Sadly, passenger service was discontinued in mid-1940 due to increasing popularity of the automobile. A Greyhound Bus Station occupied the structure until fires destroyed two-thirds of the building and the building demolished.
A new chapter for the depot opened when Woodland attorney, Tom Stallard bought the property in 1984. Mr. Stallard found the original drawings for the depot, making it possible for the new building to so closely resemble the original that it regularly drew comments from old time Woodlanders who remembered the original. The workmen at the depot were flooded with stories from old timers telling about when they used to go to the soda shop for a refreshing drink, and paper boys who sat in the depot to roll their papers. Woodland physician, W.J. Blevins wrote a grateful note to Mr. Stallard telling him of pleasant memories when he caught the 6:30 a.m. train to attend Sacrament Junior College.
The building now is home to North Valley Bank.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church:
515-519 SECOND STREET | 1912
The rustic, Gothic-Revival style of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church has graced Second Street in Woodland since 1912. Designed by prominent Berkeley architect, William Hays, the church is a fine example of the medieval tradition of melding woodcarving, stained glass and natural material into an organic and inspired whole. Berkeley contractor P.N. Schmidt built the church. The church is modeled after the original Anglican Church in America built in Smithfield, Virginia in 1632. The exterior is constructed of brick with pilasters between the exterior windows. A rectangular-shaped bell tower positioned at the edge of the Second Street frontage, has an arched main entrance with double doors. Wood carving in the Gothic tradition decorates the rear gable, and the interior exhibits a rich display of wood craftsmanship with intricate ceiling and pews. In 1922 three stained glass windows, created by the world-famous Louis Tiffany Studios were installed above the altar. Another stained glass window, made by Cunnings Studio, was added to the church in 1952, followed by four more in 1966. Finally, in 1974 the remaining six windows were replaced by stained glass from the Exeter Studios. St. Luke’s parish had the Tiffany windows re-leaded in the 1990s.
The Guild Hall, following the Tudor Revival Style, was added to the main part of the church in 1928. Its designer was Woodland resident C. Carlton Pierson, and the builder was Joseph Motroni. In 1929 Woodland contractors Brown and Woodhouse built the Rectory also in the Tudor Revival style with half timbering wood decoration. The latest addition was the Great Hall and Education complex in 1955. The architect was Constable and Constable of Sausalito,
In recognition of the outstanding architecture and the history of the church in the community, St. Luke’s was designated a City of Woodland Historical Landmark in 1993.
United Methodist Church:
212 SECOND ST. | 1852
The Woodland United Methodist church has been serving the community since 1852 when it was a stop on a circuit-riding pastor’s itinerary. A Methodist church building has been located on Second and North Streets since 1883. Before that, in 1864 and 1868, the congregation met in other locations. Construction of the present church was dedicated on Sunday June 21, 1925. The architect of the Mission Revival structure was Rollin S. Tuttle of Oakland who interestingly was also a Methodist pastor in the Oakland area. The contractor was William R. Fait.
A tall bell tower flanks the tiled gable roofs of the sanctuary. The Second Street façade has a tall arched stained glass window with columns above the entrance, which is formed by a tiled arcade with classical columns. There is another arched stained glass window on the North Street façade and a circular stained glass window above the altar, as well as a series of triplicate arched stained glass windows lining both sides of the sanctuary.
In 1954-55 the Education-Fellowship wing south of the sanctuary was built. In 2006 renovation of a small chapel facing the circle on Second Street was completed, featuring a modern stained glass mural created by church members Susan Slover Murphy and Megan Murphy.
St. John’s United Church of Christ:
432 CLEVELAND STREET | 1891
“For the past 100 years families have looked to St. John’s church for care and comfort. No church has ever been without struggles or problems. The crowd of saints who have gone marching on before us can attest to that. The struggle to build a church, the fire that destroyed the buildings, could not destroy the spirit of the people.” – Reverend William Schroeder, 1991
EARLY HISTORY: Farmers, merchants, clerks, housewives and others among the German immigrants gathered in 1891 to organize what has evolved as Woodland’s St. John’s United Church of Christ. First worshiping in a small church on Third St, they soon began building a sanctuary on the present site. The building constructed of wood in the Gothic Revival style was completed in just four months at a cost of $4,000.00. The first pastor was Reverend J.A. Schilling. German was the language spoken at the services until the 1920’s, when the younger people asked that English be used at some of the Sunday services. Gradually this came to be and in 1948 the last German service was heard.
The church seemed to be at its peak, when on September 8, 1934 disaster stuck. The Yolo brewery across Main Street (where Nugget Market is today) burst into flames; the fire spread destroying the church, parsonage and Sunday school building. Acting with speed, Jacob Witzelberger and a crew of workers began construction of the present church in January 1935, completing it just 90 days later.
William E. Coffman of Sacramento was selected to design the new church in the Tudor Revival Style with checkered pattern of light and dark cinder bricks and a steeply pitched gable. The main entrance to the church shows a Tudor arch featuring a pair of wooden plank doors with stained glass windows, and a side door framed with concrete blocks imitating stone. Inside, pairs of tall stained glass windows line both walls of the sanctuary, honoring families prominent in the life of the church and community.
In 1991, the sanctuary was renovated to widen the chancel area. The choir lofts and organ were moved. The organ pipes were exposed, presenting a grand view for the congregation. A large round stained glass window was placed above the altar. The project was designed by architect Ron Folsom, The contractor was M.C. Blixt.
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church:
625 W. Gibson Road at the corner of Cottonwood and Gibson
From 1905 when the first Lutheran emigrates settled in Woodland, to the founding of the church in 1912, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church now celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012. This building is the fifth site for the congregation. The church and education wing were designed by the architect Nicholas A. Tomich in a contemporary style and built in 1969. On display are many interesting features. The chapel alter comes from the prior church site and depicts a miniaturized version of the western facade of the 1211 Roman Catholic Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. The stained glass windows were designed by Cummings Studios of San Rafael, California. The Christus Rex metal sculpture was handmade by artist Norman Grag of Manton, California. Self-guided tour books are available to help explain the history, craftsmanship, and artwork.
Historic Woodland Train Depot
1120 LINCOLN AVE
The Historic Woodland Train Depot, built in 1911 by the Southern Pacific Railroad, was the third of four train depots that were built in Woodland. It is the only original one still remaining and is located at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Sixth Street. This landmark building has witnessed many historical events and has had many famous and not so famous people walk through its waiting room doors to board trains heading north and south. It experienced good times when its outside arcade was full of people waiting to catch a train or meet someone arriving on one. Then it saw years of decline and decay as travel by train to Woodland declined and then stopped altogether. For a time it served as a Greyhound Bus Depot, all the while becoming more run down. Finally all railroad activities were moved out of it in 1989 and it was set for demolition. It was only through a concerted effort by a coalition of historical preservation groups, the City of Woodland, and many individuals and businesses that saved this “last of its kind building” from being destroyed. Now it is nearly restored to its original grandeur and is once again a community gathering place.
The Sacramento Valley Historical Railways purchased the depot in 1991 from the Southern Pacific Railroad and moved it to its present location in 1992. Since then volunteers have spent thousand of hours restoring it for use as a community resource and railroad museum.
Dr. Tan’s Orthodontic Office
301 CLEVELAND STREET
Estella and Alpha Mae Harris bought the land this home sits on from their brother in 1912, and later that year built this Craftsman/Bungalow Style home on the corner of Court and Cleveland Streets. The Craftsman Style is typified by the desire to return to nature and basic craftsmanship in design and building. The bungalow style was developed by California architects, Greene and Greene and was the first indigenous domestic architecture in California. The enclosed porch-veranda was a later renovation of the original style.
The history of one of the owners, Stella Harris is a fascinating glimpse of a remarkable woman. She was one of the first teachers in Guinda, California. She taught 40 children 1st through 8th grade for three years before marrying the principal, Guy Gibbs in 1913. She then stopped working, taking time off to bear two children, Guy Jr. in 1914 and Willa in 1917. In 1928 she was elected as the Public Administrator of Yolo County, serving two terms. She was a member of the Woodland Native Daughters of the Golden West. She retired as the Educational Director of the California Western State Life Insurance Company, and was the first woman life insurance agent in the state. Tragically, on December 2, 1968 she was found dead in her home. In 1979 her son and daughter sold the home. In 1984 Chris and Jane Campos bought the property and converted it into a fine furniture store. In 2001, Dr Tan purchased the property, and in 2002, moved his orthodontic practice to this location.
Harry D. Porter, successful Woodland businessman, selected William Henry Weeks from San Francisco to design the three-story office building in 1913. Built in the Renaissance Revival style, the handsome arched entrance leads to the front lobby featuring marble walls and floors. Woodland’s first elevator, still in working order, telephone service to all offices and steam heat were major innovations for that time. The Porter building was a demanding construction project of sophisticated design and modern technology, requiring the skills of an advanced and experienced general contractor Earle L. Younger. The building was occupied in the early days by The Woodland Medical Center, dental offices, post office, attorneys, a civil engineering firm, small private businesses, among them Leithold Drugstore, Red Bud Candy Store and Yolo Savings.
The first floor has been completely renovated and is now occupied by Cambridge College, a training school for medical support staff. The upper two stories are in the process of restoration and will be rented to businesses. The beauty of the workmanship in wood – Golden Oak, Red Douglas fir – marble stairways, opaque patterned glass, and marble bathrooms is being restored to its former glory.
Woodland Fire Museum:
532 Court Street at the corner of First Street in the old firehouse across the street from the Carnegie Library and Rose Garden.
When the City moved its main fire station, the museum opened its doors in the historic old City of Woodland Fire House in August of 2009. The Spanish Colonial Revival style City Hall building was built in phases with the first phase by prominent local contractor Joe Motroni starting in 1932 with the jailhouse and the firehouse, including the tower, originally used for hanging wet fire hoses. The next portion, designed by architect Harry J. Devine and built by Charles F. Unger included the present-day council chambers and finance department was added in 1936. Two additional renovations, in 1961 and 1971 completed the building as it stands today.
The museum will have the fully restored America La France Company1874, Woodland’s first horse drawn steam fire engine in addition to several other early 20th century restored fire trucks, equipment, memorabilia and displays honoring past local firefighters.
Woodland Public Library Rose Garden:
The garden is accessible for free viewing all day. The garden surrounds the Carnegie Library at 250 First Street on Court between First and College Streets. The Library Rose Garden Club rosarians work in the garden throughout the day. They can answer your questions as they demonstrate rose garden summer maintenance.
The John A. Saltsman Garden is on the Woodland Library grounds. The garden was established in 1988 with the labor provided by many volunteer workers and materials provided by local landscape businesses. Over 600 roses provide beauty, fragrance, and rejuvenation to this historical downtown area, including roses grown in early Yolo County gardens. Today, both old and modern roses flourish in the Woodland area and are used in many landscaping formats. The all-volunteer Woodland Library Rose Club maintains the garden.
Woodland Carnegie Library:
250 First Street corner of Court Street.
The historic parts of the Library were constructed in 1905, 1915 and 1929. The original structure of 1905 was funded by a $10,000 grant from industrialist Andrew Carnegie, who funded library buildings throughout California, United States and the United Kingdom. Woodland Public Library is the oldest Carnegie building in California still functioning as a library. Designed by Dodge and Dolliver of San Francisco, and constructed by Woodland contractor William Henry Curson, the Mission Revival style building features many classical elements such as the flight of stairs and columns leading to the front porch, and the interior rotunda and columns which form the entrance into the building.
Kraft Brothers Funeral Directors:
175 Second St.
The building was designed by the prominent Sacramento architectural firm, Dean & Dean, and was constructed in 1927. It was built in 3 sections, the chapel being the first section. It is adobe construction with 18-inch thick walls, and beautiful stained glass windows in the chapel. The arched double doors are solid hardwood made from oak trees from the Capay Valley. The lines running vertically through the doors represent the river of life. Beautiful antiques are throughout the building. The garage was the final section built, and is constructed from solid redwood casket shipping trays. The caretaker’s quarter is located over the main building.
Kraft Brothers is the oldest privately owned company in Yolo County, established by Peter Krellenberg, who emigrated here in 1862 from New York to work on a farm. The Krellenbergs began in the funeral business by making coffins for the local barber/dentist/mortician, located in Dead Cat Alley, and who, after awhile, seeking greater fortune, left Woodland to find his fortune in gold prospecting. Since the Krellenbergs were already making the coffins they were left with no other option than to do the services too. In 1881 Peter Krellenberg brought his only son Emil into the business. Peter died in 1904 and Emil Krellenberg took over the business, bringing his 2 nephews (Julius and Emil Kraft) to join him in the early 1910s. They sold the furniture business in 1933 and renamed their funeral home Kraft Brothers. Funeral Director Paul Wiggins has operated Kraft Bros. since 1998.
Woodland Opera House:
340 Second Street on Heritage Plaza at 2nd & Main Streets
Located at Heritage Plaza, the site of the Stroll headquarters. A State Historical Park and registered California State Landmark, the Woodland Opera House is a rare example of a functioning, small town Victorian performing arts center, complete with a horseshoe balcony. The restoration of the theater exhibits superb craftsmanship with interior antique lighting and Arts and Crafts wallpapers that create an elegant ambiance. The original Woodland Opera House was built in 1885 and designed by prominent San Francisco architect Thomas J. Welse. That building and others nearby were destroyed in the great fire of 1892. This building was rebuilt in 1895-96 and stayed in operation until 1913 and then closed until purchased by the Yolo County Historical Society in 1971 and reopened for performances in 1989. The building is now owned by the State of California and is a State historical park, State Historical Landmark #851.
Makoto Kai Art Deco Building:
443 First Street just south of Bush Street
This building, one of Woodland’s few classic Art Deco buildings was constructed in 1936. This building exhibits the flair and imagination of the distinct Deco architectural style. The stucco building has characteristic horizontal bands and smooth edges, and still retains its original tower and signage. The tower was designed to house the ventilation for cooling equipment for Mulcahay’s, Woodland’s first frozen food locker business that also sold fresh and frozen meats. The building was converted to an upholstery shop in the 1960’s and since 1992 has been Makoto Kai healing arts center for yoga, massage and jujitsu.
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ):
509 College at the corner of College and Lincoln.
The Woodland Christian Church was the first Christian Church in Northern California. The church was founded in 1854 under an oak tree by Joshua Lawson. Mr. Lawson founded several other churches in Northern California.
The current Mission Revival styled sanctuary was dedicated on October 16, 1949. The building cost $108.275 and was built by Goodenough Construction Company with Mr. Church as the foreman. The beautiful rose windows and the stained glass chancel windows were part of the original construction.
The stained glass windows in the main part of the sanctuary are the result of extensive planning by a committee of parishioners. The windows were designed and created by a San Francisco company. Installation of the windows occurred between 1965 and 1975. Individual windows are in memory of one or more parishioners.
Heritage Oak Room is a small museum located on lowest floor of the Education building. The museum tells the story of the congregation and also of Hesperian College. Antique furnishings including the pulpit, the communion table, a collection box and chair are from the 1889 building. Pictures and other artifacts tell the story of the congregation’s development.
A small organ that belonged to Minna Cross is on display. The legs of the organ fold up and the top folds down to create a compact box. The organ is similar to ones carried by circuit riding preachers. Minna Cross played the organ for Sunday School in the 1889 building.
Hesperian College pictures portray the college as looked when it was dedicated at the exact hour of Lincoln’s inauguration in 1861. A pencil drawing shows the college as it appeared following a remodeling in 1890. (The drawing was executed by Imelda Rooney, long time teacher in Woodland.) A diploma earned by a graduate of the college is on display. Hesperian united with Pierce Christian College to move and become Berkeley Bible Seminary in 1896. In 1934 other colleges united and the college became known as Chapman College. Chapman University has its headquarters in Orange, CA and is a very vibrant university.
Hesperian’s last building in Woodland was bequeathed to Woodland High School. The bell which once rang to summon Hesperian students now serves as the Victory Bell to celebrate football victories at Woodland High School.
Yolo County Historical Museum, also known as Gibson House:
512 Gibson Road, just east of College Street
Situated on 2.5 acres of towering trees, historical plantings, and lawn, this Greek Revival style building is the former home of pioneers William Byas and Mary Gibson. The house, built in phases beginning in 1857, features a front facade of four Doric columns and a Southern Plantation style balcony. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Woodland Nursing and Rehabilitation:
678 Third Street between Cross and Oak Streets
Today known as Woodland Skilled Nursing Facility, when built in 1928 this three-story simplified Classical Revival hospital building represented the third version of a hospital facility located at this site. In 1911 the Woodland Sanitarium was constructed here after having been started in 1905 in a converted house at 110 College Street by nurse Kathleen McConnell. In 1920 the Sanitarium was enlarged to meet the needs of the Woodland Clinic medical group comprised of several physicians. William H. Weeks was the architect for both the 1920 and 1928 projects. The new owners have upgraded this historic building to house a modern facility.
Boy Scout Cabin:
525 Lincoln Ave between College and First St
This rustic redwood cabin has served as a meeting place for the Boy Scouts of America since its construction in 1932. Dr. H.J. “Doc” Camp is credited with being the pioneer of the Boy Scout movement in Woodland. He organized community fundraising drives to develop the cabin. The cabin is owned by a nonprofit trust that is currently raising funds to address needed repairs on the building so it can continue to serve the next generation of Scouts. There are currently four Boy Scout Troops, one Venture Crew Explorer Unit, and two Cub Scout packs using the cabin.
Elks Lodge No. 1299:
500 BUSH STREET | 1926
The Woodland Elks Lodge, No. 1299 designed by architect, William Henry Weeks, is an elegant example of the Mediterranean Revival style. The building has a low-hipped tile roof and a stucco finish. On the front elevation is a projecting first story and arched entry with decorative flashing tiles above. Molded upper arched windows are covered with a tracery reminiscent of Moorish architecture. Lower widows grouped in threes on each side of the arched triple entry are topped by decorative rectangular panels. The front windows also have a pair of engaged molded spiral columns separating them. A circular medallion over the center entry arch contains the Elk symbol executed in molded metal. A one-story annex on the east side (1950) conforms in style with the rest of the building.
The building contractor was J.A. Bryand of San Francisco. Joseph Motroni, Woodland resident and master mason and builder, was in charge of brick and concrete work. The interior features a large foyer, high ceilings, stained glass windows, elegant woodwork, a grand staircase, several comfortable rooms for dining and visiting, two offices, a huge kitchen plus the impressive Lodge Room on the second floor, the largest room in the building.
The Woodland Elks Lodge was founded in 1913 when 47 charter members were installed in the Odd Fellows Hall on Main Street. The Exalted Ruler was Ross C. Wilson. The chair of the building committee was P.T. Laugenour. By the end of that year rooms were secured on the second floor of the Bank of Woodland/Yolo Savings Bank, providing ample space for club rooms. Lodge sessions were held in the Native son’s Hall until their new building was completed in 1926.
Dingle Elementary School
625 ELM STREET | 1926
Since 1889 there has been a grammar school at the site where C.E. Dingle Elementary is located today. While the names of the school and the buildings have changed over the years the site has long played a significant role in the history of education in Woodland. Charles E. Dingle, principal for many years of Woodland Grammar School (today’s Dingle School) had the life motto of “What a teacher is, his pupils will be.” After his retirement in 1924, it was decided in 1926 to honor his devotion to education by changing the name of the school to C.E. Dingle Elementary School. His legacy is honored today through the teacher’s commitment to the education of their students.