Neighborhood Walking Tours
Free guided walking tours are small groups led by trained guides who are able to explain the architectural features and history of stops on the tour. Tours pass by homes but do not allow access. To see private residence interiors purchase tickets for the Open Homes Tour.
Information is available at the Stroll Heritage Plaza Information Booth
Each stroll lasts approximately 45 – 60 minutes. All terrain is flat on city sidewalks. Wear comfortable shoes and bring your camera. Stroll walking tours start at times and locations noted below.
2018 STROLL WALKING TOURS
VISIBLE HISTORY: DISCOVERING WOODLAND’S RENOWNED ARCHITECTURE AMONGST ITS COMMUNITY FOREST New Tour
Woodland is renowned for its beautifully restored historic houses built in a wide array of styles encompassing 160 years of history. Woodland residents from yesteryear crafted a beautiful small town carved out of an oak forest, creating attractive tree-lined neighborhoods and charming houses. Beginning in the 1960s, ambitious young preservationists seeking an authentic sense of place began renovating these unique homes, big and small, with a few dollars, frequent trips to Cranston’s Hardware, and the sweat of their brow. This “early bird” tour, filled with birdsong from Woodland’s tall and shady urban forest, will crisscross south First, Second and Third streets and observe changes in housing styles precipitated by architectural innovation, revival periods, and technological and social changes. Learn the basics of Victorian, Shingle, Prairie, Colonial Revival, Mission, Craftsman, Bungalow, Art Deco, Ranch, and eclectic styles. Strollers will be greeted by “historic” figures who designed and built the houses and their original “owners” telling their remarkable stories – and other surprises. See up close why Woodland is the “Jewel of the Valley” and a “City of Trees.”
8:30 AM tour starts at 756 First Street (corner of First and Pendegast streets)
Docents: David Wilkinson, Historian and Author & Roger Klemm, Architect
FABULOUS FIRST STREET’S ARCHITECTURAL TREASURES: PARTS 1 AND 2
Richly diverse with a wide array of Victorians, including the California State Landmark Gable Mansion, First Street contains a stunning variety of well-preserved architecture spanning the period 1860 to 1940, epitomizing Woodland’s extraordinary cultural heritage and social history. The homes set along this beautiful tree-canopied street have been lovingly restored by many homeowners over the last 50 years, including the Victorian at 638 First Street, winner of a national Great American Home Awards Grand Prize for restoration work and the fabulous Gable Mansion. This exceptional tour encapsulates American architectural history within a few breathtaking blocks.
Note: This tour will be divided into two parts to capture the grandeur and beauty of the entire street.
Part 1– 9:00 AM Tour starts at corner of First and Lincoln.
Docent: Chris Holt, Architect, Artist, and Woodland Planning Commissioner
Part 2—10:30 AM Tour starts at First and Cross streets in front of Gable Mansion
Docent: Mary Aulman
COLLEGE STREET PIONEERS AND PRESERVATIONISTS
College Street has a variety of upscale house styles, including Victorian-era Italianates, Queen Annes, Craftsman Bungalows, and the first Modernist home built in Woodland in 1912. Join docent Barbara Graham, who has intimately studied this neighborhood over the course of leading this fascinating walking tour for many years, for a step back in time to experience Woodland’s formative years. Learn about these upscale, renovated houses and who lived in them during the early days of Woodland. From a United States Congressman, a bank president, an author and a Women’s Christian Temperance activist, College Street was home to incredibly interesting and influential people. Fast forward a generation or two and meet some of the people who live on College Street and continue to preserve these architectural gems for us to enjoy today.
9:30 AM Tour starts at S/E corner of College & Lincoln streets (historic Woodland Christian Church)
Docent: Barbara Graham
BARNS & ALLEYS AND HIDDEN SURPRISES New Tour
This fun tour is full of surprises that kids (and adults) will love. This stroll will begin at Dog Gone Alley, one of Woodland’s two downtown alleys, weaving its way into hidden residential alleys. Strollers will discover some of Woodland’s seldom seen places and observe several barns and carriage houses from the horse and buggy days. Towering native valley oak trees and other specimen trees planted by families from bygone days will be discussed.
10 AM Tour starts at corner of Second Street and Dog Gone Alley (just south of Main Street)
Docent: Ken Trott
CRAFTSMAN BUNGALOW HEAVEN: PENDEGAST and ELM STREET TOUR New Tour
This “educational” tour winds its way along Pendegast and Elm streets filled with charming bungalows from the early 1900s, lovingly restored by their owners, to a very historic school site that began with Oak Street School in 1889 and continues today as Dingle School, originally built in 1924 as Woodland Grammar School. There is a colorful mural on the multipurpose building. The Dingle neighborhood features many fine examples of bungalows from the 1910-20 period and Victorians.
10:30 AM Tour starts at N/W corner of Pendegast and College streets.
Docent: Chris Campbell, Architect
PLAY “STUMP THE ARCHITECT” on this KALEIDOSCOPE of ARCHITECTURAL TREASURES TOUR New Tour
Join architect Roger Klemm, an authority and fan of Woodland’s architectural treasures, for a fun tour as he seeks out new and interesting observations and insights into the town’s exceptional historic buildings. Strollers will meander along streetscapes and skylines filled with cupolas, chrome streamline bandings, rustic Craftsman-style houses, a Carpenter Gothic church, shingled Victorian houses layered with different patterns, flat roofs, fanciful towers, colorful stained glass, and other architectural oddities and surprises that catch Roger’s eye. Strollers will get to play “stump the architect” by choosing buildings of interest that hold architectural mystery that only Roger’s trained eye and imagination can decipher. Join in the fun and learn how to “read” buildings for their architectural styles and details or create your own architectural terminology under the tutelage of the inventive “Professor” Klemm.
11 AM Tour starts at N/W corner of First & Bush streets.
Docent: Roger Klemm, Architect
DEAD CAT ALLEY New Stories and Buildings Added this Year
Featuring Jack Din with childhood stories of his family’s Tai Lee Laundry
In 1873 Sam Ruland had the misfortune of being robbed on Dead Cat Alley. Even before that time, the alley had already become one of Woodland’s most interesting landmarks. Today, most visitors are alarmed at the unusual name of the passage, but personal tales of “The Alley” bring its history to life. In 1853 Henry Wyckoff built a small store on the southeast corner of what is now First Street and Dead Cat Alley. The Tai Lee Laundry and the Din family later occupied the same building. 2018 Strollers will spend an hour to see how the commercial district grew from that corner and hear about happenings in the alley and Old Woodland. The tour will include 666 Dead Cat Alley, Woodland’s first post office and the Strand Theatre (“Woodland’s Photo-Play House De Luxe”), the Porter family influences in downtown, the city’s original railroad site and China Town – behind the Chicago Cafe, one of the oldest restaurants in California.
9:00 AM Tour starts at Downtown Heritage Plaza, Second and Main
Docents: Dino Gay and Rich Westphal (NSGW Woodland Parlor 30)
PRESERVING HISTORY WHILE MODERNIZING DOWNTOWN WOODLAND TOUR New Tour
Woodland is a classic Main Street town and a slice of Americana, with many outstanding well-preserved historic buildings and others undergoing renovation by bold and enterprising owners. The entire downtown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Yet Downtown is not static or frozen in time; its architectural history is evolving with new buildings soon breaking ground that speak to the 21st century while complementing Woodland’s historic buildings.
This tour will begin at Freeman Park, named by the city to honor town founder Frank Freeman when it was developed in 1925. The park is in transition, but has a bright future. Assistant City Manager, Ken Hiatt, will update everyone on plans for Woodland’s new downtown hotel soon to begin construction adjacent to the park. This tall building, designed with modern architectural touches, represents a real milestone: it’s Woodland’s first downtown hotel since the venerable Hotel Woodland was built in 1928, 90 years ago. Strollers will then walk a few blocks to the core downtown observing historic buildings, many designed in the popular Spanish Eclectic style which swept California in the early part of the 20th century. City planner, Steve Coyle, will discuss the new high density housing project to begin construction this year, designed with energy efficiency and economy in mind in an attractive contemporary style designed to appeal to first-time homebuyers who wish to live downtown.
We will stroll by stone buildings and learn their fascinating stories, and explore in detail the Victorian iron storefronts, including those recently uncovered and restored to colorful brilliance after years of being buried beneath outdated architecture. See up close the newly-renovated Meyer Building, which preserves art deco architecture from the ‘20s, and learn about the rebirth of the Winne Building, a 4-plex built in 1904 and saved from the wrecking ball by a local developer whose work will add more one-of-a-kind housing downtown.
Don’t miss this exciting tour as we learn first-hand how Downtown Woodland first began long ago and how it is reinventing itself as a cool and distinctive destination spot for locals and visitors alike.
11 AM Tour starts at Freeman Park, near Main & Sixth streets.
Docents: David Wilkinson, Assistant City Manager, Ken Hiatt, City Planner, Steve Coyle, and other surprise guests.