Picturesque Rio Vista was first named Los Brazos del Rio (The Arms of the River) for its proximity to the confluence of the Sacramento River, Steamboat Slough, and Cache Slough. The river was once its reason for being, and the town’s huge wharf welcomed steamers like the New World and Eclipse that moved mail, freight, and passengers between Sacramento and San Francisco. The same river rose up to destroy the town after a massive flood in 1862. Although many decamped, a few determined survivors stayed on after the disaster and managed to secure a safer site for “New” Rio Vista, reborn as a thriving agricultural community. In the same spirit, Rio Vista incorporated as a city in December 1893, just 17 months after a fire burned most of its downtown. Now this growing city, close to luxury residential developments, sits atop the largest dry gas reserve in California.
Author Bio: Author Philip Pezzaglia is curator of the Rio Vista Museum and a well-known regional historian, author of a weekly history column in the River News-Herald since 2001. Selecting the best images from both the museum’s archives and private local collections, he tells the story of this plucky river city’s journey into the 21st century.
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