Walnut Grove is a census-designated place (CDP) in
County, California, United
States. It is part of the Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville Metropolitan Statistical
The population was 669 at the 2000 census.
Walnut Grove is located at (38.243490, -121.512100) .
According to the United
States Census Bureau
, the CDP has a total area of
3.5 square miles (8.9 km²), of which, 3.1 square
miles (8.1 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles
(0.9 km²) of it (9.86%) is water.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 669
people, 245 households, and 159 families residing in the CDP. The
people per square mile (83.1/km²). There were 282 housing units at
an average density of 90.5/sq mi (35.0/km²). The racial makeup
of the CDP was 49.78% White
, 3.14% Native
, 21.23% Asian
, 19.13% from other races
, and 5.08% from two
or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 46.79%
of the population.
There were 245 households out of which 31.0% had children under the
age of 18 living with them, 43.3% were married
living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no
husband present, and 35.1% were non-families. 31.0% of all
households were made up of individuals and 14.3% had someone living
alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size
was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.46.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age
of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to
64, and 16.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was
35 years. For every 100 females there were 95.0 males. For every
100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.9 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $40,179, and the
median income for a family was $39,667. Males had a median income
of $41,563 versus $23,417 for females. The per capita income
for the CDP was $14,939.
About 14.0% of families and 11.3% of the population were below the
, including 12.9% of those
under age 18 and 3.0% of those age 65 or over.
Established in 1850 by John W. Sharp, Walnut Grove is one of the
earliest settlements along the Sacramento River
. Sharp journeyed west from
Ohio with his young family and chose the site of Walnut Grove
because of the abundant walnut and oak forests in the area. The
town quickly prospered as an agricultural center and riverboat stop
(the forests were timbered for steamboat firewood) and a major
shipping port by 1865 for agricultural produce, and fish, with the
Bartlett Pear as its primary product. By 1870, it was a thriving
town full of small businesses (many owned by the Sharp family), a
school, post office, and Union Guard Armory.
After Sharp's death in 1880, the heirs sold a large portion of the
estate to Alex Brown and her son Alex. The Brown family
subsequently became heavily involved in the commercial life of the
community, operating a general store, hotel, an asparagus packing
house, and the well-known Bank of
. Due to the demands for rich agricultural land, its
size stayed compact but has the distinction of being the only river
town along the Sacramento River to occupy both the east and west
Ferry service operated for many years between parts of town on
either side of the river until the first bridge was opened in 1916.
The bridge, since replaced by a modern span, was the first
cantilevered counter-weight bascule drawbridge constructed west of
the Mississippi River
. It was
officially opened by the Governor of California who traveled with
various dignitaries to Walnut Grove on the gubernatorial
As early as 1914, a large Japanese community lived in Walnut Grove.
About 67 Japanese-owned businesses (with names and addresses) are
listed in the Nichi-Bei Nenkan (Japanese American Yearbook) of 1914
- including one tofu shop - Sakai Tofu-ya. There was still a tofu
shop in town in 1975, according to The Book of Tofu.
The community was racially segregated up to the start of World War II
. Only whites were allowed to own
homes on the West side of the river. Even on the East side, the
Asians separated into a Japanese section and a Chinese section.
There were two elementary schools [a 'white' school and Walnut
Grove Oriental Elementary] until the Japanese were forcefully moved
out of the area at the start of World War II. Then, the two
elementary schools [up to Grade 8] were combined. After elementary
school, the students were bussed to Courtland
for high school until that
school became identified as an earthquake hazard.
Chinese residents were immigrants from two different area from the
Delta region in Guangdong [Canton] China.
Chung Shan people resided in Locke, while
Walnut Grove was populated by immigrants from Toi Shan county in
During the Sino-Japanese
in the 1930s, the Walnut Grove-Locke-Isleton area was a
prime target for visiting Chinese government VIPs to raise funds
for the Chinese government.
The principal activities in the Walnut Grove Chinese community were
operating illegal gambling houses and Chinese restaurants.
services were primarily for migrant farm workers from the Philippines.
"Whites" were not allowed to enter for fear
they may be police authorities. Routine police raids were staged
during election times to demonstrate the Sheriff's "fight against
In the early 1930s, it was a thriving community until fire again
consumed the Chinese section in the mid 1930s. In its glory days of
the 1930s and early 1940s, a daily shuttle operated by the Ow
family carried Chinese to and from San Francisco; it also accepted
and executed orders for merchandise from San Francisco.
started from Courtland with stops at Locke, Walnut Grove and Isleton and returned nightly.
After World War II, gambling operations ceased, members from the
small Chinese community in Walnut Grove moved to the cities and
many elder Filipinos returned to their homeland.
Sugar beet harvesting was active up to the late 1940s. There were
two leading areas where trucks unloaded the beets into a hopper,
then conveyed up a belt and filled Southern Pacific
railroad cars for the trip
north to Sacramento for processing. Asian women worked in fruit
packing houses throughout the Delta area [Locke, Walnut Grove,
Ryde, Isleton] while men worked in the fields.
Sites of interest
Walnut Grove's location has made it the site of a rare collection
of very tall radio and television transmission towers. The first
major tower here was the KXTV/KOVR/KCRA Tower
built in 1962,
which dominated the skyline for over twenty years with its 1548
foot height. In 1985 the old tower was joined by taller structures.
Tower is, with a height of 2048 feet, one of the tallest
constructions in the world.
Two other guyed towers of
similar height are the 1996 foot high Channel 40 Tower
and the 2000 foot high
sited here at the natural corner of the California
Central Valley have line of
sight coverage of flat valley floor for over 60 miles(100
kilometers) to the north and to the south-southeast, and quite good
coverage into the Sierra
foothills and mountains across the valley to the northeast and
However, these towers and their guy-wires are a
significant hazard to aircraft, which can otherwise freely cross
most of the Central Valley at 656 feet of altitude.
Delta Meadows State Recreation Area
Located along the Railroad Slough Levee, and accessed from the
River Road between Walnut Grove and Locke, via a small gravel road
just north-east of the cross channel. Additionally, a docent
program through Delta Natural History Association provides canoes
with guides in the spring and fall, reserved through Brannan Island
Tin-San is commonly credited as the earliest resident of Locke,
He was the first Chinese to construct a
building on the Locke brothers' property, where he realized the
business potential of the Southern Pacific wharf and warehouse.
After the October 1916 fire which destroyed the Walnut Grove
Chinatown, a number of Chung-San District people moved to the area
and Locke was officially established. Lee Bing, the leader of the
group, financed nine of the buildings. Locke is one of the only
towns in the United States built entirely by Chinese. It was built
in 1915 and burned down twice. Locke was a bustling place with
gambling houses, merchant stores and a movie house all owned by the
Chinese. Locke today is much like it was many years ago. Most of
the original buildings are still standing. The Southern Pacific
wharf and warehouse was built in three stages, the first in 1906.
It grew to over in length. During the harvest season a half dozen
or more fruit packers would rent space in the warehouse, among them
were Scobel & Day, Simons & French, Earl Fruit Company, and
the California Packing Corporation. The rail spur served the
warehouse and connected with the Walnut Grove Branch line. The
warehouse operated two freight elevators which raised produce from
the decks of the riverboats. The warehouse is now used to store and
launch pleasure boats.
Lieutenant Governor, former Insurance Commissioner, former
legislator and Clinton cabinet officialM. David
- former Assemblyman, author, and lawyer
In the state
Walnut Grove is located in the 5th Senate
District, represented by
Democrat Michael Machado
, and in the 15th Assembly
District, represented by
Republican Guy S. Houston
Federally, Walnut Grove is located in California's 10th
, which has a Cook PVI
of D +9 and is
represented by Democrat John