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.


2019 Stroll Walking Tours

DESIGNED FOR COMFORT: POST-VICTORIAN and MID-CENTURY MODERN ARCHITECTURAL TOUR New Tour
About a century ago in a neighborhood lined with mostly gabled wooden Victorian houses, newlyweds Bill and Florence Stephens shocked prim and proper Woodland by building a long, rectangular, flat-roofed house of stucco, punctuated with lots of windows and interior open space planning. This iconic house was shaded by a magnificent valley oak tree, preserving Woodland’s heritage and historical ecology. Influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, the design of this prairie-style house with an attached garage helped launch a new era of Woodland homebuilding reflecting modern, open, and informal lifestyles—and the popularity of the automobile. Entire neighborhoods, which we will explore, would soon be designed around the convenience of cars. Beginning with this iconic Woodland house, strollers will venture deeper into Woodland’s mid-century neighborhoods observing architectural and neighborhood designs from that era, including Ranch style houses promoted by Sunset magazine with the motto: Comfort never goes out of style.
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 today and continue to preserve these architectural gems for us to enjoy.

9 AM Tour starts at S/E corner of College & Lincoln streets (historic Woodland Christian Church)

Docent: Barbara Graham 

 

BARNS, ALLEYS, OAKS AND HIDDEN SURPRISES New Alleys Added

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

 

CHARMING SECOND STREET: GOTHIC TREASURES, VICTORIAN, CRAFTSMAN, SPANISH AND TUDOR STYLE HOMES New Tour

Near the start of this tour strollers will see a lovely Arts & Crafts Gothic Revival Church designed by a Berkeley master architect and later on a rare Gothic Revival home from the 1870s. Scattered throughout this tour are houses of many styles, shapes, and sizes, including Victorians, and many from the 20s and 30s, including Craftsman, Spanish eclectic, Tudor and an ancient valley oak tree with a bench providing shady respite on warm days. Join architect Kevin Bryan for a fun tour as he seeks out new and interesting observations and insights about this charming neighborhood he calls home.

11 AM   Tour starts at S/E corner of Second & Lincoln streets in front of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

Docent: Kevin Bryan, Architect

 

PLAY “STUMP THE ARCHITECT” on this KALEIDOSCOPE of ARCHITECTURAL TREASURES TOUR New Tour

Join architect Roger Klemm, a 30-year Stroll guide, and 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

 

EVOKING HISTORY: WOODLAND CEMETERY TOUR New Tour

What better way to spend an October morning than strolling through the beautiful 22-acre grounds of the Woodland Cemetery surrounded by elaborate marble monuments and humble grave markers, protected by a wide assortment of shady trees and watchful century-old ornamental palms. Led by historian Barbara Graham, learn the history of the cemetery, which dates to the 1850s as the site of a small country church and “graveyard” before Woodland was on the map. Hear colorful and touching stories of Yolo County’s pioneers, farmers, soldiers, politicians, builders, teachers, children, and firemen, whose lives and accomplishments are brought back to life through Barbara’s careful research and storytelling. Stroll through this peaceful outdoor museum, park and resting ground which has served the community since the first burial in 1850.

11 AM Tour will meet on the Cemetery’s West Cross Street entrance.

Docent: Barbara Graham

 

OUR COMMUNITY FOREST: LANDMARK TREES BIKE TOUR New Tour

Trees, they define Woodland: the “City of Trees.” This has been Woodland’s motto since at least 1930. But the community’s identification with its trees stretches back to 1861 when the town’s godmother, Gertrude Freeman gave Woodland its name. Some of the monarch valley oaks from that era still remain, although they are gradually disappearing due to old age, disease, and removal. Once the scene of thousands of valley oaks, today Woodland contains less than 900 of these native oaks measuring over 12 inches in diameter, mixed among a wide variety of trees planted in abundance by Woodland citizens throughout its history. Some of these prominent species, including valley oaks, cork oak, American elm, paradox walnut and Canary Island palms, have been designated city landmarks. Discover these amazing trees and others by strapping on your helmet and following Woodland Tree Foundation board member Rolf Frankenbach on a leisurely ride around the core area as he discusses current efforts to preserve and expand the community forest. Learn where Woodland’s largest and oldest trees are found, how the age of large oaks are determined, where world-renowned horticulturalist Luther Burbank’s walnut tree is planted, the whereabouts of a “fossil” tree on a school campus, and efforts to reintroduce oaks to Woodland. Look for acorns to collect, germinate and plant to contribute to the growth of Woodland’s community forest as we work together to cool our planet.

10:30 AM Tour will begin at City Park, corner of Oak/Walnut streets

Docent: Rolf Frankenbach, Woodland Tree Foundation  

 

Downtown Tours

DEAD CAT ALLEY New Stories and Buildings Added this Year

Featuring Victoria Lambert – Strand Theatre historical marker reveal

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. 2019 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, the Roth buildings and China Town – behind the Chicago Cafe, one of the oldest restaurants in California.

9 AM Tour starts at Downtown Heritage Plaza, Second and Main

Docents: Dino Gay and Rich Westphal (Woodland Parlor 30 NSGW)

 

TIME TRAVEL: Yolo City c1857 to Downtown Woodland c2019

New Tour

Long ago when the federal government subdivided Yolo County into 160 acre quarter sections through the Public Land Survey, there was no Woodland; only a scattering of modest dwellings, lots of oak trees, a schoolhouse and a small store called Yolo City run by Frank Freeman who would invent the town of Woodland in 1861. Today 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 architecture and culture, spanning 160 years, is evolving with new buildings underway or breaking ground whose designs 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. We will “map” the location of Freeman’s “Yolo City” store and the first school using government land maps from 1858, then follow the survey map along Main Street, originally named South Street when Freeman mapped Woodland in 1863. 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. Developer Dave Snow will discuss the new high density housing project at Third/Lincoln and a similar project being planned on the west side of 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 fourplex built in 1904 by Civil War veteran William Winne and saved from the wrecking ball by a local developer Ron Caceres whose work adds more unique 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.

 Docent:  David Wilkinson and other surprise guests