Vallejo (/( ) / və-LAY-(h)oh; Spanish: [baˈʎexo] ba-YEH-ho) is a city in Solano County, California and the second largest city in the North Bay region of the Bay Area. Located on the shores of San Pablo Bay, the city had a population of 126,090 at the 2020 census. Vallejo is home to the California Maritime Academy, Touro University California and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.
Vallejo is named after Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, the famed Californio general and statesman. The city was founded in 1851 on General Vallejo's Rancho Suscol to serve as the capital city of California, which it served as from 1852 to 1853, when the Californian government moved to neighboring Benicia, named in honor of General Vallejo's wife Benicia Carrillo de Vallejo. The following year in 1854, authorities founded the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, which defined Vallejo's economy until the turn of the 21st century.
Vallejo was once home of the Coastal Miwok as well as Suisunes and other Patwin Native American tribes. There are three confirmed Native American sites located in the rock outcrops in the hills above Blue Rock Springs Park. The California Archaeological Inventory has indicated that the three Indian sites are located on Sulphur Springs Mountain.
The city of Vallejo was once part of the 84,000-acre (340 km2) Rancho Suscol Mexican land grant of 1843 by Governor Manuel Micheltorena to General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. The city was named after this Mexican military officer and title holder who was appointed in settling and overseeing the north bay region. General Vallejo was responsible for military peace in the region and founded the pueblo of Sonoma in 1836. In 1846 independence-minded Anglo immigrants rose up against the Mexican government of California in what would be known as the Bear Flag Revolt which resulted in his imprisonment in Sutter's Fort. This was subsequently followed by the annexation of the California Republic to the United States. General Vallejo, though a Mexican army officer, generally acquiesced in the annexation of California to the United States, recognizing the greater resources of the United States and benefits that would bring to California.
Following the American Conquest of California, Vallejo used his significant political influence to became a major force for reconciliation between Californios and Americans. In 1850, Vallejo proposed plans for a new city, to be called Eureka, with the capitol, university, botanical garden and other features. After a statewide referendum, his proposal was accepted, although a new name was decided upon: Vallejo. In 1851, a commission appointed by the Senate found a site on a hill that overlooked the bay and could see San Francisco on a clear day, and it was approved for its symbolic strategic value.
In 1851, Vallejo was declared to become the official state capitol, with the government prepared to meet for the first time the following year. In 1852, the legislature convened for the first time. Unfortunately, Vallejo didn't follow through with building a capitol for them to meet in. In 1853, it was again the meeting place for the legislature, solely for the purpose of moving the capitol officially to Benicia, which occurred on February 4, 1853, after only a month. Benicia is named after Vallejo's wife, Benicia de Vallejo. After legislature left, the government established a naval shipyard on Mare Island, which helped the city overcome the loss. Due to the presence of the shipyard, Filipinos began to immigrate to Vallejo beginning in the first decades of the 20th century. The yard functioned for over a hundred years, finally closing in 1996.
The U.S. government appointed the influential Vallejo as Indian agent for Northern California. He also served on the state constitutional convention in 1849. Afterward, Vallejo remained active in state politics, but challenges to his land titles around Sonoma eventually left him impoverished and reduced his ranch from 250,000 acres to a mere 300. He eventually retired from public life, questioning the wisdom of his having welcomed the American acquisition of California in the first place. Vallejo died in 1890, a symbol of the eclipse of Californio wealth, power, and prestige.
Although the town is named after General Vallejo, the man regarded as the true founder of Vallejo is John B. Frisbie. After his daughter Epifania married Frisbie, General Vallejo granted him power of attorney for the land grant. It was Frisbie who hired E.H. Rowe, the man who designed the city layout and who named the east–west streets after states and the north–south streets after California counties.
In the early 1900s, Vallejo was home to a Class D minor-league baseball team, referred to in local newspapers sometimes as the "Giants" and other times simply as "The Vallejos." Pacific Coast League star and future Chicago White Sox center fielder Ping Bodie played for Vallejo during the 1908 season, in which the team reached the California state title game. The team was disbanded in the early 1920s. Today it is home to the Vallejo Admirals of the independent Pacific Association.
Mare Island Naval Shipyard was a critical submarine facility during WW II, both for constructing and overhauling vessels.
The Zodiac Killer was a serial killer who was active in Northern California during the 1960s. He claimed to have killed 37, but the actual number is unknown. Three of the murders attributed to the Zodiac Killer took place within the city limits or nearby. Both the Vallejo Police Department and San Francisco Police Department investigated the murders but were never able to solve the case. The case was marked inactive in April 2004 but was reopened in March 2007. The Vallejo Police Department website has a menu tab for providing Zodiac Crime Tips. The case also remains open in additional jurisdictions.
According to United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 49.5 square miles (128 km2). Land area is 30.7 square miles (80 km2), and 18.9 square miles (49 km2) (38.09%) is water. The Napa River flows until it changes into the Mare Island Strait in Vallejo which then flows into San Pablo Bay, in the northeastern part of San Francisco Bay.
Vallejo is located on the southwestern edge of Solano County, California in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California. Vallejo borders the city of Benicia to the east, American Canyon and the Napa county line to the north, the Carquinez Strait to the south and the San Pablo Bay to the west.
Several faults have been mapped in the vicinity of Vallejo. The San Andreas Fault and Hayward Faults are the most active faults, although the San Andreas is at some distance. Locally, the Sulphur Springs Valley Thrust Fault and Southampton Fault are found. No quaternary seismic activity along these minor faults has been observed with the possible exception of a slight offset revealed by trenching. The Sulphur Mountain and Green Valley faults have been associated with the Concord Fault to the south. The Concord Fault is considered active.
Historically there have been local cinnabar mines in the Vallejo area. The Hastings Mine and St. John's Mine contribute ongoing water contamination for mercury; furthermore, mine shaft development has depleted much of this area's spring water. Both Rindler Creek and Blue Rock Springs Creek have been affected.
Vallejo has a mild, coastal Mediterranean climate and can be an average of 10 °F (6 °C) cooler than nearby inland cities. Vallejo is influenced by its position on the northeastern shore of San Pablo Bay, but is less sheltered from heatwaves than areas directly on or nearer the Pacific Ocean/Golden Gate such as San Francisco and Oakland. Although slightly less marine, average temperatures range between 8 °C (46 °F) in January and 19.8 °C (67.6 °F) in July. However, summer is very long with June–September being almost equal in historical average temperatures. This seasonal lag sees October averages being higher than in May in spite of it being after the Equinox (meaning less daylight than darkness).
|Climate data for Vallejo|
|Record high °F (°C)||84.9
|Average high °F (°C)||57.0
|Daily mean °F (°C)||47.7
|Average low °F (°C)||38.3
|Record low °F (°C)||19.0
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||5.2
|Average precipitation days||11||10||9||6||3||1||0||0||1||4||8||10||63|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
Vallejo was named the most diverse city in the United States in a 2012 study by Brown University based on 2010 census data, and the most diverse city in the state of California by a Niche study based on 2017 American Community Survey data. In 2022, Vallejo was again named the most diverse small town in America, with a 77% chance any two residents would be of a different census racial category 
The 2010 United States Census reported that Vallejo had a population of 115,942. The population density was 2,340.3 people per square mile (903.6/km2). The racial makeup of Vallejo was 38,066 (32.9%) White, 25,572 (22.1%) African American, 757 (0.7%) Native American, 28,895 (24.9%) Asian (21.1% Filipino, 1.0% Indian, 0.9% Chinese, 0.5% Vietnamese, 0.2% Japanese, 0.2% Korean, 0.1% Laotian), 1,239 (1.1%) Pacific Islander, 12,759 (11.0%) from other races, and 8,656 (7.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 26,165 persons (22.6%). Non-Hispanic Whites numbered 28,946 persons (25.0%).
The Census reported that 114,279 people (98.6% of the population) lived in households, 1,130 (1.0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 533 (0.5%) were institutionalized.
There were 40,559 households, out of which 14,398 (35.5%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 17,819 (43.9%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 7,214 (17.8%) had a female householder with no husband present, 2,755 (6.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 2,804 (6.9%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 497 (1.2%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 9,870 households (24.3%) were made up of individuals, and 3,255 (8.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.82. There were 27,788 families (68.5% of all households); the average family size was 3.36.
The population was spread out, with 26,911 people (23.2%) under the age of 18, 11, 69 people (10.1%) aged 18 to 24, 30,053 people (25.9%) aged 25 to 44, 33,312 people (28.7%) aged 45 to 64, and 13,999 people (12.1%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males.
There were 44,433 housing units at an average density of 896.9 per square mile (346.3/km2), of which 24,188 (59.6%) were owner-occupied, and 16,371 (40.4%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 9.4%. 68,236 people (58.9% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 46,043 people (39.7%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the census of 2000, there were 116,760 people, 39,601 households, and 28,235 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,493.3/km2 (3,867.9/mi2). There were 41,219 housing units at an average density of 527.2/km2 (1,365.4/mi2). The racial makeup of the city was 35.97% White, 23.69% African American, 0.66% Native American, 24.16% Asian, 1.09% Pacific Islander, 7.88% from other races, and 6.56% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.92% of the population.
As of 2000, residents with Filipino ancestry made up 20.74% of Vallejo's population. As of 2009, Vallejo is the 9th largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, 48th in the state of California, and 215th in the U.S. by population.
There were 39,601 households, out of which 36.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.1% were married couples living together, 16.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.7% were non-families. 22.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.90 and the average family size was 3.43.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 27.6% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $47,030, and the median income for a family was $53,805. Males had a median income of $40,132 versus $32,129 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,415. About 7.7% of families and 10.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.2% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 64 or over.
|Black or African American||22.1%||21.2%||16.6%||5.8%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||22.6%||10.8%||6.1%||N/A|
- Top employers
According to the city's 2021 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||Kaiser Permanente Medical Center||4,023|
|2||Six Flags Discovery Kingdom||1,500|
|3||Vallejo City Unified School District||1,124|
|4||Sutter Solano Medical Center||634|
|5||City of Vallejo||541|
|6||Touro University California||530|
|7||California Maritime Academy||345|
Arts and culture
In recent years, Vallejo has attracted a large community of artists to the region in search of lower rent and larger work-spaces. Artists pushed out of larger Bay Area cities like San Francisco and Oakland have been working with city leaders to revitalize the once blighted downtown area.
The artist-run Vallejo Art Walk scheduled on the second Friday of every month in downtown Vallejo has been recognized as a hub for artists in the Bay Area and the entirety of California.
As early as the 1940s and before, Vallejo is known to have had a well-formed gay community, which was a short drive or boat ride away from San Francisco. At one time Vallejo boasted eight gay bars. After a migration of gays and lesbians from San Francisco in the decade 2000–2009, openly gay members of the community encountered what they described as a backlash against them. The school district was threatened by the ACLU to be sued for harassment of a 17-year-old lesbian by school administrators. The school settled the lawsuit with the student. The school agreed to pay her $25,000, adopt a more stringent non-discrimination policy and include a curriculum that positively portrayed gay and lesbian people.
The Government of Vallejo is defined under the Charter of the City of Vallejo. It is a council–manager government and consists of the Mayor, City Council, and numerous departments and officers under the supervision of the City Manager, such as the Vallejo Police Department, Vallejo Fire Department, Vallejo Public Works Department, and Vallejo Economic Development Department. As of February 2021, the council consists of Robert McConnell (Mayor), Rozanna Verder-Aliga (Vice Mayor), Hakeem Brown, Cristina Arriola, Mina Loera-Diaz, Katy Miessner, and Pippin Dew.
On May 6, 2008, the City Council voted 7–0 to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, at the time becoming the largest California city to do so. Stephanie Gomes, Vallejo City Councilwoman, largely blames exorbitant salaries and benefits for Vallejo firefighters and police officers. Reportedly, salaries and benefits for public safety workers account for at least 80 percent of Vallejo's general-fund budget. On November 1, 2011, a federal judge released Vallejo from bankruptcy after nearly three years.
Residents of Vallejo participate in elections for the Solano County Board of Supervisors districts 1 and 2. As of January 2013, these were represented by Supervisors Erin Hannigan and Linda Seifert.
In the California State Legislature, Vallejo is in the 3rd Senate District, represented by Democrat Bill Dodd, and in the 14th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Tim Grayson. In the United States House of Representatives, it's in California's 5th congressional district, represented by Democrat Mike Thompson.
On April 17, 2012, the City Council approved the first citywide participatory budgeting (PB) process in the United States. The Council allocated $3.4 million to the Vallejo PB process and since then, Vallejo residents and business and property owners have been developing and designing project ideas. They have vetted and reduced more than 800 project ideas to 36 projects that will be on the ballot. Vallejo residents 14 years of age and older will vote and choose six out of 36 projects to vote on from May 11 through May 18, 2013.
The second cycle of participatory budgeting in Vallejo was initiated on February 4, 2014, with $2.4 million allocated. A public vote open to all residents of Vallejo age 16 and over took place in October 2014.
Vallejo has seen a rate of killings by police officers that is significantly higher than the national average and other Bay Area cities. These incidents included the fatal shooting of Willie McCoy by six officers in 2019 and the shooting of Sean Monterrosa, who was unarmed, during protests following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. One of the officers who killed McCoy had previously killed an unarmed man as he fled, while another killed three men over a five-month period and was later promoted. Vallejo Police killed 19 people between 2010 and 2020. In 2012, police shootings accounted for six of the 20 homicides to occur in the city, and the frequency of officer-involved shootings stood at around 38 times the national rate.
Universities and colleges
- California Maritime Academy (part of the CSU system)
- Solano Community College – Vallejo
- Touro University California
Vallejo's public transit includes the San Francisco Bay Ferry, which regularly runs from downtown Vallejo to the San Francisco Ferry Building. SolTrans buses carry passengers around the cities of Vallejo and Benicia, as well as offer express services to Fairfield, California, and Bay Area Rapid Transit stations in El Cerrito, California and Walnut Creek, California. Evans Transportation buses provide daily service to Oakland International Airport from a Courtyard by Marriott hotel adjacent to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.
Vallejo is accessible by Interstate 80 between San Francisco and Sacramento, and is the location for the northern half of the Carquinez Bridge. It is also accessible by Interstate 780 from neighboring Benicia to the east, and by Route 37 from Marin County to the west. Route 29 (former U.S. Route 40) begins in the city near the Carquinez Bridge and travels north through the heart of the city and beyond into Napa County.
The principal local newspaper is the Vallejo Times Herald. The community is also served by the Vallejo Independent Bulletin, OpenVallejo and by Vallejo Community Access Television (VCAT 27).
|City||Country||Year of Partnership|
- Larry Asera, businessman
- April Bowlby, actress
- Raymond Burr, actor
- Raphael Cruz, acrobat and actor
- Rockmond Dunbar, actor
- Lodena Edgecumbe, dancer, dance educator
- Cleven "Goodie" Goudeau, award-winning art director/cartoonist
- Wesley Mann, actor
- Ed Rollins, political advisor
- Lauren Silva, painter
- Monique Alexander, pornographic actress, nude model, and 2017 AVN Hall of Fame inductee
- Ted Albrecht, National Football League player
- C. J. Anderson, National Football League player
- Brandon Armstrong, National Basketball Association player
- Dick Bass, National Football League player
- Jahvid Best, National Football League player
- Jabari Bird, pro basketball player
- Ping Bodie, Major League Baseball player
- Bobby Brooks, Major League Baseball player
- Bill Buckner, Major League Baseball player
- Willie Calhoun, San Francisco Giants baseball player
- Kwan Cheatham (born 1995), basketball player for Ironi Nes Ziona of the Israel Basketball Premier League
- Tyler Cravy, Major League Baseball player
- Joey Chestnut, competitive eater
- Natalie Coughlin, swimmer with 12 Olympic medals
- Ward Cuff, National Football League player
- Thomas DeCoud, National Football League player
- Mike Felder, Major League Baseball player
- Augie Garrido, University of Texas baseball coach
- Jeff Gordon, NASCAR 4-time champion, 5-time Brickyard 400 winner, 3-time Daytona 500 winner
- Damon Hollins, Major League Baseball player
- Fulton Kuykendall, National Football League player
- Tony Longmire, Major League Baseball player
- Tug McGraw, Major League Baseball player
- Mike Merriweather, National Football League player
- Mark Muñoz, Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter
- DeMarcus Nelson, National Basketball Association player
- Rashad Ross, National Football League player
- CC Sabathia, Major League Baseball player
- Sammie Stroughter, National Football League player
- Joe Taufete'e, player for USA Rugby
- Barton Williams, Olympian track and field
- Baby Bash
- Celly Cel
- Con Funk Shun
- DJ D-Wrek
- Funky Aztecs
- Johnny Otis
- Larry June
- Little Bruce
- Mac Dre
- Mac Mall
- The Mossie
- Norma Tanega
- Nef the Pharaoh
- One Vo1ce
- Paul Foster
- Reek Daddy
- Roy Rogers
- Sleep Dank
- Sly Stone
- SOB X RBE
- The Click
- Turf Talk
- Young Lay
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Vallejo Choral Society, a local arts non-profit founded in 1917
- Official website
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