Saturday, April 21, 2018

New Exhibit - “Georgia Street: Ferries to Dairies – A History of Vallejo’s Main Street”

Georgia Street is not a particularly long street (4.1 miles), nor is it a very old street (some parts only a few decades), but it has thousands of stories to tell. From the ferries that docked at its foot to the dairy farms that once marked its eastern end, Georgia Street encompasses a wide array of building styles, commercial activity, neighbor- hoods, churches, schools, and varied modes of transportation. The history of Vallejo’s “Main Street” is the subject of the Museum’s newest exhibit, on display in the Hall of History through September 1st.
     Vallejo’s infamous “lower Georgia” was once the home of saloons, bordellos, and gambling dens – the playground of sailors on liberty. That gaudy side of our history has been well preserved in the art of Dorothy Herger and the writing of Brendan Riley. But Georgia Street is much, much more. It was also Vallejo’s main shopping district, home to department stores like Sears, J.C. Penney, City of Paris, Levee’s and Crowleys.  Heading further east, today’s “Heritage District” was the home of prominent citizens and eye-catching Victorian architecture. Longtime residents will recall driving over “the Hump” at the railroad tracks. Others will recall that a stretch near the intersection of Georgia and Tuolumne Streets was once mostly populated by Italian families.
     A post-WWII housing boom characterized the stretch of Georgia Street east of Highway 40 (now Interstate 80) and those neighbor-hoods continued to expand in more recent years into the east Vallejo hills. Today, at the easternmost end of Georgia Street, hikers can access the Bay Area Ridge Trail to gain a sense of what the region looked like before the growth of our city. Visit our newest exhibit soon to learn more about this interesting and historic thoroughfare.