Biking in the streets of Monticello
There was a thriving agricultural town on the western side of the Sacramento Valley… that is until 1957.
In the Berryessa Valley, snuggled into Sacramento Valley’s western foothills, existed the town of Monticello. It was razed and burned by the Bureau of Reclamation to flood the valley and build Lake Berryessa.
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Monticello was vibrant with life. Farmers cultivated fields, men rode horses in an annual rodeo, youngsters rode bikes throughout town, locals played music at the local tavern, kids went to school, families met at the local restaurants, and everyone swam in the Putah Creek swimming hole. While there are few folks who are still alive who remember those times, they are still grieving their lost Valhalla. But their memories of a town, now 75 years old, are still very much alive.
The Historical Society of Winters has gathered photos, artifacts, and speakers to commemorate the lost town of Monticello because Winters shares a common history. The high school students from Monticello attended Winters High School. Many of the Winters Youth Day Sweethearts were from Monticello. Locals remember going up to the famous Monticello Rodeo the first Sunday every May. A Life Magazine article that never ran about the destruction of the little town, photographed by Dorothea Lange and Pirkle Jones, will finally see the light of day. The town lives on in the memories of many who scattered and resettled in Winters and other Yolo, Napa, and Solano County towns. And that memory is celebrated in the exhibit “Remembering Monticello” at the Winters Museum.
The Museum is located at 13 Russell St., Winters. It is open for visitors Thursday through Sunday from 1:00-5:00 pm.
Rob on the Road Visits the Museum
Carol McGinnis Fitzpatrick and Rob Stewart
Rob on the Road Visits the Winters Museum
"The Lost Town of Monticello" aired as part of an episode of Rob on the Road on KVIE 6.
The episode is available for viewing.