August 20, 2019

History of Fairfield-Suisun

John Gabatin

The rear view of Solano County’s Superior Court House

Previously, we looked at the history of Vallejo and used some local routes to explore various historical sites. This time, we will look at Fairfield and Suisun’s history and the opportunities offered by the Red Line

The early inception of the cities began in 1837, when General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo sold a grant to Native American Chief Sem Yoto (aka Chief Solano); the chief settled in the area along with thousands of other natives. If the general’s name rings a bell, it is because he was also the same military official that helped establish Vallejo and Benicia. Withal, Chief Solano and his peoples’ stay in the region was short lived since most of them did not fare well with the European settlers. Eventually, Chief Solano sold back his grant to General Vallejo for $1,000 and all of the Native Americans moved and resettled in what is now Napa. Turned over for a $49,000 profit 13 years later, the grant was put into the hands of ship captain Robert H. Waterman by 1850. 

Did you know? There is a huge 12-foot bronze statue dedicated to Chief Solano in front of Fairfield’s Solano County Event Center!

Robert Waterman can be regarded as the original founder of Fairfield. He named it after his hometown in Fairfield, Connecticut and was responsible for laying out the townsite. In 1860, the first county buildings were built in what is now Suisun, including a courthouse and county jail. The Solano Superior Courthouse and Solano County Jail still stands today, and is within walking distance from the Suisun-Fairfield transit station served by the Red Line. Although it has undergone renovations throughout the course of time, it still can be regarded as a historical landmark that has stood for over 160 years. 

In 1903, Fairfield became formally incorporated as a city and a part of Solano County. In 2018, it boasted a estimated population of about 116,000 residents, which is almost a 3,700% increase from its population of 3,100 people in 1950. The cities are home to a variety of popular local sites, including the Solano Town Center in Fairfield and classic local dining establishments in Suisun. Take the Red Line, explore what both areas have to offer, and experience things for yourself! 

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