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 at Second and Main streets.
Each stroll lasts approximately 45 minutes to an hour. All terrain is flat on city sidewalks. Wear comfortable shoes and bring your camera. Stroll walking tours start at times and locations noted below.
* Walking tour No. 1: “Woodland – The Jewel Of The Valley Architectural and Arboreal Tour,” starts at 8:30 a.m. at Gable Mansion, First and Cross streets with docents David Wilkinson and Roger Klemm.
During this “early bird” tour strollers will criss-cross south College, First, and Second Streets to discover the architectural and arboreal treasures of Woodland’s historic neighborhoods. We will be serenaded by the many birds that make their own home along shady streets where the variety of trees match the rich array of architectural house styles that will be discussed on this tour. Learn the basics of Victorian, Shingle, Colonial Revival, Mission, Craftsman, Bungalow, Art Deco, Ranch, and eclectic styles and the history behind the houses during a fun and interactive leisurely stroll. Several varieties of tree species that comprise Woodland’s lovely urban forest, including ancient native oaks, will also be viewed.
* Walking tour No. 2: “Dead Cat Alley East, and Dog Gone Alley,” starts at 9 a.m Downtown Heritage Plaza, Second and Main streets, with docent Dino Gay.
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. 2013 strollers will learn about the 102 year-old Electric Garage building, Utility District No. 17 and the site of the old Woodland Winery – near By Hell’s whisky shop in Yolo City. The locations of old Chinese businesses will also be visited before crossing Main to Dog Gone Alley. There the group will be introduced to the infamous “Hillertown” area – with stories of the notorious Shirt Factory – and the sites of old saloons.
* Walking tour No. 3: “Dead Cat Alley West, and Dog Gone Alley,” starts at 10:30 a.m at Downtown Heritage Plaza, Second and Main streets with docent Dino Gay.
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. Strollers will see how the commercial district grew from there and will also visit the site where Woodland’s original railroad crossed the alley. Then it’s on to the site of China Town – behind the Chicago Cafe, one of the oldest restaurants in California. The group will cross Main to Dog Gone Alley to see the sites of the Pacific House and the Yolo Theatre. The group will learn the history of the Hotel Woodland (and Byrns Hotel site) before ending the tour at the “dog leg” of Dog Gone Alley – featuring the Jackson and the Van Vliet buildings.
* Walking tour No. 4: “Fabulous First Street’s architectural treasures: Parts 1 and 2.” Part 1 starts at 9 a.m at the corner of First Street and Lincoln Avenue with docent Patrick Talbott. Part 2 starts at 10:30 a.m at First and Cross streets in front of Gable Mansion ending near Marshall Street with docent Mary Aulman.
Richly diverse with a wide array of Victorians, including the California State Landmark Gable Mansion, First Street contains a stunning collection of eclectic architecture spanning the period 1860 to 1940, epitomizing Woodland’s extraordinary social and architectural heritage. The homes along this beautiful 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.
Note: This tour will be divided into two parts to capture the grandeur and beauty of the entire street.
* Walking Tour No. 5: “Woodland’s Painted Ladies,” starts at 9:30 a.m at the northwest corner of First Street and Lincoln Avenue with docent Don Easton.
Have you noticed how Woodland’s Victorian neighborhoods have brightened up in recent years? Inspired by the colorist movement sparked by San Francisco’s “Painted Ladies”, Woodland owners of these vintage homes have added multiple exterior paint colors to accentuate architectural detail. Woodland-based house painter, Don Easton, has painted many of these charming “Painted Ladies” in recent years, working closely with homeowners on selection of colors. He will lead a tour of several of these Victorians discussing exterior house colors and what’s involved in prepping and painting century-old houses. Learn special techniques used then and now to preserve the integrity of some of Woodland’s architectural treasures.
* Walking Tour No. 6: “Elegant College Street Victorians,” starts at 9:30 a.m at the southeast corner of College Street and Lincoln Avenue (historic Woodland Christian Church) with docent Barbara Graham.
Stroll elegant College Street to Pendegast and view classical Italianates and picturesque Queen Anne homes and also Woodland’s first Modernist style home, built in 1912. Many of these early Woodland landmark homes have been exuberantly restored and painted by their owners. Learn the history of Woodland pioneer families that settled this area, including the Pendegast family, Hesperian College and the first public high school.
Note: Strollers will meet at the historic Mission Revival style Woodland Christian Church for a short docent-led tour of the church museum and sanctuary before beginning the walking tour.
* Walking Tour No. 7: “Barns, alleys and hidden surprises,” starts at 10 a.m at the corner of Dog Gone Alley and Second Street (just south of Main Street) with docent Ken Trott.
This intriguing tour weaves through the south side of Woodland’s alleys where you will discover some of Woodland’s seldom seen places, visit several barns from a bygone era and carriage houses from the horse and buggy days, and see ancient Valley Oak trees and other specimen trees planted by families from those earlier times. Investigate what’s on the other side of Woodland’s historic homes.
* “Walking Tour No. 8: Elm Street and Craftsman bungalows,” starts at 10:30 a.m at the northwest corner of Elm Street and Lincoln Avenue with docent Chris Campbell.
This “educational” tour, led by Woodland architect, Chris Campbell, winds its way down Elm Street with charming Victorians and bungalows to a very historic school site that began with Oak Street School in 1889 and continues today as Dingle School, originally built in 1924 as Woodland Grammar School. There is a colorful mural on the new multipurpose building. The Dingle neighborhood features many fine examples of Bungalows from the 1910-20 period, while at the end of the tour classic Craftsman Bungalows along Pendegast Street await strollers.
* Walking Tour No. 9: “Beamer Park,” starts at 11 a.m at the Beamer arches at Third and Beamer streets with docent Carole Dahnke Ishikawa.
Shortly before World War I, the young UC Berkeley-educated developer, Hewitt Davenport, subdivided the old Richard and Rebecca Beamer homestead and hired prominent landscape architect, Mark Daniels, to design something different for Woodland: an upscale, master planned enclave with curved streets and round-about, fountain, an architectural gateway, a public park-and pricey home lots. A private train was chartered from Sacramento to promote the grand opening of Beamer Park in June 1914. The complete build out of the Park took more than 40 years, interrupted by WWI, the Great Depression, and WWII, and accounts for the broad range of housing styles. Several talented builders left their mark on Beamer Park, including William Fait and Joseph Motroni, whose works will be highlighted on this tour. Recent improvements to the Beamer Park streetscape will also be discussed.
* Walking Tour No. 10: “Storybook houses from the Roaring ’20s,” starts at 11 a.m at the southwest corner of Second and Cross streets with docent Roger Klemm.
The “Roaring Twenties” was a time of optimism, prosperity, a relaxing of social mores and, in the architectural realm, an embracing of romantic “storybook” styles of houses, including re-creations of domestic images of Europe culled from the World War I experience. Take a journey to this wonderfully diverse and fine period of home building featuring “revival” styles of Tudor, Spanish, Colonial, and Cape Cod.
* Walking Tour No. 11: “Downtown Woodland – stones, rotundas, brick and iron, silver screens, and more,” starts at 11 a.m at Downtown Heritage Plaza, Second and Main streets with docent David Wilkinson.
Woodland is a classic Main Street town and a slice of Americana, with many exceptional well-preserved historic buildings and others undergoing renovation by enterprising owners. The entire downtown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On this tour we will visit several beloved architectural showpieces that are key icons of Woodland: the Valley Jewel. Themes explored on this tour include the stone buildings of Woodland, the earliest brick buildings, the Carnegie Library Rotunda, cast iron storefronts, early movie theaters, Gladding-McBean architectural terra cotta buildings, and much more.