| Citrus Heights |
Population by Year
There were 33,478 households out of which 30.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.4% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.3% were non-families. 26.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $43,859, and the median income for a family was $51,207. Males had a median income of $38,614 versus $29,399 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,744. About 5.6% of families and 8.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.9% of those under age 18 and 6.1% of those age 65 or over.
Throughout most of the Spanish-Mexican period of the growth of California (1542-1848), settlement was limited to a narrow coastal strip along El Camino Real, with only a few isolated frontier outposts of civilization. One of these outposts was the vast estate of John Augustus Sutter, a German-Swiss immigrant, who was granted 11 square leagues of land in the Sacramento Valley under the condition that he settle 12 other families on the land. One of these Mexican land sub-grants was the Ranch Del San Juan, an approximately 20,000 acre (80 km²) tract of rich farm land originally granted in 1844. This sub-grant included present-day Citrus Heights.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of February 1848 ended the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), and California was ceded to the United States. The discovery of gold and the rush of 1849 that followed saw the population of the new territory increase from roughly 10,000 in 1848 to approximately 50,000 at the end of 1849. In September 1850, California pressed the United States government for admittance into the Union and became the 31st state. California's Mexican land grant parcels were then divided up into a smaller American county-township system, with Sacramento County being one of California's original 27 counties. Townships were established throughout the county, with present-day Citrus Heights a part of Sacramento County's Central Township. Central Township had no settlements, few inhabitants, and no roads when it was first established.
Central Township's isolation ended abruptly in 1850 when a new shorter road to Auburn knifed its way diagonally through the Township following along present-day Auburn Boulevard to Sylvan Corners, where it veered off in a northerly direction along today's Old Auburn Road. From early spring to late fall, heavily loaded freight wagons traversed this dusty road bound for Auburn, leading to a number of way stations along the route for teamsters to stop for a night's sleep.
Early pioneer settlers in the Central Township established their ranches in the late 1850s along Old Auburn Road. As a rule, each pioneer family settled on a quarter section (160 acres) of land, built a house and a barn, dug a well, and set about clearing the land for farming. Because the land had to be cleared of native oak trees, many of the early settlers earned their income selling cords of firewood to nearby Sacramento. Early farmers sold their wheat crops to flouring mills, while hay and barley were grown mostly for use as food for their livestock.
A schoolhouse was built in 1862, spurred on by W.A. Thomas' conviction that Citrus Heights housed enough children to justify a school district. Mr. Thomas donated five acres of land on the northwest corner of Sylvan corners, and deemed it Sylvan School. Once completed, it became the educational, civic, social, and religious center of the community. Community parties and church services were held in the small, one-room building, as well as daily classes. In 1864, the County Board of Supervisors approved a petition by local farmers to provide an access road from Old Auburn Road to the eastern part of the district, which has since been known as Greenback Lane. In January 1863, ground was broken for the Central Pacific Railroad, and a year later the railroad passed through the Central Township. The completion of the railroad through the area brought an influx of settlers and increased exportation of agricultural crops by local farmers. Continued migration of settlers to the area led to the need for a second grammar school, the San Juan School, south of Winding Way.
Among the newcomers of the 1860s and 70s was Cornelius Donahue, who established a ranch near Citrus Heights in 1863, then expanded it in 1872 to include the lands that now house Sunrise Mall and Birdcage Center shopping centers. Peter Van Maren, an early settler who was a leading agriculturalist in the region, maintained a vast estate of nearly 1,000 acres (4 km²) by 1875. In 1910, the quiet pastoral life of the rural Sylvan district underwent a marked change when the real estate firm Trainor & Desmond bought up large tracts of idle land and subdivided them into 10 acre lots. As a promotional ploy to attract buyers, the firm replaced the name Sylvan with the more euphonious sounding name of Citrus Heights, and it has remained so.
Adolph Van Maren, successor to his father Peter Van Maren, played a leading role in community development for many years. He served on the San Juan School Board, and contributed to the development of the San Juan High School in 1915. The present site of the Citrus Heights Community Club House on Sylvan Road is on land donated by Van Maren, while the actual building is the old Sylvan School House moved after a new school facility was built in 1927. The increase in both resident population and visitors traveling on the new state highway led to increased business opportunities. William Cobb established a store and service station opposite the school, and Mr. Alexandra established the Cripple Creek Service Station and Auto Camp further up on Auburn Boulevard.
A volunteer fire-fighting group was organized in 1934, and later in 1935 the Citrus Heights Fire District, Inc. was born. One of the most fondly remembered community activities was the annual Road Days, sponsored by the Community Club. Begun in 1924, almost all of the township's 200 families came out to help patch holes in country roads, clean drainage ditches, plant trees on school grounds, and lay sidewalks. Although the first small library facility in Citrus Heights was run out of a private home with an inventory of 50 books in 1908, the community built a new library building at the corner of Auburn Boulevard and Sylvan Road in 1930. The year 1932, during the Great Depression, saw the end of the Citrus Heights attempts at fruit farming, as a winter freeze destroyed most of the working orchards.
A substantial influx of newcomers following the end of World War II put a severe strain on Citrus Heights' limited water supply. New subdivisions of one, two, and five-acre lots were creating increasing needs for the provision of public facilities to new families seeking a rural town. In 1947, Citrus Heights obtained its own post office. New businesses continued to appear along Auburn Boulevard, Mariposa Avenue, and Greenback Lane to accommodate the growing population. Increasing demand for housing in the 1940s attracted developers to the area, which was easily accessible from Interstate Highway 80 and the Southern Pacific Railroad system, with a local switchyard.
The San Juan Unified School District saw phenomenal growth and completed the decade with eight elementary schools and one high school. Around this time, Mrs. Eugene Desimone organized the Citrus Heights Ladies in White as an emergency rescue unit of 50 members, each holding advanced first-aid cards and required to respond 24 hours a day. The advent of professional ambulance service in 1983 led to the group's disbandment.
By 1960, the population of rural Citrus Heights had reached 22,600. Auburn Boulevard continued to serve as the community's main street, spurred by the construction of the Grand Oaks Plaza (1960), one of the first enclosed malls in the country. Later, significant commercial development, including Sunrise Mall, Birdcage Walk, Fountain Square, and Sunrise Village, shifted the commercial focus eastward toward Greenback Lane. During this time, the rocket motor manufacturing plant Aerojet General was booming; employing more than 19,000 people at its peak during the early 1960s, after which it saw a steady decline to less than 4,000 in 1977. The plant attracted new residents to Citrus Heights, developing a more professional and scientific demographic.
In 1970, ground was broken for the giant Sunrise Mall, spurring a great deal of new growth in the Sunrise Boulevard-Greenback Lane area. By 1975, 101 shops, anchored by four department stores, employed 2,500 people within Sunrise Mall. Then in 1976, across Sunrise Boulevard from the Mall, rose Birdcage Walk, a collection of shops and businesses laid out along a park-like walkway. The two shopping centers spurred the construction of hundreds of businesses in the surrounding area. Sunrise Village, the third of the city's big three retail centers, began construction around 1976. The Village, located at the intersection of Sunrise Boulevard and Madison Avenue, added approximately of retail space in the 1980s. Radiating outward from the Sunrise and Greenback commercial corridors were large office buildings and row upon row of new apartment house complexes and housing tracts, the bulk of which were built during the 1970s and 1980s.
In 1974, a Community Planning Advisory Council was formed to update the Community Plan and provide for orderly growth of the area. The objective of the updated Community Plan was to provide a balance of land uses that were mutually compatible, functional, healthful, and aesthetically pleasing. The community then decided the solution to achieving orderly and efficient development, circulation and public facilities was incorporation, rather than annexation into the city of Sacramento. That same year, voters affirmed their position with an overwhelming defeat to consolidate with the capital city.
The incorporation movement experienced a number of defeats throughout the 1970s and 1980s, attributable primarily to opposition by the County Board of Supervisors. During this time, the Citrus Heights Community Council, an advisory body to the County Board of Supervisors, fought for increased land use controls and public services. The community's population was spiraling upward, and quickly developing the last of the area's rural properties. The county seemed unable to resolve growing problems resulting from increased urban growth, particularly the number of county Sheriff officers needed to combat the community's car thefts, residential burglaries, and vandalism.
In November 1984, the leadership of the Chamber of Commerce led the final effort to bring cityhood to Citrus Heights. A handful of citizen-members of the Chamber of Commerce circulated petitions and received the necessary signatures to start the incorporation process, forming the Citrus Heights Incorporation Project (CHIP).
During the next several years, CHIP fought an uphill battle with the County of Sacramento to place the incorporation on the ballot. The County Board of Supervisors sued the County Local Agency Formation Commission and CHIP, arguing that all County residents, rather than Citrus Heights residents alone, should be allowed to vote on incorporation. Opponents argued that all residents of the County would be affected by possible tax revenue losses from a Citrus Heights incorporation. In 1993 the matter was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, who declined to hear the case, letting the Supreme Court of California ruling stand that only residents of the proposed City should vote on incorporation.
In 1994, after agreement with the County was reached, the effort gained momentum and took on the challenge to raise funds to pay for the mandated Environmental Impact report. Once accomplished, the County Board of Supervisors approved the measure for the November 1996 ballot and a full campaign was initiated.
Finally, after a 12-year battle with the County of Sacramento, the Citrus Heights residents voted on the issue. The voters approved the measure to incorporate the City on November 5, 1996, effective January 1, 1997. The measure won handily, with 62.5% of the votes.
The department operates under a unique philosophy, much akin to a corporate environment as opposed to a government or military philosophy. Examples include officers receiving bonuses in the form of cash for exemplary performance and officers who work patrol receive a one month paid sabbatical in addition to their regular vacation time. The department’s motto is to have a work-life balance and department heads are very attuned to the idea of family and making sure officers enjoy that balance.