Lodi is best known as a center of wine production (the "Zinfandel Capital of the World), although its vintages have traditionally been less prestigious than those of Sonoma and Napa counties. However, in recent years, the Lodi Appellation has become increasingly respected for its Zinfandel wine and other eclectic varietals. Nearby Woodbridge is the home of a very well known winery, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Its originator, Robert Mondavi, grew up in Lodi. Mondavi The Robert Mondavi Winery is considered one of the most influential men in the wine industry. Many credit him for introducing California wines as some of the finest on the world's stage.
Lodi recently gained international attention when local residents Hamid and Umer Hayat were charged in the first terrorism trial in the state of California. Both were alleged to be part of, or associated with, a terrorist sleeper cell. Hamid Hayat was convicted on April 25, 2006 of providing material support to terrorism by attending a training camp in Pakistan in 2003 and 2004, while the case of his father, Umer Hayat, ended in a hung jury on two counts of lying to the FBI. Umer Hayat later pleaded guilty to a charge unrelated to terrorism. Their case has been controversial, with a former FBI agent stating,"What we're doing to these Muslims is the same thing we did to the Japanese in the 1940s. It's the same fear and the same overreaction." The case is pending appeal.
When a group of local families decided to establish a school in 1859, they settled on a site near present-day Cherokee Lane and Turner Road. In 1869, the Central Pacific Railroad was in the process of creating a new route, and pioneer settlers Ezekiel Lawrence, Reuben Wardrobe, A.C. Ayers and John Magley offered a townsite of to the railroad as an incentive to build a station there. The railroad received a "railroad reserve" of twelve acres in the middle of town, and surveyors began laying out streets in the area between Washington to Church and Locust to Walnut. Settlers flocked from nearby Woodbridge, Liberty City, and Galt, including town founders John M. Burt and Dan Crist.
Initially called Mokelumne and Mokelumne Station after the nearby river, confusion with other nearby towns prompted a name change, which was officially endorsed in Sacramento by an assembly bill. Several stories have been offered as to the origins of the town's new name. One refers to a locally stabled trotting horse that had set a four mile (6 km) record, but as the horse reached the peak of its fame in 1869, it is unlikely that the notoriety would have still been evident in 1873. Alternatively, Lodi is a place in Italy where Napoleon defeated the Austrians and won his first military victory. More than likely, some of the earliest settler families were from Lodi, Illinois, and they chose to use the same name as their hometown.
In 1906, the city was officially incorporated by voters, passing 2 to 1. The fire department was established in 1911, and the city purchased the Bay City Gas and Water Works in 1919. Additional public buildings constructed during this period include the Lodi Opera House in 1905, a Carnegie library in 1909, and a hospital in 1915.
In the 2000 census, there were 20,692 households out of which 35.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.7% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.7% were non-families. 25.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who were 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.25.
In the city, the population was spread out with 28.2% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $39,570, and the median income for a family was $47,020. Males had a median income of $37,738 versus $27,073 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,719. 16.7% of the population and 12.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 23.3% of those under the age of 18 and 9.6% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
Early industries in Lodi included a saw mill, flour mill, vineyards, orchards, and cattle ranching.
The Lodi Land and Lumber Company saw mill was built on the south bank of the Mokelumne River in 1877, and relied on logs floated down from the Sierras during the rainy season. The mill was powered by a steam engine, and has a capacity of 40,000 board feet per day.
The "Flame Tokay" grape was introduced from Algeria in 1857, and was a central feature of the vineyards that gradually rose to prominence because of the sandy loam soil and the location directly east of the Suisun Pass. For a brief period during the late 19th century the vines were usurped in favor of watermelons and wheat, but price cuts and labeling problems encouraged farmers to plant more vines.
The early 20th century saw the establishment of several large manufacturers with national distribution capabilities, such as Supermold, the Pinkerton Foundry, the Lodi Iron Works, Pacific Coast Producers, Holz Rubber Company, Valley Industries, and Goehring Meat Company.
Today the Lodi area is home to several large manufacturing, general services, and agricultural companies, including Archer Daniels Midland, Blue Shield of California, Dart Container, General Mills, Holz Rubber Company, Kubota Tractors, Lodi Iron Works, Miller Packing Company, Pacific Coast Producers, Thule/Valley Industries, and Woodbridge-Robert Mondavi.
Lodi currently has two museums, the Hill House Museum, a restored Queen Anne Victorian built around 1906 for a wealthy Lodian, the museum has all of the house's original furniture. Also, the San Joaquin County Historical Museum is just south of Lodi, at the Micke Grove Regional Park, and traces the history of the area through many exhibits and interactive displays. It is the largest museum complex in the county.
A science museum, called the World of Wonders, is soon to take home in the Downtown Lodi parking structure. It will feature interactive science exhibits, classrooms, and a retail store. It will be modeled after the San Francisco Exploratorium.
The Lucky Devils are a rockabilly band from Lodi, CA, who are most well known locally for performing at the Lodi Downtown Farmer's Market.
Heritage Oak Winery: http://www.lodinews.com/articles/2008/03/03/business/1_heritage_080301.txt