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History - Discover Winters


The Putato Indian village existed in the area long before the first white settlers arrived in the 1840’s. By that time the village population had been decimated by diseases like smallpox. A Mexican land grant in 1842 led to the arrival of many white settlers, and they began cultivating vegetables, fruit trees,grape vines, as well as live stock. In 1875 the town of Winters, named after land holder Theodore Winters, was established when the railroad crossed into Yolo County. By 1876 Winters had become a busy agricultural and commercial center with three trains daily. There were banks, hotels, traveling businessmen and visitors, as well as the merchants and ranchers that provided the town’s base. In April 1892, a major earthquake heavily damaged many business buildings and residences. After rebuilding and establishing a high school, the City of Winters was incorporated in 1898. During the next century Winters grew to just under 7000 residents. In following the boom and bust cycles of the rest of the country, Winters at times had multiple auto dealers and retail businesses and at other times vacant boarded up store fronts. Over time the crops have changed from primarily dried and fresh fruits to walnuts and almonds, but agriculture has remained the central core of the community. Today Winters remains a stable, picturesque, and vibrant small town, located in the heart of a rich agricultural area and possessing a strong sense of pride and community.