The Sierra Miwoks were the first dwellers of the area and enjoyed rich fishing such as salmon or Kos-sum (the Miwok name for salmon and also how the Cosumnes River got its name) in the Cosumnes River, seven varieties of oak trees, and the relatively even climate.
Elk Grove is known as a rich dairy and agriculture area for growing a variety of crops in its fertile soil. Wheat was easy to grow, but over time many other crops emerged. Among them were corn silage, hops and of course wineries; all made big impacts on the area.
The Elk Grove House & Stage Stop Museum is the centerpiece of Heritage Park. Heritage Park is a small park consisting of many artifacts and four museums: the 1850 Stage Stop, the 1853 Foulks House, the 1911 town jail, and the blacksmith shop. The museum was a stage stop on the Monterey Trail from New Helvetia (Sutter’s Fort) to Monterey, the Mexican capital. It was built in 1850 by James Hall, who enjoyed the Tule Elk and seven varieties of oak trees in the area. It stood alone and was the first known recorded name of Elk Grove. It was later sold to the Brown family who built a barn and used it as a dairy for many years. The original location was in the northbound lane of Highway 99, but it had to be torn down in the mid-1950s, and a replica was erected just 100 yards east and where it stands today. The rich stories involving each building provide some interesting history to our small community. There are free tours every first Saturday of the month and many events throughout the year.
Town of Buckner
The small town of Buckner was built just a few years later than the Stage Stop and was located just a mile north. A Post Office was added, and it is known as the second Elk Grove location.
Elk Grove Railroad and Railroad Depot
In 1868 the second rail line out of Sacramento came through Elk Grove, and it connected us to Stockton and the rest of the world. For some reason, it was built a mile east of Buckner and became the third and final Elk Grove location as all commerce moved to the boarding station. Instead of hauling goods or visiting people in other towns by horse-drawn wagons, taking hours and days to move goods, they could now send or receive items within just a few hours. Later two more rail lines came through the area in 1910; one was located to the west and went through Franklin, and it is still in use today. The second was the Traction line to the east that went through Sheldon. This line had a third electrified rail and was later abandoned.
Elk Grove High School
In 1893, the second high school in the county was built in Elk Grove. It wasn’t until 1977 that Valley High School became the second high school built in the Elk Grove Unified School District. The first high school, Sacramento High, was built in the middle of town. Grove High was unique because it was in a rural community where families wanted their children to attend elementary schools to learn to read, write, add and subtract, but when they became older, they wanted the children to stay home to help with the farming and the house. Wise community members went house to house and ultimately raised enough funds and support to construct the school.