Dixon, California

Dixon, with a 2010 population of 18,000, is a city located in Solano County just 23 miles from the state capital Sacramento. Aerial View of Dixon

Dixon's history dates back to the days of the California Gold Rush when Elijah Silvey founded the community of Silveyville, a stopping point for travelers on their way from San Francisco to the gold fields. By 1860, the town had a population of 160, but the California Pacific Railroad established its line through the settlement of Dicksonville bypassing Silveyville. Buildings were constructed near the station which was on land donated by farmer Thomas Dickson. The story goes that the railroad timetables were printed with the spelling of “Dixon” and Dicksonville became Dixon. Most residents of Silveyville relocated to Dixon, moving their buildings and homes down the road on rollers.

The Dixon that Andrew Strachan found in 1898 was deeply rooted in agriculture and had a population of 783 with more folks living on farms outside of town. The downtown boasted businesses to satisfy most any need – hotels, dry goods and hardware stores, livery stables and blacksmith shops, saloons and churches. The streets were dry and dusty during the summer and wet and muddy during the winter. Horse and bicycle racing and baseball were the popular sports. A view of downtown Dixon in the 1890s can seen here in the Dixon Public Library Archives.

In the Minutes of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church Volume 23 of 1900, the president of San Francisco Theological Seminary wrote “We are not half able to supply the demand for ministers. Washington asks for six and Nevada for two, and twice that number are needed in California.” The Dixon Presbyterian Church must have been a church lacking a minister as Andrew C. Strachan served that congregation as a student/interim pastor from 1898 to 1901. While a student, he would have needed to attend to his studies at the seminary in San Anselmo as well as prepare weekly sermons as pastor at the church. Travel between San Anselmo and Dixon, a 64 mile trip today, would have taken the good part of the day by trains and ferries.