FAIRFIELD — Fairfield is close to the center of Solano County and is also midway between Sacramento and San Francisco.
The city has what real estate agents call “Location! Location! Location!” It has plenty of local attractions and such major roads as Interstate 80 and Highway 12 ready to serve those who want to explore beyond its borders.
Within Fairfield are the Anheuser Busch brewery, Jelly Belly, Solano Town Center mall, and the Rancho Solano and Paradise Valley golf courses. There are hiking opportunities at Rockville Hills Park and other open space areas. There are neighborhoods both new and dating back to the 19th century.
Within easy driving distance are San Francisco, Napa Valley and other destinations. Tourists can use Fairfield as a base for their day trips and avoid paying the higher hotel rates found in such places as Wine Country.
Fairfield owes its 1856 birth in part to its location. Nearby Suisun City at the time had the waterfront shipping access that made pioneer-era towns thrive. One writer of the era called the site where Capt. Robert Waterman wanted to found Fairfield a treeless plain.
But the city-to-be’s central location and available land made it ideal to serve as the Solano County seat of government. Waterman offered the county land where it could build a government center. Voters in 1858 approved moving the county seat from Benicia to Fairfield.
The city’s role as the Solano County seat remains a key component of its identity, with the 1911 county courthouse building and the modern, six-story county Government Center among the most striking local buildings.
Fairfield played second fiddle to Suisun City for decades. Things began to change in the early 20th century, as cars became popular and the newly built state highway passed through Fairfield. World War II brought Travis Air Force Base and the postwar years brought a rush to the suburbs. Relatively cheap home prices and easy freeway access all made for a Fairfield growth boom.
Fairfield has 105,321 residents, according to Census 2010. Vallejo is bigger by about 10,000 people, but the Association of Bay Area Governments predicts that Fairfield in coming decades will become Solano County’s largest city.
The city covers about 40 square miles. It recently annexed land near Travis Air Force Base for a community built around a proposed train station. If the vision becomes a reality, Fairfield will add more than 6,000 homes, new businesses in a Main Street-style area, industry and a park with a lake.
The Fairfield of today is far bigger than its founder likely could have imagined. Location has proven to be an asset the city has used to its advantage.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.
Number of rooms: 1,440
Contact: Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce, 707-425-4625, www.ffsc-chamber.com; Fairfield Tourism Association, 707-399-2445, www.fairfield4fun.com