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The First City Plan of Vallejo, California -- Developed by John B. Frisbie.

Rare early plan of the City of Vallejo, California, Surveyed by E. H. Rowe, Civil Engineer, and published by Britton & Rey in San Francisco.

The map shows the layout of the town, as conceived by Rowe and Frisbie, along with the rail line of the California Pacific Railroad along the Bay, opposite Mare Island.  

The Telegraph Road to Benicia is shown, tracking the route of Colonel Stockton's Telegraph Line, which had been established in 1867.  Along the waterfront, 5 wharves are shown.


The city of Vallejo was once part of the 84,000-acre Rancho Suscol Mexican land grant of 1843 by Governor Manuel Micheltorena to General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. The city was named after this Mexican military officer and title holder who was appointed in settling and overseeing the north bay region. General Vallejo was responsible for military peace in the region and founded the pueblo of Sonoma in 1836. In 1846, independence-minded Anglo immigrants rose up against the Mexican government of California in what would be known as the Bear Flag Revolt which resulted in his imprisonment in Sutter's Fort. This was subsequently followed by the annexation of the California Republic to the United States. General Vallejo, though a Mexican army officer, generally acquiesced in the annexation of California to the United States, recognizing the greater resources of the United States and benefits that would bring to California. 

In 1850, Vallejo proposed plans for a new city, to be called Eureka, with the capitol, university, botanical garden and other features. After a statewide referendum, his proposal was accepted, although a new name was decided upon: Vallejo. In 1851, a commission appointed by the Senate found a site on a hill that overlooked the bay and could see San Francisco on a clear day, and it was approved for its symbolic strategic value. In 1851, Vallejo was the official state capitol, with the government prepared to meet for the first time the following year. In 1852, the legislature convened for the first time. Unfortunately, Vallejo didn't follow through with building a capitol for them to meet in. After being forced to meet in a leaky building, sitting on barrels, they motioned to move sessions to Sacramento, and served there for the remainder of the session after only 11 days. In 1853, it was again the meeting place for the legislature, solely for the purpose of moving the capitol officially to Benicia, which occurred on February 4, 1853, after only a month. Benicia is named after Vallejo's wife, Francisca Benicia Carrillo. After legislature left, the government established a naval shipyard on Mare Island, which helped the town overcome the loss.  With the establishment of the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in 1854, Vallejo began to flourish. Mare Island grew into the largest ship construction and repair facility in the world during WWII  

Although the town is named after General Vallejo, the man regarded as the true founder of Vallejo is John B. Frisbie. After his daughter Epifania married Frisbie, General Vallejo granted him power of attorney for the land grant. It was Frisbie who hired E.H. Rowe, the man who designed the city layout and who named the east-west streets after states and the north-south streets after California counties.   

Frisbie encouraged settlers to stay in the area and sold them lots to build houses and businesses upon. He helped establish the city's government, supported the thriving wheat-shipping business, presided over banks and founded the White Sulphur (Blue Rock) Springs Resort. It was also due in part to Frisbie's diligent lobbying in Washington D.C., that Vallejo was officially incorporated as a city in 1867.


The map is very rare on the market.  We were not able to locate any other examples coming to market at auction or in dealer catalogs.  We locate examples at the Huntington Library, Bancroft Library (UC Berkeley) and UC Davis.

Yale also holds a later variant edition, adapted for use by John Middleton & Son, to conduct a real estate sales by auction on September 21, 1868.

Condition Description
Lightly varnished and laid on linen, as issued. Some soiling. Light stamp "Remington Collection in the left part of Mare Island.