Lodi (pronounced /ˈloʊdaɪ/) is a city located in San Joaquin County, California, in the northern portion of California's central valley. As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 56,999. As of a 2005 estimate, the city had a population of 62,133. The California Department of Finance's population estimate as of Jan. 1, 2009 is 69,411. In recent years it has become an increasingly popular exurb for commuters priced out of home ownership in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Lodi is best known as a center of wine production (the "Zinfandel Capital of the World"), although its vintages have traditionally been less prestigious than those of Sonoma and Napa counties. However, in recent years, the Lodi Appellation has become increasingly respected for its Zinfandel wine and other eclectic varietals. Nearby Woodbridge is the home of the well known winery, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi. Mondavi grew up in Lodi, and Mondavi Winery is considered one of the most influential in the American wine industry.
When a group of local families decided to establish a school in 1859, they settled on a site near present-day Cherokee Lane and Turner Road. In 1869, the Central Pacific Railroad was in the process of creating a new route, and pioneer settlers Ezekiel Lawrence, Reuben Wardrobe, A.C. Ayers and John Magley offered a townsite of 160 acres (0.65 km2) to the railroad as an incentive to build a station there. The railroad received a "railroad reserve" of 12 acres (49,000 m2) in the middle of town, and surveyors began laying out streets in the area between Washington to Church and Locust to Walnut. Settlers flocked from nearby Woodbridge, Liberty City, and Galt, including town founders John M. Burt and Dan Crist.
Initially called Mokelumne and Mokelumne Station after the nearby river, confusion with other nearby towns prompted a name change, which was officially endorsed in Sacramento by an assembly bill. Several stories have been offered as to the origins of the town's new name. One refers to a locally stabled trotting horse that had set a four mile (6 km) record, but as the horse reached the peak of its fame in 1869, it is unlikely that the notoriety would have still been evident in 1873. Alternatively, Lodi is a place in Italy where Napoleon defeated the Austrians and won his first military victory. More than likely, some of the earliest settler families were from Lodi, Illinois, and they chose to use the same name as their hometown.
In 1906, the city was officially incorporated by voters, passing 2 to 1. The fire department was established in 1911, and the city purchased the Bay City Gas and Water Works in 1919. Additional public buildings constructed during this period include the Lodi Opera House in 1905, a Carnegie library in 1909, and a hospital in 1915.
As of the 2000 census, 68,000 people or 14,339 families resided in the city, in 20,692 households. The population density was 4,657.9 people per square mile (1,798.0/km²). There were 21,378 housing units at an average density of 1,747.0/sq mi (674.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 74.42% White, 0.60% African American, 0.87% Native American, 5.05% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 13.99% from other races, and 4.95% from two or more races. 27.13% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Of the 20,692 households counted in the 2000 census, 35.8% included children under the age of 18, 51.7% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.7% were non-families. 25.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who were 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.25.
In the city, the population was spread out with 28.2% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $39,570, and the median income for a family was $47,020. Males had a median income of $37,738 versus $27,073 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,719. 16.7% of the population and 12.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 23.3% of those under the age of 18 and 9.6% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
Lodi is flat terrain at an elevation of approximately 50 feet (15 m) above mean sea level datum. Historically the area has had some grazing land uses as well as grain production.
There has long been a movement in the area to preserve a "greenbelt" as a buffer zone between Lodi and Stockton in order to keep the two cities separate.
Lodi has cool, wet winters, often characterized by dense ground fog, and very warm, dry summers. Due to the city's proximity to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, summer temperatures usually dip into the fifties at night. Fog and low overcast sometimes drifts in from San Francisco Bay during the summer and it can be breezy at times especially during the night.
Average January temperatures are a maximum of 53.9°F and a minimum of 37.3°F. Average July temperatures are a maximum of 91.5°F and a minimum of 55.6°F. There are an average of 65.3 days with highs of 90°F (32°C) or higher and an average of 30.5 days with lows of 32°F (0°C) or lower. The record high temperature was 111°F on June 15, 1961. The record low temperature was 11°F on January 11, 1949.
Annual precipitation averages 17.20 inches, falling on an average of 59 days. The wettest year was 1983 with 35.40 inches and the dryest year was 1976 with 7.18 inches. The most rainfall in one month was 15.01 inches in January 1911. The most rainfall in 24 hours was 3.76 inches on December 11, 1906. Snow is very rare in Lodi, but 1.5 inches fell on January 12, 1930. January is the wettest month.
Early industries in Lodi included a saw mill, flour mill, vineyards, orchards, and cattle ranching.
The Lodi Land and Lumber Company saw mill was built on the south bank of the Mokelumne River in 1877, and relied on logs floated down from the Sierras during the rainy season. The mill was powered by a steam engine, and has a capacity of 40,000 board feet per day.
The "Flame Tokay" grape was introduced from Algeria in 1857, and was a central feature of the vineyards that gradually rose to prominence because of the sandy loam soil and the location directly east of the Suisun Pass. For a brief period during the late 19th century the vines were usurped in favor of watermelons and wheat, but price cuts and labeling problems encouraged farmers to plant more vines.
The early 20th century saw the establishment of several large manufacturers with national distribution capabilities, such as Supermold, the Pinkerton Foundry, the Lodi Iron Works, Pacific Coast Producers, Holz Rubber Company, Valley Industries, and Goehring Meat Company.
Today the Lodi area is home to several large manufacturing, general services, and agricultural companies, including Archer Daniels Midland, Blue Shield of California, Dart Container, General Mills, Holz Rubber Company, Kubota Tractors, Lodi Iron Works, Miller Packing Company, Pacific Coast Producers, Thule/Valley Industries, and Woodbridge-Robert Mondavi.
The Hill House Museum, a restored Queen Anne Victorian built around 1906 for a wealthy Lodian, contains historical exhibits relating to the history of the town, including the house's original furniture.
The San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum, the largest museum complex in the county, is just south of Lodi, at the Micke Grove Regional Park, and traces the history of the area through many exhibits and interactive displays.
Lodi is well known for the town's production of grapes and wine. Lodi is referred to as the wine-grape capital of California. Every September there is a Grape Festival held which includes rides, food, and wine tasting. Also popular is the Spring Wine Show (held in late March/early April, so as not to coincide with Easter every year), which showcases the area's 50-plus award-winning wineries.
Taste of Lodi is one of the area's most prestigious food and wine events. The event supports tourism growth in the Lodi's community and features over 40 award-winning Lodi wineries along with food selections from some of the area's finest restaurants and caterers. The event also has wine seminars, chefs demonstrations, live music and a Port, Cigar and Chocolate Pavilion.
Born in 2005 by the Lodi Winegrape Commission, this wine event is held at Lodi Lake and features Lodi's finest Zinfandel wines. Usually held on the third weekend of May, this event includes a Friday night dinner called "Vintner's Grille".
Changing Faces Theater Company is a non-profit, student-run organization, which is supported by the Lodi Arts Commission. An annual two week production occurs each summer and is cast with mostly local children ranging from age six up to college students and, sometimes, a few adults. The production is normally staged at Jessie's Grove Winery where a number of additional activities are typically held at the same time.
A Creedence Clearwater Revival song was named for Lodi, CA, although the songwriter John Fogerty, admits he had never actually visited the city and simply thought it was "the coolest sounding name". Still, the song, with its chorus "Oh, Lord, stuck in Lodi again," has been the theme of various events in the city including a past Grape Festival.