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A slideshow version of a 37 page booklet by me titled “Tiny Davis, CA” is available in the right-hand sidebar of this blog.*
In that slideshow/booklet, I document how very small Davis was from its founding to after World War II.
Three forms of evidence are reviewed: 1) the number of people, 2) the number of buildings and 3) how the village looked from the air in 1924, 1936, and 1939.
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Because Davis was so unlike many other California places in its size and slow growth, I then ask: why was it so stagnant?
I offer three reasons: 1) concentrated land ownership that “land-locked” the village; 2) conservative culture that discouraged in-migration; and, 3) student-townspeople tensions that kept possible newcomers away. There are likely, of course, several additional reasons, some of which I mention.
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I have felt it necessary to do this analysis because of the tendency of some historically minded people to depict pre-World War II Davis as a much larger place than it was.
Instead, I think the evidence is clear that Davis was a surprisingly tiny place.
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