The City of Davis was founded in 1868, it was originally named Davisville for Jerome C. Davis, a prominent local farmer. The Davisville post office shortened the town name in 1907 and the change was official when the city incorporated in March 1917.

Closely tied to the community's history is the University of California at Davis. UC Davis was established in 1908 as the "University Farm School". From its beginnings as an agricultural community, Davis is now recognized internationally for its contributions to life sciences, agriculture, veterinary medicine, biotechnology, medical technology and engineering.

The City of Davis is a university-oriented city of approximately 64,500. It has a unique university and residential community internationally known for its commitment to environmental awareness and implementing progressive and socially innovative programs. The City’s quality of life and vigorous progressive community is reflected in its small-town style and many well known symbols: energy conservation, environmental programs, green belts, parks, preservation of trees, British red double-decker buses, bicycle paths, record number of bicycles per capita, and the quality of its educational institutions.

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