California LHA gives sign honoring Nut Tree

During the California Chapter LHA meeting on January 12 at the new Nut Tree complex on I-80 in Vacaville, Fentons Creamery restaurant was presented with a Historic Lincoln Highway sign by chapter president Norm Root. It will be displayed along with artifacts and photos from one of the best-known attractions in California, The Nut Tree.

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Above: Jim Braden, general manager of Fentons Creamery, receives a complimentary Historic LH sign from LHA CA chapter president Norm Root. Photo by Gary Kinst

Fentons traces back to 1894, and has been serving the San Francisco Bay Area at 4226 Piedmont Avenue since 1961. This second location opened here in 2007; it resembles a 1940s ice cream parlor with marble counters and tables, retro booths, and Art Deco lighting.

The Nut Tree was founded in 1921 as a fruit stand under the shade of a walnut tree and grew into a complex of restaurants, gift shops, entertainments, a railroad, and even an airplane runway.

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Since The Nut Tree closed in 1996, locals have missed it, so redevelopment plans include nods to the attraction. At the free Nut Tree Family Park, the original Nut Tree train winds through the landscape and past the Harvest Express roller coaster, the I-80 Traffic Jammers bumper cars, California Carousel, and other custom kid rides. Click on the map below to download a large PDF version.

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The childhood home of The Nut Tree founder, Harbison House, built 1906-07, has been moved 1,000 feet south to the 3.7 acre family park behind the retail complex. It is being preserved by the Vacaville Museum and will include memorabilia showing the history of the Nut Tree and California. The development also includes lodging, resdiences, offices, and even the Nut Tree Bocce Grove, a two-acre park patterned after the grand public gardens of Europe containing 8 international regulation bocce courts. Visit the Vacaville CVB for more about the Nut Tree development.

Another LHA sign dedication is planned for sometime in the next month at the Summit Garage in Altamont.

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