Editor’s note —
ChicoSol Adviser Denise Minor writes the second story in our Highway 99 series on Knights Landing, a northern outpost of Yolo County, on the Sacramento River. Knights Landing was an ancient gathering place for Native Americans and later a steamboat landing. Minor describes the town, about 10 miles from Highway 99 as the crow flies, on a morning in 2009.
by Denise Minor
The playground equipment is covered with a fine coat of dust at Grafton Elementary School in Knights Landing. A few plastic grocery bags are caught in the shrubbery. In front of the mural of white and Hispanic farmers shaking hands are empty parking places reserved for “Principal” and “Secretary.” At picnic tables, two older men wearing cowboy hats sit in the shade of large trees and chat in Spanish.
It is late morning on a September weekday, but there are no children at this school. There are probably no school-aged kids in the entire town of 1,100. The Woodland Joint School District, given its enormous budget deficit, shut down Grafton last June, and now busses 120 students to other towns. As autumn moves into Knights Landing, this sleepy pueblo of farm workers and retirees just grew even quieter.