Soil hungry farmers came to the Salinas Valley in the early 1900s to establish this town, the first pre-planned community in the region. Getting an acre of land was truly the luck of the draw for these early settlers, many of them Danish and Swiss immigrants. It was the lure of wide-open land, 4,000 acres in total, that enticed them to settle this arid, windswept area.
The land, part of the original Arroyo Seco Rancho, was owned by the California Home Extension Association. It was put up for sale in a public drawing in Los Angeles in 1905. Each acre came with water rights, and a purchase of 2.5 acres gave the buyer an option on a lot in town.
Those fortunate buyers were the beginnings of Clark City. They were an intrepid group with a common bond, an understanding that to flourish they needed to create a community. The official town name became Greenfield after the president of the Association, Edward Greenfield. Or, it could have been a nod to the color of the surrounding alfalfa fields. The historical consensus leans to the side of Mr. Greenfield.
In the early days, dry farmers pitched tents for their families who all worked the land, growing wheat, barley in addition to alfalfa. The Clark County Water Company developed an irrigation system of canals, bringing water from the Arroyo Seco River to the thirsty crops. The struggle to farm challenged even the hardiest families. Land was sold. Swiss immigrants brought with them the expertise for a new industry, dairy farming. Wells were dug to help supplement the irrigation system and milk cows were a fixture of the landscape well into the 1940s when row crops began to dominate the agricultural panorama of the Valley.
Greenfield continues to be a destination for those looking to put down roots in place that honors its past by staying true to the ideals of its — celebrating together is key to this forward thinking community.
It’s early history is notable.
It began as a dry city and stayed that way until 1932.
At one time, it was considered the “Corn Nut Bastion of the World” and boasted a processing plant in town.
Claus Spreckels considered expanding his sugar beet operation to include Greenfield.
Early buildings were constructed with limestone found near the Arroyo Seco River.
It was the fourth fastest growing city in the state in the early 2000s.
It hosts a Harvest Festival every October.
Greenfield is a jumping off point for:
The Steinbeck Literary Trail