The origins of Tracy are related to the mid-19th century construction of Central Pacific Railroad lines running from Sacramento through Stockton and to the San Francisco Bay Area. A number of small communities sprang up along these lines, including the one named for railroad director Lathrop J. Tracy.
Incorporated in 1910, Tracy grew rapidly and prospered as an agricultural area even when railroad operations began to decline in the 1950s. Beginning in the 1980s, Tracy experienced a growth spurt as people migrated to the city looking for affordable alternatives to Bay Area home prices, in addition to a more tranquil lifestyle. A steady period of growth ensued, as many companies found Tracy an ideal location for their distribution facilities. The city today is home to several of these distribution facilities and is setting its sights on newer industries, including expansion of hi-tech companies from their existing Silicon Valley bases. Tracy is just one hour away from San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento.
The population of Tracy more than doubled between 1990 and 2004, now with a population of 82,922, bringing with it a diversified demographic and economic base. With its growth, Tracy places great emphasis on family and community and maintaining a welcoming environment.
Tracy puts on events like its Dry Bean Festival annually and is currently working to revitalize its historic downtown area. The Grand Theatre was restored as The Grand in 2007 along with a re-imagined town hall.