FREEPORT — A tiny delta town is taking new steps to protect its history as suburban sprawl inches closer to its border each year.
The town of Freeport along the Sacramento River dates back to the gold rush days.
"It's a unique area that needs to be preserved," Bob Lake said.
Lake has lived in this town — known as the gateway to the delta — for 25 years.
"There's a tremendous amount of history," he said.
Its name stems from some pioneering merchants trying to avoid sending money to Sacramento.
"Because they were free of taxes, it was a free port," said Henry Yasui with the Sacramento County Department of Transportation.
Today, there are only about 100 residents still left, but there's still a drive to preserve Freeport's heritage. Residents are working with the county to build two monument interpretive signs that will help tell the town's tale.
"I think it will help educate the greater population about this unique area that they live in," Lake said.
"it will look great, it will be an introduction to the history and the gateway to the delta," Yasuii said.
A plaque will include info on the iconic Freeport Bridge, which is nearly 100 years old and was designed by the same man who built the Golden Gate Bridge.
What is now Highway 160 was once known as the Victory Highway, built after World War I and ran all the way to New York with trees along the path honoring fallen soldiers.
"This was the first highway that went across the entire country," Lake said.
The once-rural town is now seeing new development being built right up to its border. Years ago, the City of Sacramento offered to merge the town into the city limits.
"The people of Freeport rejected it, don't want to be a part of Sacramento," Lake said. "We have a unique history here."
It's a history they hope will be told by some new signs with people stopping to check out the area instead of just passing by.
"I don't think very many people understand the history, and they should," Lake said.
Sacramento County has completed designs of the new signs and plaque. Now they're seeking about $250,000 in grants to build and install the signs.
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