Billing itself as "one of the friendliest little cities in California," Tracy is located roughly 60 miles east of San Francisco. The city's roots are firmly tied to the agriculturally rich Central San Joaquin Valley. While Tracy may be defined by its farming heritage, it was originally established by the Central Pacific Railroad as a transportation hub. It was named for Lathrop J. Tracy, a railroad director and commercial grain merchant from Mansfield, Ohio. The town of Tracy incorporated in 1910. An irrigation district was established in 1915, which led to the start of a booming agricultural industry that continues today.
Because of its proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area, Tracy has experienced rapid growth in recent years, emerging into an important bedroom community for the nearby metropolitan areas of San Francisco and San Jose. Between 1990 and 2007, Tracy's population more than doubled, swelling to nearly 80,000 residents. At the same time, the city has endured some growing pains associated with this expansion, including traffic problems and a degree of overcrowding.
Despite this level of growth, Tracy continues to offer a coveted quality of life. With some of the best schools in the county and a host of community activities and recreational opportunities, Tracy has become a magnet for families seeking the good life for their children. The city offers its residents a multitude of housing options, from starter homes to luxury dwellings. It also has an array of dining, shopping and retail choices, ranging from the local West Valley Mall to the Historic Downtown District.
Some of the more popular residential neighborhoods are Barcelona, Lourence Ranch, Redbridge, Westgate, Belconte, and Crossroads.
The city has a population of about 80,000 residents and more than 18,000 houses. There are about 900 houses placed in a square mile's area and more than 70 percent of those are occupied by the owners.
Tracy has been successful in drawing major business and industries over the past few years. The city also drew a number of families due to its low home prices compared to that of the Bay Area home prices. The families that also were attracted to the city were looking for a comfortable lifestyle.
The major employers in Tracy are Summit Logistics, Defense Depot San Joaquin, Tracy Unified School District, Deuel Vocational Institute, Diversified Collection Service and City of Tracy.
Industries that support Tracy's economy are healthcare, construction, educational services, computer and electronic products and finance and insurance.
Proximity to the Bay Area allows Tracy residents to enjoy access to numerous professional sports teams, such as:
The Tracy Dry Bean Festival is an annual event celebrating dry beans. From chili beans to garbanzos (and every bean in between), the festival features a chili cook-off and a rib cook-off, as well as a competition for Bean Princess and Queen. Also featured is the "Ride for the Red" motorcycle poker run, proceeds from which benefit the American Red Cross.
There are several college campuses in the Tracy area, including the following: