’80s: A second Gold Rush

The community, in an undated photo (the late 1980s?).

January 1980: The Country Club’s new Parasol Room opens. Streets and sidewalks are completed in Units 2 and 3. Work has begun on a dam for Lake Calero, which presently is about seven surface acres in size. The dam will bring it to more than 100 acres.

April 1980: A drawing is held for lots in Unit 3. The two-hour session yields $4.6 million in sales and closes deals on 40 percent of the available lots. Prices range from $21,000 to $43,500. In addition to estate lots up to one-third acre in size, the lottery features an innovation, 90-foot circle lots, designed, according to sales literature, to allow builders to site a home with the maximum capture of solar energy.

August 1980: Ford Motor Co. shoots a commercial for the new Mustang at several locations around Rancho Murieta.

August 1980: In the last two months, more than $3 million in homes and townhouses have been sold, the community’s real estate operation reports. Unit 3 streets and utilities are being completed, and Unit 4 is under development, projected for a grand opening next year.

October 1980: Rancho Murieta Properties Inc., developers of the community, proposes a $10-a-month increase in homeowner dues, up from about $25 a month.

January 1981: After 18 months of negotiations, a deal to sell Rancho Murieta falls apart. The Pension Trust Fund of the Operating Engineers, owners of the land, has been talking a deal with Davis farmer Jack Anderson, Pacific Coast Building Products Inc. and a party who was to be a silent partner, Sacramento developer Robert C. Powell. Although the negotiations will sputter on for a few more months, it’s a pivotal moment when Powell walks away from the deal. The price being discussed was $35 million, which would have made it the largest real estate transaction in county history.

June 1982: Community voters approve the creation of the Community Services District and elect the first five members to the board.

July 1982: Some 600 people participate in the community‘s first July 4 parade of golf carts, bikes, trikes and wagons, which begins at 4:30 p.m. on Murieta Parkway. “Decorations and costumes are encouraged,” says a note to the community. The parade is followed by a picnic dinner at the Gazebo. For sale are $2 dinners — two hot dogs, corn or beans and salad.

July 1982: The first meeting of the Community Services District is held. Richard Brandt is elected president and Marion Cravens is elected vice president.

This photo is believed to be the expansion of Lake Calero in the early ’80s.

November 1982: Lake Calero is dedicated, adding 2,600 acre feet of water to the community’s supply.

June 1983: The community’s population — 681 adults and 160 children. There are 196 residents in the Village.

June 1984: By a 9-1 margin, Rancho Murieta voters approve expanding the powers of the two-year-old Community Services District. The vote is 373-41 to allow the CSD to offer such services as firefighting, emergency medical aid, garbage collection and mosquito abatement.

That’s the Country Club lawn, across from the snack bar.

July 1984: Hollywood stars Loni Anderson and Lynda Carter spend a week in Rancho Murieta filming an episode of the TV show “Partners in Crime.” With a few signs and flags, Rancho Murieta is turned into Ganders Health Spa for the show. The episode, called “Getting in Shape,” airs just before Christmas.

The firehouse and (for now) the Community Services District Building was completed and opened to the public in October 1984. Note the space to the left, where the Murieta Plaza shopping center will be.

November 1984: The Community Services District takes over responsibility for Rancho Murieta security, relieving the Rancho Murieta Association of the job.

February 1985: Residents are invited to a meeting with U.S. Postal Service officials to discuss that agency taking over mail delivery. Presently, the RMA delivers mail, but only Mondays through Fridays. Before this change can happen, the community must abandon its present system of house addresses, which uses community lot numbers rather than the true postal addresses, and install cluster mailboxes for centralized delivery and pickup.

June 1985: The Federal Aviation Administration announces Rancho Murieta will be the site of a new combined flight services station. Part of a national consolidation of FAA stations, the Rancho Murieta office will replace operations in Sacramento, Marysville, Fresno, Montague, Red Bluff and Stockton.

July 1985: Security assigns a full-time officer to horseback patrol of the community’s back country.

August 1985: Davis farmer Jack Anderson agrees to pay $42.2 million for the Rancho Murieta development, ending more than five years of negotiation and settling lawsuits. In 1984 Anderson sought $400 million in a lawsuit against the owners, the Pension Trust Fund of Operating Engineers Local 3, claiming the group had reneged on an agreement to sell him the development in 1981. Also a party to the settlement is Ray D. Henderson, former Murieta project manager for the Operating Engineers. Henderson, who realizes $2.5 million in the settlement, sued the union pension fund for $4.7 million in 1983. His ouster was linked to political struggles within the union.

September 1985: Some 10,000 people attend a midweek Sacramento International Airshow at Rancho Murieta Airport.

October 1985: A crowd of 2,200 attends the Showdown at Rancho Murieta skins game. Craig Stadler and Alice Miller win $105,000 of the $195,000 prize pool. Also in the field: Fred Couples, Juli Inkster, Fuzzy Zoeller and others.

February 1986: Murieta Plaza opens across Jackson Road from the North Gate. The commercial development, 66,000 square feet of commercial and office space, was built in about a year by businesspeople Jerome and Marion Hoberg.

February 1986: Rains bring serious flooding to the Sacramento area. In Rancho Murieta, 8 inches of rain fall during the storms, and the Cosumnes floods the South Course’s 1st and 10th greens. The 10th green is covered by eight feet of water for nearly a week. Thirteen trees are lost on the two courses, and all bunkers are washed out. Overall, given the severity of the storm, the damage is minor.

March 1986: The U.S. Postal Service begins deliveries in Rancho Murieta. Previously, mail service had been handled by the RMA and limited to weekdays.

March 1986: The RMA board decides to add stop signs to Murieta Parkway.

May 1986: Plaza Foods opens, with 17,000 square feet of grocery shopping, in the new Murieta Plaza.

May 1986: The Rancho Murieta Association board receives a report on the installation of stop signs along Murieta Parkway and authorizes Security Chief Jim Noller to install stop signs as he deems necessary in the rest of the community.

July 1986: It’s announced that Rancho Murieta will host a three-day Senior Tour golf event on the North Course in August 1987. Legendary golfer Arnold Palmer attends a press conference about the event. Tournament officials announce plans for the construction of a third 18-hole championship course at Rancho Murieta, which will be built by the Palmer Course Design Company. The course, on the North, will use part of the original North Course. When complete, there will be two 18-hole courses on the North. No start date is announced, but it’s expected the new course will be ready in 1988. The company will also redesign Rancho Murieta’s North Course in advance of next year’s event.

July 1986: Part-time Murieta resident Greg LeMond wins the Tour de France, the world’s most prestigious bicycle race.

August 1986: The first day of the Sacramento International Airshow draws a paid attendance of more than 11,000 to Rancho Murieta Airport.

September 1986: A ribbon is cut for the new post office, in Murieta Plaza.

September 1986: Cosumnes River Elementary begins a new school year. At the close of school in June there were 162 pupils; 177 are enrolled for the new year.

November 1986: TV and film actor Doug McClure heads the cast of “Aces and Eights,” a movie shooting for several days in Rancho Murieta.

January 1987: The North Course closes for months of reworking — renovation of greens, reseeding of fairways and installation of irrigation — by Palmer Course Design Company. Golfers face months of double shotguns on the South.

January 1987: Gold River Federal Savings opens a branch in Murieta Plaza, next to Plaza Foods, and becomes Rancho Murieta’s first bank.

May 1987: Rancho Murieta’s management approves changes to the community’s logo, cleaning up the horse and rider familiar to community residents. A new phrase will be used in marketing material: Surrounded by nature, in a community setting … Rancho Murieta.

August: 1987: A gate arm is installed at the North Gate.

August 1987: Nearly 100,000 spectators attend the weeklong inaugural Gold Rush tournament in Rancho Murieta, a Senior Tour record. It’s the first golf played at the course since its closure last winter for renovation. Orville Moody wins the inaugural event amid much praise for Rancho Murieta’s North Course, club facilities and the event staging. Every major senior player except Gary Player takes part in the event. There is some grumbling about the course fairways, which are still coming in due to the lengthy renovation of the course.

August 1987: The Sacramento area’s first Street of Dreams begins a 30-day run in Rancho Murieta.

December 1987: The Country Club board reports 71 percent of members favored an effort to agree on a price for the club and buy it from the community’s developers.

May 1988: An estimated 30,000 people turn out for the Sacramento International Airshow at Rancho Murieta Airport.

June 1988: Rancho Murieta Properties Inc. agrees to sell 478 acres south of the Cosumnes River to Winncrest Homes for $21 million. Under the deal, Winncrest agrees to purchase the South Course if RMPI builds a third golf course, as planned. The agreement says Winncrest can build up to 1,300 homes, the first non-custom homes in Rancho Murieta.

June 1988: The RMA hears a report on a survey about the need for a community center. The poll results: 160 yes, 223 no, out of 1,093 surveys sent to members.

July 1988: Bob Charles wins the Rancho Murieta Senior Gold Rush. His 9-under-par 207 is two strokes better than Gary Player. The winner’s purse is $52,500.

July 1988: Rancho Murieta water officials and downstream farmers battle over water from the Cosumnes, which has been reduced to a trickle by drought. One farmer says the community’s officials are being “belligerent, hostile and greedy.”

May 1989: Some 25,000 spectators attend the Sacramento International Airshow at Rancho Murieta Airport.

August 1989: Dave Hill captures the Rancho Murieta Senior Gold Rush with a 207, topping Orville Moody by a stroke and winning $52,500.