The Van Vleck family embraces its heritage and appreciation for the challenges and risks that family members and many other like them were faced with as they crossed our Country in the 1850’s in search of land and opportunity. The family still holds its original homestead property and one of the wagons that was part of the 1856 wagon train that brought Amos Van Vleck and his family from Wisconsin to a new homestead on what is now known as Apple Hill.
Two generations later, in 1915, Orin Van Vleck came scouting for a new ranch in eastern Sacramento County. When Orin found the shade of a lone oak tree and saw the valley spread out below him, he knew he had found his new home and decided to buy the property. He moved his family to the new ranch property two years later and it has operated under the Van Vleck name ever since.
Until the 1950s, the family used horses to drive their cattle up Highway 50, then a two-lane road, to their summer pastures at Tells Peak, near Lake Tahoe. Later, the cattle were brought to the mountains by truck. In the 1970s, the family sold the Tahoe land and used the funds to build irrigated pasture in Sacramento County so the cows could stay there in the summer.
Stan Van Vleck Sr. was known for welcoming large groups onto his land, something many other ranchers were reluctant to do, and the tradition of sharing Van Vleck Ranch with public groups began. The Boy Scouts use the ranch every year for a mass camp out. Members of the National Guard practice landing helicopters on its hilly terrain.