Inspired by Wes and Elsie Plunketts love of nature and desire to share it with others, formed Spanish Flat, Inc., and began the development of the Spanish Flat area, to which they devoted 31 years of there life.
Before 1956 and Before Lake Berryessa . There was Berryessa Valley and the town of Monticello. For more information come visit the Berryessa Valley Exhibit at the Spanish Flat Village Center. also find us on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/pages/BERRYESSA-VALLEY-EXHIBIT/767097649995856
The lake was named for the first European settlers in the Berryessa Valley, José Jesús and Sexto "Sisto" Berrelleza (a Basque surname, Anglicized to "Berreyesa", then later respelled "Berryessa"), who were granted Rancho Las Putas in 1843.
Prior to its inundation, the valley was an agricultural region, whose soils were considered among the finest in the country. The main town in the valley, Monticello, was abandoned in order to construct the reservoir. This abandonment was chronicled by the photographers Dorothea Lange and Pirkle Jones in their book Death of a Valley. Construction of Monticello Dam began in 1953, completed in 1958, and the reservoir filled by 1963, creating what at the time was the second-largest reservoir in California after Shasta Lake. The Monticello Dam with Lake Berryessa, Putah Diversion Dam with Lake Solano, and associated water distribution systems and lands are known collectively as the Solano Project, which is distinct from other federal water projects in California such as the Central Valley Project.