1901-1930 Ryer Island

Screen print from the above reference link indicates the Sacramento River was still referred to as “Old River” and there was a ferry that went from Rio Vista over to Brannan Island and/or Grand Island, while the other ferry traversed to Ryer Island and back.

Once Ryer Island levees were fully built up by DR. Ryer and other owners of Ryer Island land, the island could be fully farmed. Ryer Island produce was featured in Solano County annual reports of agricultural produce and product value. Ryer Island is prime farmlands. It is higher elevation than the islands of the Central Delta, so does not flood repeatedly like some of the Central Delta islands. Other than one flood between 1901 and 1910, Ryer Island has not had a levee breech or flood since 1910. (Note that there are two “Ryer” Islands in Solano County, and the OTHER Ryer Island is known to flood as it is not leveed and is in the Suisun Bay area about 25 miles downriver. Three ferrys were known to operate at different points on Ryer Island. Dr. Ryer built train tracks on top of the levee system to transport dirt and people to other areas of this large island. Large steamboats chugged up Steamboat Slough, the preferred travel route because it was 7 miles shorter distance between San Francisco and Sacramento. The Delta King and Delta Queen were two of the paddle wheel boats to use Steamboat Slough. There were also many landings for the farmers to ship out their produce, and smaller boats would stop at the landings to pick up or drop off mail or ordered items. Solano and Sacramento Counties planned for paved roads and bridges to connect the area islands.

Above is a small section of a 60 inches long map of the Sacramento River and Steamboat Slough landings that boats would stop at to pick up produce or drop off supplies. Many ships logs refer to scenes along the way. Many little cabins or clusters of cabins were noted along the waterfront, as the fishing was great, especially in the fall for salmon.
The Ashley Ferry was noted in an 1890s & 1913 map of the Delta, and the ferry landing was located exactly where the current-day Rio Vista ferry ramp is located. Photo above is said to be from the 1930s ferry that crossed between Ryer Island and the road to Rio Vista. It looks like the current-day Real McCoy ferry that connects Grand Island and Ryer Island.
In the meantime, two brothers on Ryer Island were very inventive lads, and they devised a way to cut down tules with a tractor with modified wheels….according to the information found in the Rio Vista museum, this modified wheel became a model for a modern US tank used in WWII!