In the early 1900s, as this area was getting settled, the Santa Fe railroad set up a station here and they called it Whitton.

The United States Post Office also opened an office here and they called that office Geneva.

That just confused everybody.

You see, all the settlers around here were Swiss and they had opened up dairy farms in the area.

And there was a battle between the two names, and so they decided to settle it… well the only way to settle such a discrepancy… the democratic process.

You put it to a vote.

And in 1911, the people of this community, well, they voted against Whitton. They also voted against Geneva. And they decided on a Spanish word that means plain, or level ground, or sometimes even town.

The word is Planada, on the map of Merced County. With Emily Lucas behind the camera, I’m A.J. Fox.