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Zehnder Ranch History

The history of our school began with Alfred Zehnder. In 1939, Alfred Zehnder purchased land for a dairy farm. The ranch was located on the land that is now Cosumnes Oaks High School and even further east near the Elk Grove Auto Mall. Alfred then sold the land to his brother Louis Zehnder.  Later, Zehnder Ranch was converted from a dairy farm to a cattle operation.  Mr. John Zehnder is one of the 3 children of Louis and Anne.  John Zehnder married Nancy Zehnder, and they had seven sons. John and Nancy Zehnder and their seven sons operated the ranch. John and Nancy along with John’s siblings and their seven sons all attended Elk Grove High School.
John Zehnder has had a legacy of leadership in the community throughout his life. His service and accomplishments include: Past President & Lifetime Member of Elk Grove Lions Club;  Elk Grove Fire Department volunteer for 43 years;  President of the Firemen’s Association; 60 years of volunteering with Elk Grove High School operating the scoreboard ; President of Elk Grove Softball Association; Cub Master for Boy Scouts of America; Coach for Pop Warner, Little League, soccer, and basketball; Member of the group that started the Western Festival Parade; Member of California’s Cattlemen’s Association; Board of Directors of First Security Bank of Elk Grove for 20 years; Member of the Cosumnes College Agricultural Board; Member of the Northern California Peace Officer Association; Elk Grove Citizen of the Year in 1969; Elk Grove High School Hall of Fame. John set an example for future generations of his family several of whom are now educators and firefighters in the community.
Because of John Zehnder’s commitment to the community that we serve, it was only fitting that this school (which draws from the area that was once the Zehnder family dairy farm and later cattle ranch) be named for this patriarch who has set the standard for both leadership and community service.