Local flooding that had occurred almost annually had alarmed Yolo County residents who voted to move the county seat to Cacheville (now Yolo) in 1857. However, residents disliked their choice because Cacheville was so isolated and small, and moved the county seat back to Washington. Unfortunately the weather proved disastrous in the winter of 1861-62, and in 1862 the voters held a special election to vote a permanent county seat. The county seat was elected to be Woodland to the dislike of Washingtonians. Another heavy blow to the already downtrodden Washington residents was the completion of a bridge to Sacramento located roughly where the I Street Bridge is located today. Travelers coming from the Bay Area now had no reason to stop in Washington on their way to Sacramento. There was no need to use the local ferries because the toll bridge was cheaper.
Economic optimism increased in Washington when the California Pacific Railroad reached the town in November 1868, and Washington was the railhead of the line that started in Vallejo. The outcome wasn't quite as hoped for. Property values did not increase, and had actually decreased in comparison to the Gold Rush days. In addition to that, a new junction was completed in Davisville (now Davis) that headed towards Woodland, diverting rail traffic from Washington. Furthermore, in 1870 Cal-P reconstructed the I Street Bridge to withstand the weight of rail cars, so the rail line could reach Sacramento.
In 1871 what is modern day Downtown Sacramento raised its buildings nine feet and reinforced the levees on its side of the Sacramento River to withstand the annual flooding. The unincorporated town of Washington could not afford to properly engineer well-protected levees nor raise the whole town, so each year they would fix their levees and endure any flooding that would occur.
A new post office was established in 1893, and operated until 1909 with a brief closure in 1895 to 1896.
The largest employer in Broderick is the California State Teachers Retirement System, which built its headquarters on the waterfront. The Ziggurat building, originally built as the corporate headquarters for The Money Store and now home to the State Department of General Services, sits at the edge of the area.
The neighborhood's iconic restaurant is Sal's Tacos, known for its mosaic tile decor. In 2012, Broderick Restaurant and Bar opened.