Watsonville News, 134 Years Ago Today: Typhoid Fever and Harvest

Watsonville made news at the state capitol.

Thanks to the California Digital Newspaper Collection, we have a window into Watsonville's past. On this date (Nov. 27) in 1877, updates on typhoid fever, Thanksgiving and the fall harvest made the news in Sacramento. This brief was published in the Sacramento Daily Union, Vol. 3, No. 243.

Typhoid Fever-Watsonville Thanksgiving Day-Farmers Busy-Rainfall-Special Trains-Assemblyman Elect

Watsonville, November 26th—The mortality of the present week has been very great here. There were six funerals yesterday. Most of them have died of typhoid fever.

Thanksgiving Day will be observed by the customary religions, services and by a grand dinner at the Rink.

The farmers in this valley are busy plowing. The grain that has already been sown, is up and doing well.

About an inch and a quarter of rain has fallen.

A special train will probably run from this place to Santa Cruz for three evenings, beginning with to-night, to convey those who desire to attend the grand opening of Smith's Opera House.

Assemblyman elect, Judge George Pace, starts for Sacramento next Wednesday.

Anyone know what the Rink—where the community Thanksgiving celebration was held—was? What were the big crops in the Pajaro Valley during this era?

Steve Bankhead November 27, 2011 at 04:25 PM
(Question from Nov. 27 posting re 1877 Thanksgiving celebration) Anyone know what the Rink—where the community Thanksgiving celebration was held—was? What were the big crops in the Pajaro Valley during this era? The Rink, also known as the Opera House was a multi-purpose community event site whose large floor space could accomodate performance audiences, skating and other community events. It was located on E. Beach (then 3rd Street) just east of the current Lettunich Building and across from the Plaza, though it was previously next to the Mansion House before it was moved around the corner to its current Main Street location. The Rink's location later held the Odd Fellows building until it was lost in the 1989 quake. A later skatuing rink existed on 2nd Street, the current fire houise, and served skaters into the 1960's. -Steve Bankhead
Jennifer Squires November 27, 2011 at 07:49 PM
Thanks, Steve!
Steve Bankhead November 28, 2011 at 05:16 PM
Jennifer: No problem. I'm sorry for dodging the question on what the Pajaro Valley major crops were in 1877, but I wasn't sure. I know up till the early 1870's there was significant cultivation of wheat, barley, potatoes and other vegetables. And there were also numerous dairies towards the foothills. 1877 seems more like a transitional time, with shifts toward the the raising of sugar beets for Spreckles and other buyers. A Spreckels processing plant was once located west of Walker Street in the late 1800's. Then there were hops for the local breweries operating in South County and over the bridge in Monterey County. And of course more lasting crops also followed like apples, thanks to the wave of Croatian immigrants in the 1870's and later decades whose growing and marketing skills helped give Watsonville the nickname of Apple City. Lettuce and other crops later followed.


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