HomePrefaceChapter 1: Franciscan World: 1730-1894Chapter 2: Franciscan World to 1894Chapter 3: Our First Church: 1895-1901Chapter 4: Our New Church: 1900-1910Chapter 5: Our Church: 1910-1920Chapter 6: Our Church: 1910-1920Our Church: 1930 to 1939Timeline Biography: Author

Chapter 1 - St. Francis of Assisi Parish in a Larger World: Prehistory to 1894


1910: St. Francis of Assisi Parish

Our new St. Francis of Assisi Church was dedicated on October 23, 1910. The Church cost $100,499, of which $9,950 was spent for 46 stained glass windows, designed and manufactured in Innsbruck, Austria, and shipped from the Tyrolese Art Glass Studios in Munich, Germany.

St. Francis of Assisi Parish - 1910
St. Francis of Assisi Parish - 1910

The Prodigal Son window, on the north wall of the transept, was donated by Fr. John Quinn, rector of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacramento from 1899 to 1906. Fr. Quinn was an active Sacramento booster and real estate investor. The short Quinn Avenue, located between Riverside Boulevard and 13th Street and X Street and Broadway, is named for him. In an article written for the San Francisco Monitor immediately following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Father Quinn referred to Sacramento as "an earthly Eden."1

The Prodigal Son
The Prodigal Son

The Power of the Keys window, on the south wall of the transept, was donated by Rev. R. Van Schie, who remains somewhat of a mystery. He first appeared in the diocese in the early 1880s and came from the Diocese of Denver at the invitation of Bishop Manogue. He served in Jackson, California until 1895, which had a mission at Clinton—about eight miles east into the Sierra at what today is Mt. Zion State Park. From 1895 to 1905, he served at Auburn. Fr. Schie was assistant pastor at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacramento from 1905 to 1908, when he was appointed chaplain of the San Rafael Orphan Asylum. Sometime around 1908, he donated the Power of the Keys window. In 1910 he donated $6,000 to the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. At his death in September 1921, Fr. Schie left a bequest of $5,000 to Grace Day Home.

The Power of the Keys
The Power of the Keys


We could use more information on one of our parish's earliest benefactors, Rev. Fr. Van Schiel. Some sleuthing on the part of you—the interested or informed reader—would be good here.

The Abraham and Isaac window, over the sacristy door on the north wall, was donated by the J. J. Inderkum family in memory of their oldest daughter Annie, who died in 1907 of cancer at the age of 18. The family donated a baptismal font in her name as well; it is still used as our Holy Water font in St. Clare Chapel. The Inderkum family also donated a gold chalice. The Inderkum family ran a dairy at 40th and J Streets; all of their milkers were Catholic. In the 1920s, their dairy became the site of Mercy Hospital


Abraham and Isaac
Abraham and Isaac


The Charles Graham family donated the St. Clare window on the lower level of the north wall. He was the owner of the Sacramento Solons Pacific Coast League baseball team and the father of our Sr. Claire Graham.


St. Clare
St. Clare


At the time of the new church's dedication, Fr. Godfrey Hoelters was serving his second term as pastor (1906-1912; he served his first term from 1900-1904). Fr. Victor Aertker served as pastor from 1904-1906. Thus St. Francis of Assisi Parish enjoyed the stability of having only two pastors in the first decade of the twentieth century.


Fr. Godfrey Hoelters Fr. Victor Aertker
Fr. Godfrey Hoelters Fr. Victor Aertker

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1904-1910: The Campaign for Our New Church

Under the care of these two pastors, the parish grew. For the 1904-1905 school year, with Mother Bertha as Superior, the school enrolled 260 students in kindergarten through ninth grade. In 1905, a serious diphtheria epidemic swept the city and enrollment dropped by more than 60 percent. Yet none of the Franciscan teaching sisters became ill.

In 1904, Fr. Aertker began a building fund for the proposed new church. Fr. Hoelters continued raising money when he became pastor in 1906. In 1907, the Franciscan Provincial and Bishop Thomas Grace authorized the new church, and Brother Adrian Wewer drew preliminary plans. In his fund-raising efforts, Fr. Hoelters secured the cooperation of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce when it was agreed that a mission-style façade advocated by the Chamber would be built.

While moving ahead with plans for their new church, parish members were saddened by the news that Fr. Augustine McClory, founder of St. Francis Parish, had died at St. Jospeh Hospital in San Francisco on May 5, 1907.

In the summer of 1908, the old wooden church was moved to the rear of the lot. In June and July, the friary was also moved—at a cost of about $4,000—some distance west to make room for the new church. On July 13, excavation began. On October 18, 1907, the cornerstone was laid "with [an] elaborate and impressive ceremony" that began with a well-attended parade from the cathedral, presided over by Bishop Grace. "Two thousand persons" witnessed the event.2

On February 10, 1909, Fr. Hoelters wrote Bishop Grace a five-page letter again asking permission to solicit building funds for the new church from the businessmen of Sacramento who "have repeatedly expressed their desire to contribute."3

Map of Sacramento CityOn October 23, 1909, Fr. Hoelters wrote to the Franciscan Provincial, Rev. Peter Wallischeck, informing him that Bishop Grace was creating a new parish in Oak Park—Immaculate Conception. Fr. Hoelters asked the provincial to meet with Bishop Grace to discuss the boundaries of the adjacent parish, and to ask the bishop to move the western boundary of St. Francis Parish from 18th to 20th street, as the new Western Pacific Railroad line ran up 19th street, cutting parishioners off from the church. He also asked that the eastern boundary be moved to 32nd street. In this letter Fr. Hoelters enclosed a map of Sacramento City with hand-drawn parish boundaries and the Western Pacific Railroad route.

St. Francis Church 1910 DedicationOn October 23, 1910, Bishop Grace dedicated the new church with "impressive religious ceremonies."4 Beginning at the cathedral the parade included the St. Francis choir augmented by "many prominent musicians of the city." Participants in the parade included the Knights of Columbus, the Young Men's Institute, the Young Women's Institute, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, as well as members of the church parish societies. The new St. Francis Church was, as the Catholic Herald reported, "a tribute to the German-speaking Catholic people of the city."5

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1910: Diocese of Sacramento

Fr. Temistocle Eugenio Mela
Fr. Temistocle Eugenio Mela

In 1910, the Sacramento diocese encompassed the same area as it had in 1900—84,449 square miles in California plus 38,162 in Nevada — totaling 92,611 square miles. The Right Reverend Thomas Grade was serving as bishop, having been installed on June 16, 1896. The total number of priests in the diocese was 62, up from 42 in 1900. There were 1,910 young people under Catholic care, up from 1,700 in 1900, and the Catholic population of the diocese stood at 46,500, an increase of 15,500 souls, or more than 30 percent, since 1900.






St. Mary Church
St. Mary Church

The newcomers to the diocese were more ethnically diverse than in the past, numbering many Italians, Portuguese, Croatians, Japanese, Chinese and Filipinos. Bishop Grace initiated a number of responses to serve these newcomers. In 1905, he traveled to Italy securing the services of Fr. Temistocle Eugenio Mela. In 1906, Fr. Mela founded St. Mary's, a small wooden church at 818 N Street next to the Stanford-Lathrop orphanage, to serve Italians and Portuguese; it also served Spanish-Speaking families.


St. Stephen Church and School
St. Stephen Church and School

Grace signed a contract with the Franciscan Sisters to staff the new St. Stephen School at 3rd and O streets. Fortuitously at this time about a half a dozen Sisters were in the process of withdrawing from the short-lived St. Aloysius Convent at Colusa, more than 70 miles up the Sacramento Valley, and were available for St. Stephen's. Teaching at St. Stephen's was challenging—at least ten nationalities of children attended, with only a few English-speaking students. The largest percentage of the students was of Azorean Portuguese ethnicity.

There was no place in the building large enough for the annual graduation ceremonies. Thus, on June 25, 1909, the Sisters erected a large tent in the playground for the ceremonies; inside the school, the Sisters set up displays of the children's projects, which included drawings and needlework.

Catholic Herald
Catholic Herald, 1st (1908)

To serve the growing diocese, the Catholic Herald began publication on March 14, 1908. Its editor, Thomas Augustus Connelly was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 10, 1858. After attending Notre Dame in Indiana, Connelly worked on newspapers in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Cleveland. While in Baltimore, Connelly married Miss Mary Fink, with the celebrated Cardinal James Gibbons in attendance. Together the couple had nine children.

In 1899, San Francisco Archbishop Patrick Reardon had invited Connelly to serve as editor of the San Francisco Monitor. Reardon led it through the troubled times of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. In 1907, Connelly moved to Sacramento, where he purchased a small print shop at 416 J Street, supporting his family with government printing work. When Connelly proposed to edit and publish a Catholic newspaper at his own expense, Bishop grace accepted his offer. Being the sole proprietor of the Catholic Herald, Connelly focused the paper on his interests—Sacramento area news, and especially news of Ireland and Irish struggles for independence.

The Thomas Connelly Family
The Thomas Connelly Family

Immaculate Conception Parish, formed in 1909, was our parish's first new neighbor to the southeast. Fr. William Francis "Will" Ellis, a native of Ireland and an ardent Irish nationalist, was its first pastor. In this same year, Portuguese parishioners of what would become St. Elizabeth's, began to split off from St. Mary's, and Portuguese in the Freeport-Pocket area built a small chapel of their own, which they named St. Mary's. The increased number and diversity of newcomers in the diocese reflected the growth in the city and county of Sacramento during this first decade of the twentieth century.

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1910: Sacramento City and County—The Largest Growth in the Twentieth Century

1900-1910 Population Growth
1900-1910 Population Growth

The growth in both city and county populations between 1900 and 1910 was truly phenomenal. The 1910 census revealed the city had grown by 53 percent since 1900 to 44,696—this would be the largest percentage of growth in the twentieth century. County population stood at 21,110, an increase of 39 percent. Combined city and county populations stood at 65,806, with 66 percent of the residents living in the city and 34 percent in the county.

This influx of people to the city, which in 1910 encompassed fewer than five square miles, bespeaks a flourishing economy. Central to the growth was Sacramento's role as a transshipment hub—from the up-valley watersheds of the Pit, Yuba and Feather rivers to the eastward watershed of the American River, extending into the Nevada mining districts via mule teams and wagon roads, to the southwest downstream reaches of the Sacramento River out into the East Bay and beyond to San Francisco. Southern Pacific DepotFrom all of these directions and sources, goods flowed downstream and down slope — often being repacked, milled and reshipped at Sacramento. Thus, transportation companies, principally railroads, were the largest employers of Sacramento workers—the Southern Pacific, the Western Pacific, the steamboat companies, largely controlled by the Southern Pacific and the electric interurbans, the Sacramento Northern Electric and the Central California Traction Company. The Sacramento Northern Electric Railway, with a depot at 7th and J streets, ran five trains daily between Sacramento, Chico and Marysville; and seven trains daily between Chico and Oroville. The Southern Pacific employed one-third of the workers in the city; so we can estimate that transportation employed more than 50 percent of Sacramento's labor force.Northern Electric Railway Depot

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Fruit Packing, Flour Mills and Breweries

According to the 1910 Sacramento City Directory, there were more than 20 fruit packing operations in the city and environs; among the largest was the Central California Cannery at Front street, stretching along the river from P to Q streets.

Globe MillsThree flour mills were listed in the 1910 Sacramento City Directory: The Perkins Grain and Milling Company, the old Phoenix Mill at the Southeast corner of 13th and J streets, and the Globe Flour Mills (owned by Sperry Flour Company) at the northwest corner of 12th and C streets. The Globe Flour Mills complex, much of it built beginning in 1908, contains what was for a time the tallest structure in Sacramento—a six-story poured concrete grain elevator complex.

St. Francis Church and Fort Sutter
St. Francis Church and Fort Sutter
(Note Globe Flour Mills at left in Distance)

The Buffalo BreweryThere were at least three significant breweries in the city—the Sacramento Brewing Company at 28th and M streets, founded by Frank Ruhstaller in 1892, the City Brewery on the northeast corner of 12th and H streets, founded about 1865, but taken over by Frank Ruhstaller in 1881, and the Buffalo/Ruhstaller Brewing Company in the 21st to 22nd streets and Q to R streets block. Hermann Grau founded the Buffalo Brewery in 1888. In 1897, the Buffalo Brewery and the Ruhstaller brewing interests merged. At its speak production, the Buffalo/Ruhstaller Brewing Company produced about 60,000 barrels of beer a year; at 31 gallons per barrel, this equals more than 1,800,000 gallons of beer annually. The cereal waste—hops, malt and barley—was sold to farmers and ranchers for animal feed; it seems to have been especially favored by hog farmers.

California WineryThe California Winery at 22nd and R streets, operated by Manuel S. Neves, occupied the block just south of the Buffalo/ Ruhstaller brewery.

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Transport: Blacksmiths, Carriage Makers, Drayage and Stables, and Auto Dealers

Studebaker Brothers, AdvertisementChanges in transportation were well underway in this the first decade of the twentieth century. In 1910, there were 40 blacksmiths in the city, ten carriage makers and eight agricultural implement manufacturing and sales enterprises. One of these was the Studebaker Brothers Company located between 221 and 225 J Street. The Studebaker Brothers built exceptionally light, strong and graceful wagons—at the same time, they offered an electric automobile for sale.

There were six garages, and five automobile sales agencies listed in the 1910 City Directory, selling internal-combustion-powered cars and trucks, as well as one agency advertising a steam-powered vehicle. Albert R. Meister manufactured an electric car as well as a boat car.

In 1910, there were 37 Express and Frayage enterprises in the city and environs, among them McLaughlin's at 115 K Street. There were 22 stables listed in the 1910 City Directory, among them the Telegraph Feed and Livery with two locations, at 1222 J Street and 1014 13th Street.


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Saloons, Hotels and HospitalsSacramento County Hospital

There were more than 130 saloons operating in the city in 1910, and 24 hotels, among them the Golden Eagle at K and 7th streets, the Hotel Sacramento at the southeast corner of K and 10th streets, and the Western Hotel at 209-215 K Street. There were 14 hospitals and care facilities listed in the 1910 City Directory, among them the Railroad Hospital at 7th Street, between F and G streets, the Sisters' Hospital at 23rd Street between Q and R streets, and the County Hospital, some two miles southeast of Upper Stockton Road.


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Meat Markets, Dairies and Stock Yards

Slaughter houses were not allowed in the city; thus, Swanston's Slaughter House was located north of the American River near the site of the present day Swanston Light Rail Station. In all, there were 38 meat markets listed within the city limits. Among the most prominent were the Schmid and Parker Packing Company at 1410 J Street and the Mohr and Yoerk Packing Company at 1026 J Street.

In addition, there were seven dairies and a number of hog lots within the city limits. There was also a glue factory at 13th and Q streets, and the Southern Pacific maintained a stock yard in the B to C, 14th to 15th street block.

Map of Sacramento Sewer System
City Sewer Map


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Sloughs, Lakes and Ponds

In addition to alleys, low-lying lots and other refuse dumps, there were a number of large, standing, and stagnant pools of water in the city; the major ones were China Slough, Duck Pond, and Burns Slough. The remnants of Burns Slough ran closest to St. Francis of Assisi Church. Before the Central Pacific/Southern Pacific levee was built along the north side of Elvas Avenue, Burns Slough branched off from the American River in the vicinity of today's Sacramento State campus, made its way north past today's Masonic Temple, turning westward south of the intersection of Moddison and Minerva streets to meander into East Park (today McKinley Park). From East Park it continued to flow southwestward crossing near 29th and J streets to run behind Sutter's Fort, crossing the intersection of 26th and L streets, and thence southwestward toward 16th Street and the Sacramento Valley Railroad/R Street levee.

Burns Slough Map
Burns Slough

Duck Pond stretched from S Street to South of Y Street, roughly along 7th Street and was another body of standing or stagnant water in the southwest or "Arizona" district of the city. This pond would eventually be partially drained to form the nucleus of Southside Park; but in the late nineteenth century, it was a source of noxious orders.

China Slough (also known as Sutter Lake), located on Southern Pacific property north of I Street, was the largest body of standing water in the city. Before 1900, it measured 50 acres and was as deep as 40 feet. City leaders fretted for years over the state of China Slough — Chinese residents living on the north side of I Street regularly dumped animal, vegetable and human waste into the slough, creating the city's largest and most noxious public nuisance.

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Water, Sewers and Public Health

Historians estimate that eight to ten tons of animal waste were dropped on city streets daily. There were more than 20 stables in the city, with private stables in the alleys behind many homes. In 1910, there were seven dairies within the city limits, numerous hog yards and almost 40 meet markets, plus the Southern Pacific stockyard and the glue factory.

Water Closet AdvertisementHistorians have approximated that each of the city's blocks might have contained as many as 64 privies. In 1894 public health advocates estimated there were 2,500 "filth pits" in the city; in 1902, the number had grown to 5,500. Indoor water closets were introduced in the 1870s, most of which drained into inadequate septic systems on the owner's property. Some were illegally connected to the city sewer system, which was designed to carry only storm water run-off. Other water closets emptied into the basements of homes where noxious fumes rose into the living quarters above.

With the exception of the West End, hotels and hospitals in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were better ventilated and contained more sanitary water closets and bathing facilities. But the growth of the city outpaced private efforts to modernize sanitation services.

With 45,000 living within five square miles, much of it poorly drained, with increasing economic activity and less than adequate sewer and water systems or garbage collection, Sacramento in the late nineteenth century was an unhealthy, unpleasant, uncomfortable place to live.

Deadly diseases had been present in Sacramento since at least in the 1830s when Hudson's Bay Company trappers brought malaria and other maladies into the valley. In the Gold Rush era, Sacramento was a disease incubator, with the Cholera Epidemic of 1850 being one of its most disastrous outbreaks. Observers had commented graphically on the garbage, trash, human and animal waste, dead animals, stagnant water and Sacramento's overly grossly unsanitary conditions in 1850. There was also an abundance of flies and mosquitoes.

The 1850 cholera epidemic took the lives of more than 300 people—among them 17 physicians, ranging in age from 23 to 60, and Mayor Harden Bigelow and Catholic priest Fr. Augustine Anderson.

Malaria was responsible for far more deaths in Northern California than cholera, however; most fatalities occurred among Native Americans in the 1830s. In the 1880s, malaria was "by far the most common ailment among employees coming to the Central Pacific Hospital."6 It remained pernicious well into the twentieth century—recall that the founding parish pastor, Fr. Augustine McClory, was forced to leave Sacramento in 1896 due to the effects of malaria. Malaria was not brought under control until after World War II when DDT became available, and the Mosquito Abatement District was established.

As Sacramento's population increased, efforts were undertaken to improve public health by creating adequate sewer and water systems. Of these, more has been written about the water system—understandably, as the goal was clear, clean water. The sewage system has been less discussed.

While paved streets, concrete sidewalks, curbs and gutters were valid measures of urban growth, the health and well being of Sacramento's citizens ultimately rested on an adequate and well-maintained sewer system. Built on the Sacramento/American River floodplain, subject to periodic devastating floods, and months of stagnant standing water, Sacramento provided unique challenges.

As one historian has written, "The leaders of early Sacramento had to deal with the city's seasonal abundance of water before they were required to address any lack of it."7 The first contract for sewer construction was granted in July 1853. Designed to carry off storm and refuse water, not human waste, the first sewers were open channels approximately 20 inches wide and three-inch redwood boards. These sewers eventually drained to the south side of the R Street levee into the low-lying lands beyond.

Years in Which Streets were Raised
"Years in Which Streets were Raised"

Following the disastrous floods of 1861 and 1862, the City of Sacramento began filling and raising streets in the business district 12 to 15 feet. The grade adopted by the Board of Supervisors in February 1863 was 28 feet above the low-water mark on Front Street from Q Street to I Street. Similarly, the grade set on I Street from Front eastward was 28 feet above the low-water mark. On 7th Street the high grade fell from 28 feet at I Street to 22 feet at Q Street.

A note on the low-water mark. The best information the author has been able to gather is that the low-water mark was set on October 23, 1856, at 0.12 feet above sea level. The 1863 Board of Supervisors high grade of 28 feet on Front Street and I Streets might actually be 28.012—for our purposes 28 feet above sea level would be sufficiently accurate.8

The work on raising the streets to high grade extended from 1863 to the late 1870s. Beginning on Front Street from M to I streets, the work extended eastward principally between K and J streets with spurs extending out to I Street between 6th and 10th streets. Alleys were left at original grade, which is perhaps most evident in Old Sacramento in the alley between Front and 2nd streets.

Epic as was Sacramento's street raising project, it shared the same trait as the city's solution to its other refuse problems. Drainage from the high grade blocks flowed northward from I Street into lower areas. Likewise drainage from M, N, O, P and Q streets flowed southward into lower-lying areas, where it mixed with raw sewage from the city's street sewers and was eventually pumped into the Sacramento River.

Whether drainage water, sewage or solid waste, Sacramento's characteristic solution was to deposit or pump its unwanted refuse into low-lying lands beyond immediate settlement. In 1892 the position of "City Scavenger" was created to focus primarily on the disposal of large animal carcasses, but also on garbage and other solid refuse. Prior to 1892 city ordinances had only referred to places where garbage could not be dumped, such as China Slough or Sutter Lake. Later ordinances were extended to include "any slough or pond" in the city. Sacramentans, however, continued to dispose of garbage on streets, in alleys, and on vacant lots. In 1895, the block from U to W and 15th to 16th streets was designated as the "official public dump."

Incineration was the next step in garbage disposal. The first incinerator was installed at Front and S streets in 1905. One enthusiastic report stated, "We have successfully incinerated the carcass of a dead horse within a period of considerably less than six hours." But costs were too high, and the incinerator was rejected by the city. In 1907 the city accepted another crematorium—a 40-ton unit on the block running from Front to 2nd and V to W streets. Here also large animal disposal was the criteria of performance—"Almost daily...either a horse or a cow has been destroyed, the length of time varying from one to six hours.... It has been impossible to detect any odor while this was being done." In 1909 a second 40-ton incinerator was added.9

Another consequence of the 1861-1862 floods, was the creation of a Board of Health by the City of Sacramento in 1863. For decades, the Board of Health urged city leaders to clean up low-lying lots and develop adequate sewer and functioning clean water systems. Through either Board of Trustees' inaction or taxpayer refusal to vote necessary funds, neither goal was easily achieved.

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Disease Theories: Miasma v. Microbes

Throughout much of the nineteenth century, Sacramento public healthy professionals subscribed to the "miasma" theory of disease: diseases were believed to be spread by the odors and fumes of decaying waste material. Webster's Medical Dictionary defines "miasma" as "a poisonous vapor or mist believed to be made up of particles from decomposing material that could cause disease and could be identified by its foul smell." Thus it was believed people could become ill by breathing noxious air and even die while using poorly ventilated water closets.

Therefore, early efforts concentrated on removing decaying waster from settled neighborhoods, filling in low-lying lots, draining standing bodies of water, and dumping sewage beyond the R Street levee.

Louis Pasteur
Louis Pasteur

Gradually, in the late nineteenth century, the microbe or germ theory of disease began to be accepted in Sacramento medical and public health circles. Increase evidence for the germ theory of disease was being gathered by European medical researchers by at least 1835 with the work of the Italian, Agostino Bassi. The germ theory of disease was truly an international effort and included the work of the Hungarian obstetrician Ignaz Semmelwies in the late 1840s, the Englishman John Snow in his work on the 1854 London cholera epidemic and the German, Robert Koch, who published his "Postulates" in 1875. Koch was awarded the 1905 Nobel Prize in medicine for his work on tuberculosis. Most well-known, however, was the work of Louis Pasteur in France in the 1860s.

With its emphasis on cleanliness and good ventilation, the miasma theory did contribute to improved conditions, especially in Sacramento hospitals. But in winter months, when odors and stench declined, the miasma theory did not easily account for the continued spread of disease. Thus, the miasma theory gave way to the more inclusive microbe germ theory. Pasteurization, for example, was introduced in Sacramento dairy and brewing industries in the late 1870s.

Still, Sacramento was decried for its odorous pestilential environment. It was such a haven for rats that children were enlisted to hunt them—initially they were offered five cents for each dead rat produced, then the bounty was raised to ten cents. A city employee was paid one dollar a day to place and monitor 50 city-owned rat traps earning a bonus of one cent for each dead rat.

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Sacramento Public Health Reforms—Water and Sewer: 1890-1910

21st and M StreetsIn the 1890s the city began paving streets with asphalt and installing cement sidewalks, but these improvements did not extend to 26th and K for some years. In 1901, a citizen complained that M Streets east of 15th was "churned full of manure and mud."10 A photo of 21st and M streets, dated about 1900, shows sidewalks with no curbs, electrical power lines and an unpaved, muddy, rutted street.

Significant improvement in city water and sewer services took many years to implement. Sacramento's water was known as "Sacramento Straight." Coming straight out of the Sacramento River, it was so full of sediment that you could carve it with a knife and fork, and it often tasted noxiously rotten and swampy. In the words of E. A. Fairbairn, former Sacramento City Manager, "The water tasted like hell." Numerous studies and proposals for a clean water source were put forth but defeated. In 1910 alone, the citizens twice defeated a Board of Turstees proposal for filtering Sacramento River water—first in March and again in November. Gradually, however, progress was made in Sacramento's sewage and drainage problems.
31st and Y Streets Drainage Ditches
31st and Y Streets Drainage Ditches

Following construction of the Central Pacific Levee along Elvas Avenue, one of Burns Slough's principal sources of water was curtailed, but it continued to drain large areas west and south of the levee known as De Rutte Garden and Tivoli Gardens. In 1872, the Sacramento Union wrote of Burns Slough as "the historic stream, so lively and full of danger in the time of high water, yet so demure and harmless during the summer season."11

In 1881, a drainage ditch was excavated along the east side of 31st Street (Alhambra Blvd.) from East Park to the south side of the newly constructed Y Street levee. The 31st Street drainage ditch reversed the flow of Burns Slough in the St. Francis neighborhood, drawing its waters back into East (McKinley) Park. With the exception of the ponds behind Sutter's Fort and in McKinley Park, Burns Slough was, over the years, filled in and developed for city lots.

In 1906, the St. Francis of Assisi Parish complex was connected to the city sewer system via an eight-inch line running from the middle of the complex to 26th Street, then westward down the center of the alley to a 15-inch sewer main running north and south on 25th Street. The 31st Street drainage ditch, however, remained a foul, open sewer until 1915.

Duck Pond Section
Duck Pond Section

By 1880, "Duck Pond had become a pool of stagnant water during the summer. When the south winds came, disease-breeding vapors blew into the city."12 In 1881, a new levee was constructed on Y Street (Broadway), and the R Street levee was removed. That same year, a pumping station was installed on the north side of the Y Street levee at 8th Street to drain Duck Pond. The Y and 8th street station pumped raw sewage over the levee into the drainage ditch that ultimately ran to Snodgrass Slough.

A drainage ditch on the south side of Y Street levee ran from the 31st Street where it connected to the Burns Slough ditch. This ditch and the Duck Pond ditch connected south of the City Cemetery to join the Sacramento Drainage Canal. Constructed in 1870, the canal "was twenty-two miles long and extended to Snodgrass Slough."13


Sacramento Drainage Ditch Remnant
Sacramento Drainage Ditch Remnant

Remnants of the Sacramento City Drainage Canal can clearly be seen on the north side of Seamas Avenue Just west of Belle Colledge Library in South Land Park. From there, the ditch continued south through what is now Reichmuth Park.

But to call it a "Drainage Ditch" would be a misnomer. On May 29, 1891, the Sacramento Bee headlined an article: "IT MUST STOP—Dumping Sacramento Sewage Should be Checked—The Ranchers Complaint— They Evidently Have Right on Their Side." The Bee described an inspection tour of the drainage canal by the Board of Trustees—where the canal crossed Freeport Road it was a stagnant pond, four feet deep, 12 feet across. In fact the drainage canal created a vast pool of stagnant sewage-laden water, covering about 7,000 acres and stretching to the city limits of Sacramento itself.14

A pond of this stagnant sewage south of 18th Street and the Y Street levee was known as the "terror of the south winds."15 On summer evenings, the cooling "Delta Breeze" carried the stench of raw sewage into the homes of Sacramento residents. This pond was just southeast of the original 1895 city dump at the 15th and 16th and U to W street block.

In 1891, a new sewer pipe was laid from the 8th and Y street pump directly to the Sacramento River. In 1894, Mayor B. U. Steinman declared "We must have drainage and sewers or get out."16 In that same year, the citizens of Sacramento passed a sewer bond act, and in 1896, a new pumping station at S and Front streets began discharging raw sewage into the Sacramento River.

China Lake Highlight
China Lake Highlight

China Slough or Sutter Lake was most troubling to many civic boosters, who were concerned that its stench was the most powerful first impression arriving train passengers had of Sacramento. A bridge at 2nd Street over the west end of China Slough was known as "the bridge of sighs." Workmen passing over the bridge were "nauseated and made very sick from the stench from the slough."17

Over the years, the Central Pacific/Southern Pacific Railroad had partially filled China Slough for track levees and when it needed more land for its shops. But when the filling of China Slough began in earnest in 1905, it was predicted to be completed in a few months. Two electric pumps vacuumed sediment from the bottom of the Sacramento River into the slough, while another pump discharged its water back over the levee. This work was delayed by both low water in the river and the 1907 flood, which undid much of the previous work. China Slough was finally filled in 1908.

In 1908, the city also completed a new sewage pumping station at Front and U streets —Sump Number One—which again pumped raw sewage directly into the Sacramento River.


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Progressive Reform—Sacramento

Progressive Reform, which came into prominence in the late 1890s and early twentieth century, was a movement of middle-class professionals and civic leaders who called for more responsible and responsive government at all levels—local, state and federal. They were champions of efficiency and civic order, and were involved in public health issues in Sacramento. Under the mantle of civic order, Sacramento Progressives also targeted vice, especially in the West End. They long campaigned against prostitution, gambling, all-night bars and Chinese opium and gambling dens.
China Lake Highlight
Western Pacific Depot (1910)

The adoption of the new city charter in 1893 was an early example of Progressive reform in Sacramento. In the early twentieth century Progressive reforms continued to win success in Sacramento. In 1903, the initiative and the referendum were added to the city charter, and Sacramento's Progressives began efforts to break the Southern Pacific's monopoly by bringing the Western Pacific Railroad into the city.

A right-of-way was secured in 1907, and in the November election, reform candidate Clinton L. White narrowly won the mayoral race by denouncing the Southern Pacific. Foreshadowing Hiram Johnson's 1910 gubernatorial campaign, White asked "Why not cast out the evil influences that have kept the city down for so long?18 The arrival of the first Western Pacific train at the 19th and J Street station in August 1910 was greeted with a great celebration of civic leaders and citizens.
Clinton L. White
Clinton L. White

White serviced only two years before returning to his law practice. He was one of Sacramento's most prominent attorneys. Born in Iowa in 1850, he migrated to Northern California in late 1874, where he taught school in Placer County for a number of years. Moving to Sacramento, he was admitted to the bar in 1877. Rising rapidly, he served as deputy attorney general for the State of California in 1881 and 1882, he was among the 15 freeholders serving on the committee that drafted what became the 1893 City Charter. White was one of the founders of the Chamber of Commerce in 1895, and he was among those businessmen and prominent citizens collecting money for our new St. Francis of Assisi Parish Church in 1908. He also served as a delegate to the Republican National convention in 1912 and to the Progressive National Convention in 1916. White died at the age of 75 in 1925.

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Progressive Reform: Sacramento and California

Hiram Johnson
Hiram Johnson

Sacramento and California's most prominent Progressive was our native son, Hiram Johnson, the son of prominent Sacramento attorney, congressman, state assemblyman and Republican supporter of the Central Pacific/Southern Pacific, Grove Johnson. Hiram rose to statewide attention as a special prosecutor in the 1906-1908 graft and corruption trial of San Francisco political boss Abe Ruef and Mayor Eugene Schmitz. Johnson convinced Ruef to testify against Schmmitz, who was convicted, but released on a technicality. Ironically, Ruef himself was soon convicted and served four and a half years of a 14-year sentence in San Quentin.

One remarkable aspect of these trials is that they were conducted during and in the immediate aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, a disaster that fueled the fires of Progressive reform in San Francisco and California.

The statewide accolades resulting from the Ruef/Schmitz corruption trials, carried Hiram Johnson to overwhelming victory as the Progressive Republican candidate in the 1910 governor's race. He campaigned throughout the state in a red locomobile convertible with the slogan, "Kick the Southern Pacific out of politics."19 Johnson's years as governor, 1911-1917, brought California to the forefront of Progressive reform.

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Progressive Reform: Theodore Roosevelt

Progressivism arrived on the national stage with Theodore Roosevelt's presidency (1901-1909). As vice president, Theodore Roosevelt ascended to the presidency when William McKinley was assassinated in September 1901. Roosevelt's administration passed a number of regulatory reforms. The Elkins Act, regulating railroads, was passed in 1903. A 1904 Supreme Court ruling broke up the Northern Securities Company—a large railroad trust formed by J. P. Morgan, J. J. Hill, John D. Rockefeller and E. H. Harriman. In 1911, Standard Oil was broken up in another Supreme Court decision.

Admiral Togo
Admiral Togo and the Battleship Mikasa at the Battle of Tsushima (1905)
Theodore Roosevelt enjoyed success in international affairs as well. In 1904, the Japanese launched a war against Russia. Suffering defeats on land and sea and confronting an internal rebellion, Russia sued for peace in 1905. European leaders were so alarmed by the victory of an Asian over a European power that in 1906 Theodore Roosevelt received the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating an end to this war.

Russian defeat in this war contributed to civil discontent that culminated in the 1917 Russian Revolution.

The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 also marked the beginning of a series of events in Asia and the Pacific that would come to have significant consequences for St. Francis parishioners following December 7, 1941.


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Theodore Roosevelt, Columbia and the Panama Canal

Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt

President Roosevelt was also engaged in an international venture in Columbia. Having won a number of possessions in the Caribbean and the Pacific in the Spanish American War, the United States found itself with a two-ocean empire, but only one naval fleet; thus we began negotiations with Columbia to build a canal across the Isthmus of Panama. The French had held this right since the 1880s, but construction difficulties and disease had by 1893 bankrupted their efforts. When negotiations with Columbia proved unsatisfactory, the United States in 1903 backed a Panamanian rebellion, immediately recognized Panama's independence and signed a treaty with Panama, granting the U.S. exclusive rights to build and operate a canal. United States construction on a canal began in 1904 and was completed in 1914. Of this process, President Theodore Roosevelt said, "I took Panama."20

As daunting as was the canal construction work, or equal importance was the contribution made by Dr. Walter Reed, who discovered that malaria was spread by mosquitoes. The resulting sanitation and inoculation practices were essential to American success where the French had failed.


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Sacramento Valley: Irrigation, Dredging and Reclamation

Irrigation Congress
Irrigation Congress

While construction of the Panama Canal 1904-1914 was one of the most celebrated accomplishments of the early twentieth century, an engineering feat of similar magnitude was taking place in the Sacramento Valley— dredging the rivers and re-claiming vast acres of swamp and overflow land.

Irrigation marked the first chapter of reclamation in the Sacramento Valley. Coming into full force in the 1880s, vast areas in the upper Sacramento Valley were irrigated by diverting water from the rivers. In 1907, an Irrigation Congress was held in Sacramento to celebrate irrigation as the path to prosperity. However, the floods of 1907 and 1909 tore out levees and irrigation works alike, demonstrating that far more work would be necessary to realize these dreams. The clam shell dredge offered an immediate solution.

Clam shell dredges had been operating in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers since the late 1870s. They were used in construction of the Panama Canal, and in the early twentieth century, they were employed to construct huge new levees to reclaim Sacramento River basins. Clam shell dredges featured booms of more than 200 feet in length and buckets up to seven yards in capacity. Befitting their epic undertaking, the dredges were named for mythological figures— Neptune, Ajax, Jupiter, Vulcan, Trojan and - the largest - Hercules. Building levees with clam shell dredgers what initially a serendipitous processes as the dredgers scooped material out of the river and deposited it on the river bank, creating massive levees

From Red Bluff to Sacramento, the streambed of the Sacramento River is higher in elevation than the five basins to the east and the west: the Sutter Basin between the Feather and the Sacramento rivers; the Colusa Basin between the Sacramento River and the Coastal Range; the Yolo Basin running from Cache Creek to Rio Vista; the American Basin running from the Feather and Bear rivers to the American River; and the Sacramento Basin extending from the American River to the confluence of the Consumnes and Mokelumne rivers.

Of these five basins, the American Basin, also known as Reclamation Districts #1000 and #1001, and known today as North and South Natomas, was the first to be reclaimed. The Natomas Consolidated Company of California, an international mining enterprise, bought the land in 1907. Prior to this date they were operating gold dredgers south of the American River.

Clam Shell Dredger Advertisement
Clam Shell Dredger Advertisement

In 1909, the Natomas Company began clam shell dredging operations. By 1911 the Natomas Company was advertising 60,000 acres of reclaimed land for agricultural settlement and prosperity in North and South Natomas. The Natomas Basin is subject to flooding on four sides—from the Feather and Bear rivers to the north, the drainage canal to the east, the American River to the south, and the Sacramento River to the west. At its lowest point the basin is subject to 25 feet of flood water. In 1916, four huge pumps were installed to drain the basin; they were augmented by three more in 1938.


Nathomas Irrigated Lands
Natomas Irrigated Lands


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Sacramento: Electricity—Planes, Trains and Automobiles

With the completion of the 22-mile electrical power line from Folsom to Sacramento in 1895, Sacramento became an electrical industry pioneer. Electrical systems were at the heart of relatively light-weight internal combustion engines, and thus a key element in airplanes and automobiles. To understand the centrality of electricity to the internal combustion engine we can begin with the sparkplug—where an electric arc (the spark) ignites the fuel, usually some form of refined petroleum.

Theodore Roosevelt
Spark Plug Cutaway

We can trace the electrical path back from the spark plug through the spark plug wire, through the magneto and the ignition coil to the distributor and ultimately the generator. Initially cars and airplanes were started by hand cranking, but by 1920 storage batteries and starter motors took over this function.







Theodore Roosevelt
Lyman Gilmore Airplane

The first airplane in the United States may have been that flown in 1902 by Lyman Gilmore of Grass Valley. Gilmore claims to have flown a steam powered airplane, and there are photos of the plane in his hanger, but to date there is no corroborated evidence that he actually flew it. The steam engine was probably too heavy to lift the craft and keep it airborne.

Credit goes to the Wright brothers, Wilbur and Orville, for the first recorded heavier than air flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in December 1903. Their 1903 Flyer was powered by a four-cylinder internal combustion engine that weighed less than than 200 pounds. In 1910, Theodore Roosevelt became the first President to fly in an airplane, and the first commercial flight took place between Dayton and Columbus, Ohio.


28th and M Street Car Barns
28th and M Street Car Barns

In Sacramento, electric trolleys quickly replaced horse cars. In 1902, the Sacramento Electric Power and Light Co. began building car barns at 28th and M streets for the new electric trolley system. In 1906, Pacific Gas and Electric Company took over the Sacramento Electric Street Railway franchise. By 1909, when the car barn complex was completed, 11 lines ran out of the facility. The J Street and 28th Street lines brought parishioners closest to St. Francis.

Electric power came to dominate not only urban transit but also interurban transit when the Sacramento Northern Railroad Company opened an electric line to Chico in 1905. By 1907, rival Northern Electric Railway Company had lines to Chico and Oakland. In 1908, Northern Electric began interurban services to Marysville and Yuba city.


In the 1890s, automobiles were being manufactured in Germany, France, the U.S. and other countries. But the greatest innovator in this field would be Henry Ford who founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903. Ford brought cars, trucks and tractors not only to Americans, but to people throughout the world.

1907 Locomobile
1907 Locomobile

In 1900 a Locomobile was exhibited at California's State Fair. In 1903 the first automobile races were held at the State Fair, and Joseph Schneer leased a building at 10th and J streets for auto sales, but went out of business a few years later.

Nonetheless, the automobile was a growing factor in Sacramento and California life. As early as 1895, the state purchased the Tahoe Wagon Toll Road, marking the beginning of U.S. Highway 50. The first Good Roads Convention was held in Sacramento in 1903. In 1907 Sacramentans passed a bond measure to upgrade and pave Folsom, Stockton, Franklin, Riverside and Auburn Boulevards, as well as part of Jackson Road to Plymouth. The California Highway Commission was created in 1909.

In 1910, there were 700 motor vehicles registered in Sacramento County, up from 27 in 1904. By 1911, Sacramentans were buying 75 automobiles a day; throughout the twentieth century, Sacramento would have one of the highest per capita rates of motor vehicle ownership in the nation.

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The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

1906 San Francisco Earthquake
1906 San Francisco Earthquake

But as Americans, Californians and Sacramentans were celebrating triumphs over distance, disease and other peoples, nature stuck a blow close to home. At 5:14 a.m., on Wednesday, April 18, 1906, a magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck San Francisco. This was one of the most natural disasters in American history. The San Andreas Fault ruptured both northward and southward for a distance of 296 miles, sending shock waves as far north as Oregon, as far south as Los Angeles, and as far east as central Nevada. The earthquake and resulting fires killed an estimated 3,000 people.

The Sacramento Bee ran a number of extra editions. In their 7 p.m. Extra the headline read, "35,000 Homes Are Wrecked and 150,000 People Are Homeless."21 The Bee also noted that railroad tracks in the Suisun marshes "Drop[ped] Out of Sight" and "Millions of Damage [was] Done in Oakland." Santa Rosa's business district had been destroyed, and $200,000,000 was being released from the federal treasury. There was a great need for water, food, tents, and blankets. The Bee also reported one of the greatest fears was of an epidemic throughout the Bay Area. And the Bee warned that 15,000 refugees would be coming to Sacramento.

On Friday, April 20, a Bee headline read "Purses Opened in Sacramento." More than $50,000 was subscribed for relief. Thousands of people were pouring into the city, sleeping in Capitol Park, at the old and new State Fair Pavilions, and in Sutter's Fort. Those refugees sleeping in Sutter's Fort, as well as many others, were fed, clothed and comforted by St. Francis of Assisi parishioners.

On Saturday, April 21, the Bee reported that a relief party from Sacramento was the first to arrive in San Francisco. The next day, the newspaper reported that streetcars were running on several lines, and that San Francisco would soon have its "Usual Enormous Supply of Water."

By Monday, April 23, the fear of epidemics had passed—there had been only five to six cases of smallpox reported in Oakland. In the 4:30 p.m. Extra on Tuesday, April 24, the Bee reported that seven square miles, or 80 percent, of San Francisco had been destroyed. One thousand bodies had been discovered; the city contained 40,000 refuges; and thousands were leaving.

Yet on Wednesday, April 25, one week after the earthquake, the Bee reported that streetcars were running, lights were functioning and there was less sickness than before the disaster. On Thursday, April 26, thousands were flowing back into San Francisco.

Indeed, San Francisco did recover faster than any one could have anticipated. Akin to the Panama Canal and the dredging of Sacramento Valley rivers, rebuilding the city was a Herculean effort that proved more than successful when San Francisco hosted the 1915 Pan Pacific Exposition. Officially launched to celebrate the 1914 completion of the Panama Canal, the Exposition demonstrated that San Francisco had more than fully recovered from the 1906 earthquake.

Successful as the Pan Pacific Exposition was, San Francisco would never again be the center of California's wealth. Oil had been discovered in the Los Angeles Basin in 1892. By 1910, population, money and influence were rapidly migrating south. Nonetheless, San Francisco could claim cultural primacy, and throughout the twentieth century people simply referred to it as "The City."

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1910: Sacramento Expanding

1910 marked a year in which the city of Sacramento saw significant expansion beyond the original city limits. A 1910 effort to annex Oak Park and parts of east Sacramento failed, due to the efforts (it was said) of Oak Park saloon owners and their patrons who feared city regulation. When women were granted the right to vote in California in 1911, a renewed annexation effort succeeded.

In 1910, the Rancho del Paso land grant was sold, opening development by the Sacramento Valley Colonization Company in an area that would include Del Paso Heights, North Sacramento and the Del Paso County Club areas. Citrus Heights also had its origins in 1910 when the Trainor and Desmond Land Company began selling ten-acre parcels in what previously had been the Sylvan district, so named for the Roman God of the Woods.

D. W. Carmichael, Democratic politician and future Sacramento mayor, founded Carmichael to the east in 1909-1910. Further to the east lay Orangevale and Fair Oaks, founded in the late nineteenth century as speculative, small-scale citrus growing communities.

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1910: The Larger World

In 1910 the Vatican announced a compulsory oath against modernization, the Mexican Revolution began, and in October, the Los Angeles Times Building was bombed, killing 21 employees. In 1910, Hiram Johnson and California Republican Progressives swept into office on their"Kick the Southern Pacific out of Politics" slogan.

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1910: A New City Hall and Our New Church

Sacramento City Hall
Sacramento City Hall

The year 1910 marked a significant milepost in Sacramento's city and church development. In April, elected official began moving into the new City Hall, designed by Rudolph A. Herold; begun in 1909, the building was completed in 1911.



St. Francis of Assisi Church
St. Francis of Assisi Church

While not as dramatic as the nineteenth century Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament and the State Capitol, the 1910 City Hall and the new St. Francis of Assisi Parish Church, bespoke a new chapter in Sacramento's civic and religious development.


In addition to images of our church, we also have the following photos of our 1910 elementary school class, generously donated by Joeann Diepenbrock Nelson.


1910 St. Francis Elementary School Class
1910 St. Francis Elementary School Class


1910 St. Francis Elemntary School Class
1910 St. Francis Elementary School Class

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St. Francis Church Dedication, 1910. Courtesy of Catholic Herald.

Prodigal Son Window, St. Francis of Assisi Parish

Power of the Keys Window, SFAP

Abraham and Isaac Window, SFAP

St. Clare Window, SFAP

Fr. Victor Aertker, SFAP

Fr. Godfrey Hoelters, SFAP

"Map of the City of Sacramento." Courtesy of Santa Barbara Mission Archives.

St. Francis Church Dedication, 1910. Courtesy of Catholic Herald.

Fr. Mela Funeral Card. Courtesy of St. Mary Parish, Sacramento.

St. Mary Church, Sacramento. Courtesy of St. Mary Parish, Sacramento.

St. Stephen Church and School. Courtesy of Sacramento Archives and Museum Collection Center (SAMCC).

Thomas Connelly family photo. Courtesy of Catholic Herald.

Catholic Herald, 1st ed. Courtesy of Catholic Herald (1908).

1900-1910 Population Chart. California State University, Sacramento, with the assistance of Koha Van Do, ITC, California State University, Sacramento.

Postcard of the Southern Pacific Depot, 1907. Courtesy of the Sacramento Room, Sacramento Public Library.

Postcard of the Northern Electric Railway Depot. Courtesy of the Sacramento Room, Sacramento Public Library.

Globe Flour Mills, 2008. Photo by author.

Postcard of St. Francis of Assisi Parish and Sutter's Fort. Courtesy of the Sacramento Room, Sacramento Public Library

Postcard of the Buffalo [Ruhstaller] Brewery. Courtesy of the Sacramento Room, Sacramento Public Library.

California Winery. Courtesy of SAMCC.

Studebaker Brothers, advertisement. 1910 City Directory. Courtesy of the Sacramento Room, Sacramento Public Library

Postcard of the Sacramento County Hospital. Courtesy of the Sacramento Room, Sacramento Public Library.

City Sewer Map. Courtesy of Richard Batha, Department of Utilities, City of Sacramento.

Burns Slough highlight. Adapted by author.

Water Closet advertisement. Courtesy of SAMCC.

"Years in which streets were raised" chart. Lagomarisino: 127

Louis Pasteur (painting by A. Edelfeldt, 1885). Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis Pasteur.

21st and M Streets. Courtesy of SAMCC.

31st and Y Streets drainage ditches. Adapted by author.

Duck Pond section. Adapted by author.

Sacramento Drainage Ditch Remnant. Photo by author.

China Slough highlight. Adapted by author.

Postcard of the Western Pacific Depot. Courtesy of the Sacramento Room, Sacramento Public Library

"White, Clinton L." (obituary). Sacramento Bee, September 7, 1925: 5, column 1.

Hiram Johnson (official portrait as U.S. Senator). Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiram_Johnson

Admiral Tōgō. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admiral_Togo.

Theodore Roosevelt (painting by John Singer Sergeant, 1903). Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Roosevelt.

"Irrigation Congress," Sacramento Bee, 1907. Courtesy of SAMCC.

Clam Shell Dredgers advertisement. Courtesy of SAMCC

Natomas Lands, 1915. Courtesy of SAMCC.

Spark Plug Cutaway. www.classicsparkplug.com

Lyman Gilmore Airplane. Courtesy of SAMCC

28th and M Street Car Barns. Courtesy of SAMCC.

1907 Locomobile. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locomobile.

San Francisco Earthquake, St. Boniface Ruins. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1906_San_Francisco_earthquake

Sacramento City Hall. Courtesy of the Sacramento Room, Sacramento Public Library

Postcard of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Sacramento. Courtesy of Dr. Bob LaPerrière.

1910 St. Francis Elementary School Classes (two photos). Courtesy of Joeann Diepenbrock Nelson.

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Avella, Steven M. "The Catholic Church as Urban Booster in Sacramento, California, 1886-1928.." Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia: June 1999.

____________. The Diocese of Sacramento: A Journey of Faith. Holywood, Ireland: Booklink, 2006.

____________. Sacramento and the Catholic Church: Shaping a Capital City. Reno, Nevada: University of Nevada Press, 2008.

____________. Sacramento: Indomitable City. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2003.

Batha, Richard S., supervising engineer, Department of Utilities, City of Sacramento. Interview October 7, 2008 in company with Farrell Crawford, retired sewer utilities specialist.

Bermer, Lynn, director, Santa Barbara Mission Archives. Invaluable assistance, in person, by phone and e-mail.

Brienes, Marvin. "The People's Potties: From Filth Pit to Flush Toilet in Sacramento, 1849-1900." Cultural Heritage Section, California Department of Parks and Recreation, 1978. Photocopy courtesy of Richard Batha, Department of Utilities, City of Sacramento.

Brown, Gary N. The Evolution of Sacramento's Water and Sewer Service from 1849. Draft, City of Sacramento, 2000. Photocopy courtesy of Richard Dalrymple, Department of Utilities, City of Sacramento.

Cartmill, Rose, St. Francis of Assisi Parish Centennial Committee volunteer. Extensive and detailed research on early years of the parish from the Mission Santa Barbara Archives and Sacramento Archives and Museum Collection Center (hereafter SAMCC).

"Catholic Herald Marks 50th [sic 75th] Year," Auburn Journal, March 25, 1983. Courtesy of SAMCC, Catholic Herald, unprocessed collection.

Celebrating 100 Years, St. Mary, Our Mother—Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow 1906-2006. St. Mary Parish, Sacramento, 2006.

"Cornerstone is laid for fine new church," Sacramento Union, October 19, 1908: 1.

"Dedicate New Church Today, Catholic Herald, October 22, 1910.

"Globe Mills Project." Cultural Research Report, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Authority, 2004.

Hoelters, Fr. Godfrey, to Right Reverend Thomas Grace, Bishop of Sacramento, February 10, 1909. Letter requesting permission to solicit contributions from businessmen outside the parish boundaries for the new church building fund, Santa Barbara Mission Archives.

Holsters, Fr. Godfrey to Very Reverend Peter Wallischeck, Provincial Commissary, Santa Barbara, Cal., October 23, 1909. Letter with Sacramento City Map, Santa Barbara Mission Archives.

Hunt, Andy, Clark Munkers, Mike Taylor, Doug Henry and Elma L. Gillis. Celebrating 152 Years of Drainage and Flood Control 1850-2002. Department of Utilities, City of Sacramento, 2002. Cited as Elma's booklet.

Jones, J. Roy, M.D. Memories, Men and Medicine: A History of Medicine in Sacramento, California. Sacramento: Sacramento Society for Medical Improvement, 1950.

Lagomarsino, Barbara. Early Attempts to Save the Site of Sacramento by Raising Its Business District. Master's thesis, Sacramento State College, Sacramento 1969.

Mahan, William E. "The Political Response to Urban Growth: Sacramento and Mayor Marshall R. Beard, 1863-1914." California History, Winter 1990/91.

McGowan, Joseph. "Clear Clean Water. Golden Notes, Vol. 24, No. 4, Winter 1978, Sacramento County Historical Society.

McGowan, Joseph. "Miasma in Sacramento: 'A Gross and Palpable Danger.'" Golden Notes, Vol. 24, No. 3, 1978: 5

Mitchell, Stewart. "The Saga of Burns Slough." Golden Notes, Sacramento County Historical Society, June 1961.

Nagel, Charles E. A fight for survival: floods, riots, and disease in Sacramento 1850, Master's thesis, Sacramento State College, Sacramento, 1965.

"Passing of Thomas Augustus Connelly," Catholic Herald, December 21, 1919.

Reed, Walter G., ed. "White Clinton L.," History of Sacramento County, California with Biographical Sketches. Los Angeles: Historic Record Company, 1923: 351.

Roos, Maury, chief hydrologist, semi-retired, State of California, Department of Water Resources. E-mail correspondence, November 26, 2008.

Roosevelt, Theodore (official White House photograph). Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Roosevent.

Sacramento Bee, San Francisco earthquake coverage, April 18-April 26, 1906 editions and Extras.

Sacramento City Map, 1913. Courtesy of SAMCC.

Sacramento Archives and Museum Collection Center and Historic Old Sacramento Foundation. Sacramento's Midtown. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2006.

Thompson, John and Edward A. Dutra. The Tule Breakers: The Story of the California Dredge. Dultra Museum of Dredging, 1983.

West, Irma. "Cholera and Other Plagues of the Gold Rush," Golden Notes, Sacramento County Historical Society, Spring 2000.

"White, Clinton l." (obituary). Sacramento Bee, September 7, 1925: 5, column 1.

Young, Reginald. "History of Solid Waste in Sacramento, 1876-1988." Typescript, City of Sacramento, Division of Solid Waste, 1990. Courtesy of Melissa Mowry, division secretary, Edison Hicks, integrated waste general manager, and Marty Strauss, integrated waste planning superintendent.

Vovakes, Christine. "Chronicling Catholic Life for a Century," Catholic Herald, March 22, 2008: S1.

Yee, Alfred. "What happened to China Slough?" Golden Notes, Vol. 40, No. 2, Sacramento County Historical Society, 1994.

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1 Avella, Sacramento and the Catholic Church: 143.

2 Sacramento Union, October 19, 1908: 1.

3 Hoelters to Grace.

4 Catholic Herald, October 22, 1910.

5 Ibid.

6 West: 18.

7 Brown: 94

8 Roos

9 Young: 2-3

10 Sacramento's Midtown: 100.

11 Sacramento Union, November 16, 1872, quoted in Mitchell: 3.

12 Elma's Booklet: 15.

13 Ibid.: 13.

14 Sacramento Bee, May 29, 1891, quoted in Elma's Booklet: 15.

15 McGowan, "Miasma in Sacramento": 5.

16 Brown: 100.

17 Jones: 274; quoted in McGowan, "Miasma": 1.

18 Avella, Sacramento: Indomitable City: 80.

19 Widely quoted (e.g., www.answers.com/topic/1911).

20 Widely quoted: "I took the [Panama] canal zone and let Congress debate, and while the debate goes on the canal does also." From a speech, Berkeley, California, March 31, 1911.

21 Sacramento Bee, April 18, 1906; various editions through April 26, 1906.


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St. Francis of Assisi Parish
  • Fr. Anthony Garibaldi, Pastor
  • Fran Anderson, Administrative Assistant
  • Ray Ibe, Webmaster
  • Susan Silva, volunteer editorial reader
  • Rose Cartmill Joss, volunteer initial historical research
  • David Sundquist, volunteer historical research Santa Barbara Mission Archives
California State University Sacramento
  • Professor Christopher Castaneda
  • Ryan Arndt, Information Technology Consultant
  • Khoa Van Do, Classroom Computer Lab Services Consultant
  • Shawn Sumner, Information Technology Consultant
  • Professor George Craft
Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento Room
  • Clare Ellis
  • James Scott
  • Tom Tolley
Sacramento Archives & Museum Collection Center [SAMCC]
  • Pat Johnson
  • Carson Hendricks
Diocese of Sacramento
  • Rev. William Breault, S. J., Diocesan Historian and Archives Director
California State Archives
  • Jeff Crawford
  • Professor Albert L. Hurtado
Technical Support
  • James King II


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Long-time member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish and professional historian, Gregg Campbell (b 6/17/1935; d. 11/28/2015) wrote this history of St. Francis and its surrounding community for the 2008 Centennial of our church building.

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©  St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Sacramento, CA