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: 1920-1929Our Church: 1930 to 1939Timeline Biography: Author

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


When a parishioner arrived at the new St. Francis of Assisi Church in the Fall of 1920, he or she may have walked, come by electric trolley on the J, 28th or M street lines (P. G. & E. trolleys carried 15 million Sacramentans a year), or driven in their new car (there were more than 47,000 registered in the region). An auto camp in the panhandle of McKinely Park, opened in 1916 and used by more than 10,000 campers a year, would be closed in 1923 due to overcrowding.

The St. Francis parishioner would have many reasons to feel optimistic: the Great War had ended in 1918, with the Allies victorious. More than 4,000 from the Sacramento region served in the war, more than 70 died (among them at least one woman—Lillie Catherine Todhunter1); more than 150 St. Francis parishioners served in the war, at least three died.2 The St. Francis parishioner would have also survived the worldwide influenza epidemic of 1918.

Although there was a sharp economic recession in the U.S. following World War I, from which the agricultural sector never fully recovered, the Sacramento region appears to have been spared any significant effects. In part, this may be due to the reclamation and irrigation projects that had transformed valley agriculture between 1900 and 1920. There were more than 120,000 acres of reclaimed land in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta alone, and reclamation and irrigation districts extended northward up the valley.

The Sacramento region led the state in pear production, produced as much as 95 percent of the nation's asparagus crop, and 75 percent of the almond crop. These crops—as well as hops, peaches, grapes and citrus fruits—were so profitable that area farmers and ranchers could afford to merchandize. By 1920, an estimated 15,000 tractors had replaced 150,000 horses for use in valley agriculture.

Panama Canal
Panama Canal

Contributing to Sacramento's flourishing economy, the Panama Canal had opened in 1914.3 San Francisco celebrated the canal's opening, as well as its own resurgence from the 1906 earthquake, with the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition.

Railroads were still the largest employers in Sacramento, with the Southern Pacific employing as many as 3,500, followed by the Western Pacific and the electric inter-urbans. Seventy-five percent of the fruit crop in California was grown within a 45-mile radius of Sacramento, and canneries were the second largest employer. Among the larger canneries were Calpak plant #11 at 17th and C; Libby, McNeil & Libby at 34th and Stockton; and Calpak plant #12 at Front and P streets. By the middle of the decade, the Sacramento Terminal Railroad Company had completed a beltline, linking the canneries to river and rail shipping.

In addition to the railroads and the canneries, other new industrial and processing facilities included: P. G. & E.,'s steam generating electrical plant on the Sacramento River, south of the mouth of the American River, which opened in 1912; the California Almond Growers Exchange shelling plant at 18th and C; the Northern California Milk Producers Association plant at 19th and B; and Philips Milling Company at Front and P, which according to the Sacramento Bee, was "the only rice mill in California."4 In North Sacramento, the Liberty Iron Works was building Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" aeroplanes.

Scottish Rite Temple
Scottish Rite Temple, built in 1917

Some of the notable new buildings in downtown Sacramento were the city's first "skyscraper," the 10-story California Fruit Exchange building; the eight-story Forum building; the PG&E building; the Capital National Bank; and the Masonic Temple. New public buildings included the Hall of Justice, a new County Courthouse, and the Carnegie Library. In 1911, the city annexed Oak Park and East Sacramento, adding 6,000 acres and 15,000 residents. In 1912, the Curtis Park and Land Park districts were annexed. In 1918, the city purchased 236 acres to develop Land Park. In the St. Francis neighborhood, the Tuesday Club built a new facility at 27th and L streets in 1912. The Scottish Rite Temple was built at the southwest corner of 28th and L in 1917 at a cost of $175,000.

At St. Francis Church, a new pipe organ was installed in 1915, with the Carnegie Foundation paying half of its costs. By 1920, German language services, which attracted worshipers from as far away as Nicolaus, were resumed after being suspended during World War I. The school enrolled 415 students in 1920.

The city's phenomenal population growth during the first two decades of the twentieth century (increasing by 23 percent between 1900 and 1910 and another 32 percent between 1910 and 1920) greatly added to the area's ethnic diversity—with Italians, Croatians, Serbians, East Indians (known to some as Hindus), Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Hispanics and others immigrating in large numbers. In 1920, the city's population stood at 65,908. The total county population was 92,209 with 72 percent residing in the city and 28 percent in the county. By almost all measures, city and county residents, including St. Francis parishioners, were prospering.

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World War I: Ethnocentrism, Nativism, Xenophobia and Racism

During World War I, George Creek, a friend and close advisor to President Woodrow Wilson, chaired a Committee on Public Information (CPI) that was created by executive order in April 1917, and abolished in November 1919.5 Initially, the CPI's purpose was to "engineer consent" in support of the war effort. Soon, however, the CPI began depicting Germans as evil monsters. Complete fabrications such as stories of German soldiers killing babies and impaling them on their bayonets were accompanied by Hollywood movies such as The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin (March 1918) and The Claws of the Hun (July 1918).

World War I Recruiting PosterThe CPI also enlisted prominent illustrators such as Charles Dana Gibson, James Montgomery Flagg and N. C. Wyeth to create some of the war effort's most memorable images. In addition numerous "patriotic organizations," such as the American Protective League and the American Defense Society, were "particularly hard on German Americans, some of whom lost their jobs and were publicly humiliated. . . ." At least one man was lynched in Illinois, and several University of California professors were dismissed. Both the Sacramento Bee and the Sacramento Union strongly advocated firing city school teachers suspected of German sympathies.6 George Creel referred to the CPI's work as "not propaganda as the Germans defined it, but propaganda in the true sense of the word, meaning the 'propagation of faith.'" Ironically or not, this reference called to mind the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of Faith, created by Pope Gregory XV (1621-1623) to train priests to do battle against the Protestant Reformation.

Fr. Humilis WieseIn light of this climate of distortion, fear and hatred, it is not surprising that German language services at St. Francis of Assisi Church were suspended during World War I or that St. Francis of Assisi Parish's Father Humilis Wiese issued a strong disclaimer, under the title "Once and For All," in the 1919 Christmas week bulletin, asserting that St. Francis of Assisi Parish was NOT and had never been a "German Parish in any sense of the word." Following the first four paragraphs of his disclaimer, Father Wiese asked, "Why do we broach all this at the present time? True, indeed, we have remained silent on the subject for twenty-five years. . . ." Indicating his response to World War I propaganda, Father Wiese wrote, there "is no reason why we should remain silent for another twenty-five years and a day."

"In the future," he wrote, "we will look upon any aspersions that St. Francis is a German parish" as the "result of invincible boorish, stupidity or cowardly, envious malice." He went on to suggest the parish might file criminal libel charges and "seek legal redress and vindication" against those who chose to continue referring to St. Francis as a "German Parish."7

We can assess Father Wiese's strong stand and challenging tone in light of the prevailing anti-German public opinion generated by the CPI between 1917 and 1919. Nonetheless, Father Wiese's "clarification" contradicted many well-known facts about the parish—for instance, it was founded in 1894 by German-speaking Franciscan priests; for the most part, German-speaking Franciscan priests staffed the parish through the 1920s; and, perhaps most evident, the interior of the church was of classic Austrian/German design.

The discrimination against German-Americans was time-specific— once World War I passed, so, too, did the orchestrated discrimination against German-Americans. Discrimination against other groups, however, continued.

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California's Native Americans

The Spanish Franciscans, the Californios and John Sutter depended upon Native American labor for the success of their endeavors. That European diseases repeatedly devastated Native American populations increased their vulnerability to enserfment and exploitation by these "new Californians."8

With the coming of the gold rush, however, Native Americans became an impediment, occupying pathways to the gold country, as well as the gold-rich terrain itself. Though the Spanish Franciscans may have exploited Native Americans, their Catholic beliefs held that indigenous people had souls and were children of God. The gold seekers, by and large, held no such views, and Native Americans were regularly shot and killed with impunity.

Sacramento County and Its ResourcesIn 1850, the state legislature passed an "Act for the Governance of Protection of the Indian," commonly known as the Indian Indenture Act. This law declared that any unemployed Indian could be declared a vagrant and conscripted for public works or auctioned off to the highest private bidder.9 This law opened the door to Indian kidnapping and extermination campaigns—financed by the state. Yosemite Valley, for example, was "discovered" by members of the Mariposa Battalion on an Indian hunting expedition in March 1851.

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Spanish Californians: The Californios

General Mariano G. VallejoOf the 48 delegates to the 1849 Constitutional Convention in Monterey, eight were Californois—Californians of Mexican descent. Of these eight, General Mariano G. Vallejo of Sonoma and Jose Anotonio Carrillo of Los Angeles may have been the most well-known. In keeping with Spanish Catholic culture, the California Constitution was the first state constitution to grant married women property rights. The constitution also guaranteed all land titles granted by the Mexican government, and it was printed in two languages—Spanish and English.

But as we saw in Chapter 1 of this history, Americans soon:

"established their own systems of taxation, courts and land tenure. In July 1851, a United States survey party established the Mt. Diablo baseline and meridian. Thereafter, title to most land in Northern California and Nevada would be determined by the United States Public Land Survey System, originated by Congress with Thomas Jefferson's Land Ordinance of 1785. The combination of U.S. taxes, court procedures, land surveys and title searches effectively stripped native-born Spanish speaking Californians [Californios] of their wealth, land holdings, and social and economic standing within a few generations."10

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Mexicans and Chinese—The Foreign Miners' Tax

Although a large percentage of California residents in 1850 were by definition "foreigners," the first foreign miners' tax was aimed initially at Mexicans concentrated in the southern mines of Calaveras. Tuolumne and Mariposa counties. The result was that as many as 10,000 of the 15,000 Mexican miners left the district in 1850. The tax was repealed in 1851.


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The Chinese

In the same year, the Taiping Rebellion began 15 years of civil war in China. By 1852, the number of Chinese in California rose to about 25,000. They became the largest minority in the state, and were perceived as a threat. In 1852, the foreign miners' tax was re-enacted with the understanding that it would be enforced primarily on the Chinese. Repealed by a California Supreme Court decision in 1780, the 1852 foreign minters' tax brought in nearly 25 percent of the state's annual revenue between 1853 and 1870.

Chinese event on I Street
Chinese event on I Street, c 1880s

From the earliest days of the gold rush, Chinese had immigrated to California, settling in segregated enclaves of districts. In the 1850's, Sacramento's Chinatown stretched along the north side of I Street to K Street between 5th and 6th streets. One of the Sacramento region's most notable Chinese heritage icons, the town of Locke was founded in 1912 and grew rapidly after a fire destroyed the Chinese section of Walnut Grove in 1915.

An 1850 state law, which forbid both African Americans and Native Americans from testifying in either civil or criminal court cases, was extended by the California Supreme Court in 1854, when it ruled that Chinese would be classified as Native Americans since they were descended from the same Asian ancestors.11 In 1855, a state law, using a 1790 federal ruling that only "free white persons" could become naturalized citizens, specifically targeted the Chinese (in 1913 this same legalism was applied to the Japanese in the form of the Alien Land Act).
Anti-Chinese Cartoon
Anti-Chinese cartoon (1882)

The Central Pacific railroad, with Charles Crocker as superintendent of construction, began hiring Chinese laborers to complete the railroad as early as 1865. At the peak of construction, the Central Pacific employed as many as 10,000 Chinese workers. But the completion of the Trans-continental Railroad in 1869, accompanied by the opening of the Suez Canal in the same year, brought unemployment to California, and, by 1873, a nationwide depression. In March 1873, the San Francisco Workingmen's Alliance joined the Anti-Chinese League and the Industrial Reformers to create the People's Protective Alliance, uniting all the anti-Chinese associations in the state into one organization.

Violence against Chinese in the greater Sacramento region increased in the late 1870's. 1876 saw the birth of the Order of the Caucasians—militantly anti-Chinese organization, which held its first convention in Sacramento in 1877.

In 1877, four Chinese were killed in Chico, and Chinese were burned out of Chico, the Rocklin/Roseville area, Oroville, Grass Valley and Colusa. In 1878, Dennis Kearney became president of the Workingmen's Party of California with the motto "The Chinese must go," pitting the state's two largest minorities—the Irish and the Chinese—against one another.

1879 saw the adoption of a new state constitution and a gubernatorial election—in both, anti-Chinese feelings ran high. A ballot measure barring Chinese immigration won overwhelming support, and Article XIX of the Constitution stipulated that no corporation could employ any Chinese, and that no Chinese could be employed on any state, county, municipal or other public work "except for punishment of crime."

The anti-Chinese issue was such a priority that Governor Perkins devoted five paragraphs of his 1880 inaugural address to it, calling for "speedily erecting a barrier against this new danger [the Chinese], which threatens the very existence of our civilization."12 Moreover, Governor Perkins declared the fourth day of March 1882 a legal holiday for anti-Chinese demonstrations."13

In 1882 Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, effectively ending immigration from China; the law was renewed in 1892, and made permanent in 1902. It was not repealed until 1943 during World War II.

Nonetheless, anti-Chinese agitation in the Sacramento region continued, reaching a peak in 1886 when an anti-Chinese convention was held in Sacramento. Anti-Chinese protests occurred in Vacaville and Chico, and the Chinese were driven out of Redding. Sacramento's progressive 1893 city charter banned both hiring and doing business with Chinese people.


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The Japanese

With the exclusion of the Chinese, Japanese immigration to California grew rapidly after 1890. The 1900 census listed 336 Japanese residents of the City of Sacramento and 1,209 residents in the county. The 1910 census listed 1,437 Japanese in the city and 3,874 in the county—nearly a four-fold increase during the decade.

Japanese settlement was predominately rural—with a ratio of approximately three Japanese residents living in the county for every one in the city. The earliest farm leased to a Japanese tenant was recorded in 1894. Early twentieth century Japanese agricultural settlements were found in Walnut Grove, Courtland, Clarksburg, Vacaville, Woodland, Winters, Esparto, Loomis, Penryn, Newcastle and Auburn. Closer to Sacramento, Japanese farmers settled in a number of regions—along the Y Street levee near Riverside Boulevard, in Brighton, Broderick, West Sacramento, Oak Park and Mayhew, with the largest concentration in the Florin district. Through the industry of Japanese farmers, Florin became one of the state's largest producers of both strawberries and Tokay grapes.14

Wakamatsu Teau and Silk Farm ColonyThe first Japanese settlement in North America was established in 1869 by Japanese pioneers at Gold Hill, four miles south of Coloma. Today, there is a state historic plaque commemorating the community—the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm colony.

The Japanese were initially seen as "good" immigrants, in contrast to the "bad" Chinese, but by the early years of the twentieth century, they were acquiring property and becoming successful farmers and business people, and the opinion was changing.15 Employing the 1790 federal ruling that only "free white persons" could become naturalized citizens, Californians in 1913 specifically targeted the Japanese with the Alien Land Act. The 1913 act was made even more restrictive in 1920 through the elimination of leases and the formation of corporations to purchase land. These alien land acts were in effect until repealed by a California Supreme Court decision in 1952.


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African Americans

California was admitted to the Union as a Free State in 1850. However, in debating a proposal to prohibit free African Americans from migrating to California, Robert B. Semple, the president of the 1849 Constitutional Convention said, "In God's name let us make California a place where free white men can live." Dr. O. M. Wozencraft, a San Joaquin delegate, expressed his belief that: It would appear that the all-wise Creator has created the negro to serve the white race."16
California's ethnic population
California's ethnic population (1850-1920)

Fearing that any bar on African-American migration or citizenship would leave Congress no choice but to reject the Constitution and the statehood status they so ardently desired, the Convention became mute on the subject. Once granted statehood, however, the legislature passed laws denying African Americans the right to testify in civil or criminal cases. California's 1852 Fugitive Slave Law was harsher and more restrictive than the 1850 Federal Fugitive Slave Law. In 1858 the California Supreme Court ruled that Archy Lee, an African-American man, should remain a slave in violation of state and federal law. Lee was subsequently freed by a federal commissioner in San Francisco,.

Legal restrictions and de facto prejudice kept California's African American population below 10,000—on a par with Mexican and Japanese populations—until 1900. But by 1920, the population of each ethnic group had greatly increased—Japanese to nearly 70,000, Mexicans to about 46,000 and African Americans to about 33,000.17

These statewide population trends were reflected in the growth of ethnic minorities in Sacramento city and county. In the early years of the twentieth century Sacramento's West End became both a point of entry and a holding area for migrant workers and new immigrants.


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West End

The West End, as seen in the early twenty-first century, is anchored by the Capitol Mall (the wide open strip running east along Capitol Avenue from the Capitol building to the Tower Bridge), with 11th Street being its east end and Front Street being its stop (or west) bar. It extends north to I Street and south to maybe O or P streets—where redevelopment efforts taper off.
West End Settlement Patterns
West End settlement patterns

The historic axis of the West End was the "high grade" streets of J and K, from Front Street east to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacramento at 11th and K street.18 From this high grade, the city's terrain quickly sloped off to lower ground—to both the north and the south of this man-made plateau or peninsula.

Front Street from I Street to the R Street levee and beyond—a distance of about three-quarters of a mile—formed Sacramento's industrial hub. Along the Front Street levee clustered docks, warehouses, lumberyards, mills, fruit-packing houses, a box factory, a foundry and other enterprises.

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I Street was designated a levee road, along which the Chinese settled. As early as 1852, a Chinese store at 4th and I streets served as a post office for Chinese patrons. Chinese dwellings, boardinghouses, wash houses, brothels, gambling and opium dens and restaurants backed up to the notorious China Slough or China Lake, which from the 1860's on was a "receptacle for filth and garbage of every description and even the dumping ground for railroad scrap, including worn-out locomotives and cars."19

Chinatown MapThe hub of Sacramento's Chinatown lay between 4th and 6th streets from the north side of I Street to K Street. Chinese entrepreneurs operated many businesses that continued in the early twenty-first century. Among them was the Fulton Market at 400 M Street, operated by Yee Noon Chung and his sons. Ging Yee and Yee Lim Chung, Fong Yue Fo opened the Lincoln Market at 316-318 K Street in 1912. The Quopng Fung Company at 915 4th Street was a wholesale produce enterprise. Tong Sung Fish Market as 916-918 3rd Street opened in 1898, went bankrupt in 1933, but was reorganized under the name General Produce, and at this writing, is a multi-million dollar business.20

The Capitol Poultry and Fish Market was another Chinese enterprise; here the hot water used to defeather the chickens was collected by Henry Yee. For many generations, the Yee family conducted their herbal medicine practice from their home and office at 707 J Street.

Sun Yat-senSun Yat-sen, the father of modern China, arrived in Sacramento's Chinatown in the summer of 1909 where he was received at 611 J Street. As Charles M. Goethe would have it, he wrote "much of his Chinese Constitution in his lonely exile upstairs in Bing Hong Tong clubrooms" on 4th Street.21 When the Chinese Revolution broke out in October 1911, he returned to China, becoming its first president in 1912. Five young Sacramento Chinese joined him there to serve as his honor guard. Among them were Fong Chuck, Fong Woon Duk and Fong Lum—all related to Fong Yue Po, the founder of Lincoln Market.

The Chinese also organized schools to preserve their culture. In 1908 the Que Lup Wah Gong Tong School was housed on I Street—where it enrolled 20 students. In 1909, the school moved to 915 Third Street. In 1920, the Chinese Baptists established the Wah Hun Hawk How School. A later school was founded by the Chinese United Methodist Church as well as a Congregational Chinese Mission School at 622 I Street. Chinese Language School

Frank Fat arrived in 1919, and initially washed dishes at the Sutter Club. He later picked fruit in Isleton and Walnut Grove before spending some time in Cincinnati working in a restaurant. He then returned to Sacramento.

As energetic and enterprising as the Chinese had proven themselves—building the Central Pacific and other railroads, constructing by hand many of the levees in the Sacramento Delta, prospering in rural and urban businesses, creating churches, schools and mutual aid societies—many Sacramentans thought of them principally as the proprietors and denizens of Chinatown's opium and gambling dens and houses of prostitution.

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Alkali Flat22

Sacramento's oldest residential district, Alkali Flat, lay to the north of Chinatown, bounded on the west by the Southern Pacific railroad yards, on the north by the railroad levee, on the East by 12th and 13th streets, and on the south by G Street.23 During the 1850sand the 1860s, Alkali Flat's proximity to the business district made it ideal for the homes of successful merchants. For example, the A. A. Van Voorhies Mansion at 925 G Street was built in 1868 by Sacramento's most successful harness and saddle maker. By the turn of the twentieth century, however, the large older homes had been converted into rooming houses or demolished. "By the 1920s the neighborhood was home to Irish immigrants as well as a growing number of Mexicans," many of whom were employed by the Southern Pacific and built or rented single family homes.24

Row Houses
Double row houses 608-614 10th Street
(built 1872)25

Landmarks on the parameters of Alkali Flat would be the Southern Pacific rail yards to the west, the Globe Mills at 12th and B streets to the northeast, and just beyond the Globe Mills, the Southern Pacific stockyards at 13th and B streets.

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African Americans on the West End25

Although African American migration to California remained low during the nineteenth century due to legal and de facto exclusion, there were African Americans in Sacramento from the years of earliest settlement. The 1854 City Directory lists the Delmonico Saloon, owned by Albert Grubbs, on L Street between 3rd and 4th streets, and a hotel, The Hackett House, owned by Jessie Hackett, on 3rd near J Street.

Over the years, numerous African American entrepreneurs operated successful businesses in the West End; one of the most ingenious was Taylor Walker, who employed six white barbers while running the business from his shoe shine stand.26 One of Sacramento's most venerable African American businesses, George Dunlap's Family Dining Room, opened at 612 J Street in 1917. Like Taylor Walker, George Dunlap found his greatest success in catering to a white clientele, and he soon began discouraging African American patronage. Dunlap was so successful that he opened a restaurant concession at the State Fair. In 1921 he became manager of the dining cars on the Sacramento Northern railroad. In 1929 he moved his restaurant to his family home at 4212 4th Avenue in Oak Park.
St. Andrew's Church
St. Andrew's, following its 1926 renovation

Sacramento's pioneer African American churches and schools had their origins in the West End. St. Andrews A.M.E. Church was the first African American congregation on the Pacific Coast. The church originated with a small group who gathered at the home of Daniel Blue on I Street between 4th and 5th streets. On June 10, 1850, Barney Fletcher along with his brother George and others, organized the church, which became known as the Methodist Church of Colored People of Sacramento. The congregation bought land and built a wooden church at 715 7th Street.27

In the same year, the congregation became the Bethel A.M.E. Church; the name was later changed to St. Andrew's A.M.E. Elizabeth Thorn Scott soon opened a school for "Negroes, Indians and Mongolians" in the basement of St. Andrew's.28 By 1854, the school had moved to a building on 2nd Street between M and N Streets.

St. Andrew's Historical LandmarkIn 1855, the first State Convention of Colored Citizens convened at St. Andrew's, as did the second in 1856, and a third in 1865 at the end of the Civil War. "The right to testify in court against white persons was the political issue of the first two conventions; abolition of segregated schools was the subject of the 1865 convention."29

In 1856, Sacramento saw the creation of its second African American congregation—Siloam (later Shiloh) Baptist Church. For more than three years, congregants met at the Chinese Chapel at 6th and H street; in 1860, they raised enough money ($800) to purchase a former synagogue on Fifth Street between N and O streets.

The 1900 census listed 511 African Americans in Sacramento County, with 402 living in the city. The city's African American population had its nucleus within 2nd and 3rd streets, between L and M streets. The 1920 census listed 873 African Americans in Sacramento County, with 675 living in the city. In 1920, the city's African American district extended from I and R streets between 2nd and 5th streets. In 1915, the Reverend J. M. Collins, formerly of Siloam Baptist Church, began publishing a monthly newspaper, The Western Review.

Sacramento's third African American church, Kyles Temple A.M.E. Zion Church, was organized in 1916 under the direction of the Reverend Thomas Allen Harvey, its first pastor. Church services were initially held at 7th and J streets at Foresters Hall, but soon moved to Redmen's Hall at 33rd and 3rd Avenue in Oak Park. In 1919, an Episcopal Church building at 36th Street and Fourth Avenue was purchased. It became the home of Kyles Temple A.M.E. Zion Church for some years.30

When a chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was established in Sacramento in 1918, the Reverend Harvey was elected its first president. In that same year the Reverend Harvey sued an Oak Park restaurant owner when he and a fellow clergyman were refused service. He was awarded a $50 settlement in what may be the first racial discrimination suit in the city's history.


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The Japanese quarter was bounded by Second Street to Fifth Street and L and O Streets. The heart of "Japantown" was located on both sides of L and M streets between Third and Fourth streets. As early as 1891, a boardinghouse and two hotels opened and provided housing for Japanese workers. By 1910, almost 40 boardinghouses in or near Japantown provided lodging for Japanese and other workers; among them were the Watanabe House at 224 M Street and the Kyushuya House at 217 M Street. Japantown was the hub of Japanese settlement in the region with more than 200 thriving businesses.

In 1899, the Sacramento Young Buddhist Association was founded at 1221 Third Street (Third and L streets). With increasing membership, a new hall was acquired at 410 O Street in August 1900; the first resident minister, Ryotetsu Harada, arrived in December 1900.

The Young Buddhist Association became the first formal Buddhist organization in California. In 1901, the new title, "Buddhist Church of Sacramento," was officially adopted. By 1903, the Buddhist Church had established a Japanese Language School. In 1911, the Indian Buddhist missionary, Dr. Madhinada, began a one-year stay at Sacramento's Buddhist Church. In 1912, the missionary territory of the Sacramento Buddhist Church was extended to Colusa, Chico, Oroville and Marysville.32

The 1910 City Directory listed four Japanese doctors, two Japanese dentists and three Japanese language newspapers. By 1920, a number of Japanese hospitals had been founded but had failed. In 1913, Tsunesabuto Miyakawa, owner of Eagle Drugs, opened Eagle Hospital at 1210 3rd Street—it, too, failed and declared bankruptcy in the early 1920s.
Japanese M.E. Church
Japanese M.E. Church (Easter 1918)

The first Japanese Methodist Mission opened in Sacramento in 1892. Soon establishing itself at 310 Q Street, the Japanese Methodist Church of Sacramento became the religious hub of Japanese Methodists in Loomis, Walnut Grove, Vacaville and Woodland. The Japanese Presbyterian Mission was established in 1912. After several moves and name changes the Parkview Presbyterian Church was established at 8th and T streets, on the north side of Southside Park, where it remains at this writing.

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The "Lower Side": A Mexican View

In Barrio Boy, Ernesto Galarza adds his own sub-designation to the West End, the "lower quarter" or the "lower side." From the perspective of his home at 418 L Street, Galarza wrote, "The lower quarter was not exclusively a Mexican barrio but a mix of the many nationalities."

"In the hotels and rooming houses scattered about the barrio the Filipino farm workers, riverboat stewards and houseboys made their homes. Like the Mexicans they had their own pool halls, which they called clubs. Hindus from the rice and fruit country north of the city stayed in the rooming houses when they were in town, keeping to themselves. The Portuguese and Italian families gathered in their own neighborhoods along Fourth and Fifth Street southward toward the Y Street levee. The Poles, Yugo-slavs and Koreans, too few to take over any particular part of it, were scattered throughout the barrio. Black men drifted in and out of town, working the waterfront. It was a kaleidoscope of colors and languages and customs that surprised and absorbed me at every turn."33

The western parameters of the lower side, as experienced by Galarza, were Front Street from L Street to the Y Street levee, where the California Packing Company plant on the east side of Front between P and S streets employed many minority women during the harvest season.

Other features on the parameters of the lower side were the city garbage incinerators at Front and S streets, the adjacent sewage pumping station, the Sacramento Reduction and Tallow Works at 4th and R streets, Duck Pond, and the city dump at 15th and Y streets. Like Alkali Flat to the north, the lower side was lower in elevation than the high grade of the business district between K and J streets.

As Galarza suggested, Mexican settlements were more widely dispersed than other ethnic groups. In the years of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), Mexican railroad workers worked their way north, leaving the turmoil of Mexico behind. They made their way into California to Sacramento and Roseville—at the time the largest rail hubs in the West. Thus, from the early years of the twentieth century, there were large Mexican settlements within walking distance of the Southern Pacific rail yards—in Alkali Flat, across the river in Broderick and Bryte, and throughout the West End and the lower side.

There were, of course, far more Mexican farmers than railroad workers; they, too, made their way north, finding work in California agriculture and settling where they could in small towns or migrant worker camps. They came in such numbers that 75 percent of California's farm laborers were Mexican by 1920, and that year became known as the "first big Mexican harvest."34

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Urban Growth on the "High Grade"

California Fruit Exchange BuildingDowntown Sacramento enjoyed a spate of new buildings between 1910 and 1920, each built on the "high grade." The city's first "skyscraper," the 10-story California Fruit Exchange building at 4th and J streets was completed in 1914; the eight-story Forum building at 9th and K, completed in 1910, with five stories added in 1915; the P. G. & E. building at 11th and K in 1914, and the Capital National Bank at 7th and J and the Masonic Temple at 12th and J opened in 1918.

In addition to the new City Hall, between 9th and 10th streets on I street, completed in 1911, the city also saw elements of a civic center forming along I Street—a new County Courthouse at 7th and I in 1913, and the Carnegie Library at 8th and I in 1918. A new Hall of Justice was built on a "high grade" spur at 6th and H streets in 1916.


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St. Francis of Assisi Parish

Fr. Godfrey Hoelters Fr. Felix Raab Fr. Apollinaris Johmann Fr. Humilis Wiese

From 1910-1920, St. Francis of Assisi Parish enjoyed the services of four pastors—Fathers Godfrey Hoelters, 1906-1912, Felix Raab, 1913-1914, Apollinaris Johmann, 1914-1917, and Humilis Wiese, 1917-1922.35

In 1918, the parish published a yearbook, in which they listed a 9:15 a.m. "Low Mass with Sermon in English and in German."36 They also listed the parish boundaries as extending from the B Street levee to the Y Street levee, and from Eighteenth to Thirtieth streets.

Under the heading, "Our Boys in Blue and Khaki, the Honor Roll of St. Francis Parish," were the names of 60 men serving in World War I. In a column in the Catholic Herald later in 1918, Father Wiese named three parishioners who had died, Patrick Dillon, Edward Rheinlander and Henry Wallner.


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Diocese and City of Sacramento

Bishop P. J. KeaneIn 1920, the Diocese of Sacramento encompassed the same area as it had in 1910: 54,440 square miles in California and 38,162 miles in Nevada, for a total of 92,611 square miles. The Right Reverend Thomas Grace was serving as bishop, having been installed on June 16, 1896. Father Patrick J. Keane was consecrated auxiliary bishop on December 14, 1920. Bishop Grace would die a year later on December 27, 1921.

The total number of priests in the diocese was 70, up from 62 in 1910. There were 2,606 young people under Catholic care in the diocese, an increase of almost 700 since 1910. The Catholic population of the diocese stood at 55,079, an increase of almost 8,600 souls since 1910, or just under 20 percent.37

Within the City of Sacramento, St. Francis of Assisi Parish school enrolled 415 students in 1920,Christian Brothers' St. Patrick's Academy enrolled 210 boys with 20 boarders, St. Joseph's Academy enrolled 410 girls with 25 boarders, St. Stephen's at 3rd and O streets enrolled 450 students—most of whom were ethnic minorities, many of them Japanese. St. Anthony's enrolled 415 students, and there were about 50 abandoned children at the Stanford Lathrop Home.

In addition, the Sisters' Hospital saw 1,700 patients that year and had 47 nurses in training. An adjacent facility, the Home for the Aged, had 20 residents.

St. Elizabeth's, a Portuguese parish, was established at 12th and S streets in 1913. In 1914, St. Mary's Parish Church moved from 818 N Street to 7th and T streets, and in 1916, the new Immaculate Conception Church in Oak Park was dedicated with Father William F. Ellis serving as pastor.


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Grace Day Home38

Grace Day Home
Grace Day Home

Grace Day Home marked its unofficial opening from 1915 when "a little girl not yet five was left with Franciscan Sister Pacifica Kirschel at St. Stephen's School by her Portuguese parents."39 When the California Packing Company's plant at Front and P Streets opened in 1917, the need for day care for the "cannery mothers" became more pressing.

In June 1919, Sister Kirschel purchased the first parcel of land at 7th and S streets, and in April 1920, the corner house and lot were acquired. With the blessing of Bishop Grace, the Franciscan Sisters began a "begging tour;" by the end of 1919, they had raised $16,000. Construction began in 1920, and in early December Mother Kirschel and Sisters Helen Siebol and Camillus Kruse moved into their new quarters. On December 19, 1920, Bishop Grace dedicated the new facility at 1911 7th Street.

When Bishop Grace died in 1921, he left $7,000 for the day-care home named in his honor. Others became involved: among them Mrs. Rebecca Coolot, who furnished the babies' dormitory; St. Francis of Assisi Parish Father Wiese, who furnished the kindergarten; and Father P. J. Van Schie, who left $5,000 in bonds to the home in his will.

In March 1922, Grace Day home became the first licensed day-care center in the State of California. In 1923, the convent at St. Stephen's closed, and the sisters moved to Grace Day Home.

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Miss Nettie Hopley and Lincoln Elementary School

Miss Nettie M. HopleyWe might say that the young immigrant population of the West End was initially introduced to American culture as infants and toddlers at Grace Day Home, then schooled at St. Stephen's and brought more fully into American life at Lincoln Elementary School where Miss Nettie Hopley served as principal. Accompanied by his mother, Henriquetta, Ernesto Galarza, gives us a vivid description of being admitted to the new three-story, yellow-painted Lincoln School at 4th and Q streets . . . and to its principal:

We crossed the hall and entered the office of Miss Nettie Hopley. Miss Hopley was at a roll-top desk to one side, sitting in a swivel chair that moved on wheels . . . . What Miss Hopley said we did not know but we saw in her eyes a warm welcome . . . . We were, of course, saying nothing, only catching the friendliness in her voice and the sparkle in her eyes . . . . Then Miss Hopley did a formidable thing. She stood up. Had she been standing when we entered she would have seemed tall. But rising from her chair she soared. And what she carried up and up with her was a buxom superstructure, firm shoulders, a straight sharp nose, full cheeks slightly molded by a curved line along the nostrils, thin lips that moved like steel springs, and a high forehead topped by hair gathered in a bun . . . . I decided I liked her.40

Lincoln Elementary SchoolNettie M. Hopley was born in 1867 on 4th Street between J and K streets to Joseph Hopley, a pioneer Sacramento furniture dealer, and his wife. She graduated from Sacramento High School in 1885, earned her teaching license at St. Joseph's Academy, and came to teach at Lincoln Elementary School in 1887. The 1903 Sacramento City Directory lists her as the principal of Lincoln School.

Lincoln Elementary School was known in its day as a "League of Nations," teaching children of at least 24 heritages—among them Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Serbian, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, African American, French, Mexican, Armenian and, according to the Bee, "Eurasians, Hindus and others."41 As Galarza recalls:

Miss Hopley and her teachers never let us forget why we were at Lincoln: for those who were alien, to become good Americans; for those who were so born, to accept the rest of us . . . . The school was not so much a melting pot as a griddle where Miss Hopley and her helpers warmed knowledge into us and roasted racial hatreds out of us.

At Lincoln, making us into Americans did not mean scrubbing away what made us originally foreign . . . . It was easy for me to feel that becoming a proud American, as she said she would, did not mean feeling ashamed of being a Mexican."42

Upon her retirement in 1938, Miss Hopley was the guest of honor at a number of ceremonial dinners given by civic and private organizations, among them the Southside Improvement Club on May 21, 1938—many of whose members were once her students at Lincoln. She served on the Sacramento County Board of Education more than 30 years. Two weeks before her death, she was reappointed for another term.

She was a Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament parishioner, and many of her teachers at Lincoln Elementary School were graduates of St. Joseph's Academy. As well as educating the children, Lincoln school also tended to their parents, running a Night School of Naturalization. In the 1920s it became the largest school in the city.43

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California and the Nation

As noted in chapter 4 of this history, Hiram Johnson and the Progressive Republicans won the governorship in 1910. He served as governor until 1917, when he took office in the U.S. Senate, where he remained until his death in 1945. As governor, Johnson had supported: the direct election of U.S. Senators (which became law with the adoption of the XVII Amendment in 1913); woman's suffrage, which had become law in California in 1911, almost a decade before the XIX Amendment in 1920; a citizen's right to register for more than one political party; and the adoption of the initiative, the referendum and the recall "giving California a degree of direct democracy unmatched by any other U.S. state."44 Governor Johnson also had supported the Alien Land Act of 1913.

In the 1912 presidential election, Johnson ran as the vice presidential candidate on Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive Republican Party ticket. This election, won by Democrat Woodrow Wilson with 42 percent of the popular vote, is recognized as the high-water mark of Progressive Reform. The Republican vote was split between the Republican Party candidate, William Taft, who garnered 23 percent and Roosevelt's "Bull Moose" Party, which carried 27 percent of the popular vote. The Socialist Party candidate, Eugene Debs, carried 6 percent of the vote—the highest historic percentage for a Socialist Party candidate.

President Woodrow WilsonIn his first term (1913-1917), President Woodrow Wilson continued Theodore Roosevelt's progressive reforms—which included the creation of the Federal Trade Commission, passage of the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Federal Farm Loan Act, and the Federal Reserve Act. He also supported the federal income tax, which became law with the passage of the XVI Amendment in 1913.

Born in Staunton, Virginia, in 1856 before the Civil War, Wilson, the son of a Southern Presbyterian minister, resegregated the Federal Civil Service. Wilson very narrowly won a second term in the 1916 election on the slogan, "He kept us out of the war," but in 1917 he led the United States into World War I as "a crusade to make the world safe for democracy."

Wilson and his protégé, John Foster Dulles, argued successfully that a "war guilt" clause be incorporated into the Versailles Treaty. Article 231 of the treaty charged Germany with being the only guilty parts for the war and required it to pay unspecified "reparations."

Wilson also proposed his Fourteen Points as a basis of post-World War I international relations, and was a staunch advocate of the League of Nations. Campaigning by train in support of the Versailles Treaty in early September 1919, President Wilson was greeted by 10,000 enthusiastic Sacramentans lining the R Street tracks. "I feel your voice of approval of the great covenant signed to make peace permanent in the world, "Wilson shouted to the cheering crowd.45

Late in September President Wilson suffered a debilitating stroke in Colorado. His wife, Edith, was the effective president of the United States for the remainder of his term ending in 1921. She nursed him until his death in 1924. The United States never ratified the Versailles Treaty, and never became a member of the League of Nations.

During the war, an estimated 500,000 African Americans migrated to northern cities to take jobs vacated by whites who had enlisted or were drafted into the military. In addition, more than 350,000 African Americans served in segregated units during World War I. In 1919, they, along with discharged white soldiers, were looking for jobs. The contest for jobs, the changed expectations of returning African Americans soldiers, who had found far more honor and social acceptance in France than in the U.S., and the domestic radicalism stemming from the 1917 Russian Revolution—all contributed to postwar tensions. Between January 1 and September 14, 1919, at least 43 African Americans were lynched, and eight men burnt at the stake. The highest number of fatalities occurred in Washington, D.C., where from July 14-19 at least six were killed and 150 injured. In Chicago, at least 50 died between July 22-27; and on October 1 in Elaine, Arkansas, five whites and between 100 and 200 blacks were killed.

It was within this context that Sacramento's African American civic, cultural and religious leaders struggled to help Sacramento's African American population, which numbered fewer than 1,000 maintain life and dignity.

In one of the crowning acts of the decade, women secured the right to vote with the August 20 ratification of the XIX Amendment. California had granted women the right to vote in 1911, Washington state in 1910, Idaho in 1896. The first woman's suffrage amendment had been introduced in Congress in 1878, in response to the XIV Amendment (1868), which guaranteed the rights of citizenship to all, but also for the first time introduced the word "male" into the Constitution, thus excluding females.

Luella Buckminster JohnstonIn December 1908, a headquarters for California's equal suffrage movement was established in Sacramento where the Tuesday Club and the Woman's Council had long worked for woman's suffrage. Many Sacramento women contributed to expanding women's public and civic roles, but among them, two can be mentioned with distinction: Luella Buckminster Johnston and Mary Rooney O'Neil.

Luella Buckminster Johnston was a founder of the Woman's Council and served as president of the Tuesday Club. She was born in New Hampshire in 1861; when her father was killed during the Civil War, her mother migrated to San Francisco. In 1876, at the age of 15, she began teaching in Sacramento schools. She married Alfred J. Johnston in 1884; the couple had five children. Mr. Johnston served 12 years as superintendent of the state printing office. He died in 1906.

Mrs. Johnston became a leader of the Progressive Republican Women; in 1912, she was elected to a one-year term on the City Commission. Her fellow commission members appointed her Sacramento's first Commissioner of Education—the first female commissioner in the state and perhaps in the nation.46
Mary Rooney O'Neil
Mary Rooney O'Neil

Like Luella Buckminster Johnston, Mary Rooney O'Neil was a school teacher and the widow of a prominent Sacramentan—artist and county sheriff Thomas O'Neil. Widowed in 1905 with seven children under the age of 17, Mary (also known as Minnie) Rooney O'Neil sought elective office—although she herself could not vote—and became County Superintendent of Schools, a position she was re-elected to in 1910. She was appointed Assistant Superintendent of City Schools in 1916, "a position she held until her death in 1932."47

Mary Rooney was born in Sacramento County in 1862 and attended St. Joseph Academy, where she was the first of three women to receive their teaching certificate in 1880. She was active in Sacramento Catholic circles throughout her life. In 1920, the Diocese of Sacramento sent her to Washington, D.C., where she participated in the formation of the National Council of Catholic Women. She "organized the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women and remained active in its affairs until her health declined."48

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The Larger World

For many historians the decade between 1910-1920 marks the true beginning of the twentieth century. Events during these years introduced themes that continued to play out for the remainder of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first.

1910—saw the beginning of the Mexican Revolution, which lasted until 1920 and beyond. During the unrest of these years, many Mexicans fled north to California and Sacramento. The Mexican Revolution is recognized as the first twentieth century national revolution.

1911—marked the beginning of the Chinese Revolution, which launched decades of turmoil and civil war in China. Sun Yat-sen became the first president of the Republic of China in 1912, followed by the ascendancy of Chiang Kai-shek (1928-1948), an American ally in World War II.

1914-1918—defined by what was variously known as The Great War, the First World War and World War I. By whatever name, it precipitated many of the major events of the twentieth century, most obviously perhaps World War II (1939-1945). In addition to the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Turkish Empire and the defeat of imperial Germany, the first World War led to the Russian Revolution, setting the stage for one of the twentieth century's greatest struggles.

1917-1923—characterized by the Russian Revolution of 1917, which led to the final overthrow of the Tsarist regime (and the execution of the Romanov family), and culminated with the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922. The USSR was dedicated to a worldwide Communist Revolution, thereby creating a global struggle between the USSR and western nations and the Catholic Church. In the United States, the Russian Revolution led to the First Red Scare (1917-1920) with the passage of the Espionage Act of 1917and the Sedition Act of 1918, resulting in raids against labor and other groups (from 1919-1921) under the direction of U.S. attorney general Alexander Palmer.

In Sacramento, the rear of the governor's mansion was dynamited on December 17, 1917. For many this was a continuation of the 1910 Los Angeles Times bombing, and the 1916 San Francisco Preparedness Day bombing. Following the United States entry into World War I in April 1917, labor organizers, anarchists and members of the International Workers of the World (IWW) were treated in the Sacramento Bee and Sacramento Union as agents of "imperial Germany."

Arrests began immediately. Within a week of the bombing, more than 30 IWW members had been arrested by Sacramento police. In January 1918, a federal grand jury indicated 55 IWW members. In December 1918, 45 men and one woman went on trial in Sacramento—six of the defendants died in the 1918 influenza epidemic, others were released. In January 1919 all 46 defendants were found"guilty as charged."49 The Bee opined that the nation had been saved from "these Bolshevistic rats."

Titanic News ArticleThe decade 1910-1920 was bracketed by two calamities that challenged the prevailing confidence in mechanical ingenuity and scientific knowledge. The first was the April 12 sinking of the Titanic on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City. The Titanic was, at its launching, the world's largest, most luxurious, most technologically advanced passenger liner—it was believed to be unsinkable. Nonetheless, after striking an iceberg south of Newfoundland's Grand Banks, it sank in less than three hours with a loss of more than 1,100 people, making it one of the costliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.50

The second disaster was the worldwide influenza epidemic of 1918, which took the lives of an estimated 50 million people; approximately 16 million people died as a result of World War I. The global flu epidemic took medical authorities and public health officials by surprise; they had no immediate remedies for it, so the epidemic simply ran its course across the globe.51

Historians now look back on World War I, the worldwide flu epidemic, and the League of Nations as the first wave of globalization, an unsuccessful wave. Perhaps now in the early years of the twenty-first century, we are experiencing the failure of another wave of globalization.

The Titanic is emblematic of the hubris of early twentieth century leadership. Just as the Titanic was believed to be unsinkable, so also military and financial leaders in each national told their people that:

  • The military power of their nation was invincible, capable of overwhelming any other. The Great War, they predicted, would be a short war in which rapid troop movements would quickly subjugate adversaries.

  • The economic capacity of the international financial system could not bear the cost of a long war; therefore, leaders predicted one or more of their nation's adversaries would be rapidly drained of financial resources and would just as quickly have to sue for peace.

All Quiet on the Western FrontContrary to expectations, the Great War took form in lengthy and agonizing trench warfare. Thousands of troops on both sides ere bunkered down in rat-infested trenches, from which they were commanded to attack the enemy across a no-man's-land of water-filled shell craters populated with rotting human and animal corpses.

The war that was predicted to be short and decisive dragged on for months and years, destroying the human and economic resources of Europe. Moreover, the classrooms of each nation became recruiting stations for the national war effort, with teachers urging their young students to volunteer for the homeland. This was true in universities and colleges as well as secondary schools. An entire generation of Europe's best-educated young men was sacrificed in the Great War.42

World War I ended with a succession of armistices. The most well known was on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month—November 11, 1918—between the allies and Germany. However, an armistice is not a peace treaty; it is merely the cessation of hostilities.

World War I, by the very nature of this "conclusion," let to World War II. Known initially as The Great War or the First World War, one might think that it would not have become known as World War I until World War II was well underway. But such was not the case; it became generally referred to as World War I in the early 1920's, making World War II a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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World War I and Sacramento

As indicated in the discussion of anti-German hysteria and St. Francis of Assisi Parish, World War I efforts were for a time far-reaching and pervasive in Sacramento. The United States entered World War I in April 1917, resulting for Sacramento in the establishment of Mather Field. Construction began at the end of February 1918 on what was then Mills Field; the training of Army pilots ended in January 1919. But for these few months, Mather Field was heralded as "The West Point of the West," and a prize coup for Sacramento's city fathers; here would be trained one of America's most elite corps of young men.

Throughout April 1918, the pages of the Bee roiled with reports that the federal government might not open or would move the Mather Aviation School if Sacramento's "rotten and vile" social conditions were not swiftly cleaned up. On April 15, 1918, the Bee announced the police chief had ordered a "lid put on gambling."53

The County Grand Jury Report of 1918 was more detailed and specifically aimed at Chinatown:

Investigations showed that thirty-one different gambling places in Chinatown were being conducted by Chinese operators in the most open and brazen defiance of the law on the main or street floors of Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and on I Street. Sixteen of these places were patronized by white men and boys ranging from sixteen to sixty years of age and representing all classes of society.

Admission was as free and open as is the entrance to legitimate shopping places on J and K streets. Vicious gambling games of chuck-a-luck, wherein ten cents or a thousand dollars may be won or lost on a single throw of the dice, but with odds heavily against the player, were being patronized by hundreds of men and boys, most of them representing the working class.

The above conditions existed until April 1918. In that month the United States Government requested that gambling and prostitution cease in Sacramento. [Emphasis added.]54

Liberty Iron Works
Note how incredibly fragile these 1918 linen fabric aeroplanes appear from the vantage point of the early twenty-first century

In North Sacramento, the Liberty Iron Works won an $18 million war contract to build Curtiss JN-4, "Jenny" aeroplanes. Founded in 1911 as the Globe Iron Works, the company reincorporated and changed its name in 1917 (a similar name change happened to the word sauerkraut, which became "liberty cabbage"). Liberty Iron Works was located on an eight-acre site on land donated by the North Sacramento Land Company, at the junction of Del Paso Boulevard and the Western Pacific railroad tracks. The property also had a 300-foot frontage on the American River.55

The Curtiss JN-4 "Jennies" were used by the Mather Aviation School to train pilots. "On June 11, 1918, a Sacramento-built Curtiss JN-4 piloted by Lt. John F. Buffington became the first aircraft to take off from Mather field."56

There was an inspection of the machines. Lieutenant Buffington climbed into the beautiful Sacramento-built car with its brown varnished linen wings and body glistening and the emblem of America giving the whole an added impressive significance. [Emphasis added.]57

Liberty Iron Works ran a series of advertisements celebrating its prospects and the opportunity to buy residential lots near the factory. But with the end of World War I, the war contracts ended, and by 1920, the company was no longer listed in the City Directory.58

As Sacramento citizens enlisted to serve in the military during World War I, many businesses stepped forward in support of the war effort, including the California State Fair and Weinstock, Lubin & Co. department store.

Weinstock, Lubin & Co.
Weinstock, Lubin & Co.
California State Fair
California State Fair




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The Sacramento Region

Between 1910 and 1920 Sacramento's industrial output increased by more than 150 percent. Sacramento River traffic formed an essential element in this prosperity—265 commercial vessels transported 1.5 million tons of freight and 105,000 passengers annually.

Railroads were also essential—the city was served by 153 passenger trains and 63 freight trains daily. The Western Pacific railroad arrived in 1910, with a depot at 18th and J streets, to compete with the dominant Southern Pacific.

The electric inter-urban railroads provided additional service within the region; the Northern Electric to Oroville and Chico; the Central California Traction Company to Stockton; the Oakland, Antioch and Eastern to Oakland. By 1920, the Oakland, Antioch and Eastern and the Northern Electric had merged under the name Sacramento Northern, and it was possible to ride this electric inter-urban line from Oakland to Chico—a distance of more than 175 miles.
Sacramento-Placerville Auto Stage
Sacramento-Placerville Auto Stage

Causeway CelebrationAutomobile and truck traffic became increasingly important as well. All major highways in the Northern California state system converged on Sacramento. Six motor truck lines served the city, while 59 auto stages operated from Sacramento. The Yolo Causeway opened to great fanfare in 1916.

In 1909 the State Fair moved into its new facilities on Stockton Boulevard and Broadway, where it would remain for almost 60 years. Beginning in late August, the fair was an event of statewide interest. The fair emphasized agricultural enterprises with cattle, swine and sheep exhibits. There were also county and commercial displays in the Agricultural Building, a Hall of Flowers, home-cooking contests, a race track and a lively midway. In the infield of the race track, old railroad locomotives were crashed head on into each other, to delight of fair-goers who packed into the grandstand.

State Fair GroundsIn 1910, at the opposite end of Broadway (then called Y Street), Sacramento's Pacific Coast League baseball team, the Senators, moved into their new ballpark at Riverside Avenue. Named after the local beer sponsor, it was known as Buffalo Park.



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St. Francis of Assisi Parish Photos

The next time you exit our church, look up at the window over the front doors. There you will see St. Francis presiding over an architect's rendering of our church.

      St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi Parish School - Class of 1915
St. Francis of Assisi Parish School - Class of 1915


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Panama Canalk. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panama_Canal

Scottish Rite Temple. Sacramento Archives and museum Collection Center, 1970/0001/0116.

"I Want You." James Montgomery Flagg illustration (1917). Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Montgomery_Flagg

Father Humilis Wiese. St. Francis of Assisi Parish Archives, Sacramento.

Bishop Manogue. Courtesy of the Archives of the Diocese of Sacramento.

"Protecting the Settlers." The Other Californians, frontispiece.

General Mariano G. Vallejo: http://www.sfmuseum.org/bio/vallejo.html

Chinese event on I Street (c 1880s). Canton Footprints: 35.

Anti-Chinese cartoon (1882). Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Wakamatsu Plaque. Gold Hill, California. Photo by Gregg Campbell.

California Ethnic Population graph (1850-1920). The Other Californians: 203. Adapted by author and Khoa Van Do, ITC, California State University, Sacramento.

The West End (1920) base map. SAMCC, adapted by Gregg Campbell, Khoa Van Do, ITC, California State University, Sacramento, and Andrew Cason, ITA, California State University, Sacramento.

Chinatown map. Canton Footprints: 23.

Sun Yat-Sen. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Yat-sen

Chinese Language School (1908). California State University, Sacramento.

608-614 10th Street. Photo by Gregg Campbell.

St. Andrew's Church building, following its 1926 renovation. SAMCC.

St. Andrew's A.M.E. California Registered Historical Landmark No. 1013.

Japanese Methodist Episcopal Church. California State University, Sacramento (JC28F): 17.

1914 California Fruit Exchange Building, 4th and J. Photo by Gregg Campbell.

Fathers Godfrey Hoelters, Felix Raab, Apollinaris Johmann and Humilis Wiese. Archives of St. Francis of Assisi, Sacramento.

Bishop elect Patrick Joseph Keane. Catholic Herald, December 11, 1920: 1.

Grace Day Home. Both photos by Gregg Campbell.

Miss Nettie Hopley. Burg: 34.

Lincoln Elementary School. SAMCC, enhanced by Andrew Cason, ITA, California State University, Sacramento.

President Woodrow Wilson. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodrow_Wilson

Luella Buckminster Johnston City Cemetery plaque. Photo by Gregg Campbell.

Mary Rooney O'Neil (c. 1910). SAMCC, 83/146/1978.

"The Titanic Sinks with 1,800 on Board." New York Herald, April 30, 1912: 1.

All Quiet on the Western Front movie poster (1930). Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Quiet_on_the_

Liberty Iron Works advertisement. SAMCC.

California State Fair program (1918). California State Library

Weinstock & Lubin entrance (WWI). SAMCC

Sacramento-Placerville Auto Stage. SAMCC

Yolo Causeway Celebration poster. SAMCC

State Fair Grounds from the air. Sacramento Room, Sacramento Public Library.

Stained glass window in vestibule of St. Francis of Assisi Church.

St. Francis of Assisi Elementary School graduating class (1915). Archives of St. Francis of Assisi Parish.

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"1910s." Sacramento Bee, Special 150th Anniversary Edition, June 15, 2007

Avella, Steven M. 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.

Bean, Walton and James J. Rawls. California An Interpretive History, 4th ed., 1982.

Brown, Alice M. "The Japanese of Florin, 1913," Golden Notes, vol. 21 #1, Spring 1975.

Burg, William. Sacramento's Southside Park. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2007.

Caesar, Clarence. "An Historical Overview of the Development of Sacramento's Black Community, 1850-1983.": Master's thesis. California State University, Sacramento, 1985.

California Registered Historical Landmark No. 815.

Choy, Philip P. Canton Footprints: Sacramento's Chinese Legacy. Chinese American Council of Sacramento, 2008.

Cole, Cheryl. "A Portrait of Sacramento's Japanese Community, 1883-1924," Golden Notes, vol. 21 #1, Spring 1975.

Connolly, Elaine, and Diane Self. Capital Women: An Interpretive History of Women in Sacramento, 1850-1920. Sacramento: Capital Women History Project, 1995.

Creel, George. How We Advertised America: The First Telling of the Amazing Story of the Committee on Public Information That Carried the Gospel of Americanism to Every Corner of the Globe (1920) (Kessinger Publishing LLC, 2008).

Crim, Jean. "St. Andrew's African Methodist Episcopal Church, 157th Anniversary Season" history.

Fleener, Derrel. "Liberty Iron Works," presentation to the Sacramento County Historical Society, February 24, 2009.

Frame, Walter. "Scenes of Sacramento 1910-1920," Golden Notes, vol. 25 #2 Summer 1979.

Galarzo, Ernesto. Barrio Boy. South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1971.

Goethe, Charles M. "Sacramento Sheltered Sun Yat-Sen," Golden Notes, vol. 7 #1, November 1960.

"Grace Day Home, 1920," n.d.: unnumbered typescript.

Heizer, Robert F., and Alan J. Almquist. The Other Californians, Prejudice and Discrimination under Spain, Mexico and the United States to 1920 (University of California Press, 1977).

Henley, James E. "1918: Sacramento Has an Aerocraft Factory and Mather Field," Sacramento History Journal, vol. III, Nos. 2 & 3, 2003: 37 ff.

"History of Kyles Temple A. M. E. Zion Church," typescript, last revised by Cordia Wade, May 2004.

Hurtado, Albert L. Indian Survival on the California Frontier. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988.

"Influenza Epidemic of 1918." www.archives.gov/exhibits/influenza-epidemic/

Japanese American Archival Collection, California State University, Sacramento. http://library.csus.edu/collections/jaac/

Madrid, Rosana M. "The Mexican/Chicano Community of Sacramento," Ethnic Communities Survey, SAMCC.

Maeda, Wayne. Changing Dreams and Treasured Memories: A Story of Japanese Americans in the Sacramento Region. Sacramento Japanese American Citizens League, 2000.

Marios, Deb. "An Economic History of Alkali Flat." University of California Davis, typescript, 2003.

"Mather Airport-History." http://www.sacairports.org/int/about/history.html

"Our Pioneer Churches." Golden Notes, vol. II #1, 1965: 26-27.

Pitt, Leonard. The Decline of the Californios, 1966.

Rohl, Fred W. "Sacramento Espionage Trial." Master's thesis, Sacramento State College, 1970.

Sacramento Betsuin, 1899-1969, 70th Anniversary, 1969.

"St. Francis of Assisi Church, 1895-1995." Centennial Calendar, 1995.

"St. Francis Province, Part One, Selected Events, Decisions and Experiences that have helped shape our lives as a Province." Archives of the Diocese of Sacramento, St. Stephen's Box, 1983: unnumbered typescript.

Wiegand, Steve. "Spanish flu epidemic ravaged the city in 1918." Sacramento Bee, "Our Century," December 21, 1999.

Wortell, Veryl W. "Globe and Liberty Iron Works." Rancho Journal, vol. V #1, 1949.

"Year Book-1918." St. Francis of Assisi Church, Sacramento, California

Zenner, Emilie with Rosemary Lynch (ed.). "Pathways in the West: A History of the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity." St. Francis Province, Redwood City, California, c. 1981.

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1 Todhunter, Lillie Catherine, Yeoman (F), 2nd class, USNRF (mother, Mrs. Catherine Todhunter, 1508 O Street, Sacramento, Calif; enlisted San Francisco, Calif., August 29, 1918), Navy Yard, Mare Island, Calif., influenza, October 21, 1918 http://www.naval-history.net/WW1NavyUS-CasualtiesAlphaT.htm

2 Edward Reinlander, Henry Wallner & Patrick Dillon, "St. Francis Parish," Catholic Herald, 1918.

3 Note this view of the Panama Canal is facing south with the Atlantic Ocean on the left, the Pacific on the right.

4 Sacramento Bee, August 26, 1915: 4.

5 Information on the Committee on Public Information is available at: http://en/wikipedia.org/wiki/Committee_on_Public
See also George Creel's How We Advertised America: The First Telling of the Amazing Story of the Committee on Public Information That Carried the Gospel of Americanism to Every Corner of the Globe (1920) (Kessinger Publishing LLC, 2008). Emphasis added.

6 In one instance in 1917, the father of a German Lutheran boy, who was constantly being beaten at public school, took his son to St. Francis elementary school, where the sisters accepted him as a student. The boy was subsequently "received into the Church and his entire family followed." "St. Francis Province, Part One," Archives of the Diocese of Sacramento, St. Stephen's Box.

7 "Once and For All," St. Francis Church Announcements, December 21-27th, 1919. Santa Barbara Mission Archives. We can also note that in 1918 Sacramento city schools suspended all German language classes, and the Sacramento Union called for the disclosure of all German language services. In 1919 the German Evangelical Church changed its name to St. John's Lutheran.

8 Hurtado.

9 Bean and Rawls: 102 and 142.

10 Campbell, Gregg. Online history of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Sacramento. http://www.stfrancisparish.com/ See chapter 1: "St. Francis of Assisi Parish in a Larger World, Prehistory to 1894": 15. See also Leonard Pitt, The Decline of the Californios.

11 "the words, Indian, Negro, Black and White, are generic terms, designating race. That, therefore Chinese and all other people [that] are not white, are included in the prohibition from being witnesses against whites." The People v. Hall, October 1, 1854. Reprinted in Heizer and Almquist: 229 ff.

12 http://www.californiagovernors.ca.gov/h/documents/inaugural_14.html

13 Choy: 36.

14 Brown

15 In 1913, for example, J. M. Inman, a leader of the Anti-Alien League stated that "he favored running the Japanese into the Pacific Ocean if necessary to get rid of them." Quoted in Cole: 12. In 1929 as a state senator, he proposed converting Sacramento City College into a four-year institution. His legislation was defeated.

16 Quoted in Heizer and Almquist. Other Californians: 104 ff.

17 Heizer and Almquist (graph): 203.

18 Lagomarsino: 127.

19 Marios: 14.

20 Choy: 62.

21 Goethe: 3.

22 National Register Landmark No. 84000929. Alkali Flat Central Historic District, bounded by E, F, 9th and 12th Streets.

23 Marios: 1

24 Ibid.: 16.

25 Caesar: 62 and passim.

26 Ibid.: 102. The 1910 Sacramento City Directory lists Taylor Walker, residence, 1412 4th Street, as a porter for Wm. Guinn; Wm. Guinn is listed as a barber, residing at 1008 7th Street.

27 California Registered Historical Landmark No. 1013. Site of First African Methodist Episcopal Church on the Pacific Cost, 715 Seventh Street.

28 "Our Pioneer Churches": 26.

29 Crim: unnumbered page 4.

30 "History of Kyles Temple": 1.

31 Maeda: Chapter 4; and Japanese American Archival Collection, California State University, Sacramento

32 Sacramento Betsuin: unnumbered pages 1-3

33 Galarza: 98-199.

34 Madrid: 39.

35 St. Francis of Assisi Church (1895-1995). Centennial Calendar

36 Year Book-1918: 3.

37 Diocese of Sacramento Directory (1920).

38 "Pathways in the West" and "Grace Day Home, 1920."

39 Archives of the Diocese of Sacramento, St. Stephens Box, and "Grace Day Home."

40 Galarza: 208-209.

41 Hopley obituary, Sacramento Bee, June 30, 1942: 1.

42 Galarza: 211.

43 At the time of her death in 1942, Nettie Hopley was residing with her sister Minnie L. Hopley at 1422 10th Street. Neither Minnie nor Nettie married; they lived together most of their adult lives. Minnie earned her living as a bookkeeper for D. W. Carmichael's real estate company; in 1916 she was listed as secretary-treasurer. But between 1917 and 1919, she was also a partner in Benson and Hopley Moving Picture Screen Manufacturing Company. She is listed in A Directory of Women in California Photography (1991): 174-175.

44 "Hiram Johnson." Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.oprg/wiki/Hiram_Johnson

45 Quoted in Avella, Indomitable City: 84.

46 Connolly and Self: 158 ff., and Luella Bukcminster Johnston Marker, http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=15621 One of Mrs. Johnston's five children was Alva Johnston, a 1923 Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for the New York Times, and a writer for the New Yorker magazine.

47 Avella, Sacramento and the Catholic Church: 89-90 and passim.

48 Ibid.: 90

49 Rohl: 47, 49 and passim.

50 The Titanic claimed the life of at least one Sacramentan, Mrs. Stephen Hold,. "1910s," Sacramento Bee, June 15, 2007.

51 In Sacramento the epidemic lasted from mid-October 1918 through January 1919. About 4,500 cases were reported with 479 deaths among them Lillie C. Todhunter, who was serving in the Navy at Mare Island and Father Eugene Mela, founding pastor of St. Mary Church. "We have never seen its like before," said city health official Dr. W. J. Hanna. See "1910s" and Wiegand. Although they had no nursing training, the Franciscan Sisters were asked by Bishop Grace to volunteer at local hospitals. In response to the epidemic the Sisters of Mercy's Mater Misericordiae Hospital expanded to 90 beds, occupying all the useable land on their site.

52 See for example, Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, November-December 1928 in German;English translation, 1930; film, 1930.

53 Sacramento Be, April 15, 1918: The Sacramento Bee ran front page stories on the necessity of an immediate "clean-up" from at least April 8 to April 29, 1918.

54 Reprinted in Frame: 6. Note the reference to legitimate businesses on the "high grade" of J and K Streets.

55 Wortell.

56 Mather Airport History. http://www.sacairports.org/mather/about.history.html

57 Sacramento Bee, June 11, 1918, reprinted in Henley.

58 The Curtis JN-4 were "sweet little planes, the most popular of all time," Derrel Fleener commented to the Sacramento County Historical Society on February 24, 2009. Fleener, the former director of the closed Silver Wings Aviation Museum at Mather Field and former curator of the Air and Space Museum of California at McClellan Field, observed that so many Jennys were built under World War I contracts that when the contracts were terminated there was a glut of planes, and thus no market or demand from the private sector.

59 This stained glass window is from an architect's rendering—the arcade to the left of the church was never built.


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St. Francis of Assisi Parish
  • Fr. Anthony Garibaldi, Pastor
  • Fran Anderson, Administrative Assistant
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  • David Sundquist, volunteer historical research Santa Barbara Mission Archives
California State University Sacramento
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Diocese of Sacramento
  • Rev. William Breault, S. J., Diocesan Historian and Archives Director
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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