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Monterey County History Digest

150th Anniversary: How Levi’s Could Have Been Called Jacob’s


You might be surprised at how long it’s been since Levi’s were made in America.

Billions and Billions Served: McDonald’s Turns 75


Dick and Mac McDonald came to California to seek opportunities in the movie business and wound up owning a drive-in BBQ restaurant in San Bernardino. On May 15, 1948, they opened their revamped restaurant with a Speedee Service System featuring hamburgers.

Human Remains Found in Central Valley Appear to be Historic Native American


Experts say human remains found by a farmworker in Kings County appear to come from a historic or prehistoric Native American and officials are looking for help to inter them properly.

Legendary Cal QB, Coach Joe Kapp Dies at 85


Salinas native Joe Kapp is the only quarterback to appear in the Rose Bowl, Super Bowl and Canada’s Grey Cup.

California Reparations Task Force Recommends Possible Millions for Eligible Californians


Economic models calculate reparations to eligible Black residents to address past racial inequities. The task force also voted to recommend California apologize for “gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity and African slaves and their descendants.”

Salinas Heritage Park Proponents Voice Support


“That was so impressive tonight and to stifle that energy would be a real bummer, so I realize there's a process and I see the other side of it,” said Councilman Steve McShane. “I’ve been talked to by city staff on this subject, but we can't squash that energy, we really can’t. It would be a huge mistake.”

Reparations Task Force Could Face Uphill Battle


Few assembly members have pledged their support for monetary reparations for the descendants of formerly enslaved people. Public response is split.

Task Force Wants New Reparations Agency


A state-appointed panel inching toward recommendations for reparations wants a new state agency to handle compensation and services to Black people.

The Long, Lonely Days of Mount Madonna’s Last White Deer


A small white deer is the sole survivor of a once-large herd created by famed publisher William Randolph Hearst.

Capitola: Storm-Smashed Then, Storm-Smashed Now


Capitola Historical Museum curator Deborah Osterberg dug back into the past 100 years and compiled a litany of weather-wrought catastrophes befalling the village and wharf.

Past Three Weeks Were the Bay Area’s Wettest in 161 Years


The last time rainfall totals in San Francisco were greater, Abraham Lincoln was president.

‘Valleys of Anza’ Would Use Historic Trail to Expand Tourism, Raise Revenue


The idea has caught the attention of UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design. It will present six draft strategies for bringing tourism to the Salinas and San Juan valleys.

President Biden Announces New National Monument Near Nevada-California Border


Avi Kwa Ame National Monument will protect sacred Native American sites, wildlife.

A Look Back at California’s Most Recent Volcanic Eruption


Californians are accustomed to being battered by many of nature's whims. Less familiar are volcanic eruptions like the one currently taking place at Hawaii's Mauna Loa. But California's own volcanoes are capable of violent fury.

California Woman Moves Closer to Canonization as Saint


The woman, who moved to Santa Cruz County in the 1950s, is said to have had visions of Jesus, the Virgin Mary and other Catholic saints.

Eureka Ran Its Chinese Residents Out. Now the Story Is Finally Being Told


Beauty drew Brieanne Mirjah D'Souza to Eureka.

Looking Back: ‘Dirty Harry’ Becomes Carmel Mayor


“Well, people laughed when Ronald Reagan first sat down to play governor, too. And judging from Eastwood’s comments to a Herald reporter, this is not a frivolous exercise for him either,” the Herald editorialized in February 1986.

The Story of Salinas: A Tale of Two Labor Movements


Although women sat at the bargaining table, their demand for equal pay was tossed aside both by the growers and shippers and even by their own union representatives, who made secret agreements that ignored equal pay.

California Hall of Fame 15th Class Selected


Gov. Gavin Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom recently joined the California Museum in announcing the 15th class of inductees into the California Hall of Fame. They join 138 Californians previously inducted for embodying the state’s innovative spirit.

New California Law May Improve Cancer Care


Low-income patients who need specialized cancer treatment often struggle to get it. Advocates say a new law is a small step toward improving services for those patients.

The Story of Salinas: Immigrants Were City Builders, Not Just Laborers


historian Carol McKibben writes about how Chinese Americans reclaimed swampland and carved out habitable space, which led to the political and economic success of the city by the 1880s.

‘Los Braceros’ Exhibit to Find Permanent Home in Monterey County


Photos from Stanford University’s Ernesto Galarza collection documenting the bracero program were on view at the Salinas Sports Complex. Now county leaders hope to find a permanent place for the display, but until then the photos can be seen at the Monterey County Historical Society.

Native American Activist Sacheen Littlefeather Dies at 75


Sacheen Littlefeather, the Native American actress who declined Marlon Brandon’s Oscar in 1973, has died. Littlefeather, who was Apache and Yaqui and born Nov. 14, 1946 in Salinas, died “peacefully at home” in Marin County.

Pacific Repertory Theatre Celebrates 40th Anniversary


Pacific Repertory Theatre founder Stephen Moorer began his love affair with the performing arts at Carmel’s Forest Theater. And the company he founded on a shoestring now owns the Golden Bough Playhouse and manages the Forest Theater complex.

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to Be Featured on Stamp


As the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary turns 30 this year, it will be celebrated by the United States Postal Service. The stamp will be one of 16 representing the National Marine Sanctuary System, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Boat Steinbeck Made Famous Is Headed Home


If all goes according to plan, a boat immortalized in novels by John Steinbeck will make its return to Monterey Bay sometime in September—after a seven-year rehabilitation process. It will be repurposed as a floating classroom and research vessel.

Kevin Starr’s Tales Bring the State’s History to Life


In nine books, preeminent California chronicler Kevin Starr ranges from the state’s pre-Columbian setting to the 21st century. His knowledge, scholarship and exquisite writing are as breathtaking as one’s first view of Yosemite Valley.

Where the Bodies Are Buried: Food Fights, Chapter 2


The Lettuce Strike of 1936 remains a dark stain on the history of Salinas. In the second part of a series, reporter Joe Livernois writes about how powerful business interests could coordinate an effective campaign against common enemies.

Memoir Spotlights the Pacific Grove of Yesteryear


“My Life in Pacific Grove,” a May release that chronicles W.R. Holman’s life, has roots back to 1979, when the then 95-year-old businessman dictated his life story to his caretaker, Louise V. Jaques.

Where the Bodies Are Buried: Food Fights, Chapter 1


Salinas was mostly a sleepy town before the troubles of the mid-1930s. But when Filipino farmworkers revolted against their bosses in 1934, Salinas Valley civic leaders flexed their muscle.

Museum Celebrates Agricultural History


Tucked inside San Lorenzo County Park in King City, off the 101 Freeway, it’s easy to miss the Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum.

Pleasures and Treasures of the California State Library


There are approximately 6 million items in the inventory of the California State Library. Four million of those are books, and nearly 2,000 of those are law books.