Author Archives: Alice van Ommeren

On This Day in History: A New Courthouse

February 22, 1888 was the official laying of the cornerstone for the second San Joaquin County courthouse which was designed by Elijah E. Myers, a noted architect of several state capitols and many county courthouses. The stately structure was built from local bricks and faced with high quality granite from Placer County. This granite was used in […]

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New Book: The True Story of Sarah Althea Hill

Enchantress, Sorceress, Madwoman, a new biography by Stockton author, Robin C. Johnson, tells the story of a woman whose name has passed into obscurity. But in 1880s California, Sarah Althea Hill was the biggest celebrity around, beginning in San Francisco when she caused the sex scandal of the decade, and continuing when she married the […]

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Today in 1895, California Governor from Stockton

  It was on this day in 1895 when Stockton resident James Herbert Budd became the 19th Governor of California. He had moved to California from Wisconsin as a child and attended the local grammar and high schools in Stockton before attending the University of California Berkeley.  After graduating from Berkeley in 1873, he started his […]

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Buhach: A Stockton Innovation

  The large farming industry in and around Stockton, as well as its proximity to the Delta, created a lot of pests. In the 1870’s, Giovanno N. Milco who was an immigrant of Croatia, created a pesticide called “Buhach” which is a powder produced from the flowers of the Pyrethrum plant.  In 1873, he was […]

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Windows into the Heart of Stockton

Before shopping malls and giant parking lots, the Christmas season in Stockton always meant a trip downtown to see the window displays. Stores used elaborate exhibits to draw customers for the holidays. Delmar McComb fondly remembers the Breuner’s windows, famous for its moving musical Christmas display. The life-size figures wore authentic costumes depicting seasonal scenes […]

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A Book Review: Italians of San Joaquin County

The Pacific Italian Alliance recently celebrated the release of Italians in San Joaquin County, a new history book published by Arcadia Publishing. This is the first publication that chronicles one of the earliest European pioneers and settlers in the area and their significant influence in our community. The book from the Images of Americas Series contains more […]

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Historic Residential Walking Tour

Great article in the Record last week by Tim Viall on a historic walking tour of downtown.  Our downtown is a treasure trove of historic buildings with architectural designs reminiscent of Stockton’s Gold Era (1890-1940). For residential buildings, the Magnolia Historic District holds the richest variety of architectural styles, built as early as 1860.  A self-guided […]

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The History of Our Magnificent Mile

The automobile revolution led to increasing residential and business development outside of Stockton’s downtown. Until the early 1900’s, the Miracle Mile area was the most southern end of Lower Sacramento Road, surrounded by fields and orchards. In the early 1920’s, developer Joseph Plecarpo successfully lobbied votes to annex the area for shopping. In 1924, the […]

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A New Roof for St. Mary’s Church

For those of you that work, play or live downtown you must have noticed the roof repair taking place at the St. Mary of the Assumption Church on Washington Street the past few months. St. Mary’s nave and square bell were built in 1861 on land donated by city founder Charles Weber. The transept was added in 1869 but […]

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“The Eagle Nest” at Oak Park

On this day (October 10th) in 1918, the city bought Oak Park located on Alpine Street from the Stockton Electric Railroad.  Before 1902, the park was called Goodwater Grove. This postcard from the 1930’s shows a unique swing and tree house called  “The Eagle Nest.” Filled with valley oak trees, the 30-acre park was a very popular […]

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