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September 22, 2021

This Week in Pajaro Valley’s Past, Jan. 15

Compiled by Steve Bankhead

25 years ago on Jan. 9, 1996

The city Planning Commission voted 5-2 for approval of the Overlook Shopping Center north of Ramsay Park. It will bring a Target store, Staples, and a major supermarket. Shirley Pyle, owner of the Crestview Shopping Center in Freedom, said the new development would only bring in businesses to compete with others already here. Commissioner Pedro Castillo and Daniel Dodge were the lone votes against the plan.  The recommended approval includes widening of Main Street near the project, and extension of Clifford Avenue from Main Street to Harkins Slough Road. Those improvements on Harkins Slough Road are crucial to future housing projects planned in the slough area by developers Norman Schwartz and Chuck Allen. Schwartz said his housing project “will not be built” until the Overlook Shopping Center is approved.     

50 years ago on Jan. 14, 1971

Mr. and Mrs. Martin Franich Sr. were married in Watsonville 60 years ago today. Their anniversary celebration will be hosted by their sons, local auto dealer Marty Franich and Superior Court Judge Charles Franich, their wives, and with most of the couple’s nine grandchildren attending, including Skip, Rocky, Sugar, Frosty, Joy, Charles Jr., Mary and Ann, first at the Judge Franich home at 832 Virginia Street, and then at the Harbor Inn at Moss Landing. Martin Franich Sr., 83, came to the United States from Yugoslavia in 1903 when he was 15 years old. He worked for several years in San Francisco before moving to Watsonville where he worked many years in the apple business. Mrs. Franich, 78 years old,  was also born in Yugoslavia and came to Watsonville as a child.

75 years ago on Jan. 15, 1946

Pajaronian editor Fred Jenkins recounted how many local old timers remember the steamer S.S. Watsonville, named for our city.  After its construction in 1919, it hauled lumber and general merchandise between Portland and Los Angeles with frequent dockings at Moss Landing. Photos of it recently came to the newspaper from a reader and an inquiry was sent by Jenkins to its owner, the Hammond Shipping Company to learn its current status. He received the sad news that it was a casualty of the recent war—sunk in the early part of 1942 by a Nazi sub in the Caribbean Sea while engaged in transporting cargo for the War Shipping Administration. At any rate, the ship deserves a place with other honored local heroes in Valhalla, and it would be nice if the shipping company named a future vessel the S.S. Watsonville.  

100 years ago on Jan. 14, 1921

A citizens petition was read at the city aldermen meeting complaining that city police have been lax with enforcing the curfew for young residents, and it had come to the observance of the undersigned that “children of tender years are in the habit of congregating in the downtown portion of the city until late hours” and that the practice must be stopped “by rigid enforcement of the law.” Chief of Police Whitsitt responded that from his observation there are few children on the streets except those who go to the library, YMCA or theatre. Some come to the downtown with their parents who attend lodges, with the children going to the other places and waiting for their parents afterwards. Chief Whitsitt stated he makes a point to question all children, and if they are not going to any of the places mentioned, sends them to their homes.

This week in Pajaro Valley’s Past is a recurring column from Steve Bankhead. For questions or comments, email [email protected].

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