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September 27, 2023

This Week in Pajaro Valley’s Past, July 16

25 years ago on July 10, 1996

Watsonville police captain Chuck Carter retires this month after 30 years of service, many of them involved in community projects with a social angle. “I’ve never seen a police officer as heavily involved as Chuck is with a program like mine,” said Celia Organista, director of Adelante, a nonprofit that helps farmworkers and other poor people in Watsonville. Frank Bardacke, an activist for liberal and social causes in Watsonville, said Carter “understands in his bones that police problems come from social problems.” Watsonville Police Chief Terry Medina says Carter’s community involvement “has helped us form relationships with new segments of the community, but Carter’s efforts with social causes don’t mean he’s soft on crime. He’s a tough-on-crime guy.”

50 years ago on July 10, 1971

Pajaronian columnist and former beat generation writer Lee Quarnstrom described a prize-winning State Division of Forestry exhibit at the Santa Cruz County Fair which has since been relocated for display at the Santa Cruz government center. It consists of a giant redwood section covered with a huge painting in fluorescent colors showing explorer Gaspar Portola pointing at discovered redwoods in 1769. The age of the tree is revealed by a tag at its center saying “Battle of Hastings, 1066.”  The mural was painted by inmates earlier assigned to a Division of Forestry camp in southern Monterey County where they battled a forest fire and built trails. The fluorescent colors on the painting are highlighted by hanging black lights. 

75 years ago on July 11, 1946

Around 1900 a young man from Watsonville, Carl Arnold, was working for Henry Ford as a tool designer. Carl recently attended the Golden Jubilee celebration of the National Automotive Industry and talked for over 20 minutes with Mister Ford, as the great motor magnate recalled many of the predictions made by the two in their noonday talks nearly a half-century ago. R. R. Olds and Charles Nash, among other automobile pioneers honored at the jubilee, are also old acquaintances of the Watsonville man, and he had a chat with them. Carl knew Barney Oldfield, the first of the great auto racers in the early days, and met Henry Ford II and General Motors executive William Knudsen for the first time.

100 years ago on July 16, 1921

The building committee of the Watsonville Woman’s Club met yesterday with club President Biersch acting as chair. It was decided to start on improvements of the clubhouse to finish the two large rooms in the upper story, and an additional stairway in the rear of the building behind the stage which will lead directly to this newly-finished portion. One of the rooms will be made a dressing room, thereby making it directly accessible to the stage for performances. That is something that has been badly needed. The improvements were the wish of the late member Mrs. Litchfield, and to that end left in her will a legacy to cover the cost.  It is hoped the work will be finished by the opening of the club’s next year in September. 

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