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July 24, 2021

This Week in Pajaro Valley’s Past, July 2

25 years ago on July 1, 1996

Watsonville’s Spirit of Watsonville Committee organized a full schedule of fun across the Pajaro Valley leading up to the annual Grand Parade on the Fourth of July. The weekend prior had live banda music and dancing in the plaza, and local fire departments competing in “muster” events at the downtown fire station. The Pajaro Valley Fire Department took 1st in a contest with five-man teams dragging an antique engine 125 feet, then connecting a hose and spraying down a target. Across town, a country-western hoedown was enjoyed at the Watsonville Airport, featuring a barbecue, line dancing and music by the band Sage Brush. At the county fairgrounds, a soapbox derby competition was held on Saturday and Sunday with sloped wooden platforms providing each race start. Plus youngsters competed in a fishing derby at Pinto Lake, with David Ruiz taking the largest trout prize with an 11 ½ inch catch.

50 years ago on July 2, 1971

The Miramar Restaurant at 526 Main St., was closed by a walkout of its union workers, with pickets placed at its front and rear entrances. While the restaurant portion was closed, the bar remained open. The Miramar has had a union contract for 30 years, and is the only union-organized restaurant in Watsonville. No employees are on the picket lines which are manned by representatives of Local 483 of the Restaurant and Bartenders Union, whose contract expired in March, after The Miramar’s refusal to accept the union’s health, welfare and pension programs. Wage scales are not a problem, since Miramar wages are better than those demanded by the union. Union representative Bob Gamberg says The Miramar already provides its own health and welfare programs. Given that, he expressed sympathy for The Miramar: “A successful employee must have a successful employer.”

75 years ago on July 2, 1946

Rioting military prisoners held for desertion and other convictions burned 36 buildings at Camp McQuaide on San Andreas Road, with guards firing tear gas at inmates throwing rocks. The rioting did not spread to other compounds where prisoners behaved “very well” and helped prevent the spread of the flames to buildings in their areas, according to camp commanding officer, Col. Edward A. Everitt. He also stated none of the 1,700 prisoners held at the camp after the war had escaped.  The fires started in the compound where the most hardened prisoners were confined. A Watsonville Fire Department truck and crew entered the camp as backup, but were not used to extinguish flames. The most menacing point of the fire was when a gas valve broke and ignited.  The buildings, of wood construction, provided a raging blaze which could be seen from Santa Cruz and Monterey, 20 miles north and south of Watsonville. 

100 years ago on July 2, 1921:  All those fortunate enough to be present at St. Patrick’s Church hall next Wednesday evening, July 6, will enjoy a delightful Irish musical and literary treat, for the speaker of the evening, is no less a person than the celebrated Miss Anna Walsh, sister-in-law of the late Lord Mayor McCurtain of Cork. Our worthy mayor F. W. Atkinson will introduce Miss Walsh, and the Knights of  Columbus orchestra will open the program with a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Then Rev. Thomas Butler will favor the audience with his celebrated Irish ballads, and vocal solos will be given by various locals of Irish heritage. Then a piano solo by Miss L. Murphy, and a piano and violin melody by pupils of Notre Dame. Then Reverend T. Butler will conclude the evening’s program with the singing of the famous Irish Republican anthem, “The Soldier’s Song.” The public is extended a cordial invitation to attend the affair.


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