February Story Highlights: Camp Cooke Reopening for Korean War Veterans, Betteravia Post Office Closing | Shirley Contreras | Local News


February 8, 1906: Inauguration of Buena Vista Park.

February 11, 1906: The cornerstone is laid for the new St. Mary’s of the Assumption Church at Cypress and Miller streets.

February 15, 1908: 146 members signed the charter of the Fraternal Order of the Elks, Aerie #1745

February 23, 1911: Mary Paulding graduates from Los Angeles General Hospital and returns to Santa Maria where she makes house calls with her father, Dr. Ormond Paulding.

February 1913: The $46,000 steel truss bridge is opened, connecting Guadalupe to Oso Flaco. Constable Tognazzini, of Guadalupe, was the first person to cross the bridge.

February 17, 1917: The Santa Maria Times announces that a list of men available for military service will be printed next week. The following week, answering the call to duty, about 35 local men left for Santa Barbara, with transportation provided courtesy of local automobile owners.

February 16, 1920: The A to Z Club is formed at Hart’s Hall.

February 10, 1921: Ethel Pope’s third grade English class publishes the first edition of “The Breeze”.

February 1925: Allan Hancock buys the Santa Maria Railroad (which was in receivership) at a court-ordered sale on the steps of the courthouse. The Railroad Office was completed in December 1925 and housed railroad offices, a theater (host of the Santa Maria Symphony Orchestra), and Santa Barbara County’s first radio station (KXFC).

February 16, 1926: The call letters of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad Broadcasting Station, formerly known as KFXC, were changed to KSMR.

February 2, 1927: Work is completed for an Elks Lodge in Santa Maria, with 100 Elks claiming a club charter.

February 11, 1927: Commercial National Bank of Santa Maria, established in 1926, is sold to Liberty Bank of America.

February 13, 1929: Creation of the Santa Maria Valley Athletics Club.

February 15, 1929: State officials hailed Santa Maria high schools as the best in California.

February 12, 1930: American Legion Post 370 Guadalupe is chartered. Founding members included George Juarez, Charles Campodonico, David Wood, Emelio Delnotaro, GE Tognazzini, WG Moore, Leland Stokes, Joe Oliveira, Charles Bassi, Eugene Martin, Peter Caligari, EJ Caligari, Fred Malizia, and Richard E. Werst.

February 6, 1931: It was announced that the Gold Star mothers of American soldiers killed in World War I were to visit the graves of their sons. Cpl. Marshal N. Braden, one of these men killed in action, is buried in the Oise-Aisne cemetery in France.

February 22, 1932: Washington Memorial Grove was dedicated to honor the 200th birthday of the first President of the United States. Washington Grove was renamed Waller Park after Lionel Waller’s death in 1941.

February 23, 1932: The Santa Maria Opera Association presents the four-part opera “Carmen” in the high school auditorium, with Julia Beeson Smith playing the role of Carmen and tenor Morton Scott playing the role of Don José.

February 1933: The Japanese Association donated 50 cherry trees to the George Washington Memorial Grove (now Waller Park), hoping the trees would symbolize goodwill and everlasting friendship between the two cultures.

February 20, 1935: Start of construction of the Veterans Memorial Cultural Building.

February 1942: Santa Maria Army Air Base is activated.

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February 1942: The Santa Maria Chapter of the American Red Cross and Motor Corps is established. Red Cross drivers transported plane spotters from the valley to their posts for 13 months, making 1,522 trips totaling 6,344 hours and 93,000 miles.

February 9, 1942: Daylight saving time began as part of the war effort to conserve resources. The conservation effort slowed towards the end of World War II, and daylight saving time was officially repealed on September 30, 1945. Currently, the law allows states to opt out of daylight saving time; Arizona, Hawaii and Indiana are the only states that do not observe this time difference.

February 18, 1942: The FBI rounds up some Japanese in the Santa Maria Valley and sends them to the Poston Resettlement Center. Those who remained were taken to the Tulare Assembly Center and then to the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona.

February 23, 1942: The Ellwood oil fields at Goleta are attacked by a Japanese submarine at Barnsdall-Rio Grande Oil Co. Since the War of 1812, the continent had not been attacked by a foreign power.

February 2, 1945: The Santa Maria Times announces that paper bags will no longer be available, the wrappers being used only for sanitary reasons.

February 1, 1946: Camp Cooke is placed on inactive status. The property was leased for agriculture and grazing.

February 28, 1951: Camp Cooke reopens and announces that it will house Korean War veterans. The 1,000 bed capacity was to be increased to 1,750.

February 1952: Elwin Mussell began building Mussell’s Fort at Tepusquet, first with property purchased from Fred Gobel in the 1940s. A second plot of land was purchased from a man named Livingston, a direct descendant of David Livingston, the famous Scottish missionary to Africa.

February 1, 1953: Camp Cooke is again inactivated.

February 11, 1960: A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Guadalupe for a new Buddhist temple. The dedication of the new temple took place the following October.

February 6, 1961: The Santa Maria City Council rejected the idea of ​​moving the home of Samuel Jefferson Jones from the 100 block of East Cypress Street to the fairgrounds for use as a historical museum. The demolition of the Jones House was to be one of the first steps before the East Cypress site was paved.

February 13, 1962: Five days of rain dumped 6 inches of water on Santa Maria.

February 12, 1962: The Fesler School is dedicated to Isaac Fesler.

February 24, 1962: In a special ceremony, Captain Allan Hancock, president of the local railroad, and several of his friends and honored guests gathered for a sentimental ride from Engine 21 to Guadalupe and back as “final run” of the captain’s favorite locomotive as it was retired from service. The lighthouse was decorated with a huge crown with golden letters, proclaiming “Rust in Peace”.

February 1, 1963: Santa Maria Beautiful is founded, with Ethel May Dorsey as founding president.

February 17, 1964: The geranium is officially recognized as the flower of the city of Santa Maria.

February 21, 1967: Vice President Hubert Humphrey, accompanied by his wife Muriel Humphrey Brown and a small entourage came to the Central Coast to view the Minuteman I, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

February 25, 1969: The gates of Twitchell Dam are opened for the first time in its history.

February 5, 1970: Elwin Mussell receives the Citizen of the Year award at 51st annual meeting of the Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce at the Holiday Inn.

February 28, 1970: closure of the Betteravia post office.

February 1998: Robin Ventura, a graduate of Righetti High School in 1985, is inducted into the Oklahoma State University Hall of Fame.

Shirley Contreras lives in Orcutt and writes for the Santa Maria Valley Historical Society. She can be reached at 623-8193 or [email protected] Her book, “The Good Years,” a selection of stories she has written for the Santa Maria Times since 1991, is on sale at the Santa Maria Valley Historical Society, 616 S. Broadway.


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