Important dates in history for May | Heart of the Valley | Shirley Contreras

ByTommie C. Curtis

May 16, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

May 4, 1844: A two-story seminary, dedicated to Our Lady of Refuge, was built at Mission Santa Inez.

May 17, 1869: Tom Miller, son of the town’s first schoolteacher, was the first child born in the town now known as Santa Maria.

May 14, 1870: The Graciosa School District was established.

May 7, 1873: The first formal religious society (the Methodist Episcopal) was organized under the pastoral charge of D. Haskins, at a meeting held at Fleisher’s Hall.

May 28, 1873: The post office at Guadalupe was established.

May 26, 1880: After bidding $638,665 at a foreclosure sale in Alameda County, Theodore LeRoy acquired the 43,682-acre Rancho Guadalupe, as well as the Rancho San Leandro and the Rancho Casmalia.

May 1881: The Pine Grove School district was formed.

May 29, 1884: The northeast side of Main Street went up in flames, destroying many businesses.

May 1888: Nipomo School opened with 291 students, ranging in ages from 4 to 17 years.

May 1, 1890: The Santa Maria Bank organized with L.M. Kaiser serving as president and Antone Pezzoni as vice president. The bank became a branch of Security First National Bank in 1922.

May 7, 1890: Edmond Criswell shot and killed the 40-year old Constable “Doc” Southard outside the Seventy Six Saloon on Whiskey Row.

May 12, 1890: Santa Maria’s only lynching took place when a group of vigilantes stormed Criswell’s Seventy Six Saloon and hanged owner Edmond Criswell from the rafters.

May 1904: The city lit up when the Santa Maria Electric Light and Power Company turned on the electricity. The Santa Maria Times had proposed changing the street lights from oil to electricity.

May 17, 1905: The second election for incorporation of the city of Santa Maria resulted in a tie — 132 for incorporation, 132 against.

May 1909: The Carnegie Library opened.

May 8, 1909: The first use of the Carnegie Library took place when the ladies of the Minerva Library Club held their annual blossom festival in the newly opened building.

May 26, 1911: A special Decoration Day service was held at the Presbyterian Church in an attempt to heal emotional wounds among the veterans of the Civil War.

May 17, 1912: Arthur McLaughlin, Santa Maria’s first fire chief, handed in his resignation.

May 16, 1917: The Santa Maria Inn, built by Frank McCoy, opened for business. With its 25 bedrooms and baths, plus the kitchen and dining room, it was the epitome of elegance.

May 5, 1919: Western Union Oil School Careaga District became Bicknell School/Bicknell District, named after John D. Bicknell, who was a promoter of oil production in this area.

May 19, 1922: The new Methodist Church, located on the corner of Cook and Broadway, was dedicated.

May 1923: Cecil B. DeMille began filming the silent movie ”The Ten Commandments” on the dunes of Guadalupe. The major stars, accompanied by a doctor, stayed at the Santa Maria Inn. Camp DeMille, a tent city built on the beach, housed 2,500 remaining cast and construction workers. Santa Maria’s Mary Paulding ran the first-aid camp.

May 1923: Founded by Setsuo Aratani, Issei Naoichi Ikeda and Ben Kodama, Guadalupe Produce opened.

May 1925: Construction began on the Santa Barbara County Hospital on the west boundary of Buena Vista Park. The first patient was admitted in September of 1926.

May 1, 1925: The Pioneer Association held its first Pioneer Picnic.

May 1926: Land was purchased to build the new Japanese School in Santa Maria at 134-138 N. Western Ave.

May 22, 1928: The Community Arts Association was formed when representatives of the Community Orchestra, the Harmony Club and those interested in opera production met in the studio of radio station KSMR.

May 23, 1928: Santa Maria Host Lions Club, the first Lions Club in Santa Maria, was founded.

May 31, 1928: The Southern Cross, with Charles Kingsford-Smith and Charles Ulm in the cockpit, left on its historic flight to Australia, thus beginning the world’s first trans-Pacific flight, funded by Allan Hancock.

May 1929: The first “talkies” came to Santa Maria Theater when Harry Dorsey screened “The Innocents of Paris.”

May 1, 1929: The first class of aviation students enrolled at Hancock Field School.

May 16, 1929: Arne Borg broke the 700-yard freestyle swim record here.

May 9, 1930: Said to be one of the largest groups of its kind, Los Rancheros Visitadores organized.

May 24, 1932: John Paulsen set the world record for 50-yard breast stroke at the local Plunge.

May 1933: Santa Maria Union High School baseball team won the CIF Championship.

May 29, 1937: The new post office opened with Reid E. Shamhart serving as postmaster.

May 1939: With war clouds gathering, General Henry “Hap” Arnold, chief of Army Air Force, summoned Capt. Allan Hancock and other old friends to Washington, D.C., and asked them to train pilots.

May 23, 1940: Santa Marians turned out to attend the official opening of the $267,000 Our Lady of Perpetual Help Hospital, located at 125 Airport Drive.

May 1, 1942: Santa Maria Army Air Field was activated as a B-25 bomber base on 3,600 acres of land. The airfield is now the site of the Santa Maria Public Airport.

May 17, 1942: Les Webber, 1935 Santa Maria Union High School graduate, signed a contract to play with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Webber’s major league career ended in 1948.

May 1, 1944: Guadalupe’s George Aratani left the Gila River Camp in Arizona to join the Military Service Language School at Camp Savage, Minnesota.

May 8, 1945: President Truman announced in a radio address that World War II had ended in Europe.

May 16, 1946: The German POW camp at Camp Cooke was closed.

May 19, 1945: Guadalupe incorporated as a city.

May 2, 1951: On the 70th anniversary of the founding of the American Red Cross, it was announced that Mrs. Thomas Penfield had completed the history of the local chapter.

May 15, 1955: The Japanese Union Church of Santa Maria, located on North Mary Drive, changed its name to Christ Methodist Church.

May 25, 1956: A fire, apparently caused by gas leaking from one of the firetrucks, destroyed Santa Maria’s fire station. Only one truck survived the blaze.

May 3, 1961: The nation’s first silo launch of a Titan I took place at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

May 2, 1962: John Rudometkin, a 1958 Santa Maria Union High School graduate, was named USC’s Athlete of the Year, the prestigious university’s top athletic award.

May 17, 1962: The name of Airport Avenue was changed to College Avenue.

May 16, 1964: Simas Park was dedicated and named for Leland “Butch” Simas.

May 19, 1964: The Visiting Nurse Service incorporated as a nonprofit organization.

May 24, 1964: The Ethel Pope Auditorium was dedicated.

May 1966: Santa Maria Valley Senior Citizens Club incorporated as a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation.

May 15, 1977: The Los Alamos School changed its name to the Olga Reed School.

May 16, 1985: The Santa Maria Inn, at 801 South Broadway, was designated as a City of Santa Maria Landmark.

May 25, 1987: Santa Maria’s Memorial Monument was dedicated as a tribute to all veterans who have honorably served in the Armed forces of the United States of America.

May 30, 1988: The Veterans Memorial Cultural Center, located at Pine and Tunnell streets, was designated as a City of Santa Maria Landmark.

May 2001: John Rudometkin, 1958 Santa Maria Union High School graduate, was inducted into USC’s Hall of Fame.

May 29, 2004: Twenty-six athletes who’d distinguished themselves throughout the years were inducted into Guadalupe’s new Hall of Fame.

May 27, 2006: Eight local sports figures were inducted into the Guadalupe Hall of Fame.