This Week in Sacramento History Feb. 19-25

Feb. 19, 1965: The California Park Commission votes 4-1 to make the Delta Meadows area in south Sacramento County part of the state park system. The commission recommends that the 2,865-acre site be purchased with money from the $150 million bond issue voters had approved the prior November.

Quote: "I see in 'op' art some of the same patterns that used to upset me when I got migraine attacks. To give these horrors the name of 'art' adds another similarity between 'op' artists and the migraine sufferer. Their art is like the migraine attack, psychosomatic." -- Elizabeth Monson in a letter to the editor, describing her revulsion to forms of modern art that employ optical illusions

Feb. 20, 1943: The California Agricultural Statistics Bureau reports a $6.1 million crop loss in 1942 because of the wartime shortage of farm labor. That figure does not include losses in cotton, olives and walnuts. State officials appeal to government agencies, farm owners and farm workers to cooperate to prevent an even bigger crop loss in 1943.

Quote: "It seems we have millions of people in America whose brains do not function except when their bellies are empty. If I remember correctly, the figures for the recent state elections show that 17 million voters were so drunk on prosperity, they did not take time to go to the polls." -- "Observer," a Bee letter writer, lamenting GOP gains in the 1942 congressional election

Feb. 21, 1938: The California Railroad Commission denies the request by the American Toll Bridge Co. to maintain the current toll fee on the Carquinez Bridge. The commission has ordered the toll to drop from 60 cents per car and 10 cents per passenger down to 45 cents per car and 5 cents per passenger. The company argues the reduced toll is too low to give stockholders a fair dividend.

At McCloud (Siskiyou County), a rescue train recovers 35 railroad men who were marooned four days by snowdrifts that measured as deep as 25 feet on the tracks in some places. One man in the work party died when he was thrown from a boxcar at the height of the snowstorm.

Feb. 22, 1871: The Young Mechanics' Club celebrates George Washington's birthday by throwing a ball at the Turn Verein Hall. The event attracts a good number of dancers who seem to enjoy themselves. Melchior's Band provides the music.

Quote: "There was only a partial demonstration in the way of displaying the flags today in honor of the 139th anniversary of [George] Washington's birthday. The banks were closed, and some of the state and county offices also, but that was all. ... Can it be that the people are growing forgetful of the invaluable services of the Father of His Country? The observance of this day should be made obligatory, like the Fourth of July." -- Bee article

Feb. 23, 1908: All 11 registered voters in the tiny town of Donner (Placer County) have signed a petition addressed to President Theodore Roosevelt. Those citizens and many others in Northern California are urging the president to seek renomination at the next Republican convention. Roosevelt has made it plain he won't run for a third term as president.

Sacramento Mayor Clinton L. White telegraphs Dr. Rupert Blue of the federal health service. Blue is in charge of the effort to control the bubonic plague in San Francisco. The mayor wants him to speak to city officials and leaders about the disease so precautions can be taken to prevent an outbreak here.

Feb. 24, 1969: A severe winter storm whips through Northern California, piling up snow in the Sierra, closing highways and schools, blocking railroads and cutting off power to many communities. Strong wind gusts are clocked at more than 60 mph. The weather contributes to a rash of car accidents on Interstate 80 in Yolo County.

The Sacramento Board of Education considers the lengthening of the school year by one week starting in fall. Under the proposal, school would start Sept. 3, one week earlier than usual. The plan would extend the days of service for teachers from 179 to 182 days.

Feb. 25, 1983: The California Employment Development Department reports that unemployment rose to 12.9 percent in January -- a record for the current recession. But officials say the increase reflects the end of jobs created during the Christmas season rather than a deepening of the recession.

Quote: "We plan to reform our welfare system from top to bottom, so that we can provide the less fortunate with a reasonable level of assistance as well as a reasonable hope that one day the able-bodied can leave the welfare rolls for productive payrolls." -- Gov. George Deukmejian, stating he will propose a major overhaul of the state's $6.4 billion welfare program