Posted on: January 23, 2018

Watsonville City Plaza in 1920's

plaza 1920s

The Watsonville City Plaza was partially donated by Sebastian Rodriguez in 1860. The land was overgrown with bushes, trees and had cattle grazing.

In 1873 a hitching rail was added to the plaza so people were able to tie down their horses.

At about this time, the Board of trustees for the City of Watsonville wanted to beautify the plaza and decided to buy a piece of land on Union Street for the price of $120. This added 95 feet to the length of the plaza and 25 feet to the width.

The Native Daughters of the Golden West who inaugurated the Plaza, were an integral part for the removal and burning of the Eucalyptus Stumps.  It took 800 loads of Sand brought in from the Pajaro River to flatten out the Plaza.

In 1877 the Pajaronian newspaper wanted to get a fountain installed in the plaza to beatify the location, it took 2 years to make it happen. The fountain was donated to the city by the Butterfly Social Club. The fountain is made of bronze and had a granite base. It cost $150 dollars to get it delivered to San Francisco and another $5 to get delivered to Watsonville. In 1880 a contact for $108 was awarded to Dick Welch to install the fountain in the Plaza.

The first bandstand was constructed in 1880 and pointed towards Main Street. It was rectangular shaped. Peck Alley as it was known back then, was owned by  W.E. Peck and donated to the city in 1892.At the same time sidewalks were constructed and a drinking fountain was donated by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. That drinking fountain still stands at the Plaza.

In 1890 The Charles Ford Estate donated $400 to help fund the Plaza Improvements. Pipes were installed to help water the plants and grass at the Plaza.

In 1903 & 1904 there were people interested in building a library where the Plaza stands. It was ultimately built in a different location and known as the Carnegie Library. This would pave the way for a new band stand. It was built in the center of the Plaza. It was designed by William H Weeks and build by Granite Rock for $1,590.

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