Dry Diggins, California, Hangtown, California

The Hangings At Hangtown, California

During the Gold Rush, a town was renamed from Dry Diggins to Hangtown, California due to three men who were hung from an oak tree in the downtown area, which was called the Hangman’s Tree. All three of the men were convicted of murder.

Eventually the tree was cut down and the stump of that tree is within the foundation of a saloon that was built over it. The city council of Hangtown, California eventually changed the name to the town to Placerville.

Benicia, California, The Benicia Camel Barn Musuem, U.S. Army, U.S. Army Camel Corps, U.S. Camel Corps

The Benicia Historical Musuem At The Camel Barns

In 1850, the U.S. Army built a warehouse, in Benicia, California, that they named the “Benicia Camel Barn” because it was used to store supplies for the experimental U.S. Camel Corps.

The Benicia Camel Barn was also called the Benicia Arsenal by the U.S. Army.

During the U.S. Civil War, the Benicia Camel Barn was guarded to protect the arms inside from being raided by the Confederate troops in California.

The Benicia Arsenal was used

The Benicia Historical Musuem at the Camel Barn, also referred to as the Benicia Camel Barn Musuem, was established after the army decommissioned the depot in 1964.


Author’s Note:

I got a tour of the museum from the author Jim Lessenger whom has written several books on California history including:


Port Chicago Naval Magazine

July 17, 1994 – Port Chicago Naval Magazine Established As A National Park

On July 17, 1994, fifty years after 320 men were killed by the largest domestic disaster of World War II, Port Chicago was established as a U.S. National Park.


Piece of destroyed ship in Port Chicago National Park.

A boxcar built in July 1945, after the Port Chicago explosion, is within a former V shaped munitions storage area, called a revetment.


Area 51, Central Intelligence Agency

Area 51 Was Created To Accommodate The A-12 OXCART And The U-2 Reconnaissance Programs

Area 51 was founded, at a location in proximity to Nevada’s above ground nuclear testing site, after the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) began a high altitude reconnaissance program with former Air Force pilots. Air Force Pilots had to resign their military commission to work on the CIA’s Top Secret A-12 OXCART Program and the U-2 Reconnaissance Program. To conceal the existence of the U-2 spy jets, the CIA would disassemble a single plane and transported it into a large C-124 cargo plane to the Area 51 land-strip, where they were reassembled. To further deceive the public on the true mission of the U-2 spy jets, the director of NACA issued a directive stating that the aircraft were conducting high altitude weather missions. In fact some of the U-2 Jets were labeled as NACA planes to support this narrative. All of the other U-2 planes in Area 51 were labeled as U.S. Air Force planes.

In July 29, 1955, Tony LeVeir was the Chief Test Pilot who was the first to successfully land a U-2 aircraft.

Tony would conduct a total of 19 flights before leaving the U-2 testing program.

In 1960, the real purpose of the high altitude flights was publicly revealed after Francis Gary Powers, whom had trained at Area 51, was flying a U-2 jet over the Soviet Union and was shot down by their anti-air defenses.

Photograph of Francis Gary Powers.

Gary Powers was held hostage by the Soviet Union until his negotiated release.

Francis Gary Powers with a model of the U-2 plane.

Author’s Note:

When Philip Hamilton volunteered at the Vienna Chamber of Commerce he met Francis Gary Powers Junior, the son of the man who trained at Area 51 and was shot down over the Soviet Union during a CIA reconnaissance mission. At the time Gary was the President of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce and now he has a mobile musuem on the Cold War.

Joseph Sweetman Ames, NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958

The NASA Ames Research Center

In 1939, the United States Congress approved a second aerodynamics research center for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The second center was built within a Naval Air Station, called Moffett Field, and was named for the chairman of NACA, Joseph Sweetman Ames.

In 1958, the center was renamed to the NASA Ames Research Center, after NACA was renamed to NASA.

In present day, the Ames Research Center is utilized for flight and space research.

Author’s Note:

This NASA Documentary goes more in depth in the history of the center.