The Experimental U.S. Army Camel Corps

In 1836, U.S. Army Lieutenant George H. Crosman presented the idea of having camels assist with travel. U.S. Senator Jefferson Davis, a decade before he was president of the Confederacy, supported the idea and lobbied Congress to fund the use of camels in the army.

On 3 March 1855, Congress had a majority vote on an appropriation bill that stated within it’s Shield Amendment:  “And be it further enacted, that the sum of $30,000 be, and the same is hereby appropriated under the direction of the War Department in the purchase and importation of camels and dromedaries to be employed for military purposes.”

Eventually, U.S. Army Lieutenant Edward Beal began the camel corps experiment, and utilized several camels to assist with the transportation of army equipment among desert terrain. However, horses and mules were used in addition to camels for transportation, and the camels presence frightened those animals. Therefore, the camel corps was disbanded after the army reports of the camels’ disruptions to other transportation animals.

The National Musuem of the United States Army has more information on the Camel Corps.

Boulder Dam, Hoover Dam, Hoover Dam Lodge, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President Herbert Clark Hoover, U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Reclamation, Uncategorized

The Hoover Dam Lodge’s Photos of the Construction of the Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam Lodge has a multitude of historical photos relating to the construction of the Hoover Dam, formerly known as the Boulder Dam, under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration.  The Hoover Dam, amungst the Grand Coulee Dam and other new dams in the United States, were approved to put people to work during the period of the “Great Depression”.

Author’s Note:

The Boulder Canyon Project Act, which allocated funds for the construction of the Boulder Dam, was approved by Congress in 1928 and signed into law by President Herbert Clark Hoover.  According the U.S. Department of the Interior – Office of Reclamation another act of congress changed the name of the Boulder Dam to the Hoover Dam in February 14, 1931.

Cross Country Trip, Uncategorized

Series of Articles on My Cross Country Trip

Six months ago, on Valentines Day, I ended my over 7,000 mile cross country trip from San Jose, California to Fairfax, Virginia and back.  I took Interstate 40 on my way to Virginia, which ran along some parts of old Route 66 in Arizona, and I took Highway 10 along my way back.

It truly was a life changing trip, which motivated me to start my own history website, where I got to see my extended family in Oklahoma, my immediate family in Virginia and Maryland, and a multitude of art galleries and historical sites.

To explain the magnitude of this entire trip, and all I learned from it, I’ll be publishing an article every day about a different part of my trip for the next month.  I hope you enjoy this segment of my history archives, as I take a temporary break from writing about the fascinating history of the Bay Area.

Mexican-Americans, Santa Cruz, Uncategorized

The Mexican Americans That Were Lynched in Near the San Leandro Bridge in Santa Cruz

In the evening of May 3, 1877 a mob of about 200 people in Santa Cruz forcibly took two Mexican Americans, Francisco Arias and José Chamales, out of their jail cells. Francisco Arias and José Chamales had admitted to committing a murder of a woman they robbed after being investigation on suspicion of the crime. The two men had just been arrested the same week that the mob decided to descend on them, to determine their version of extra judicial justice, near the San Lorenzo bridge off of Water Street.

The morning after the men were killed and the mob dissipated, John Elijah Davis Baldwin, the owner of the Star Gallery on Pacific Avenue, took the photo of the men still hanging with local spectators. Pieces of the rope were cut to be kept and to be sold as souvenirs for others coming by.

After the lynching, locals retained a sense of pride about the event and sold photos of the lynching at shops on Pacific Avenue. Indeed, those were very different times in Santa Cruz, and was not the only time a lynching of Mexican-Americans had occurred within the county.

Authors Note:

Within the statistics that show the total amount of lynchings that occurred within the United States, it shows that Mexican-Americans were almost targeted as much as African Americans had been by mobs and extra-judicial parties. Many of these lynchings occurred as a result of conflicts between Mexican-Americans and Americans in Texas, Arizona and California decades after the Mexican American war. In fact the Texas Rangers had lynched 16 Mexican Americans at one instance. Such acts, against Mexican-Americans have occurred in other states, that are outside the former boundaries of Mexico, such as Nebraska and Wyoming.

More information regarding this event made be found at Good Times.


The First Integrated Dance Club in San Jose

The Palomar Ballroom, when it was opened in 1947, was a destination for many dancers and socialites in Santa Clara County.

What makes this location more significant was that it became the first integrated Ballroom in the city of San Jose, during the time of the Modern Civil Rights Movement.

Various celebrities made an appearance at this venue during the decades it was open. The Palomar Ballroom closed, fifteen years ago, in 2003.