‘The Spirit of ‘02’: museum opening shows many sides of city’s past

March 15, 2002
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula Times“C.E. King, C.E. King,I see your name on everything.Be you poor or be you richYou’re one lucky s— of a b——!”That C.E. King was an early master of advertising is an understatement, according to the slightly blue ditty extolling his promotional talents, and the early Santa Paulan is just one of the cast of turn-of-the-century characters whose touch is felt in “The Spirit of ‘02,” a fascinating look backwards to the year the city was founded.The exhibit, an upcoming centennial treat, opened Sunday at the California Oil Museum with a reception sponsored by Hozy’s Santa Paula Grill.“Oh, he believed in the power of advertising,” said C.E. King’s great-granddaughter and historian Beverly Harding as she looked at a variety of photos snapped about 100 years ago by her professional photographer ancestors. “C.E. King put his name on everything,” including surrey umbrellas for roving advertisements.Included in the exhibit are details of the quest for city hood for Santa Paula and details on founding fathers of its incorporation on April 22, 1902. After citizens voted - 142 yays, the balance of 119 nays - the city’s first Mayor was oilman Louis A. Hardison, a famous name around these parts.
Lesser known is Andrew Jackson Baker, who became the city’s first “Marshal, Ex-officio tax & License Collector, Street Superintendent and Pound Master,” paid $70 a month.Not only are all things related to city hood displayed - from maps to registration books - but items relating to life in 1902 also delighted visitors who attended the opening reception.“I’d like to sit down with one or two of them,” mused Kay Wilson-Bolton as she studied a photograph of the stiff-faced Women’s Temperance League (WTL), whose battle against saloons - “dens of evil and vice” - was just as important to them as establishing the city’s first reading room. Across the room is a photo of a July 4th beer bust, far enough away not to invoke the ladies’ wrath.An antique Victrola’s huge trademark speaker is big enough to have poked into the next century. A sample kitchen shows a woman’s work was never done. Reads a cautionary poster across the room, the “low-necked dress is a fatal lure to many a woman who ought to know better to display her physical imperfections to the glaze of a pitiless world. . .” and the open flame of the 1902 stove.Whether it be schools, children parties, commerce, vehicles, weddings, holidays, transportation or popular 1902 culture, it’s included in “The Spirit of ‘02,” down to a 1910 Santa Paula Chronicle dress now the property of the Ventura County Museum of History & Art.“Santa Paula is the jewel of the county and it’s a beautiful day to open this exhibit honoring our centennial,” said Vice Mayor Laura Flores Espinosa.Admission to the museum is $2 for adults, $1 for children. The exhibit will run through June 23. Call 933-0076 for more information.

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