“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Watsonville in Santa Cruz County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

The City of Watsonville

Once a Village Named Pájaro

The City of Watsonville Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, April 23, 2012
1. The City of Watsonville Marker
Inscription. When the land expedition of Alta California led by Captain Gaspar de Portola passed through this valley in 1769, they reached the Pájaro River, which they named for a large straw-stuffed bird (pájaro in Spanish) with a wing span of six feet that they found in a deserted Indian village. It was this expedition which included soldiers, volunteers, Indians from Baja California, and Father Juan Crespi that also first discovered the Redwood Tree near Pinto Lake.

Years later in 1852, a small village name Pájaro was laid out along a narrow and dusty stagecoach road which wound through the Pájaro Valley and over the Pájaro River to Monterey County. Merchants came to the valley, many from mining fields, bringing their wagons full of goods. Tents and small roughly framed buildings sprang up on the main street first called Pájaro Street. Spanish cattle often were herded through the village and stopped to graze in an open field which was to become the City Plaza. Men were hanged for horse stealing and murder and sometimes they could be seen hanging from the wooden bridge that crossed the Pájaro River.

Pájaro was renamed Watsonville for one of the early pioneers of the Pájaro Valley, Judge John Howard Watson, and incorporated in 1868.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Juan Caspar de Portolá Expedition marker series.
Location. 36° 54.518′ 
The City of Watsonville Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, April 23, 2012
2. The City of Watsonville Marker
N, 121° 45.288′ W. Marker is in Watsonville, California, in Santa Cruz County. Marker is on Main Street south of Maple Avenue, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 250 Main Street, Watsonville CA 95076, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Porter Building (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); A Year to Remember in Watsonville (about 600 feet away); This Gun Was Used (about 800 feet away); The Lettunich Building (about 800 feet away); The Mansion House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Judge Julius Lee House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Where Strawberries are Sweeter (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Apple Annual (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Watsonville.
Categories. Settlements & Settlers
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 421 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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