Sacramento is the capital city of California and we’re happy to announce that we’re adding The Sacramento Bee to our archives. The Bee is the longest-running newspaper in Sacramento’s history and the flagship paper of McClatchy, the second-largest local news company in the U.S. James McClatchy was an Irish immigrant and young journalist when the lure of the California Gold Rush brought him West. He became the second editor of The Bee, taking over just days after the paper began publication in 1857.
California was part of Mexican territory until the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo annexed California as part of the United States. In 1848, when gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill, about 45 miles outside of Sacramento, thousands converged in the area. Many of them passed through Sacramento and the city experienced tremendous growth.
When The Bee began publishing in 1857, McClatchy aimed to provide an independent newspaper that championed the interests of the people. The paper recorded the growth of this area, including celebrating the starting point for the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1863.
When a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit San Francisco in 1906, residents of Sacramento felt the shaking and observed the dome of the Capitol building sway back and forth. The front page of The Bee contained numerous updates throughout the morning as the extent of the damage became more clear.
During the Great Depression, high unemployment rates resulted in a rising rate of homelessness in the city. Some destitute families banded together and formed tent cities called Hoovervilles, named after President Hoover, whom they blamed for their economic situation. Although not officially recognized, these shantytowns located along the Sacramento River were overseen by elected officials and city charters. The cities, however, lacked systems for waste removal and officials found residents living in squalor and ordered them closed. Though evicted, some continued to camp out along the river throughout the 1930s.
The Sacramento Valley’s fertile soil brought many farm workers to the area. In 1965, Filipino American grape workers organized a strike to protest poor pay and working conditions. The protestors joined forces with Latino farm workers led by Cesar Chavez. Together they walked 300 miles to Sacramento to raise awareness and pressure growers into changes. The two groups formed the United Farm Workers. Their strike lasted five years but eventually led to growers agreeing to better pay and working conditions for all farm workers.
If you have ancestors from the Sacramento area, The Bee is a great place to search for things like obituaries, birth announcements, wedding announcements, and death notices. The social pages also tracked news from communities like Napa and Chico. Start searching The Sacramento Bee archives today on Newspapers.com!