As we journey across the nation we’ll get to enjoy a diverse array of towns, cities, regions, and states. Talking about diversity… we started our journey in arguably the state of the most diversity – California. California’s coastline is 1,200 miles long! And in this coastal state, no single ethnic group constitutes a majority. To appreciate our surroundings we’re going to post what we’ve learned about each state through which we are traveling. So, without further ado, read on about some people, places, and things that are the heart and soul of California!
Notable Californian Citizens
• The “Yankee Clipper, “ Joseph Paul DiMaggio, was the son of Italian immigrants in California. Joe had a 56-game hitting streak in 1941, which still stands as the longest in baseball history. He retired with a .325 lifetime batting average, 361 home runs, and 1,537 runs batted in, and three times was voted the American League’s Most Valuable Player (1939, 1941 and 1947). Joe DiMaggio was voted the “Greatest Living Player” of baseball, and in 1955 he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
• Snoopy’s creator, Charles Schultz’ (1922-2000), parents were German and Norwegian. Mr. Schultz’s “Peanuts” comic strip was the most popular comic strip in the nation and, like Snoopy, he had a passion for hockey. In the summer, Mr. Schultz was the host of “Snoopy’s Senior World Hockey Tournament” in Santa Rosa, California.
• John Muir, a Scottish-American naturalist, was the man whose efforts led to the creation and protection of Yosemite National Park in 1896.
• California’s famous Jelly Belly roots started with Gustav Goelitz (1846-1901) who was a candy and ice cream merchant. Gustav and his brother Albert arrived in America in 1867 from Germany. Two years later Gustav bought a confectionery firm in Belleville, Illinois. His endeavors led to the Jelly Belly candy company, and the rest is sweet history.
• In 1976, Steven Jobs and Stephen Wozniak started Apple Computer in a garage in Los Altos, California.
• Dr. Seuss, (Theodor Seuss Geisel) was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1904. (All of Dr. Seuss’s grandparents were from Germany.) In addition to being in the U.S. Army during World War II, he helped our country with his art. After the war, Dr. Seuss and his wife moved to La Jolla, California, where he lived for the rest of his life. He published forty-six children’s books, was a writer, poet, cartoonist, and illustrator. The Geisel Library is at the University of California San Diego.
• Jonas Salk was born in 1914 to Jewish Russian immigrants. Salk is best known for his safe and effective polio vaccine. Dr. Salk founded The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California.
• Greg Louganis, Olympic diver and author, has both Samoan and Swedish heritage. He attended Valhalla High School in El Cajon, California.
- San Diego hosts the largest Naval fleet in the world. In 2008 it was home to 53 ships and over 120 Tenant Commands and employed over 55,000 people.
- California became a state in 1850.
- The world’s tallest trees are in the Redwood National Park. The tallest Redwood is 369 feet.
- California is the Leading agricultural state in our country.
- In 1955 Walt Disney opened Disneyland in the middle of a 160 acre orange grove.
Where we are now: El Centro, California
• Here in El Centro we are approximately 47 feet below sea level!
• The Blue angels train every winter in El Centro California. The home base for the Blue Angels is in Florida.
• Cher was born here in El Centro! She was born Cherilyn Sarkisian in 1946, and her father, John Paul Sarkisian, was Armenian-American. Cher is, of course, now a world renowned American recording artist, television personality, actress, director, record producer and philanthropist.
• California’s largest inland lake: the Salton Sea is nearby in the Brawley area. This lake is a very productive fishery and seasonal home to over 400 species of birds. (John will be biking to the Salton Sea tomorrow!)