A 45-Day Storm Turned California Into a 300-Mile-Long Sea

For 43 days, from late 1861 to early 1862, it rained almost nonstop in central California. The flooding that the rain cause turned California's Central Valley into a 300-mile-long (480-km-long) sea. The state capital of Sacramento flooded, and on January 22, the California legislature had to be moved to San Francisco, where it stayed for six months as Sacramento dried out.

People's lives were destroyed as one in six Californian houses were gone, and many towns disappeared, swept away. The flood also decimated California's burgeoning economy. An estimated 200,000 cattle drowned, about a quarter of all the cattle in the ranching state -- the disaster shifted the California economy to farming and it never shifted back. It was also estimated that as much as a quarter of California's taxable property was destroyed, which bankrupted the state.

Artistic Snobbery

Serious American artists during the Early American Period (1789 - 1815) thought that genre scenes were too mean and lowly for their talent. So major painters such as John Vanderlyn and Samuel Morse scorned the depicting of ordinary folk - except, said Vanderlyn, Italian peasants. With their lack of "fashion and frivolity," Italian peasants, Vanderlyn declared, were close enough to nature to possess a neoclassical universality that was worth depicting.

Did You Know A Woman Founded Miami?

Miami is the only major US city to have been founded by a woman. Julia Tuttle was an American businesswoman, who used the money from her parents' estate to purchase the James Egan grant of 640 acres (2.6 km2) in 1890. She was a major promoter of a new city in southern Florida, including working to get a railroad extension to the area, and giving up half of her land to make the new settlement a success. Her land became a small town, and quickly grew into the city of Miami.

Boston's Original 1630 Shoreline, Overlaid With Its Modern Infrastructure

On top of the original shoreline are the city's current roads and metro stations. Which means Massachusetts built land, then put a metro tunnel through that man-made land!

The US Railroad Boom Was Huge

In 1870, the country had one railroad connecting the Atlantic and Pacific. And its finishing in 1869 was a major national celebration. By 1890, there were six (ish).


"The Irish do not want anyone to wish them well; they want everyone to wish their enemies ill."

Harold Nicolson (1886-1968) British diplomat, author, diarist and politician.


"Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them."

Abraham Lincoln (its not a very historical quote -- just a funny one)

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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