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Tour explores history of Croatians in the Pajaro Valley

Posted: Tuesday, Apr 23rd, 2013


Members of the Cabrillo College Foundation enjoy a Croatian style lunch Saturday inside an early-day apple packing shed during a tour that highlighted the history of Croatians in the Pajaro Valley. (Photos by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)


WATSONVILLE — Members of the Cabrillo College Foundation explored the history of Croatians in the Pajaro Valley Saturday during an informal tour and lunch.

Sandy Lydon, Historian Emeritus, Cabrillo College, joined Donna Mekis and Kathy Mekis Miller, authors of “Blossoms Into Gold, the Croatians in the Pajaro Valley,” in leading the four-hour tour for about 95 people.

The event began at the Watsonville Library meeting room for a presentation. They then viewed the Ag Workers History Center before taking a walk to Watsonville Plaza and past the Lettunich Building.

The group then poured into the lobby of the Resetar Hotel where they learned about the Resetar brothers who came from the former Dubrovnik Republic to San Francisco. The quake of 1906 forced the Resetars, who were operating a café, onwards to where they eventually arrived in Watsonville and began a successful apple farm. The Resetar Hotel opened in 1927 and earned a 20-page spread in the Register-Pajaronian.

“It was the talk of the town for quite some time,” Donna Mekis said. “The Resetar was considered one of the most beautiful hotels on the west coast. The hotel featured a parking garage, a cigar store, a beauty salon, a news stand and — get this — a men’s writing room.”

Croatians began coming to the Pajaro Valley on the coat tails of the Gold Rush, starting about 1876 and revolutionized the apple industry. By the late 1920s the people from Dubrovnik, and their descendants, made up more than 20 percent of Watsonville and in the 1960s they owned more than one-third of the land in the Pajaro Valley.

For the complete article see the 04-23-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 04-23-2013 paper.


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