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Honoring 100 years of Lodi history

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Posted: Wednesday, December 6, 2006 10:00 pm

A photocopy of the hand-written minutes of the first Lodi City Council meeting in 1906 sat on display next to the Lodi Centennial banner. As guests filed into the Lodi Woman's Club on Wednesday night, they were asked to sign the banner, leaving their mark for the next 100 years.

On Dec. 6, 1906, Lodi became incorporated as a city. One hundred years later, citizens celebrated with champagne, cake, fruit and cheese and the soft rock of the Part Time Band.

"We are here to celebrate the city of Lodi and everything we have accomplished in the last 100 years," City Manager Blair King told the crowd of about 100.

All five City Council members said a few words, including the new mayor, Bob Johnson.

"The spirit of Lodi has lived for the last 100 years," Johnson said. "It's only going to get better. I hope it will continue into the next 100 years."

At a council meeting before the reception, Susan Hitchcock, in one of her last acts as mayor, gave out awards to members of the Centennial Task Force, which has been organizing centennial events throughout the year.

The Lodi Fire Department, which celebrates 100 years in 2007, presented a centennial badge to the city. The Lodi Public Library, which also celebrates its centennial next year, announced the Centennial Library Card program. Library patrons can purchase a card with a sepia-toned photo of the original Carnegie Library for a $35 donation for adults and $25 for seniors and children.

Earlier in the day, Lodi celebrated its centennial by planting the last of 100 cork oak trees at Hutchins Street Square. Hitchcock dedicated the tree at a small sunset ceremony attended by about 20 people.

"Trees add beauty to a community and improve the quality of life," she said. "Trees make a community livable for the people."

Hitchcock read the poem "Trees," by Joyce Kilmer, who would have celebrated his 120th birthday Wednesday. Then King, Hitchcock and council members Larry Hansen and JoAnne Mounce helped pack dirt around the base of the sapling.

Lodi Parks Superintendent Steve Dutra said the first of the 100 trees was planted Feb. 7.

"It's been a great community effort," Dutra said. "Today being our birthday, it's fantastic."

Centennial birthdays

The oldest Lodi resident and first resident of the city's second 100 years:
• Oldest: Ruth Smith, 105, born Aug. 17, 1901
• First of second 100 years: Ethan Ryan, 1 day old, born at 12:26 a.m. Dec. 6, 2006
Source: City of Lodi.

He said the cork oak was chosen because it represents Lodi's connection to the wine industry. He said none of the trees have died or been damaged since the first one was planted, an unusual occurrence.

Joyce Harmon, President of nonprofit Tree Lodi said she helped plant many of the 100 trees.

"I did a little shovel work," she said. "Today is the mayor's day, not ours."

The first tree was planted in front of Carnegie Forum. Others were scattered around the city in parks including Beckman Park, Kofu Park, Salas Park and Lodi Lake.

Residents and businesses paid $25 to sponsor a tree. The city also planted 100 rose bushes around town to celebrate the centennial.

Contact reporter Matt Brown at mattb@lodinews.com.

First published: Thursday, December 7, 2006

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