Press release

The Friends of the Eastern California Museum’s celebration of Inyo County Sesquicentennial continues this week with a history presentation at the American Legion Hall in Independence this Saturday May 7th at 7pm. The title of this week’s program is “The Biggest Event Ever Held in Inyo County”.

David Woodruff

David Woodruff

In 1949, California was celebrating 100 years of statehood. The State’s Centennial Celebration Committee made the decision to hold the official birthday party deep in the reaches of remote Death Valley. Thanks to the publicity generated by some savvy promoters, upwards of 80,000 people descended upon Inyo County’s own Death Valley, to wish California Happy Birthday.

Actor Jimmy Stewart was the master of ceremonies, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra played the music, composer Ferde Grofé wrote an original score, the governor of California officially presided over the festivities, and when the event was over, tens of thousands of revelers were left stranded for lack of fuel.

The “successful” event led to the creation of the Death Valley ‘49ers, an organization still working hard for the betterment of this treasure that makes up 1/2 of Inyo County.

Come and hear Death Valley historian David Woodruff talk about this one of a kind Inyo pageant and view rare video footage and personal pictures of Inyo’s miracle in the desert. The Friends of the Eastern California sponsor this 45-minute program and there is no charge. Everyone is invited! Light refreshments will be served.

For more information you can call (760) 920-8061.

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