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Mr. SPEAKER: Your Committee on Agriculture, to whom was referred a resolution, passed by the Assembly on the twenty-seventh day of January, directing the committee "to investigate the affairs of the State Agricultural Society as at present organized and officered, and also to inquire into the propriety or expediency of forming another State Agricultural Society, that shall hold its annual fair and exhibition at San José, or some other central locality south of the City of Sacramento," after an examination of the buildings and grounds belonging to the society, and an investigation into its management and financial condition, together with a careful review of the facts and information before us, have been conducted to submit for your consideration the following report:
The resolution of the Assembly, under which the committee acted, embraced three distinct subjects for investigation, viz: First, the manner in which the society was organized and is at present officered; second, its financial condition and management; third, the expediency of establishing another State Agricultural Society, which shall
hold its exhibitions at San José, or some other central locality. The committee have addressed an inquiry into each of these subjects, and report the result in the order above named.
HOW ORGANIZED AND OFFICERED.
“The California State Agricultural Society” was incorporated under an Act of the Legislature, approved May thirteenth, eighteen hundred and fifty-four, with power to purchase and hold any quantity of land, not to exceed four sections, and to sell and dispose of the same at pleasure. This Act provides, that the said real estate shall be held by said society for the sole purpose of establishing a model experimental farm or farms, erecting inclosures, buildings, and other improvements calculated and designed for the meeting of the society, and for an exhibition of the various breeds of horses, cattle, mules, and other stock, and for agricultural, mechanical, and domestic manufactures and productions, and for no other purposes ; and that if, from any cause, said society shall ever be dissolved, or fail to meet within the period of two consecutive years, then the real estate held þy it, together with all the buildings and appurtenances belonging to
said estate, shall be sold as lands are now sold by execution, and the proceeds deposited in the State treasury, subject to the control of the Legislature.
For several years after the incorporation of the society, it had no definite or regular place of meeting, but held its fairs and exhibitions in different portions of the State, until finally it was found impossible to make it a success, unless it was permanently located in some central locality, where suitable grounds could be obtained and proper buildings erected for its fairs and exhibitions. Sacramento City was finally determined upon as being the most desirable place, and accordingly, about the year eighteen hundred and sixty, the property of the society was removed there, and land was purchased and leased for a park, and buildings erected upon it, for the convenience of exhibitors and visitors.
At a subsequent session of the Legislature an Act was passed, which provided that the general prudential and financial affairs of the society should be entrusted to a Board of Agriculture, to consist of a President and nine Directors, to be elected by life and annual members of the society, and four delegates from each District and County Agricultural Society of the State, to hold office for the term of three years, the terms of three Directors to expire annually. The Secretary and Treasurer are appointed by the Board, who fixes their salaries and prescribes their duties. The present officers of the society are: President, R. S. Carey, of Sacramento; Secretary, Robert Beck, of Sacramento; Treasurer, L. A. Upson, of Sacramento. DirectorsJ.J. Groen, Sacramento; Chris. Green, Sacramento; Fred. Cox, Sacramento; E. B. Mott, Sacramento; R. M. Hamilton, Sacramento, Marion Biggs, Sr., Butte; M. D. Boruck, San Francisco; T. L. Chamberline, Placer; L. Shippee, Stockton.
The society, from its inception, labored under very great financial embarrassments, its indebtedness at one time being as high as thirty thousand dollars, and it was not until the year eighteen hundred and seventy, that this threatening cloud of debt cleared away, and freed it from this great barrier to its advancement and prosperity.
The projects of the society, however, were far from reaching the state of development necessary for the success of the society, and in order to carry out the requisite plans, a vast amount of money would have to be expended. The grounds were not extensive enough to meet the requirements of the public; the buildings, for the most part, were in a dilapidated condition, and rapidly becoming worthless; the grand stand was so old as to be unsafe and dangerous; the sheds and structures for the accommodation of stock were in a deplorable condition, and utterly inadequate to supply the wants of the exhibitors; and the park was almost naked of trees and shrubbery, and bereft of all that is pleasing and attractive to the eye.
To remedy this condition of affairs, a task of considerable magnitude was involved, but the Directors went to work with a zeal and energy that overcame every obstacle, and accomplished the work of making the buildings and grounds a credit to the society and State.
Several blocks of land were purchased, a grand stand and other buildings erected, and trees and shrubbery set out.
The following shows, as per reports of the society, the amount of money expended, and the purpose:
1872—Paid for shares in Union Park (real estate)1873–Paid for real estate and improvements. 1874–Paid for building grand stand, etc... 1875-Paid for setting out trees and erecting shedis. Improvements at pavilion
$ 7,200 00
5,406 29 24,905 53 4,030 23 3,500 00
The cost of making these improvements involved an outlay that greatly exceeded the amount of money in the treasury of the society, and in order to complete the work the Board of Directors found it necessary to borrow a sufficient sum to do it. Accordingly the sum of ten thousand dollars was borrowed of Drury Melone, the individual members of the Board holding themselves responsible for the payment of the same. Thus, in order to make these necessary improvements the society was compelled to incur a debt.
Of the officers are fixed by the Board. The President has no stated salary, but it is the custom of the Board to allow him a sufficient amount to defray the expenses necessarily incurred in the discharge öf the duties of his office. For several years past, a thousand dollars: per annum has been allowed him for this purpose. The Secretary receives a salary of two thousand dollars a year. He attends to all correspondence of the society, keeps the books and accounts, compiles the premium lists, prepares all reports of the Board to the society, and all reports made by the society to the State, signs all cards and tickets of admission, and countersigns all diplomas, certificates of merit, etc. He is also ex officio Librarian, and has charge of all books, specimens, etc., belonging to the library. The books of the society are kept in a most creditable and systematic manner. The Treasurer receives a salary of two hundred and fifty dollars per year He is entrusted with the funds, certificates of stock, bonds, notes: deeds, etc., and is obliged to give a good and sufficient bond, to be approved of by the Board, for the faithful performance of his duties.
The Board of Directors is.composed of gentlemen of high charac ter and integrity, and are directly identified with the agricultura and mechanical interests of the country. Their chief and only aith is to promote the welfare of the society, and to make it a credit an benefit to the State.
Grounds. The grand stand was built and completed in eighteen hundred and seventy-four. It was constructed under the supervision of a building committee of the Board, composed of Messrs. Carey, Cox, and Hamilton. All the work was done by "day-work," except the heavy planing, painting, plumbing, shingling, and laying of gas and water pipes, which was done by contract. It is a strong and substantial building, convenient and commodious, having a capacity capable of seating from six to seven thousand people. It is about six hundred feet long and forty feet high, and commands a perfect view of the entire park and surroundings. Its total cost is in the neighborhood of twenty-two thousand dollars, being much less than the lowest estimate made by any architect who offered a proposal to build it.
The stables, buildings, and sheds for the use of horses, cattle, and all kinds of stock, too great in number to enumerate, are spacious, in good condition, and afford ample accommodation for all exhibitors. A great proportion of them have been built within the last few years. With an outlay of from three to four thousand dollars for stables, the society will have all the accommodations that are necessary for years to come.
Situated on the corner of Sixth and M streets, is a large and substantial structure, well adapted for the exhibitions of this society. It was built be the City and County of Sacramento for the benefit and express use of the society, to whom it is leased as long as it remains a State institution, The society has, at a great expense, erected machinery in a portion of the building, for the purpose of testing mechanical and agricultural inventions, which are annually exhibited. The office of the Secretary, Board of Directors, and the library of the society are also situated in this building.
VALUE OF PROPERTY.
The buildings are all insured and kept in good condition. The total value of all the property of the society is estimated as being worth from one hundred thousand dollars to one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. The property, however, could not be replaced for a much greater sum.
California has followed the custom of older States of the Union in
appropriating money toward the support of a State Agricultural The committee spent the greater portion of a day in inspecting the Society. The appropriations made have been for premiums to be grand stand and other buildings at the park. They were material offered by the society, excepting fifteen thousand dollars approaided in their examination by Mr. J. P. O'Conner, a building exper priated for building a brick wall around the front part of the park, and Secretary of the Senate Committee on Public Buildings and and fifteen thousand dollars for building a grand stand.