By VINCE REMBULAT
In 1999, the original residence of Charles M. Weber was excavated while making way for the Weber Point Event Center.
He was the founder of Stockton. A little gazebo overlooking the waterfront in the 9.7 acre park marks the Weber home destroyed by fire in 1917.
Four cornerstones now represent the extent of the city’s first home with a plaque that tells the whole story.
That story can’t be told without the discovery of gold on the American River in 1848.
A German immigrant, Weber, like the hundreds of thousands who came out west looking to strike it rich, tried his hand at gold mining until.
He discovered that the real fortune was supplying goods and services to the miners.
Weber operated out of small settlement that he eventually named in honor of Robert F. Stockton – the U.S. Navy commodore was notable for the capture of California during the Mexican-American War – which quickly became a thriving commercial center.
Thanks to a Spanish land grant, Weber purchased 49,000 acres of land in 1949 that became Stockton. Before that, it boasted several names, including Tuleburg and Mudville.
Mudville was also the fictional name of Ernest Thayer’s baseball poem ‘Casey at the Bat,’ first published 1888 in the San Francisco Examiner.
Banner Island Ballpark, which opened April 28, 2005 (home to Oakland Athletics’ Class-A Stockton Ports), is believed to be the actual location of the Mudville Nine’ baseball field.
This ballpark and the original home of Weber can both found along the Deep Water Channel, which is part of the thousands of miles of waterways that defines Stockton’s geography.
The city is about 90 miles inland from the San Francisco Bay, providing a navigational channel that allows Stockton to serve as a major shipping point for many of the agricultural and manufactured products of Northern California.
As for Robert F. Stockton, who was from New Jersey and served as U.S. Senator from that state from 1846 to 1847, his legacy – besides Stockton, CA – included Stockton, Missouri and Fort Stockton, Texas.
There’s also a borough of Stockton in New Jersey and Stockton Street in San Francisco.
The Stockton founded by Weber is the county seat of San Joaquin with a population of over 305,000.
The city continues to redefine itself, emerging from a financial crisis in 2012. At the time, Stockton was the largest city in the U.S. to file for bankruptcy protection, surpassed the following year by Detroit.
The city is two years removed from exiting Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
In recent year, new businesses continue to pop up through the historic downtown including the brand new 13-story San Joaquin County Superior Court building.
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.