Known for: Darius Ogden Mills was a merchant, banker and philanthropist who made his fortune during the Gold Rush. He founded Bank of California.
Background: Mills accompanied his brothers, James and Edgar, to California in 1849. Mills invested his savings in miners' supplies and, working with his brothers, sold enough goods to earn the nucleus of a fortune. He opened his first bank in his brothers' Sacramento store. In 1852, Mills erected a bank building at 226 J St. He became a dominant figure in Pacific Coast banking circles. He was president of the Bank of California, established in 1864 in San Francisco, and later a leading figure in the Bank of New York. Three Mills hotels in New York for homeless men were internationally famous. The D.O. Mills Bank was moved to Seventh and J streets in 1912 and later merged with the California National Bank, which closed in 1930.
A highlight: In 1883, Mills donated to the state of California a marble statue of Christopher Columbus soliciting assistance from Queen Isabella of Spain for his pioneering journeys. It is displayed in the first floor of the state Capitol.
In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were compiled by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.