Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

March 13, 2011
In History's Spotlight: Darius Ogden Mills

Darius Ogden Mills.JPGBorn: Sept. 5, 1825
Died: Jan. 3, 1910

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.

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About Sac History Happenings

California and Sacramento have a long, rich, vibrant history. And our region is blessed with an abundance of historical resources maintained by museums, libraries, archives and societies. This blog aims to alert readers to the latest developments in local/state historical education and research.

Send tips concerning upcoming exhibits, tours, lectures and meetings, as well as new books, magazine articles and online collections to the blog's contributors.

The Contributors:

Michael Dolgushkin

Michael Dolgushkin is Manuscript Librarian at the California State Library History Section. He is co-author of San Francisco's California Street Cable Cars and is a frequent contributor to the California State Library Foundation Bulletin. Contact him at mdolgushkin@library.ca.gov.

Amanda Graham

Amanda Graham is a Certified Archivist working in the Sacramento Room of the Sacramento Public Library. She earned a BS in History from Southern Oregon University and a MS in Information Studies with an emphasis in archives from The University of Texas at Austin. Contact her at agraham@saclibrary.org.

Pete basofin

Pete Basofin is Director of Editorial Research at The Sacramento Bee. He previously worked at The St. Petersburg Times and Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. Contact him at pbasofin@sacbee.com.

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