Born: Aug. 11, 1831
Died: Jan. 27, 1907
Known for: William Curtis was patriarch of the family partnership that built the Curtis Park neighborhood and donated the land for the neighborhood's park in 1919, stipulating that it be named for Curtis.
Background: A Massachusetts native, Curtis arrived in Sacramento in 1852. Two years later, he took over his brother's 200-acre homestead on what is now Montgomery Way, establishing a farm and dairy. By 1882, Curtis and his wife, Susan, owned the entire southeastern portion of what is now the Curtis Park neighborhood. Curtis was elected to the county Board of Supervisors in 1893 and served for eight years, becoming chairman his last two years. He was a Republican, remembered for improving roads. The Curtis Park neighborhood land was subdivided in three phases: late 1880s, early 1900s and early 1920s.
A highlight: A building boom during the Roaring '20s brought new schools, including Bret Harte and Sierra elementaries (the latter now the Sierra 2 Center), to the area. Nearby, Christian Brothers School and what was then Sacramento Junior College also were built during that decade.
In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.