About Us

Chico Daughters

     Chico Daughters, as individuals and through our chapter, are active in our communities, our state, and our Nation. Our chapter is made up of women of all ages and from many walks of life: professionals, homemakers, and retirees who are working together to advance the objectives of DAR. In addition to our monthly luncheons, featuring interesting programs on a variety of topics, our members volunteer in service projects, attend historical and civic events, participate in and present genealogical seminars, and administer contests.

Our Community, the City of Chico

Chico State, Kendall Hall

 Kendall Hall, Chico State University

     The City of Chico is a beautiful, tree-lined city with a population of approximately 86,000 and is the home of California State University, Chico. Chico is located in Butte County, approximately 70 miles north of Sacramento, California. Chico sits on the Sacramento Valley floor close to the foothills of the Cascade Range to the north and the Sierra Nevada range to the south. Big Chico Creek is the demarcation line between the ranges. The city's terrain is generally flat with increasingly hilly terrain beginning at the eastern city limits. Chico is rich in Native American and Gold Rush history and the first inhabitants of the area were the Mechoopda Maidu Indians. The city is bisected by Bidwell Park, which runs 5 miles (8 km) from the flat city center deep into the foothills.

 Upper Bidwell Park

Upper Bidwell Park

     Bidwell Mansion, located at 525 Esplanade in Chico, California, was the home of General John Bidwell and Annie Bidwell from the late 1868 until 1900, when General Bidwell died. Annie continued to live there until her death in 1918. John Bidwell began construction of the mansion on his 26,000 acres Rancho del Arroyo Chico in 1865, during his courtship of Annie Ellicott Kennedy. After their marriage in 1868, the three story, 26-room Victorian house became the social and cultural center of the upper Sacramento Valley. Now a museum and State Historic Park, it is California Historical Landmark #329 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The mansion was a $60,000 project, and was finished in May 1868.

 Bidwell Mansion 2006

Bidwell Mansion 2006

     General John Bidwell, a member of the first covered wagon trains to California in 1848. He bought 28,000 acres on both sides of Chico Creek with his riches from the gold he found on the Feather River. John Bidwell opened the first general store of the Gold Rush on what is now the corner of 1st and Main streets, and he founded the City of Chico in 1860.

     General Bidwell married Annie Kennedy in 1868. She was the well-educated daughter of a prominent Washington, D.C., family that brought her to Chico. It was here that she became Chico’s founding mother and the hub of society. Annie Bidwell (a member of the Sierra Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in San Francisco) became a civic leader, philanthropist, suffragette, and temperance reformer.

     The Bidwells lived in the beautiful Bidwell Mansion, now a historic state park, located next to the University and Annie’s beloved Presbyterian church. 

Annie BidwellAnnie Kennedy Bidwell, the City of Chico's founding mother and member of DAR

     Annie was a friend of Annie Lund Meriam who founded the Chico Chapter of the DAR in 1922. This was four years after Annie Bidwell's death. The Bidwells, both members of the fledgling Sierra Club and friends of John Muir, took great pride in beautifying the city, and imported trees and seedlings from Europe and South America to add to the diverse agriculture of the land and provide a tree canopy against the summer heat. Many of those trees are preserved in the arboretum at California State University, Chico. After John Bidwell died, Annie donated over 1,900 acres to the people of Chico for a public park. Today, Bidwell Park contains 3,670 acres and is one of the largest municipal parks in the United States.

 John Annie Bidwell

 John and Annie Bidwell

 (Excerpts from the Chico Chamber of Commerce website, the Sierra Club website, and Wikipedia)