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Campus Grounds
Campus Grounds
Campus. Photo courtesy of CSU, Chico IMC.
With over 200 species of plants, the arboretum encompasses the 119 acres university campus. John Bidwell planted many varieties of trees during his lifetime, and trees continued to be planted on university grounds. A variety of tours and self-guided walks have been created since the arboretum's inception. One tour follows a path along Big Chico Creek where native plant restoration has been taking place. The arboretum was dedicated on March 5, 1982 in honor of Dr. Gordon James Van Laan.
Bidwell Bowl
Bidwell Bowls
Campus. Photo courtesy of CSU, Chico IMC.
Built as a WPA project in 1938, the amphitheater known as the Bidwell Bowl was one of many ventures in Chico that created work for people during the depression. Located on the bank of the creek, next to the Physical Science building, the Bidwell Bowl had been used for various gatherings. Concerts, speeches and other activities were held in the amphitheater's early history, but by the 1960s the area had been largely abandoned. Many believe that the construction of new campus buildings in the area deterred people from using the amphitheater. Today it is one of the quieter spots on campus.
George Petersen Rose Garden
George Peterson Rose Garden
George Petersen Rose Garden. Photo courtesy of CSU, Chico IMC.
During the spring of 1957, a rose garden was planted behind Trinity Hall. It was planted in the spot where the old cafeteria once stood. The rose garden took four months to develop. Supervising groundskeeper Richard Pessner designed the garden and planted 400 rose bushes. Donated by horticulturalist George F. Petersen, the roses were of many varieties and colors. Petersen wanted to garden beyond his backyard, so he proposed a rose garden for the campus. From 1909 to 1948 Petersen owned Lindo Nursery, and while in retirement his own garden grew to include over 165 types of roses. His love for gardening may have been inherited from his father who was John Bidwell's groundskeeper. Petersen's rose garden became an instant success. Today, there is fine for picking roses from the garden.
Gus Manolis Bridge
  Located between Selvester's Café and Holt Hall, the bridge was dedicated on October 21, 1961 in memory of Gus Manolis. A great Chico State football coach, Manolis was named "coach of the century" because of his winning record. In 1957, Manolis lost his life, at age 34, while searching for a boy scout lost in the mountains near Mendocino. The bridge was built from funds raised to create a memorial in his honor.
Mary Lemcke Camellia Garden
  Located on the north side of Chico Creek, near Holt Hall, the Mary Lemcke Camellia Garden was dedicated on Founders Day, April 9, 1969. Mary Lemcke Camellia was a charter member of the Chico State Advisory Board and the University Foundation. With over twenty years of service to the university, the garden commemorates all that she did for Chico State. The garden was created with plants that came from her home, as well as plants from homes that were demolished to make way for university expansion.
Old Hutch's Plaza

The courtyard between Trinity Hall and Kendall Hall was dedicated on June 11, 1979 in honor of history professor William H. Hutchinson. An expert on California and Western United States history, many knew Hutchinson as "Old Hutch." From 1953 to 1978, Hutchinson taught at Chico State. During his career he wrote and edited many books and articles. Hutchinson enjoyed the campus atmosphere, and could be found many times sitting on a bench in the courtyard that now bears his name.

Roth Planetarium
Roth Planetarium
Roth Planetarium. Photo courtesy of CSU, Chico IMC.
The cylindrical room located at the corner of the Meriam Library, near Warner Street, has been the planetarium since 1975. Originally, the structure, built in 1974, was used as a storage facility for the offices located in the basement of the library. A year later it was transformed into a planetarium that can hold up to thirty people. Dr. William Hunziker, geological and physical sciences professor, designed the plans. Some of the funds for the planetarium came from alumni and the Chico State Associates, but a majority of the financial backing came from James and Betty Jane Roth. James Roth was a Chico businessman, and after his death Betty continued to give financial gifts. The planetarium was dedicated to the Roth family in 1976.
University Farm
University Farm
University Farm. Photo courtesy of CSU, Chico IMC.

In 1953, Loren D. Phillips led the development of the agricultural program at Chico State. A few years later, a four-year degree program was offered for the first time at the university. Part of the creation of the agricultural program focused on acquiring land for the university farm. The first farm was located on fourteen acres of land off of Sacramento Avenue. This farmland was rented in 1954 from Native Americas who owned the property. A year later the university farm moved to 440 acres of Diamond Match property. While this land was a valuable asset to the new agriculture program, it was not adequate as a teaching facility.

Senator Paul L. Byrne led an effort to acquire more farmland in 1957. With his help, the university was granted $500,000 for the purchase of land in the Chico area. The university first tried to purchase 588 acres of the Patrick Compton Ranch, but the funds for the purchase were not accessible at the time. Sen. Byrne continued to push for university farmland, and helped gather more funding for a larger section of property. In 1960, the university acquired 644 acres of the Navarra-Hengst Ranch on Hegan Lane. Throughout the 1960s, the farm was developed in three phases, with additions of barns, silos, greenhouses and many other facilities. In 1963 the farm was dedicated as the Paul L. Byrne Memorial Farm, in honor of the Senator that made the university farm a reality. Today the farm totals approximately 800 acres.

Paul L. Byrne graduated from Chico State in 1932. He had served in the marines in World War II, and later served as a politician in the state legislature. After his death in 1962, the farm was dedicated in his honor.

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Written and compiled by Mary Ellen Bailey
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