State Normal School at Chico

1887 to 1921


March 10—Legislative act to create the Northern Branch State Normal School of California for the purpose of training and education of teachers in the art of instructing and governing the public schools of the state.

April 8—Chico was selected as the site for the school. June 24, 1887, General John Bidwell donates eight acres of his cherry orchard and permanent water rights for the school. Town citizens raised $10,000 to secure the bid.

April 19—First Board of Trustees appointed: John Bidwell, F.C. Lusk, J.W.B Montgomery, L.H. McIntosh, A.H. Crew.

September—Construction began on a three-story brick building.


July 4—Cornerstone laid.


April 20—Normal Board of Trustees appointed the following as first faculty members: Edward T. Pierce, Principal (1889-1893); Carleton M. Ritter, instructor in mathematics; Mrs. Emma Straight, preceptress; Minor L. Seymour, instructor in science; A.E. Garlich, teacher of music.

September 3—Doors opened and 90 students were enrolled for the first term.


January 11—Library officially opened with 350 volumes.


First graduating class of 15 on June 20.


Robert F. Pennell was elected as principal.


First issue of The Normal Record was published in March.


Carleton M. Ritter was elected as president.


Charles C. Van Liew was elected as president.


Annie E. K. Bidwell donated an additional two acres of land to be used for work with elementary agriculture.

Training School built adjacent to Normal Building.


Annie E. K. Bidwell donated an orange orchard lot 55x440 feet as the children's playground, which is connected to the Training School.

Allison Ware was elected as president.


Pleasant Valley Model Rural School of the State Normal School at Chico opened offering courses in manual training, domestic science and art, school agriculture, and physical education.


Little Chico Model Rural School of the State Normal School at Chico opened.


Construction of swimming pool.


Dr. E. I. Miller was elected as acting president.


C. M. Osenbaugh was elected as president.


Legislative enactment to changed the name to Chico State Teacher's College.

The Bidwell Family

John and Annie Bidwell

Normal School

Normal School

Graduating class of 1891

Class of 1891

Rural School fans

Model Rural School

swimming pool 1925

Swimming pool, circa 1925