A CSUMB Capstone Project: Hollister, California – Birthplace of the American biker

Three Harley Davidson riders, Hollister, California

In 1947 on the Fourth of July weekend, the American Motorcycle Association sponsored the Annual Gypsy Tour in Hollister, California. Between one and four thousand people attended the rally, thus doubling the population of the small agricultural community. Stories of this infamous weekend have been passed through families and the mass media for the past fifty-five years. What is the true history of that Fourth of July weekend, 1947, in Hollister, California? While trying to determine fact from fiction, I have found that the mass media has a great influence on how we remember the past. Many people in Hollister, as well as the rest of the country, remember this event. The mass media has also “remembered” this event by documenting it, be it truly or falsely. How has the mass media shaped the way the nation remembers the Hollister Independence Rally: 1947-present?

Citation: Capulli, Sarah, “Hollister, California : birthplace of the American biker” (2003). Capstone Projects and Master’s Theses. 238.

“With several thousand motorcyclists from California, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon expected to arrive in Hollister Friday, final plans for the annual Gypsy Tour were being made today.”

Author Unknown, “Motorcycle Races Will Draw Riders From Four States.” Hollister Evening Freelance, July 2, 1947.

“Sleeping Space Sought- Any county residents having sleeping accommodations which they will make available for contestants and others visiting Hollister during the meet are asked to telephone 468-M and leave their name and address.”

Author Unknown, “Three-Day Motorcycle Meet Will Begin Tomorrow With Hill Climb.” Hollister Evening Freelance, July 3, 1947. “The 4000 visitors, about half of them operating motorcycles, almost doubled Hollister’s population and created a severe housing problem. Many of them slept on haystacks on the edge of town while others simply stretched out on the court house lawn.”

C.I. Dourghty Jr., “Housing Tough.” San Francisco Chronicle, July 6, 1947.
Read the full capstone: https://digitalcommons.csumb.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1237&context=caps_thes