by Ralph Gibson
This year’s Heritage Trail will stretch across the entire summer. Smaller groups of museums will be clustered together on admission-free, Heritage Trail days, from June 11th through September 4th. If Trail-goers can’t make it to a particular museum on its Heritage Trail day, they have the whole summer to visit that museum and get their Get-Up-And-Go card stamped to enter a drawing for a Gift Basket. Instead of just four stamps to qualify, however, now it will take 16 stamps. But everyone who turns in a fully stamped card will get a cool silicone Heritage Trail wristband – plus free access to a website with 50 historic photographs collected by a number of our participating museums.
The new summer-long format allows more museums to participate. This year the Fruitvale School will participate again. The Roseville Public Library, a newcomer to the event, has a History center that will feature exhibits throughout the summer. The Sierra College Natural History Museum and the Donner Memorial State Park have also expressed interest in participating, though we are still working out those details.
As always, I hope to see you on the Trail!
Big News from the Archives!
by Bryanna Ryan
Overall, the books that will be digitized date from 1851-1971 and include records of: Homesteads, Deeds, Military Discharge, Mechanics Liens, Estrays and Lost Property, Record of Stallions, Mining Claims, Water Rights, Personal Chattel, and MORE! These will become searchable online and help in our effort to preserve history while also making it widely accessible. The wealth of information held in these primary sources is remarkable, and we are delighted to open our vault, so-to-speak, and finally introduce the modern age to our historic documents.
This project contributes to greater efforts in archives, libraries, and museums across the country to digitize historic collections and advance understanding of our collective past. Here at the Placer County Archive, volunteers work thousands of hours per year to preserve and make our historic collections searchable through Indexes and Finding Aids. As we move forward and continue to grow, we are also adding information to our database and digitizing our voluminous photographic collection. Future goals include digitizing our massive and historic maps collection, as well our valuable collection of oral history recordings.
Some of the records that will be digitized this May were created 165 years ago. Soon they will become accessible to you online. Ultimately, this project will help researchers near and far to discover the history of this remarkable county and the place it has occupied in the national narrative.
Close Cover Before Striking: Matchbook Collections
by Kasia Woroniecka
If someone calls you a phillumenist, don’t be upset. It just means you collect matchbooks. While smoking rates have plummeted in recent decades, and cigarettes have been replaced by handheld electronic devices or e-cigarettes, there was a time when smoking was common and collecting matchbooks was a popular hobby. The manufacture of matchbooks peaked during the 1950s and 1960s and then steadily declined because of the availability of disposable lighters and anti-smoking health campaigns.
The history of matchbooks goes back to 1889 when Joshua Pusey patented the idea of paper matches. Filed under “Flexible Match,” the invention is described as a “friction match device consisting of a series of splints or strips of thick inflammable paper, wood, or similar material tipped with an ignitable composition and attached to and enclosed by a suitable cover folded and adapted to be opened and closed as the covers of a book.”
It soon became evident that the matchbook’s value lay outside of the box, and matchbooks and matchboxes became an important advertising vehicle, promoting theatre productions, restaurants, hotels, beer and even anti-Nazi slogans during the 1940s. Pusey sold his patent to the Diamond Match Company. The company’s salesman, Henry C. Traute, brought the advertising idea to the Pabst Brewing Company, and it became the first food-and-beverage company to invest in branded matches.
Often given to customers for free, E-matches became a very cost effective form of advertising. Matchbook design has stayed constant since the late 19th century except for one aspect – in 1962 federal safety laws required that strikes be placed on the backside instead of the front of matchbooks, making the famous “Close Cover Before Striking” phrase obsolete.
Our collection, donated by Mary Sayles of Roseville, consists of almost 100 pieces, advertising mostly California hotels and restaurants. They were collected by the donor’s brother, Alan Sayles, and include a few local establishments, like the Beavers Trap Saloon in Newcastle and the Country Boy Inn and Motel in Auburn.
by Beth Rolhfes
Happy Birthday to Living History!
The ever popular 3rd Grade Living History Program at the Bernhard Museum Complex has been providing students with an authentic 19th century experience for 20 years. Kudos to all docents, parents, teachers and museum staff who have nurtured this program over the years!
There is a growing demand for this type of school field trip, and the Placer County Museums Division is proud to be a leader and a model of success.
Check out our information page for parents and teachers.
News From Placer County Historical Society
by Michael Otten
May is State and National Preservation Month
Our state and nation this month are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Preservation Act that created the National Register of Historic Places and the state Historic Preservation Offices. With February’s listing of the DeWitt General Hospital, Placer County now has 33 listings on the National Register.
The Carnegie Libraries in Auburn, Lincoln and Roseville; the 1937 Auburn City Hall and Fire House (now home to the Chamber and Welcome Centers), Auburn Fire Houses 1 and 2, Auburn Grammar School (current City Hall), Auburn Masonic Temple, California Granite Co. in Rocklin, Chapel of the Transfiguration in Tahoe City, the Colfax Freight and Passenger Depots, the Dutch Flat Historic District, El Toyon in Auburn, Fiddyment Ranch main complex in Roseville, the Griffith House and Griffith Quarry in Penryn, the Haman House in Roseville, the Lake Tahoe Dam in Tahoe City, the Michigan Bluff-Last Chance Trail, the Mountain Quarries Bridge, Newcastle’s Portuguese Hall, Odd Fellows Hall in Auburn, the Old Auburn Historic District, the Outlet Gates and Gatekeeper’s Cabin in Tahoe City, the Placer County Bank in Auburn, Stevens Trail in Colfax, the Strap Ravine Nisenan Maidu Indian Site in Roseville, Summit Soda Springs, the Watson Log Cabin in Tahoe City and the Women’s Club of Lincoln.
PCHS Board member Mike Holmes, a former Auburn mayor, is working hard to get the Earl Crabbe Gym at Placer High listed as well as trying to convince the City of Auburn to strengthen its historic preservations efforts by becoming a Certified Local Government.
The Place to Be June 18:
Benton Welty Classroom, City Hall The PCHS participates in the Heritage Trail by staffing the Benton Welty Classroom at City Hall, open this year on June 18, 10:00-4:00 along with the Gold Rush Museum and the Bernhard House Complex. The old grammar school gives visitors a glimpse of school life a century ago. Volunteer by contacting Jean Allender at 885-5334 or email@example.com. For more details visit: theheritagetrail.blogspot.com
CCHS 62nd Annual Meeting, June 23-25
Spend an exciting weekend celebrating our state’s history and the people who preserve it at the annual meeting of the Conference of California Historical Societies, June 23-25.
The session is in Claremont in Eastern Los Angeles County at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains. See why Sunset Magazine recently named it one of the best small towns in the West. Take advantage of the early bird rates by registering now. Host Double Tree Hotel group rate deadline is June 2.
There’s a great chance our Betty Samson will be honored with an award of merit. And I have been nominated for the 1st Vice President post. Details at annualmeeting.californiahistorian.com
Kudos to Spring View Middle School in Rocklin Spring View is the sole participant from Placer County in the May 5-7 California State Finals of National History Day. Sadly, there are no other elementary, middle or high schools in this history-rich county participating. This is especially surprising now that the William Jessup University in Rocklin has been made the permanent home for the state finals.
Christopher Webber, who coordinates the history collection at the Roseville Downtown Library, is working hard to change that. Webber is not only a county and state judge for the annual contest, he also represents the first Supervisorial District on the Placer County Historical Advisory Board.
Webber goes out of his way to invite interested students to come in and explore the library’s rich resources and develop their own imaginative take on history without writing an essay. Public viewing of elementary and junior divisions will be on May 6, 5 - 7 p.m. and May 7, noon- 1 p.m., 4:30 - 6 p.m. for the senior division. This will be my first year as a judge representing the Conference of California Historical Societies, a longtime supporter.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530 888-7837.
For other news check www.placercountyhistoricalsociety.org
Betty R. Samson, for most of us, has been the voice and face of the Placer County Historical Society, handling reservations for membership meetings, collecting money and greeting us at the door. Betty is retiring with the June dinner meeting, and we can’t thank her enough for keeping us going all these years. It’s an important volunteer position. Talk to Walt Wilson at (530) 878-6640 or 863-8224.
Other volunteer needs:
Take charge of a special fundraising project to create antique glass souvenirs from the old windows of the historic Placer County Courthouse. Proceeds from this and other projects will help fund acquisitions for the Placer County Archives. Contact Walt Wilson.
Volunteers for Heritage Trail at the Benton Welty Classroom at Auburn’s City Hall, June 18. Contact Jean Allender, (530) 885-5334 or jeanallendeNewlyemail@example.com
New PCHS Officers
elected at annual meeting on April 7, and effective May l, 2016.
President -Walt Wilson;
1st Vice President - George Lay;
2nd Vice President (programs) - Addah Owens;
Secretary—Richard Ravalli; Treasurer—Al Stoll;
Immediate Past President: - Michael Otten;
Board members (Two-Year Terms, 2016-18) - April McDonald-Loomis, Melanie Barton, Karri Samson, Sherri Schackner (Carry-over elected Board Members, 2015/16 -2016/2017, with additional year remaining: Jean Allender, Karen Bleuel, Mike Holmes, John Knox)
PCHS Dinner Meeting
By Addah Owens, Vice President
When: June 2, 2016
Time: 6:30 Dinner, 7:30 Program
Where: Auburn Veterans Hall, 100 East St, Auburn
Cost: $15 per person
Menu: Chicken Marsala, seasoned vegetables, salad, rolls and dessert.
Program: Ed Weiss will provide a video presentation highlighting ancient Egyptian historical sites. In 2010, just one month before the revolution and the start of the “Arab Spring,” Barbara and Ed Weiss toured parts of Egypt and sailed up the Nile. They visited many wonderful sites associated with the 3000 years of ancient Egypt’s culture as well as some of the modern country’s attempts to deal with the realities of living in a very hot and dry region.
Mail Check to: PCHS c/o Betty Samson, 8780 Baxter Grade Rd, Auburn, CA 95603 RSVP to Betty at (530) 885-5074
DO NOT BRING ALCOHOL. County directives prohibit it, and, we can't get liability coverage.
Calendar of Events
Click to enlarge
Placer County Historical OrganizationsColfax Area Historical Society
Chris Miller (530) 346-8599
Donner Summit Historical Society
Bill Oudegeest, (209) 606-6859
Foresthill Divide Historical Society
Sandy Simester, (530) 367-3535
Fruitvale School Hall Community Association
Historical Advisory Board
Old Town Auburn Preservation Society
Lincoln Highway Association
Lincoln Area Archives Museum
Elizabeth Jansen, (916) 645-3800
Joss House Museum and Chinese History Center
Richard Yue, (530) 346-7121
Loomis Basin Historical Society
Karen Clifford, (916) 663-3871
Roseville Fire Museum
Maidu Museum & Historic Site
Glenie Strome, (916) 782-3299
Native Sons of the Golden West, Parlor #59
Dave Allen, (530) 878-2878
Newcastle Portuguese Hall Association
Mario Farinha, (530) 269-2412
Golden Drift Historical Society
Jim Ricker, (530) 389-8344
Newcastle Portuguese Hall Association
Aileen Gage (530) 885-9113
Placer County Historical Society
Walt Wilson, (530) 878-6640
Placer County Museums Docent Guild
Tom Innes, (530) 888-8969
Rocklin Historical Society
Barbara Chapman, (916) 415-0153
Roseville Historical Society
Phoebe Astill, (916) 773-3003
North Lake Tahoe Historical Society
Rebecca Phipps, (530) 583-1762
Placer County Genealogical Society,
Toni Rosasco, (530) 888-8036