by Ralph Gibson
Heritage Trail 2016 may be a summer-long event. Instead of all museums open one long weekend in August, local pockets of museums will be open free of charge on different weekends at hours that best reflect what they do. Imagine the second Saturday in June featuring Heritage Trail at the Bernhard Museum and the Benton Welty School Room; the third weekend showcasing the four Roseville Museums; and on the last Saturday in June the Griffith Quarry Museum offering early morning quarry tours followed by Roy Ruhkala splitting his granite at the Rocklin History Museum. Some museums, like the Donner Summit Historical Society Museum, might have their own day, with hiking trips near the summit to see historic features and artifacts related to the railroad. Other events like night programs, special tours, etc. might also be listed on a Heritage Trail calendar that would be available to the public in April.
Families will have the whole summer to plan their adventures along the Heritage Trail. And the entire summer to collect stamps on the Get-up-and-Go cards for a shot at winning a gift basket. I’ll post more information about this change in the next Placer.
Golden West Film Festival
by Bill George
“The goal of the festival is to present films by regional artists and to build interest in telling incredible stories about the people and places that make our area so fascinating,” said Bill George, film producer and festival founder. “We are very fortunate to live in one of the richest historic areas in the Americas.”
Productions will include work from area filmmakers such as Auburn's Brendan Compton of BA Productions and the Donner Rails series, well known for his films on the region's rich railroad heritage; and Bill George of Nimbus Films, who documents the vestiges of our area's historic past. Sacramento-area historian and film critic Matías Antonio Bombal will present “The Sacramento Picture," which has sold out on multiple occasions.
“Hopefully, the community will respond,” said George, “and we can continue to grow the festival in future years.”
Inaugural sponsors include the Placer County Historical Society, Nimbus Films and the Placer County Office of Economic Development.
Festival tickets cost $6.17 and are available at 800-838-3006 or online at brownpapertickets.com.
Film Festival Schedule10:00 a.m. – Filmmakers Introduction.
10:15 a.m. – “Ghosts of the West Ghosts of the West: The End of the Bonanza Trail” from Ethan Knightchilde and Knight Sky Pictures of Denver Colorado. Ten years in the making, this film tells the story of lost mines, abandoned diggings, and ghost towns in the lands between the Great Plains and the Pacific Ocean. The film visits the near-forgotten sites that hide, isolated, out in the mountains and deserts of the American West.
11:00 a.m. – “Rotaries, Avalanche on the Mountain," from Brendan Compton of BA Productions and the Donner Rail series. The film captures the heroic story of the rescue of a Union Pacific Railroad crew during the epic winter of 2011.
1:00 p.m. – “Chinese Builders of Gold Mountain," from Bill George and Nimbus Films. This film follows the 1850s path of the Chinese who helped create modern California.
2:00 p.m. – “Final Days of Auburn Drug Company" from Philip Jacques and Cody Hitchcock and Auburn Community TV, a nostalgic look at this now-vanished Auburn treasure.
2:15 p.m. – “The Sacramento Picture" by Mattias Antonio Bombal and Chad E. Williams. This movie features a collection of rare films of Sacramento from 1910-1974, and selections from the KCRA-TV news film collection photographed between 1957-1960 in the care of Center for Sacramento History. Local historians bring the footage to life with observations, commentary and music.
3:30 p.m. – Filmmakers Panel
by Kasia Woroniecka Curator of Collections
This pendulum wall clock was made by German prisoners of war who were housed at Camp Flint during WWII. It was donated to Placer County Museums in 1999 by Fred and Joyce Wilkinson.
In 1941, as the war raged on in Europe, the United Kingdom was faced with a growing number of prisoners of war and a serious housing shortage. To remedy the problem, more than 400,000 Axis prisoners were shipped to the United States and lived in 700 camps throughout the country.
One of those camps was Camp Flint in Auburn. It was originally established in 1938 as a relief camp during the Great Depression. It was located in the area that is now the Auburn Dam Overlook. It served as a labor camp for unemployed men seeking work on Federal and State funded public works projects in the Auburn area. Laborers lived in a camp of barracks made of wood and canvas. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the 32nd Infantry Division arrived in Auburn to guard tunnels and bridges against sabotage. In 1942 their work was taken over by the 754th Military Police Battalion. The battalion was transferred to Camp Beal in 1943. That same year the camp grew to over 500 POWs and at least 1000 U.S. troops. Additional fencing and guard towers were added to secure the site. In 1944 Camp Flint was established as a physical therapy Reconditioning Center.
Most of the POWs worked at the DeWitt Army base performing maintenance duties. Prisoners could not be used in work directly related to military operations or in dangerous conditions. They were paid in scrip. Most prisoners were provided with writing materials and art supplies and were allowed to correspond with families in Germany.
They ate the same rations as American soldiers. In 1945 thirty-five of the POWs helped to re-condition the Placer High football field.
In 1945, 200 German prisoners of war were transferred to Camp Flint from Florence, Arizona, to provide support at the DeWitt Hospital. They were gradually shipped back to Germany after the war ended, but some remained as late at February 1946.
by Beth Rohlfes Curator of Education
We all know that playground shout out—along with the hearty slap and jarring awareness that you’ve been caught, you’re up next. You’re it!
The thing is, if you played the game long enough, you knew you would eventually get tagged.
That was part of the fun of it. And so, after three years with the museums, I am now “it.” I will be Jason’s successor as editor of this newsletter. And in the spirit of the game, I am ready and waiting for any news you wish to share with our active history community. So be sure to send me details of what’s happening in your neck-of-the-woods. Find me at (530) 889-6506, firstname.lastname@example.org or in the Museums Admin Office.
Placer County Museums New Volunteer Training begins September 17th
Call (530) 889-6500
Placer County Historical Society News
Know your Trivia. Win a prize!
I have some great history books to give away at our October dinner.
My plan is to have a special drawing at every dinner meeting for history items and at least one trivia prize. So you can either be lucky, smart of even both. This is not a raffle, but there will be a jar available for cash donations should you be so moved.
It has been a busy summer and we were unable to finalize a field trip to explore Placer County connections in Sacramento. We will keep you posted when we can reschedule.
Most of you who traveled with Gene Markley know that, in coordination with the Forest Service, he set up several monuments, nine in all, commemorating prominent individuals and events. Markley is a life member of the Placer County Historical Society.
One of those monuments, Miller’s Defeat, was vandalized several years ago. The plaque ended up in the Forest Service warehouse. With the help of Forest Service archeologist Nolan Smith, the plaque was recovered by Tom Birch, who refurbished it for re-installation.
On Saturday, October 17, 2015, several volunteers will do the digging and cement work to reinstall the monument. Nolan Smith will be present to oversee the new installation. The work will commence at 10 a.m. Volunteers should bring a lunch.
At roughly 1 p.m., a traditional Markley toast will be made with Aquavit and beer. Everyone is invited to view the monument and to participate in the toast and dedication. Pictures will be taken to send to Gene in Wisconsin. To get to the site, take Mosquito Ridge Road to Forest Road 43. This is the connector road to Foresthill Road at Robinson Flat. A sign will be posted at the turn.
Lastly, if you would like to help defer the cost of the cement and monument support structure (and the Aquavit of course), you can send a contribution care of Dave Jones, 1280 Arrow Court, Auburn 95602. Any excess funds will be used for a future Markley Monument critique and pizza party at Auburn’s Old Town Pizza. See more at www.placercountyhistoricalsociety.org or call (530) 878-6587.
Placer County Historical Society Dinner Meeting
by Addah Owens,Vice President
When: October 1
Time: 6:30 Dinner, 7:30 Program
Where: Auburn Veterans Hall 100 East St, Auburn
Cost: $15 per person
Menu: Roasted pork loin, garlic mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, green salad, rolls, dessert and coffee.
Program: John Knox and April McDonald-Loomis will present an enticing glimpse into their new book, Images of America: Early Auburn. The 20 minute slide show will feature photographs from the book. Copies of the book will be available for sale for $20.
Mail Check to: PCHS c/o Betty Samson 8780 Baxter Grade Rd Auburn, CA 95603
DO NOT BRING ALCOHOL. County directives prohibit it, and we can't get liability coverage.
Click on image below to zoom in.
Placer County Historical Organizations
Colfax 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
Lyndell Grey, (916) 645-3517
Historical Advisory Board
Glenn Vineyard, (916) 747-1961
Old Town Auburn Preservation Society
Lynn Carpenter, (530) 885-1252
Lincoln Highway Association
Bob Dieterich, email@example.com
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
Jim Giblin, JGiblin@roseville.ca.us
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