by Ralph Gibson
With a full-time Curator of Archives, the public hours at the Research Center will expand. The new hours beginning January 4th will be Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to Noon; and from 12:30 pm to 3:00 p.m. The Research Center will be open by appointment only on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
To promote these changes we will unveil a new, completely redesigned Placer County Museums brochure sometime this spring. Until then, keep checking our website placer.ca.gov/museums where you will also find links to our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Blogger pages.
This past year was a very busy and, personally, very difficult one. But we can only look ahead to finish what we started and take even greater strides forward than we ever have before.
I hope everyone has a great 2016!
The Merci Train Tapestry
by Kasia Woroniecka
Curator of Collections
|27" x 36" Tapestry of Countesse Du Barry|
Of course gratitude doesn’t have to be reserved only for momentous occasions. It is very beneficial to those who practice it on a regular basis, and according to studies it makes you feel more alive, sleep better and have a stronger immune system.
People show their appreciation in different
ways, but one of the most common is gift giving. In 1949, The Placer County Museum received a beautiful tapestry from the French Gratitude Train. The train, also called the Merci Train and the Train de la Reconnaissance, was filled with tens of thousands of gifts of gratitude from French citizens. It was a “thank you” gift to the United States for relief supplies collected by the Friendship Train as it traveled across the United States, passing through Roseville on its way to New York. The supplies and millions of dollars in aid sent to France and Italy in 1947 were indispensable during severe food shortages that followed the end of WWII.
The idea of the Gratitude Train came from Andre Picard, who was a French railroad worker and WWII veteran. The train cars were decorated with the coat of arms of the 40 provinces of France. One car was sent to each of the 48 states with the 49th shared by Washington D. C. and the territory of Hawaii. An estimated 6 million French families contributed something of value, and the train arrived in New Jersey on February 3, 1949.
|The arrival of the Merci Train (U.S. state unknown)|
The scale of destruction after WWII was enormous. As people began to deal with the consequences of war and focused on rebuilding their lives and cities they, like Juliette Morreton, found a lot to be thankful for.
by Beth Rohlfes
Editor and Staff WriterIn the spirit of Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions...
In 2015 we welcomed 21 new volunteers to our Museums! Auburn: Diane Adams, Nicole Bartley, Val Buonocontri, Ruth Casler, Savannah Chervenick, Mary-Jane Coon, Kate Gamble, Andy Hayes, Christy Cox Jackson, Hester Jones, Joyce Panciera, Beth Short, Lucas Suter. Foresthill: Cathy Gerber (also Auburn), Roger Del Papa (also Auburn), Jon Ryan. Dutch Flat: Kim and Laura Glassco, Cecil Lane, Holland Lorang, Dr. Richard Richman, Frank Schwartz III.
Nearly 2,800 3rd graders participated in 65 Living History days at the Bernhard Museum last spring and fall. The tours engaged 975 volunteer parents and involved almost 800 hours from our Living History Docents!
We celebrated this amazing docent force at our annual Appreciation Dinner in May and Holiday Luncheon last month. Many also journeyed together to the Roseville Telephone Museum and California State Museum of Collections at McClellan in October.
Gold Rush Program Docents met in the fall to evaluate the program in the new museum space. This impressive program invites students to explore how the Gold Rush changed California, through an interactive study of rock types and gold panning, mystery trunks and an evolving mural of the California landscape.
In 2016 Gold Rush Program Docents are ready to fine tune that program and run a test tour once the Gold Rush Museum’s first level is completed.
We expect 2,400 students to participate in a whopping 51 tours scheduled for Living History at the Bernhard in Spring, and another 800 or so in the fall.
Our Museum Docent Guild has initiated a new Docent Support Group to innovate ways to provide ongoing support to new and seasoned volunteers. Mentors will serve as friendly guides for new recruits. As part of an effort to ensure ongoing education for museum volunteers, the Support Group is planning its first “Lunch and Learn” event in February of 2016.
We look forward to the exciting year ahead with our growing host of docents and new opportunities presented by new museums…and more!
Going for the Gold
Placer County Historical Society News
Donate for a Piece of Placer History
by Michael Otten
Immediate Past President, PCHSAfter World War II, your Placer County Historical Society founded the county’s first museum and played a pivotal role in the establishment of a county-run museums entity.
We are dedicated to supporting the museums in a unique, nonprofit way. Your dues to the Placer County Historical Society help provide funds for non-budgeted items. They also give us the ability to purchase history items quickly, including actual county records that somehow disappeared and would provide historical insight to have back.
Toward that end, we are in the process of creating a special fund for these purchases that can’t be made through the normal governmental process, and for student research and assistance.
Museums Administrator Ralph Gibson contributed extra copies of county budgets and financial statements for the PCHS to give away in exchange for donations to this fund. Readers of The Placer get first chance at these historic documents. Suggested minimum donation is $10 to $15. I am donating $50.
Since 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and the nation’s quick entry into the war, I pulled out the budgets for fiscal 1941-42 and 1942-43 when the document grew from 39 to 46 pages, detailing about $1 million in expenditures. The 2015-16 budget is 735 pages long, with $817 million in spending. Of course, the county’s population has grown from less than 30,000 to more than 370,000.
The five supervisors then—Jerry Shelley, J. E. Boyington, William H. Haines, C. A. Geisendorfer and J. H. McFadden—were paid $1,800 a year plus $600 mileage and a total budget of about $14,000. Today’s supervisorial salaries are in the low $70,000 plus benefits, and the budget is and a near $2.9 million.
It is like comparing apples and oranges. They did things differently then. It was the Great Depression. District Attorney Lowell L. Sparks was paid $2,400, Superior Court Judge J. B. Landis, $2,500; Sheriff Charles S. Silva, $5,700; County Librarian Fay K. Russell, $1,800, Schools Supt. E. H. Gregory, $2.400.
Even before Pearl Harbor, the supervisors were digging into the reserves to pay for the Roseville-Lincoln State Guard and guns and ammo. The County Hospital budget was nearly $36,000. It included wages of $2,400 for Supt. William M. Walsh, $4,320 for surgeon Dr. J. G. Mackay and even $350 for tobacco. These old budgets contain a lot of historical tidbits. Be the first on your block to get one by contacting me at email@example.com or (530) 888-7837. Happy 2016!
Call for Volunteers
Walt Wilson, Placer County Historical Society president, is seeking volunteers to serve as board secretary in 2016-17, as well as to fill other positions such as the reservation secretary for dinner meetings and to make reminder calls. Contact him at (530) 878-6640 or 863-8224. … For other news: placercountyhistoricalsociety.org
Chinese New Year’s Dinner Meeting
By Addah Owens,
Vice PresidentWhen: February 4 Time: 6:30 Dinner, 7:30 Program
Where: Auburn Veterans Hall, 100 East St, Auburn
Cost: $15 per person
Menu: Chinese New Year’s dinner
Program: “The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln,” presented by Arnold Kunst, author of Lincoln 365. Kunst considers Mr. Lincoln a to be an excellent role model, a consummate humorist and a wise leader. The author earned his M.A. in history at Queens University in Northern Ireland. He brings a wide range of experience—as teacher, business owner, school administrator, professional musician, freelance journalist and hospice volunteer. Kunst has taught children and adults—ranging from children of cabinet members to convicted felons—on both sides of Atlantic for well over 30 years. His most recent position is as teacher in a California state prison. Be prepared to answer historical trivia questions for a chance to win a history book!
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
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Museums Christmas CardEvery year the Placer County Museums put out an internal Christmas Card. This year we received some artifacts from the estate of the head surgeon of DeWitt when it was an army hospital. Included were some great Christmas photos. So even though Christmas will be well in the rear view mirror by the time you're reading this, we thought you might enjoy seeing them too.
|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