Saturday, August 29, 2020

September - October 2020

Ralph Gibson

Museums Administrator


As a museum professional, I am ethically forbidden from collecting in areas that compete with our museums’ collection. But, like most people in my field, I am a collector. What I collect are vintage Halloween cards. Some collectors aspire to possess cards in mint condition that were never mailed. Myself, I prefer used cards produced before 1920 that may not be in the best condition. Their use is part of the history I find appealing. This was a time when superstitions held more weight than today, especially in rural areas. The cards were designed, produced, purchased, and mailed in fun, but sometimes with a kiss of old-world magic. 


Before Trick or Treating became popular in the 1930s, Halloween was about parties, games, spooky stories, and mischief. Many of the cards I have in my collection interpret superstitions that revolved around young people magically discerning who they will marry in the future. Some women looked into a mirror with a lit candle at midnight on Halloween to catch a glimpse of their intended. Others divined the first letter of their future mate’s name by the shape of a long peel shaved from an apple. 



My cards also reflect the pranks and mischief that were an important part of the holiday. But what I love most is the iconography: the old-world witches, ghosts, bats, Jack-O’-Lanterns, black cats, etc. In the era I collect there aren’t any cards with vampires, mummies, or Frankenstein’s monster. These creatures, though born in history and literature much earlier, wouldn’t become part of Halloween until the Universal movies of the 1930s. 



There probably won’t be Trick or Treating this year due to Coronavirus. Instead, Halloween 2020 will likely resemble the holiday interpreted in my cards. It may be more about spooky stories, games, mischief, and little bit of old-world magic – my favorite! Happy Halloween! 



Kasia Woroniecka

Curator of Collections



We know today that smoking is not good for you. Yet people have been smoking for thousands of years with the help of some very interesting objects. Pipes come in many shapes and sizes, and are made of many different materials like wood, clay, metal, porcelain, plaster, or bone. Researching these was quite an adventure.
We have thousands of objects in our collection, so it is not surprising that things occasionally get misidentified. It turned out that we do not have as many opium pipes as we thought we did. Here are a few examples of pipes in our collection.
Chinese water pipe, c. 1850-1870

This Chinese water pipe dates to around 1850-1870. It is decorated with beautiful floral cloisonné pattern and a small tassel. The water pipe operated like a hookah: the hot smoke passed through water in the container at the base of the pipe. This removed impurities and cooled the smoke which was then inhaled through the long pipe. Tobacco was introduced in China sometime in the 16th century and smoking it grew in popularity due to its supposed healing properties.

Tobacco, except for snuff, was made illegal during the Ming and early Qing Dynasties in the early 17th century. Even though the penalty for breaking the law was harsh, people of all classes still indulged in the practice and tobacco was an important part of social gatherings and entertainment. Water pipes were expensive and were used as decoration when not in use. This type of pipe is often mistaken for an opium pipe, but it was used for smoking tobacco. Many historic photographs of opium dens show opium pipes along with water pipes, which leads to the confusion.
Chinese opium pipe


This is a Chinese opium pipe made of bamboo. Opium smoking was an accepted social practice in 19th century China. The Chinese who came to California during the Gold Rush brought recreational opium smoking with them. This pipe is missing a bowl, which would have been attached to the metal fitting on top of the pipe, called the saddle. Smoking opium is different than smoking tobacco and required several tools and a lot of practice. That is why most opium smokers preferred opium dens, where attendants would prepare the pipes for them.

The opium was first heated over a lamp and shaped with a needle into a small pill, called chandu. The pill was placed in the bowl on the pipe’s saddle and heated by the lamp. Once the opium simmered, the smoker inhaled the fumes. Smoking opium was usually practiced lying down, because it was the most comfortable position to hold the pipe over the lamp. Opium pipes were long since space was needed between the smoker and the heat source.
Chinese long-stem tobacco pipe, c. 1875


This is a Chinese long-stem tobacco pipe that dates to around 1875. The length of the pipe stem affected the taste. The longer the stem the milder the taste.
Japanese Kiseru tobacco pipe, Natamame style


This is a Japanese Kiseru tobacco pipe. Kiseru were made from metal or a combination of metal and wood or bamboo and came in various styles. This one is the Natamame. It is flat to fit easily in the belt of the kimono. This type of pipe has been used in Japan since the 16th century when tobacco was introduced by Portuguese traders. A small amount of shredded tobacco is placed in the tiny bowl at the tip of the pipe. It is enough for a few puffs before the ashes are dumped out, and a fresh supply is added.
Tyrolean pipe, c. 1907-1927


This pipe is called the “Tyrolean” for Tyrol, the Austrian and Italian region in the Alps. It is sometimes called the Jaeger pipe, the wine pipe, or the German hunter pipe. This style pipe has a large bowl or reservoir called the abguss, used to hold juices and tar to improve the fragrance and flavor of the tobacco. This style was popular in Central Europe since the 18th century and the one in our collection dates to 1907-1927.
Punch pipe, c. 1850-1900


This is a tiny figural clay pipe c. 1850-1900 that portrays Punch, one of the characters of the traditional puppet show Punch and Judy. Pipes representing political figures, animals, occupations, or other symbols were popular during this time-period. Clay was a common and inexpensive material for tobacco pipes. These pipes were fragile, and their long stems broke easily. This one was made in a casting mold.
Plains Indians style "peace pipe," c. 1900-1940


This is a Plains Indians style “peace pipe” with a pipestone carved bowl and wooden stem c. 1900-1940. It is not an original sacred pipe, but one made for sale. Traditionally ceremonial pipes were smoked to offer prayers or to seal a treaty.
Sea snail shell pipe, c. 1850


Pipes have become objects of great creativity and ingenuity. This one was made around 1850 out of a polished sea snail shell giving a broader meaning to the old saying “smoke 'em if you got 'em.”



Katy Bartosh

Staff Writer


What amusements were available to a miner during the Gold Rush? What did they have to look forward to after the backbreaking work of mining a claim? The circus! Saloons and music were common forms of entertainments, but circuses arrived early and returned annually. These shows started in the 1850s and continued into the 20th century.

The first circuses started in America in the late 18th century. These were small European endeavors with acrobatics, trick riding, and clowns. In 1825, showman Joshua Purdy Brown, started the first real American circus.

When public amusements were banned in Wilmington, Delaware during the Second Great Awakening, Brown erected a “pavilion circus” outside the city limits, starting America’s tradition of canvas, big top circuses. With expansion moving westward, circuses did as well. 

Placer Herald, June 10, 1853

The Placer Herald announced the arrival of Lee & Marshall’s National Circus and Hippodrome on June 10th, 1853. Lee and Marshall were operating a primarily equestrian exhibition out of Sacramento. These early gold rush circuses relied on show drama and equestrian skills.

Articles reference a dedicated “Circus Lot” in Auburn that was used for shows. It was located behind the Methodist Church.

A variety of shows continued to rotate through Auburn, typically June through September. In 1856, Rowe & Co.’s Circus arrived with Adonis, the dancing horse, and Mr. R. Wills, the Wizard Bugler. 


Dan Rice 

Dan Rice’s Great Show stopped in 1860. Rice would go on to become the most famous circus clown of the 19th century, and even ran for president in 1868.

While early shows primarily utilized horses, elephants and other exotic animals became more prevalent with the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The railroad made it easier and less expensive to ship larger shows with a greater variety of animals.

Wisconsin showman Dan Castello took his circus from Omaha to California on the newly completed railroad in May 1869. He arrived in Auburn in September, and his whole season was immensely profitable. Castello would convince P.T. Barnum to join the venture a year later and the circus eventually became the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus—The Greatest Show on Earth. 

Placer Herald, September 18, 1869

By this point, the railroad and the circus became synonymous in America. 

The Great New York and New Orleans Zoological Equestrian Exposition set up in Auburn on July 25, 1873. The show boasted a variety of animals including zebras, kangaroos, gorillas, and a drove of Bactrian camels.

These large circuses were more extravagant. In 1877, the Grand Trans-Continental Tour of Forepaugh’s Aggregation was the most elaborate to date. Forepaugh featured the “only living male hippopotamus, or river horse, in America,” as well as lions, tigers, bears, a rhinoceros, and a “magnificent museum of wonders.” 

Placer Herald, August 25, 1877

The arrival of the circus was usually well received, though the occasional complaint appeared in the local paper about the quality of the animals, acrobatics, or conduct of the performers. 

In 1893 there was a tragic accident. Sells & Rentfrow was coming through Grass Valley on the railroad when two engines and four cars went off the track, killing a young man and several animals. This was only a month after the circus lost several of their animals in the town of Salem, Oregon, including a black bear, monkey, and hedgehog. 

The yearly arrival and departure of summer circuses continued into the 20th century until the fair became a more popular local attraction. 

Bryanna Ryan

Supervising Curator


Our interpretive projects look a lot different that usual this year. With our museums closed we have finally realized an opportunity to prioritize getting content online and for those of you keeping track at home, since March we have published seventy-two virtual history projects.

You may now take a virtual walking tour of Dutch Flat or Auburn and see historic photos associated with the buildings while you journey. There are grounds tours of the Gold Rush Museum and the Bernhard Museum. Soon, there will also be grounds tours for the Griffith Quarry Park and the Foresthill Divide Museum. Kasia has produced twenty-three artifact highlights and has many more on the horizon.

One of the great things about these is that we can feature things that may not be in display condition or that didn’t quite fit into one of the themes of our brick and mortar museums. Even thought they are virtual, these have the effect of bringing the object so much closer to the viewer than we usually are able and the Bernhard Ring and the 1910 Wedding Cake Topper are good examples of how special a small object can become when given a chance to really see it.

History projects have explored many things including Rattlesnake Dick, the Hidden Treasure Mine, Newcastle, the Hawver Cave, the Lincoln Highway, and the geologic beginnings of Placer County. With our Living History and Gold Rush Programs unfortunately on pause, we are also looking for ways to reach students where they are through online content.

Through it all, we are learning a lot - both about the history of Placer County as well as what works and what doesn’t in developing these projects. The bulk of the research comes from the Archive and Research Center and there is an exciting new venture for this facility, as well. In the next couple of months we are hoping to launch our catalog online where at least some of our records will finally be searchable to the distance researcher. Stay tuned for this and in the meantime, don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions, thoughts, or suggestions for projects we should explore.

 

April McDonald-Loomis

President, Placer County Historical Society

Greetings,

I hope everyone is staying in and staying well. These certainly are challenging times. So many of us are missing usual routines and our volunteer work. We can only hope we can see an end in sight. There is hardly anything happening at the Historical Society but I have a few things to share.

Karri Samson, John Knox, and I are working on some additional plaques for buildings in Auburn. We are working on 805 Lincoln, 835 Lincoln, 922 Lincoln, 928 Lincoln, 823 Lincoln, and 1590 Lincoln. If anyone knows the owners of the above buildings, please let me know to save the time tracking them down. We always need the owner’s permission to place a plaque on the building.

Also, the replacement for the Charbonneau plaque in the Fire House Park in Old Town should be coming soon. The wording on the plaque was incorrect and we are replacing it. We are also involved with E Clampus Vitus in installing a plaque for Emily Casement, the “Fire Queen,” in the same park. That one is on track for the Fall. 

Proof for Emily Casement Plaque for Fire House Park 

We don’t currently have any general dinner meetings planned for the near future. This too, like so many things, is on hold. 

A special note, Betty Samson, a Society member for many years just celebrated her 95th birthday! We wish her all the best and miss seeing her at the dinner meetings.

April McDonald-Loomis, President

Calendar of Events 

If you have a question about meetings for a specific historical organization going into September or October, please contact them directly.


Historical Organizations

Colfax Area Historical Society 
Jay MacIntyre, President
(530) 346-8599 
colfaxhistory.org

Donner Summit Historical Society
Bill Oudegeest
(209) 606-6859
donnersummithistoricalsociety.org

Foresthill Divide Historical Society
Troy Simester
(530) 367-3535
foresthillhistory.org

Fruitvale School Hall Community Association
Mark Fowler

Gold Country Medical History Museum 
Lynn Carpenter
(530) 885-1252

Golden Drift Historical Society 
Sarah Fugate
(530) 389-2121

Historical Advisory Board
Glenn Vineyard
(916) 747-1961

Joss House Museum and Chinese History Center
Larry Finney
(530) 305-9380 

Lincoln Area Archives Museum
Elizabeth Jansen
(916) 645-3800
laamca.org

Loomis Basin Historical Society
Karen Clifford
(916) 663-3871
ppgn.com/loomishistorical.html

Maidu Museum & Historic Site
Kaitlin Kincade
(916) 774-5934
roseville.ca.us/indianmuseum

The Museum of Sierra Ski History and 1960 Winter Olympics
David C. Antonucci 
(775) 722-3502
Sierraskimuseum.com

Native Sons of the Golden West Parlor #59
Dave Allen
(530) 878-2878
dsallen59@sbcglobal.net

Newcastle Portuguese Hall Association
Mario Farinha
(530) 269-2412

North Lake Tahoe Historical Society
Phil Sexton
(530) 583-1762
northtahoemuseums.org

Old Town Auburn Preservation Society
Lynn Carpenter
(530) 885-1252 

Placer County Genealogical Society
Toni Rosasco
(530) 888-8036
pcgenes.com

Placer County Historical Society
April McDonald-Loomis 
(530) 823-2128
placercountyhistoricalsociety.org

Placer County Museums Docent Guild
Fran Hanson
(530) 878-6990 

Rocklin Historical Society
Hank Lohse 
(916) 624-3464
rocklinhistory.org

Roseville Fire Museum
Jim Giblin
(916) 538-1809
rosevillefiremueum@gmail.org

Roseville Historical Society
Denise Fiddyment
(916) 773-3003





Tuesday, June 30, 2020

July - August 2020

Ralph Gibson

Museums Administrator

On Monday, June 1st, former Museums Administrator, Melanie Barton passed away. I struggled to find the right words to describe how important she was as a leader and as a mentor, but I settled on Melanie telling you herself. This is her final Placer article from the May-June issue of 2013:

Melanie Barton

“History is People”

I’ve never claimed to be a historian; however, I have a love of history and a passion for sharing it with others. At our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner this month, it was very clear to me that my passion was shared by everyone who attended. Museum volunteers are a unique group. They are dedicated to the role they play sharing history with visitors to our museums, answering research requests at the Archives, leading tours, and assisting staff with programs. This year 200 volunteers spent over 15,500 hours providing these various services. In a very real sense, each and every Museum volunteer is making history. For this, I cannot thank them enough.

“I’m History”

Yes, I am retiring on May 31st after 11 years at the helm of the Museums Division. It has been an extremely rewarding experience and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity of a lifetime. I cannot help but be reflective at this juncture. Highlights for me are the growth and expansion of the Living History, School Tour, and Community Education programs. I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with the renovation of the Bernhard Winery, building the Summer Kitchen, and a major renovation of the historic Courthouse. The Museum Exhibit Team has done a remarkable job keeping our exhibits ‘refreshed’ and creating outstanding new ones such as A Leap of Imagination, Fashioning a New Identity, and Curves and Compromise.

We made a bold move six years ago when we launched the first Heritage Trail event. This year 19 museums from Roseville to Tahoe will participate in the county wide museum tour. More and more visitors are coming to this area for the two-day event and I can’t think of a better way to highlight local history and all the wonderful local history museums in the county.

Recently, we relocated the Archives and Collections at the County Government Center in Dewitt. This project was first discussed almost nine years ago and we have spent the last year preparing for the move in earnest. The new location provides many amenities that we needed such as climate and humidity control for the collection, high density shelving units, and ample research space for staff and volunteers.

Though I am sad to leave, the time is right. We’ve accomplished much and I have enjoyed every challenge. I know that the Placer County Museums will continue to play a vital role in our community. Museum staff is more professional and better trained than ever before and I am confident that they will move forward in wonderful new directions. Ralph Gibson will assume leadership of the division until a new Museums Administrator is selected.

I am looking forward to spending more time riding my horse Pancho and exploring this beautiful country with my husband in our 5th wheel. Now that I’m a Grandma, I can’t wait to have more time to visit my three sons and grandchildren.

Thank you all for your support and for sharing my vision!



From all of us, Goodbye and Godspeed, Melanie.



Katy Bartosh

Staff Writer

The first two weeks of March gave us no clear indication of how COVID-19 would effect Placer County Museums. Four months later, it feels like a whole new world. While we face challenges and changes in our daily routine, there has been one immense benefit to all of this—the creation of online content.

Prior to COVID-19, Placer County Museums had an online presence, but it wasn’t large. This newsletter is on our blog. We have a Twitter (@PlacerMuseum), Facebook, and a recently created Instagram (@placercountymuseums). 

                     


But when Placer County Museums shuttered and staff started working from home, we had to find new ways to reach visitors, students, and docents.

No mask? No problem. Jason utilized an Adobe program called Spark to create simple, yet effective webpages to display material on artifacts, tours, and historic topics. All from the comfort and safety of your computer or smartphone. 


Museum staff have been putting together numerous “Spark Pages” since March. These are easily available through our Museums’ home page and cover a variety of topics. 


With no opportunity to greet visitors, we immediately opened “Ask a Curator” for the curious to submit their queries. The responses have been posted and we’re still taking questions. 


Without a gallery to visit in person, Kasia has been providing patrons with their recommended dose of objects through beautifully photographed artifact highlights.

One of Kelsey’s big projects has been recreating self-guided tours with meticulously researched pages on buildings in Old Town and Downtown Auburn.

Bry put together an awesome overview of Placer County Geology, and if you’re missing the Highways Through Time video in the gallery, you can read her Journey Through the Sierras Page


I’ve loved researching and writing on the 1918 Influenza, Rattlesnake Dick, and Hawver Cave; but I’m really glad the student resources have been helpful to kids missing school this spring.

This has been a big change, but worth it. We currently have 44 Spark Pages which by late May had 23,166 views. This isn’t counting Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube visitors.

When we re-open fully, will we stop creating online content? No! This internet thing seems to have caught on, and we plan to keep releasing content. This has shown us a new way to engage with people who already knows us, and it also allows us to connect with those who can’t reach us for lack of means, mobility, or distance.

How is the push to more online platforms effecting you? Are you enjoying our new content? Do you have any questions for a curator, or suggestions of things you’d like to see? 

Here are some helpful links to get you where you're going:

To see our Spark pages: https://www.placer.ca.gov/2489/Museums

Placer County Museums Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/placercountymuseums

Placer County Museums Twitter: https://twitter.com/PlacerMuseums

Placer County Museums Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/placercountymuseums/


Kasia Woroniecka

Curator of Collections

Autograph books are not very popular today, but they have been around for centuries. They originated in Europe probably during the 16th century and were a way for students to collect signatures and notes of classmates or fellow colleagues and instructors. Initially students used the blank pages of their own books or bibles, but over time little notebooks with blank pages became popular and were traded amongst friends and filled with autographs, notes, and other correspondence. Autograph books became more affordable during the 19th century and were especially popular among German immigrants in America.

There are many autograph books in our collection. They are full of handwritten messages, famous quotes, funny poems, colorful paper stickers, and original drawings. They provide a fascinating insight into the Victorian aesthetic, family histories and social interactions of the past.

Unlike diaries, autograph books were meant to be viewed by others and came in many shapes and sizes, although the most common was 8” x 7”. Many had decorative covers; some covered in velvet or leather with intricate embossed designs. 

Autograph book with leather embossed design. Belong to Lydia S. Helmich. 1878. PCM Collection.

Autograph book with leather cover. Belonged to Ina Stone. C. 1883-1885. PCM Collection.

Autograph book with leather cover. It belonged to Nellie May Remler C.  1885-1891. Nellie was born in Foresthill on April 6, 1877. Her family moved to the Foresthill Divide in 1859. She taught music in Oakland, San Francisco and Foresthill. She died  on June 9, 1954 in Foresthill. 

Autograph book. Belonged to Aleck Romero. Given to him on his 14th birthday on May 24, 1884. PCM Collection.

Autograph book with velvet and leather cover with embossed leaf design. C. 1880s. PCM Collection


Many of the pages are filled with simple entries exchanged between friends. But some include colorful stickers, lighthearted and amusing entries, and beautiful drawings.
 

“Dear Susie, Remember me always, Henry Dodds”. San Francisco, September 15, 1889. 

“Remember I say, when you look at these pages, the writing in albums is like working for wages. Your schoolmate E. Wedgewood. Dutch Flat Feb 10, 1896. 

“May thy life be blest, With the joys thou lovest best, Friendship, virtue, pleasure, truth, Hover round thy happy youth. Your friend Millie Ryan.”  Michigan Bluff, August 21, 1883.

“Complements of Otto Friedel. Michigan Bluff, April 25, 1884”

“Don’t be a coward, don’t be afraid, don’t for heaven-sake die an old maid. Your friend Virginia Mitchell. Weimar, February 27, 1888.”

Drawing from an album of unidentified owner. Entries c. 1904-1907.

Drawing from an album of unidentified owner. Entries c. 1904-1907.


This book belonged to Evangeline Polifka of Michigan Bluff. 

It includes an entry from Clara Holt: "Dear Evangeline, when rocks and rills divide us, and you no more I see, just take your pen and paper and write a line to me. Michigan Bluff, March 1, 1885."


We also have Clara Holt's autograph book. 

In her book, Clara has a page from Evangeline: “May your paths be strewn wit flowers. Your friend and schoolmate Evangeline. Michigan Bluff, January 1886.”


Evangeline Polifka was born in 1876. In 1901 she married Alfred Pine in San Francisco. She died in 1953. Clara Holt was born in 1867. She married Henry Jones, a grocer from Roseville. She died in Auburn in 1961. 

Clara Holt Jones with her family, Sunny South, Placer County. Top row: "Clara Holt, Oscar M., John A. Bottom row: "Mickel Johansson Holt; Anne S. Holt; Anna Sophia (Bostrom) Holt.


These little books are colorful, and full of interesting information. Their popularity peaked around the time of the Civil War. They were gradually replaced by yearbooks, which today are often published in digital format. However, they remain a fascinating glimpse into past lives led.  

April McDonald-Loomis

President, Placer County Historical Society

We are truly living through historic times. The pandemic, racial strife, protests...what’s next? The museum staff is chronicling this period with a survey that will provide a record of what people are currently doing and feeling in their own communities. I’m sure it will give insight to researchers years from now. Since most of us involved with the “history community” are in the vulnerable category, I do hope you are staying close to home, wearing a face mask, and social distancing. It is hard. There are a lot of things I’m sure we all miss.

Thank you all for renewing your membership, our yearly dues campaign was very successful despite everything.

I really don’t have anything to report since the Board has not met since early March. The general meeting dinners are on hold for who knows how long. We missed the election of officers in May. Who knows how many of our by-laws we are breaking!

There is a call from the Historic Foundation for nominations for the Placer County History Award. If you have anyone you are interested in nominating, I can send you the digital form.

The Board is still trying to come up with ways to use the money we have on hand for some useful and meaningful project. Again, if you have any ideas, please let me know. Let’s all hope we will see an end soon and that some positive results will come from the new national consciousness.

Katy Bartosh

Staff Writer

In 2013, Placer County Museums asked visitors the following question: “What Killed the American Hat?” Was it the Kennedys? Hollywood? Youth Culture? The clickers racked up the numbers, and guests filled in their own opinions on the pin board. Was it the Pope’s fault? Maybe hairspray? Or is it simply one more industry that millennials destroyed, somehow decades before their birth. 
What Killed the American Hat? 2013-2020

If you haven’t decided yet, I’m here to inform you that our Top-Secret Case Files are no longer available to help you. What Killed the American Hat? was deinstalled last week to make room for Placer County Museums’ newest exhibit...Stay tuned on our social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more) for more information. The next Placer will cover the new exhibit!

Calendar of Events 

If you have a question about meetings for a specific historical organization going into July or August, please contact them directly.

Historical Organizations

Colfax Area Historical Society
Jay MacIntyre, President
(530) 346-8599
colfaxhistory.org

Donner Summit Historical Society
Bill Oudegeest
(209) 606-6859
donnersummithistoricalsociety.org

Foresthill Divide Historical Society
Troy Simester
(530) 367-3535
foresthillhistory.org

Fruitvale School Hall Community Association
Mark Fowler

Gold Country Medical History Museum
Lynn Carpenter
(530) 885-1252

Golden Drift Historical Society
Sarah Fugate
(530) 389-2121

Historical Advisory Board
Glenn Vineyard
(916) 747-1961

Joss House Museum and Chinese History Center
Larry Finney
(530) 305-9380

Lincoln Area Archives Museum
Elizabeth Jansen
(916) 645-3800
laamca.org

Loomis Basin Historical Society
Karen Clifford
(916) 663-3871
ppgn.com/loomishistorical.html

Maidu Museum & Historic Site
Kaitlin Kincade
(916) 774-5934
roseville.ca.us/indianmuseum

The Museum of Sierra Ski History and 1960 Winter Olympics
David C. Antonucci
(775) 722-3502
Sierraskimuseum.com

Native Sons of the Golden West Parlor #59
Dave Allen
(530) 878-2878
dsallen59@sbcglobal.net

Newcastle Portuguese Hall Association
Mario Farinha
(530) 269-2412

North Lake Tahoe Historical Society
Phil Sexton
(530) 583-1762
northtahoemuseums.org

Old Town Auburn Preservation Society
Lynn Carpenter
(530) 885-1252

Placer County Genealogical Society
Toni Rosasco
(530) 888-8036
pcgenes.com

Placer County Historical Society
April McDonald-Loomis
(530) 823-2128
placercountyhistoricalsociety.org

Placer County Museums Docent Guild
Fran Hanson
(530) 878-6990

Rocklin Historical Society
Hank Lohse
(916) 624-3464
rocklinhistory.org

Roseville Fire Museum
Jim Giblin
(916) 538-1809
rosevillefiremueum@gmail.org

Roseville Historical Society
Denise Fiddyment
(916) 773-3003






Thursday, April 30, 2020

May - June 2020

Ralph Gibson

Museums Administrator


On February 27th, we had the first Heritage Trail 2020 meeting. It was well attended and within days of that meeting the Heritage Trail calendar was set for the summer, something that usually happens by the first week of May.

But then the world changed.

Shelter in place orders from Placer County and the State quarantined us all at home, except for essential work and travel. Hopefully it won’t be long before some of the restrictions are lifted and people can go back to what they were doing before COVID-19, but it will be a long time before they can go back to how they were doing it. Until there is a vaccine, Social Distancing will likely continue which limits how many people can be in a given space at one time. Our focus is on the health and well-being of our patrons, our volunteers, our staff and the families of all.

Because of this, Heritage Trail 2020 is canceled. In the foreseeable future, museums around the county will remain closed, but their online presence will be much more important. We have completely refocused our interpretive projects from physical exhibits and programs to virtual exhibits and educational programming online. Please visit our website at www.placer.ca.gov/museums to experience the vast content we have produced and will continue to produce into the summer. If your museum has created special online content, please let us know and we’ll post links on our social media pages. Be safe and healthy everyone!


Rod Moser, PA, PhD

Gold Country Medical History Museum


All museums start with personal collections, be it art, antiques, or in my case….something more strange and bizarre. While in medical training in rural West Virginia, I became fascinated by finding old pharmaceuticals still on the shelves for sale. One of my first acquisitions was a sealed box of Natures Remedy Vegetable Laxative (circa 1920), marked 37 cents. That is what I paid. Later, I was given access to the attic storeroom of this old country store. It was filled with hundreds of old medicines. As a student with limited funds, I bought as many as I could afford. On careful inspection, most of these patent medicines were all laxatives. This was the beginning of my medical antique and quackery collection.



My Appalachian grandmother, mother of 13, was a self-taught healer of sorts. I can fondly recall her giving me doses of Castoria (a laxative) or Dewitt’s Worm medicine, because I seemed too skinny. Clearly, I needed purging. Constipation was believed to cause all kinds of maladies and derangements, such as delayed puberty, headaches, lung disease, drowsiness, stupor, irritability, and insanity. During the Gold Rush years, many Snake Oil salesman hawked their dubious nostrums and cures from the back of wagons in downtown Auburn. Many of these cure-alls were herbal laxatives, mixed with alcohol.


In the early 1980s, I entered the Most Bizarre Collection Contest sponsored by the Sacramento Bee. I took second prize with my sub-collection of 150 antique laxatives. I was disappointed but had bragging rights as being “number two”.

The Gold Country Medical History Museum is in the restored site of the first hospital in the Gold Country, 1855 at 219 Maple Street, below the Courthouse. The museum is currently closed due to COVID-19, but please call (530) 906-9822 for more information on when we will be re-opening.

Kelsey Monahan

Curator of Archives

Frank and Angie

In the photograph collection of the Placer County Archives and Research Center, there is an image that never fails to grab my attention. It is photograph number A2014.54.2, of Frank Chase and his pet ocelot.

Chase was born in 1872 in Lincoln to Daniel and Mary Ann Chase, and was one of five children. Daniel Chase was a miner and was offered $300 a month, roughly $7,500 today, to take charge of a mine in Venezuela. Unfortunately, he died from a fever only four days after his arrival.

Frank and his siblings were forced to provide for the family, and he went to work in the mines in Nevada County. After finishing school, Frank enlisted with the Nevada County National Guard and fought in the Spanish American War. He rose to the rank of sergeant with Company I, 8th U.S. California Volunteers. During his service, Frank was stationed in Oakland, California; Vancouver, Washington; and the Philippines.

After being honorably discharged from the military in 1899, he returned to Placer County and continued his mining career. He didn’t stay very long, and in 1903 he, along with his brother Bert, went off to work as a Captain at the Darien Gold Mine in Panama. Frank did not enjoy the climate there and suffered from several attacks of “tropical fever.”

After briefly returning once again to Northern California, he was offered a position with the Oriental Consolidated Mining Company, in Japanese-occupied Korea. While aboard the ship on his way to Korea, he ran into old acquaintances from Placer County, George Ford and his daughter Azalea. Frank and Azalea decided to marry, and when the boat docked in Seoul, the U.S. Consul General officiated their wedding. Frank and Azalea would go on to live in Korea for 12 years and have their two children, Ovilla and Ford.

Frank's Passport Application

The Chase family again returned to Placer County, and Frank tried his hand at different businesses, but nothing stuck. In 1929 he was officially appointed a night watchman for the City of Auburn where he served for almost 30 years. While on the police force, one of his most notable successes was when he apprehended a pair of thieves trying to rob the post office.

Frank Chase passed away in 1958 at the age of 85. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Seoul, Korea; the Scottish Rite in Sacramento; and the Tahoe Club.


But what about the ocelot?! In 1997 a descendant of Frank’s, Don Costello, remembered his mother’s stories of living with Frank and Azalea – and the ocelot. The ocelot’s name was Angie, and family lore said she lived with the Chase family in the early 1900s in Auburn until the local residents became concerned, and Angie was sent away. To where exactly it was not known.

Sometimes the most interesting photographs can have even more interesting stories behind them!

Kelsey Monahan

Curator of Archives


The caption on this photo in our collection reads: “AUBURN CELEBRATES ARMISTICE – FLU OR NO FLU. November 11, 1918 – CENTRAL SQUARE.”

This photograph in our collection depicts the day when Auburn, and the world, celebrated the end of the First World War on November 11, 1918. This gathering in the streets of Auburn was significant not only because of the occasion but also because of the invisible enemy that was being fought at home- Spanish influenza. This deadly flu killed an estimated 675,000 Americans and changed daily life in Placer County. Ordinances were passed that made wearing masks in public required, and social gatherings canceled.

While parts of this historic time in Placer County is documented through photographs and newspaper articles, we still don’t fully know what life was like then.

Amid the COVID-19 global pandemic, we have the unique opportunity to speak to the future, and document what life is like now in this historic moment.

At Placer County Museums, we value the feelings, experiences, and stories of our communities. We want to help preserve this moment for the future to learn from. Everyone’s life is different, and the way we get through this will be together but also as individuals whose unique experiences offer valuable insight.

Ways you can help:

Keep a journal - Write down your daily reflections. How is the world around you changing, and how does that make you feel? Are you learning a new talent? Are you busier than ever before? Did you have big plans canceled and are having to find a way to deal with that?

Write a letter to the future citizens of Placer County - “Dear Future Reader,” what should they know about your experience during this unprecedented time? With school children home for nearly a month now, I am sure there might be some feelings about how life is going?

Write your memoir - While this moment in time is a big one, this might be a good time to reflect upon your life as a whole and write down your experience. 2020 does not define us but is a part of a bigger picture. Consider putting your life experience into words. As long as you are old enough to read and write, you can make a memoir!

Take Photos - Did you or your family make a mask to wear? Was it out of some fabric you had on hand? Consider taking a selfie or photo and sending it our way!

Record an Interview – Use your phone to record a voice or video interview with a family member or friend. How has daily life changed? How have your experiences been different?

If you have anything you would like to submit for our collection, please fill out the form at the link below. Digital material (mp3s, PDFs, photos, or word documents) can be attached directly to the form. If you wish to donate a physical object, please choose that option on the form. We will be in touch to collect your donation as soon as it is safe to do so.

Click here to submit your material [airtable.com/shroiTm5cw4Eub5ky]

Sharing your stories with us will help us to better document the history of Placer County, and we appreciate your help in this vital work!

Bryanna Ryan

Supervising Curator


Thank you all for letting us bombard you with our emails and new projects as they come out. By now, you are probably pretty familiar with the direction we have been headed but I wanted to share a couple of details about ones that are more behind-the-scenes.

First, a note to say that Jason is our tech-savvy designer who is creating and formatting the pages so that they can look good and function well for viewers. If you like the way they look, the credit for that goes to Jason.

On an Archive side, Kelsey has been busily uploading records onto our data storage system “Preservica” and we are engaged in the slow process of getting the archival records ready for the public to search and download through our website. Deeds, mining claims, photos, and more! That will be a big day for our division.

On a related note, with exhibit projects on pause, Darryl has turned his attention to digitizing our oral history cassettes. There are over 400 oral history interviews in the collection and his work will allow us to get them online. They are already transcribed and indexed so it will be a nice complete set and fascinating record of the history of Placer County. A big thanks to the Placer County Historical Society for recording most of these over the past few decades!

April McDonald-Loomis

President, Placer County Historical Society


“What a long, strange trip it’s been.” The Gratefully Dead certainly said it well, but we are not done with it yet! Because of the pandemic, just about everything has been put on “pause” both for the Historical Society and for most of us personally. About the only excitement for the Society was a contribution we received from a member, who wishes to remain anonymous, for $10,000! We are brain storming (online) about the best way to use this incredible gift. We wish we could publicly thank the person but respect their wishes to remain out of sight, nonetheless, we are so very grateful! If you have any ideas for a big project that we might participate in, please let one of the board members know. We would like to do something significant with this gift.

On the personal level, I have been reading a lot, doing a few jigsaw puzzles, and doing some put-off household chores. We have had some family game nights via “google meet,” that have given us all some laughs especially the trivia game that, unbeknownst to us, originated in New Zealand with lots of New Zealand trivia which, of course, we all failed miserably to answer.

I do hope everyone is keeping busy and staying safe. The museum staff have been doing a great job of reaching out with fun stuff which we all appreciate.

It is membership time for the Society, so if you haven’t sent in your dues, now is the time. The address is P. O. Box 5643, Auburn 95604. Checks might not be cashed right away as I am avoiding the post office as much as possible and the Treasurer is trying to make very few trips to the bank.

We do have a general dinner meeting on the books for June 4th, but it remains to be seen if it will take place. Will be in touch via email, a notice on our website and in the local paper if we can follow through with a large group gathering. We shall see. In the meantime, stay inside, stay safe!

Calendar of Events 

Please note that due to COVID-19, many meetings are cancelled or postponed. If you have a question about meetings for a specific historical organization going into May or June, please contact them directly.

Historical Organizations

Colfax Area Historical Society
Jay MacIntyre, President
(530) 346-8599
colfaxhistory.org

Donner Summit Historical Society
Bill Oudegeest
(209) 606-6859
donnersummithistoricalsociety.org

Foresthill Divide Historical Society
Troy Simester
(530) 367-3535
foresthillhistory.org

Fruitvale School Hall Community Association
Mark Fowler

Gold Country Medical History Museum
Lynn Carpenter
(530) 885-1252

Golden Drift Historical Society
Sarah Fugate
(530) 389-2121

Historical Advisory Board
Glenn Vineyard
(916) 747-1961

Joss House Museum and Chinese History Center
Larry Finney
(530) 305-9380

Lincoln Area Archives Museum
Elizabeth Jansen
(916) 645-3800
laamca.org

Loomis Basin Historical Society
Karen Clifford
(916) 663-3871
ppgn.com/loomishistorical.html

Maidu Museum & Historic Site
Kaitlin Kincade
(916) 774-5934
roseville.ca.us/indianmuseum

The Museum of Sierra Ski History and 1960 Winter Olympics
David C. Antonucci
(775) 722-3502
Sierraskimuseum.com

Native Sons of the Golden West Parlor #59
Dave Allen
(530) 878-2878
dsallen59@sbcglobal.net

Newcastle Portuguese Hall Association
Mario Farinha
(530) 269-2412

North Lake Tahoe Historical Society
(530) 583-1762
northtahoemuseums.org

Old Town Auburn Preservation Society
Lynn Carpenter
(530) 885-1252

Placer County Genealogical Society
Toni Rosasco
(530) 888-8036
pcgenes.com

Placer County Historical Society
April McDonald-Loomis
(530) 823-2128
placercountyhistoricalsociety.org

Placer County Museums Docent Guild
Fran Hanson
(530) 878-6990

Rocklin Historical Society
Hank Lohse
(916) 624-3464
rocklinhistory.org

Roseville Fire Museum
Jim Giblin
(916) 538-1809
rosevillefiremueum@gmail.org

Roseville Historical Society
Denise Fiddyment
(916) 773-3003
rosevillehistorical.org