Thursday, August 31, 2017

September-October 2017

Administrator’s Notes

By Ralph Gibson, Museums Administrator

“Oh, wow!” 

Some museums strive to achieve this reaction when visitors first come through the door. Exhibits— which are made of large or very significant objects, wall-sized photographs or murals, and unique interactive displays—help set the tone for the museum. Visitors realize within their first few steps that this particular museum is not simply a collection of dusty artifacts and worn text panels; here, they are in for an experience. 

Our big, “Oh, wow!” at the Gold Rush Museum is in progress right now. Derrel Fleener, a retired museum professional and renowned artist, is painting a large landscape with a focus on an early Gold Rush-era mining camp. 

With a generous contribution by the PCHS, and using historic photographs from our collection, his own creativity, experience and skill, Derrel is creating a masterpiece in our museum. Even though it is incomplete, “Oh, wow!” is heard nearly every time someone comes through the door.

If you haven’t visited the Gold Rush Museum in the past few weeks, I suggest you do. It’s open Friday-Sunday, 10:30am to 4:00 pm. 


On The Heritage Trail:

Sept. 1, 4:00pm-7:00pm—(Auburn) DeWitt History Museum (A sneak-peak of this developing museum)
Sept. 2-3 10:00am-4:00pm—(Foresthill) Foresthill Divide Museum


Are you a Spooner?

by Kasia Woroniecka, Curator of Collections


"Auburn" Made by W&H Sterling. 1895
The season of summer travel is almost over and, with it, the temptation to buy touristy key chains, shot glasses, fridge magnets, spoons and other souvenirs celebrating that special visit. Collecting souvenir spoons has been a popular hobby since the late 1800s. Inspired by his trip to Germany in 1890, jeweler Seth F. Low designed a spoon with a figure of a witch. The “Salem Witch Spoon” is credited with starting the spoon collecting craze in the United States. Its design, registered on January 13, 1891, was marketed in an advertisement in the Saturday Evening Post that resulted in several thousand orders. 

Soon, hundreds of souvenir spoon patterns were being produced commemorating cities, famous people, and significant events or anniversaries. A favorite among spoon collectors, who call themselves Spooners, are the World’s Fair souvenir spoons. 

The Columbian Exposition of 1893, also called the Chicago World’s Fair, elevated spoon collecting to a whole new level. It is estimated that more varieties of souvenir spoons were created for this fair than for any other single event in history. 

“Golden Gate San Francisco.” Made by Wallace and Sons Mfg. Co. 
whose spoon factory opened in 1833.   
This spoon belonged to Mabel Carrie Bergholdt 
of Newcastle and is dated 1903.

19th-century innovation and technology made mass-production possible, resulting in increased and efficient production of souvenirs. It also made these objects more affordable as more and more Americans were enjoying travel in the United States and abroad. 

The establishment of national parks and, later, the popularity of road-trips, gave people access to infinite numbers of mementos to remind them of their trips, long after they had ended. Collecting spoons continues to be a popular hobby and collectors are still on the lookout for that rare, one-of-a-kind spoon with a great story and superior craftsmanship. 


Rewriting History 

by Bryanna Ryan, Curator of Archives


So far, in 2017 I have worked with public researchers on over 470 individual requests since January. 

Typical researchers are interested in determining chain-of-title for their properties, learning more about family members who lived in the area, or obtaining historic photos for their books, documentaries, or offices. In everything, this work is driven by primary sources—the maps, deeds, assessment rolls, probate files, and other official records maintained by Placer County. Coupled with newspapers (which jump between being primary and secondary sources), and photographs, these requests illuminate history, one piece at a time. 

There are also helpful secondary sources here at the Archive which oftentimes provides a great starting point for delving into the primaries. Using this method, in the past year we have accidentally stumbled upon primary sources that change parts of the established narrative of this County and I would like to share one here. 

This is the story of the “Leland Stanford” house in Michigan City/Bluff. 

Below is a photograph of it, which includes the original label pasted on the front by former curator, May Perry around 1948. 

While working with a researcher to gather all of Leland Stanford’s official records related to his time as Justice of the Peace in Michigan City, we looked at the minutes of Board of Supervisors, at deeds, and finally at photographs. 

Seeing the image of the “Leland Stanford” house did not match up with the records already gathered or with Stanford’s reputed personal account that he had slept on the counter of the Empire Saloon, of which he was a part-owner. We did find his deed for the Saloon but the mystery of the house persisted. So, we dug deeper. 

In meticulously gathering every “Stanford” deed starting in 1851 to see if there was any chance that he purchased this house, suddenly, there it was. 

In Deed Book D on Page 146, Elijah Stanford purchased this house and lot “fronting Main Street” in Michigan City from Nathan and Francis Maria Wentworth on February 17, 1858. Leland Stanford, by this point, had moved on from Michigan City and everything else matched up. Elijah Stanford was Leland’s cousin. 

There are still some unanswered questions in this story. How long did Elijah own the house? Did they ever live there? How early did the rumor begin? What we do know is that Leland Stanford never owned this house. However, we have not located the deed for its sale from Elijah Stanford. 

Maybe the next researcher can help complete the whole story of this mysterious dwelling. 

The Scoop 

by Beth Rohlfes, Supervising Curator

2016 Gold Rush Program Docents

Are you the one we’re searching for? Do you enjoy history? Would you like to learn more about the history of Placer County? Do you like meeting people? Would you get a thrill out of watching faces light up when you share fascinating stories about real people who mined for gold and settled here and teach them to pan for gold? Or, take part in making the history of the DeWitt General Hospital come to life with photographs, uniforms, and original artifacts from this historic WWII military hospital? Or, would you prefer working with original and historic records in the archives and help to preserve and uncover the history of Placer County? 

Would you be willing to learn more about doing oral histories, get out into the community and interview citizens about their lives and experiences in this area? 

Would you enjoy being part of a friendly and knowledgeable community of volunteers? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be the new volunteer we’re searching for at Placer County Museums. 

On September 14, we begin our annual New Volunteer Training— a series of classes that introduce new volunteers to the history of our county and teach them to become effective volunteers and docents for our museums. You could be part of this great adventure. Contact me ASAP to learn more, at brohlfes@placer.ca.gov or 530-889-6504. 

There are good reasons why many Placer County Museum volunteers have been with us for five, ten, fifteen, even twenty-plus years! Come, discover for yourself. 


From the Editor

It has been 93 years since the first issue of The Placer was published. We hope you are enjoying it, and want to hear from you. 

If you have any historical questions or topics you would like us to investigate for upcoming issues, please send them to me at bryan@placer.ca.gov. 

We are also working to update the distribution list for The Placer so do not hesitate to send in names and addresses (email preferred) of those who should be added to the list. 


News from the Placer County Historical Society 

By April McDonald-Loomis, President


This year, PCHS had several volunteers from the Docent Guild participate at the Benton Welty classroom for Heritage Trail. Christie Brzyscz and Sandy Rogers brought in quill pens with ink, along with chalk and small chalkboards, and handed out coloring pages of scenes around Auburn. Jean Allender, who oversees the classroom for PCHS, reported a large increase in visitors this year. It seems that the children who attended loved working with the very messy (but fun) quill pens and ink! 

May W. Perry rock-hunting in Nevada. 
Circa 1948.

PCHS is moving forward with a plaque for the new Gold Rush Museum to commemorate the efforts of former Placer County museum curator, May Perry. For those who don’t know, we can credit May with saving so much of our local heritage. She was a force behind creating the County’s first museum, led the push to save and restore the firehouses, and was an avid collector of historical photos which formed the beginning of the photo collection of the Placer County Archive. This well-deserved recognition is long overdue. 

At the next Dinner Meeting we will present some By-Laws changes. Most are just “housekeeping” items, i.e. changing chairman to chairperson. We are proposing streamlining in the procedure for nominating officers and a few other items in that same vein. The changes will be presented at the October meeting and the entire membership will have the opportunity to vote on them at the December meeting. 

As always, we would like to hear from you regarding speakers you think would be of interest or for ideas on ways to improve the Society and fulfill our mission of preserving the history of this county. 

Placer County Historical Society Dinner Meeting

by Addah Owens, Program Chair


When: October 5, 2017

Time:  6:30 Dinner, 7:30 Program

Where: Veterans Hall, 100 East St, Auburn
Cost: $15 per person
Menu:  Grilled pork loin, roasted sweet potatoes, seasonal veggies, salad, and dessert.
Program:  “Bowman—Making of the Book.”
 
Coauthors Mike Lynch, Rodi Lee, Donna Howell and Karri Samson will talk about the effort and results of putting together the new book on the history of the Bowman area. 

The Bowman Community, northeast of Auburn, had its own Post Office in 1893, a school in 1895 and even its own ZIP code of 95707 in the 1960s. The area is named after early settler and fruit grower Harry Bowman. Bowman developed from a rural fruit farming area to the suburban community it is today. 

The Bowman book is a 132-page history, with color throughout, of the Bowman area, featuring over 400 photos and other images. Coauthors of the book are Donna Howell, Rodi Lee, Michael Lynch and Karri Samson, who researched and wrote the book over a two year period. Subjects include prominent first settlers and their decedents still living in the area, early enterprise, including agriculture, mines, auto camps, civic groups, public agencies, and developments like Hollendale and Train Villages. 

Copies of the recently published Bowman book will be available for purchase at the meeting for $20.00. (Autographs are free!) 

Mail Dinner Checks to: 
PCHS c/o Jane Hamilton, 1871 Crockett Road, Auburn , CA 95603. (530) 885-7839 or hamiltonjane1@me.com 

DO NOT BRING ALCOHOL. County directives prohibit it, and we can't get liability coverage. 


Calendar of Events


Click to enlarge

Placer County Historical Organizations  

Colfax Area Historical Society
Chris Miller (530) 346-8599
colfaxhistory.org

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

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

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
bobd@iname.com lincolnhwy.org

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

Joss House Museum and Chinese History Center
Richard Yue, (530) 346-7121

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

Roseville Fire Museum
Jim Giblin
JGiblin@roseville.ca.us, rosevillefiremuseum.org

Maidu Museum & Historic Site
Glenie Strome, (916) 782-3299
roseville.ca.us/indianmuseum

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

Golden Drift Historical Society
Jim Ricker, (530) 389-8344

Newcastle Portuguese Hall Association
Aileen Gage (530) 885-9113

Placer County Historical Society
April McDonald-Loomis, (530) 823-2128
April400@wavecable.com

Placer County Museums Docent Guild
Tom Innes, (530) 888-8969

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

Roseville Historical Society
Christina Richter, (916) 773-3003
rosevillehistorical.org

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

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

Thursday, June 29, 2017

July-August 2017

Administrator’s Notes

By Ralph Gibson, Museums Administrator


We are in the midst of Heritage Trail 2017 and thus far, museums are seeing a boost in attendance over last year!

A few changes seem to have made a big difference. In 2016, few people played the “Get-Up-And-Go” cards because they had to visit 16 museums to qualify for the gift-basket drawing. This year, we reduced the number to 8.

At the same time, students are also roaming the county and partaking in our new scavenger hunt. Participants get the opportunity to win student-friendly prizes, including a Kindle Fire, Samsung Galaxy tablet, and backpacks full of school supplies.

Another big difference compared to years past (when the event was over just one weekend) is the amount of time each visitor spends at a museum. Everyone has time to see so much more of what each museum has to offer. Gold Rush Museum visitors have been staying at least an hour and even longer at the Bernhard.

If you haven’t started yet, it’s not too late! You can visit any participating museum during the summer and pick up a Get-Up-And-Go card (or scavenger hunt if you are a student), and get it stamped during regular business hours. The event ends at 4:00pm on Sunday, September 3rd so get your cards and scavenger hunts turned in by then.

For a full schedule of the Heritage Trail and a list of participating museums, please visit: www.placer.ca.gov/heritagetrail.

The next two weekends of the Trail include: The Gatekeepers Museum & Watson Cabin on July 1st, followed by the Placer County Museum, Gold Country Medical History Museum, and Auburn Chinese Joss House on July 8th.

We hope to see you on the Trail!

 

Swimming in Style

By Kasia Woroniecka, Curator of Collections



Meredith Warren swimming at Lake Tahoe. Circa 1900.
Placer County Archives
Summer is here and so is the warm weather. Time to grab the swimsuit and sunblock and head for the water!

If you were a woman living in the 19th-century, you would also need your short wool dress, pantaloons, full-length dark stockings, and a pair of flat-soled bathing shoes.


Unknown Couple. Circa 1895.
Placer County Archives
In the mid-1800s, mixed bathing (among men and women) became more acceptable and bathing costumes became more publicly visible.

Men wore one-piece knit suits with short-sleeves and knee-length pants. By the late-1800s, two-piece versions consisted of short-sleeved or sleeveless tunics over knee-length pants.


Annette Kellerman posing in 
her famous swimsuit. Circa 1907.
With the popularity of swimming came laws setting minimum standards for beach attire. Bathing costumes were made of dark, wool flannel or serge, and the fabric remained stiff so as not to reveal the female form. Wearing a bathing costume that was too short could get the beach-goer cited, as suits could not end more than six-inches above the knees. Men were required to cover their torsos at most public beaches and pools.

The beginning of a dramatic change in women’s swimwear was marked by a scandalous event in 1907. Annette Kellerman, the Australian champion swimmer and later, movie star, wore a revolutionary new form-fitting one-piece sleeveless bathing suit to a swimming demonstration in Boston.

She was promptly arrested for indecent exposure, yet over the next twenty years, the one-piece became the norm for women.

The post-WWI generation made sports and recreation a big part of social life. In 1921, Jantzen Knitting Mills of Portland patented form-fitting wool knitted swimsuits that held their shape wet and dry. Their advertising slogan, “The suit that changed bathing into swimming” was very successful.

As time went on, the swimsuit got smaller and the fabric improved with the development of latex and nylon.



This sailor inspired swimsuit was
worn by Anna Nelson Rosenberry 
around 1890-1900.  
 It is made of wool crepe 
with a skirt that covers 
the pantaloons underneath.
Placer County Museums Collection

The 1940s were characterized by the two-piece suit. In 1942, as part of rationing during the war, the United States Production Board reduced the amount of fabric allowed for the manufacture of women’s swimwear by 10%.

Yet, it was the introduction of the “bikini” in 1946 that took the world of fashion by storm. The controversy that it caused in the United States was almost as big as the event for which it was named—the atomic testing in the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. For a time, the bikini was banned in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, and Australia. It was also prohibited in many US states.

Fashion is ever-changing. Today, consumers have a lot to choose from in the swimwear department. Luckily, heavy wool dresses and stockings are not part of the selection. 


Found in the Archives

By Bryanna Ryan, Curator of Archives


In 1904, the community of Auburn was rattled by two bold crimes within a six-month period. The first was the daring daytime robbery of the Placer County Bank by an athletic outlaw in elaborate disguise. All leads had dried up when, on the night of November 10, the Webber house on the hill above Old Town was set ablaze. Soon, all eyes pointed to the eldest son of this prominent local family—Adolph Julius Webber. The sensational trial found Adolph guilty of murdering his parents and both siblings.

Recently, an “orphaned” photograph from the Placer County Mug Book of 1900-1910 was reunited with its page to the discovery that the Archives have Adolph Webber’s mug shot taken at the Courthouse in 1904!

 

The Scoop

By Beth Rohlfes, Supervising Curator


Stories from Heritage Trail Opening Day


Old-fashioned toy station with docent, Bev Jones
As soon as they entered the Bernhard Museum site the morning of June 17th, an extended family including children, parents and grandmother, made a beeline to the carriage barn to discover what Bev Jones’ old-fashioned toy station had to offer.

Rolling Hoops
From classics as familiar as spinning tops and dominoes, to less-recognizable playthings like quoits, game of graces, and rolling hoops - the display encouraged an unavoidable temptation to touch and play. And the guiltiest party? Grandma! She was so excited to revisit so many familiar toys from her childhood that the rest of the family had trouble luring her on to explore the next activity!


Mrs. Bernhard and guests
(Docent, Fran Hanson)
Meanwhile, on the porch of the Bernhard Museum, a mother with three young children stopped to visit with Fran Hanson, our “Ask Mrs. Bernhard” docent for the morning. With their Bernhard Quiz sheets in hand, the stair step adorables had been told that Mrs. Bernhard would help them complete the quiz correctly so that each could collect a prize—two homemade snicker doodle cookies carefully wrapped in a silk bag.

The wise Mrs. Bernhard, not wanting to simply hand them the answers to the quiz, invited them to listen and find the answers in her stories. At the mention of story-time, the youngest of the three climbed unabashedly into Mrs. Bernhard’s lap! And the stories came, along with the answers to the quiz.


Heritage Trail at Bernhard Museum 2017

At the doll station in the old Winery, visitors were busily crafting scraps of fabric and string into multiple versions of themselves and their families. Older siblings helped the younger ones. Girls and boys—and sometimes their adults— eagerly took their places at the table. Museum docent, Diane Adams, fondly referred to four of these youngsters as her “patient boys.” They waited without complaint while eager girls across the table took unknowing advantage of the Victorian “ladies first” rule. Once the dolls were assembled, buttons and string were fashioned into unique accessories.

“Buttons and kids,” said Diane, “are almost as much fun as water and kids!”

 

News from the Placer County Historical Society

By April McDonald-Loomis, President


The new Board of Directors of the Historical Society already has some exciting projects on the books! We are funding new children’s activities for Heritage Trail at the Benton Welty Classroom on June 17th. At the same time, we are also funding a huge mural for the Gold Rush Museum.

The muralist is Derrel Fleener, whose work at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento is highly regarded. The mural will take up one whole wall at the museum and will provide the backdrop for the Panning Stream and Miner’s Camp exhibit. Here is a tiny sneak-peek of one small piece of one of the historic images Derrel will be using for inspiration.


In addition, the Society proudly joined with the El Dorado Historical Society in sponsoring Rodi Lee for a merit award at this year’s Conference of California Historical Societies. This is a state-wide award and a well-deserved one for Rodi. She has patiently made her way through 100 years of newspapers, photographing articles, and creating a huge database of valuable information.

As always, if you have any ideas for speakers for the dinner meetings or ideas to promote the goals of the Society, please let me know!

 

Calendar of Events 

 

Click to Enlarge

Placer County Historical Organizations  

Colfax Area Historical Society
Chris Miller (530) 346-8599
colfaxhistory.org

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

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

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
bobd@iname.com lincolnhwy.org

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

Joss House Museum and Chinese History Center
Richard Yue, (530) 346-7121

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

Roseville Fire Museum
Jim Giblin
JGiblin@roseville.ca.us, rosevillefiremuseum.org

Maidu Museum & Historic Site
Glenie Strome, (916) 782-3299
roseville.ca.us/indianmuseum

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

Golden Drift Historical Society
Jim Ricker, (530) 389-8344

Newcastle Portuguese Hall Association
Aileen Gage (530) 885-9113

Placer County Historical Society
April McDonald-Loomis, (530) 823-2128
April400@wavecable.com

Placer County Museums Docent Guild
Tom Innes, (530) 888-8969

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

Roseville Historical Society
Christina Richter, (916) 773-3003
rosevillehistorical.org

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

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