Wednesday, January 3, 2018

January - February 2018

Administrator's Notes 

By Ralph Gibson

On February 27, 1944, the U.S. Army’s DeWitt General Hospital opened to the public. It was a festive event with the pomp and circumstance one would expect from a grand military opening. A special treat offered to guests in attendance was a unique cookie born from an era of rationing: the H-O cookie.

 On February 27, 2018, exactly 74 years after the hospital opened, the Placer County Museums will host the opening reception of the DeWitt History Museum, and you are all invited. While it won’t mirror the festivities of 1944, we will have some special treats for you – including the H-O cookie. A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 4:00 pm and official presentations will follow at 5:15 pm. Van tours of the campus interpreting the history of the site will start at 4:15 pm and depart from the museum every fifteen minutes with the last leaving at 5:00.

The regular museum hours will be Wednesdays, Noon to 4:00 pm. Once we build up our volunteer force, we’ll add Fridays from Noon to 4:00 pm.


Letter From the Editor by

Jason Adair

Dear Readers,

I’m taking over as editor of The Placer once again. You may be wondering what that means for this publication, and truth be told, I don’t have any idea. This first issue will be pretty much business as usual, but from there on we could be taking some twists and turns.

I’d like for us to chart this new territory together so that The Placer can become an invaluable resource to museum people, as well as to anyone who makes collecting and preserving history their business. To that end, I’ve put together a survey that wonders what is it about The Placer that you find useful, interesting or just ducky? It asks pertinent questions like, “How much of The Placer do you normally read?” and only has four other questions, so it shouldn't take long to complete.

What I really want to know is how can we at the Placer County Museums employ this newsletter to be more relevant to you? And in the future, how can you contribute to help others follow in your historical successes or avoid your historical failures. To be a part of creating the new direction of this newsletter, or making sure it stays exactly how it is, click here to log on to the website and make your voice heard. If you’d rather express your opinions offline, the survey will be available at the Placer County Museums office.

Together we can make 2017 the best year of The Placer yet.


Collection Strategy

by Kasia Woroniecka, Curator of Collections

The traditional role of history museums is to collect, organize, study and preserve objects, and to educate the public by displaying these objects. Objects are our special link to the past and to the people who came before us. In order to connect to and understand our past, museums must collect artifacts that support their mission best.

As we prepare to open the DeWitt Museum to the visiting public, we are continuing to gather oral histories, objects, photos, letters, and other archival materials that will give added layers of meaning to our collection.

Sometimes the smallest, ordinary objects tell the most amazing stories. One of our more recent donations to the DeWitt Museum collection includes a framed dollar bill. It is a series 1935 “A” dollar with a number of illegible and faded signatures. It also happens to be the first one spent at the DeWitt General Hospital Officer's Club.

While the bill might have been signed to commemorate the opening of the club, it could also have been a “short snorter”— part of a drinking game popular among commercial pilots and servicemen that started in the 1920s. A “short snort” is a slang expression for a shot of liquor that is less than full. The bills, usually low denomination banknotes, were signed by people who traveled together, met at events or became new members of the club. Anyone who failed to produce their “short snorter” when challenged was obligated to buy a round of drinks for the others.

The Officer’s Club dollar bill belonged to Captain Hans A. Leonhardt, who was the Post Engineer at the DeWitt General Hospital and Camp Flint from 1943 until 1946. Leonhardt met his wife, Ila Rainier, at DeWitt, where she was serving in the Army Nurse Corps. They were married in Las Vegas in 1946. Leonhardt was decommissioned in 1947 and went back to work as a civil engineer for the City of Los Angeles. He died in 1981.

The artifacts and documents in the DeWitt collection play an essential part in bringing the history of the DeWitt complex to life. Our mission is to create a collection that represents the local experience through DeWitt’s three different eras: as a WWII army hospital, a State mental institution, and as the Placer County government center.

There’s a small window of time left to have your personal artifacts become a part of this museum before it opens. If you have objects to donate, please contact the Curator of Collections, Kasia Woroniecka: 530-889-7705 or kworonie@placer.ca.gov If you have photos, letters, documents, or personal stories to donate please contact the Curator of Archives, Bryanna Ryan: bryan@placer.ca.gov or 530-889-7789.


The Scoop

by Beth Rohlfes, Supervising Curator

When the DeWitt History Museum opens to the public on Wednesdays, starting February 28th of this year, we will need volunteers to share the unique stories of DeWitt with our museum visitors.

Special training will be held on February 10th and 15th.

Contact me at 530-889-6504 or brohlfes@placer.ca.gov to find out how you can be part of bringing DeWitt history to life.


 

 

 

Free DeWitt Van Tours! One Day Only!

by Jason Adair, Exhibit Preparator

While trying to figure out some fun and educational activities for the grand opening of the Dewitt Museum, we came up with the idea for a walking tour. This would allow us to show off some of the almost unchanged areas of the campus as well as point out places where historical events happened.

We quickly realized that even though we all thought this was a good idea, asking people who just arrived at the grand opening of a museum to agree to take a very long walk away from the museum was probably going to be a tough sell. Especially since the sun sets around five and February is the third rainiest month of the year around here.

Our Solution? A 15 minute van-powered shuttle tour.

The van will be driven by our resident driving expert, me, and the ride along tour, designed by our curatorial staff, will be given by one of our docents.

Still not sold? How about we throw in onboard photographic reference materials and an era appropriate sound track at NO EXTRA CHARGE!!! Like it says in the headline, this tour is only available on one day, so mark it on your calendar. Hint: It’s the same day as the Grand Opening of the DeWitt History Museum, February 27.

Tours depart from the museum every 15 minutes, 4:15pm-5pm.

See you there!

News from Placer County Historical Society

by April McDonald-Loomis, President

Happy New Year!

This is shaping up to be a very good year for the Society, due in part to the extremely generous donation from the Weston and Eleanor Briggs Trust. We will be meeting with the Briggs family very soon to ask for their help with ideas for using the money in a way that honors Weston and Eleanor. If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to finally get that will written, remember the Society!

The Board of the Society may have some openings this coming May. If you are interested in being on the nominating committee or in serving on the Board, please contact me.

Our Landmarks Committee has recently completed the plaque for May Perry that will be placed in the Gold Rush Museum. We will have a dedication ceremony in the next few months.

We continue the fairly mundane effort to update our By-Laws that are very outdated. We have Al Stoll to thank for much of the work.

Our effort to decrease our stock of Thompson and West’s History of Placer County is going well. We gave away several books at the recent Docent Guild Luncheon and will give away some more at the next Docent Guild Lunch and Learn Program. All went to very good homes. I think some will also turn up for auction at the Friends of the Library annual fund raiser. If you belong to an organization that might want some books or have any ideas for ways to get these books out into hands that would appreciate them, please let me know.

The Society is currently working with the Placer County Historical Foundation on possibly initiating a Historian of the Year Award. This is still on the drawing board however.

The last Holiday Dinner meeting was quite a success. As always Lisa Bloom of A Window Opened catering did an outstanding job with the menu. The drawing was a success and lots of fun. Join us for the next dinner meeting on February 1st 2018.

April McDonald-Loomis
President, Placer County Historical Society
April400@wavecable.com


Placer County Historical Society Dinner Meeting

by Addah Owens, Vice President

When: February 1, 2018

Time:  6:30 Dinner, 7:30 Program

Where: Veterans Memorial Hall, 100 East St, Auburn

Cost: $16 per person

Menu: To Be Announced. Catered by Lisa Bloom “A Window Opened.”

Program:The Samurai of El Dorado County by Herb Tanimoto.

DO NOT BRING ALCOHOL.

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

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
Sarah Fugate, (530) 389-2121

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, November 2, 2017

November-December 2017

Administrator’s Notes

By Ralph Gibson


After Beth Rohlfes was promoted to Supervising Curator this summer, we recruited applicants for a new Curator of Education. Thirty-seven people from across the U.S. applied for the position. After a thorough and detailed process, we offered the position to Kathleen Bartosh, and she accepted.

Kathleen (Katy) comes to us from the Cocopah Museum & Cultural Center in Yuma, Arizona where she was the Director and Cultural Programs Coordinator. Her focus in museums is in education and programming.

Katy, originally from California, earned her BA in History from UCLA and her MA in Museum Studies from the University of London in the United Kingdom. Her first day on the job will be November 13th but she may attend the Volunteer Appreciation event on November 6th at the State Theater. Please give her a warm welcome when you see her!

We are very excited to have a new staff member. It will be the first time since 2008 that we’ve been fully-staffed. We’re running on all cylinders now and nearing the finish-line on two big projects—the Gold Rush Museum and the DeWitt History Museum. Having another bright, talented person to help carry the load is just what we need to bring them home and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish in the coming years.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday season!


Christmas Gifts

By Kasia Woroniecka, Curator of Collections


The holiday season is almost here and soon, crowds of shoppers will go forth in-search of that perfect gift.


Watch fob, given to donor’s father, 
William C.A. Thiele, 
as a Christmas gift in 1870 
by members of his fraternity.

Christmas shopping, with its enticing shop displays, Santa Claus mall-photos, and marketing strategies like “Black Friday,” is a concept that got its start during the Victorian Era. Victorians did not invent Christmas, but they did invigorate it with family celebrations and new commercial possibilities.

Gift-giving has been a tradition since ancient times. Romans exchanged gifts on New Year’s Day in celebration of the winter solstice. Yet, Christmas was not a popular holiday in early America.

It was in the years after the Civil War that children’s books and women’s magazines helped in spreading the customs, decorating ideas, and shopping suggestions associated with Christmas. By 1867, the holiday gift industry was booming and, for the first time, Macy’s in New York City was open until midnight on Christmas Eve.

Christmas did not become a federal holiday until 1870.

During the Victorian Era, popular gifts for men included sleeping caps, house slippers, and shaving accessories. Children’s gifts revolved around food and small trinkets, while ladies favored scented soaps, sachets, and perfumes.


Toy tea set with nursery rhyme design.   
Donor’s mother, Anna Zimmer Barth, gave her 
this set in 1914 as a Christmas gift.

Homemade gifts were also well-received. An 1894 edition of Demorest’s Family Magazine reminded its female readers, “young women making gifts might paint something, embroider something, make anything with their own hands, that may be called part of themselves.”


Embroidered drawstring purse.  Card inside reads: 
“A Merry Christmas to Catherine from  
 Isabelle Cavelier Miller, 1912.”

Strict rules of etiquette also guided gift-giving since “a costly gift from a gentleman to a young lady would be indelicate, as having the appearance of a bribe upon her affections.”

There is a variety of objects in our collections that began as Christmas gifts. Maybe one day, one of your gifted treasures will find its way to a museum.


 

The Scoop

By Beth Rohlfes, Supervising Curator



Museums Administrator, Ralph Gibson discusses the significant history 
of the Penryn Granite Works at the Griffith Quarry Museum and Park.
If you spend any time at the Placer County Museums this fall, you will likely notice a host of fresh faces. Twenty-three new volunteers have signed up to dedicate their time and talent to our museums in Penryn, Foresthill, Dutch Flat, and Auburn. Their full engagement in this fall’s New Volunteer Training Classes brings fresh enthusiasm for history and excitement about how our museums present it.


Justin Eckhardt   explores exhibits inside the 
Griffith Quarry Museum as part of 
2017 Docent Training.
Our 2017 class began their nine-week training in mid-September and will finish in time to celebrate their graduation at the Holiday Docent Luncheon. Once they’ve completed these classes, they’ll select where they would like to focus their time and, by the New Year, they’ll be shadowing other volunteers and staff to continue their journey.

We look forward to welcoming them into our museum community!

Foresthill Divide Museum—Joshua Alpine, Sally Drone, Aaron Edson, Matt Johnson, and Patricia Johnson. Golden Drift Museum—Marybeth Blackinton, Tony Gallardo, and James “Bud” Paul. Placer County Museums in Auburn and Penryn—Kathy Blanco, Bev Call, Annie Demaria-Norris, Theresa Dilworth, Justin Eckhardt, Henry Erna, Diane Fishburn, Bill Gray, Jean Gray, Kaitlin Grebe, Kathryn Kratzer-Yue, Craig Norris, Meagan Olsom, Jim Vessely, and Tessa Webber. Never too late! Are you interested in volunteering at Placer County Museums? Contact me at 530-889-6504 or brohlfes@placer.ca.gov.

Current volunteers— Don’t forget to RSVP and join us at the State Theater on Monday, November 6 at 1pm for a special Volunteer Appreciation Event, a private screening of the Jack Lemon and Shirley MacLaine movie The Apartment.




 

From the Photo Archives: Auburn

By Bryanna Ryan, Curator of Archives



Lincoln Way (formerly Railroad Street). c. 1935.   
Photographs have that amazing ability to transport you to another time and place. The Placer County Archive has an estimated 50,000 photographs in the collection—over 30,000 of which are in our searchable database and available for your viewing pleasure at the Archive and Research Center.

I just want to share a few examples for you of ones that have mesmerized me and helped me to understand more about this very special county we are dedicated to preserving.

Tahoe Club on High Street at Lincoln Way. c. 1925.

Today, my focus turns to a few of the iconic landmarks in Auburn, but there are many amazing images here which document the history of this whole county. I encourage you to make an appointment to come in and see for yourself!

We are available for researchers on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays from 9-3 (closed for lunch).


Main Street, Old Town Auburn. 1934.    

 
New courthouse with old courthouse and jail. 1898.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News from the Placer County Historical Society

by April McDonald-Loomis, President


The Society is busy doing some fall-cleaning. Our membership list hasn’t been updated for quite some time. If you have had any changes in your phone number, address, or email address, please let us know.

Also, I encourage you to take some time to stop in at the Gold Rush Museum and take a look at the marvelous mural commissioned by the Society. Derrel Fleener did a fabulous job making the whole place come alive! The mural is a tremendous asset to the Museum and one the Society is proud to have facilitated.

There have been some changes in Auburn’s Streetscape Tile Program. For a while it seemed that the proportion of tiles for current citizens and those from the endurance community were out-pacing the historical tiles. The Streetscape History and Art Advisory Committee (SHAAC) is now instituting some new rules requiring those requesting a tile for a living person to pay for a historical tile as well. The SHAAC is hoping to make the tile selection a more balanced program and are reviewing requests for new tiles including one honoring a citizen involved in law enforcement and one from the endurance community. The SHAAC will pair those with two of the four historical tiles also under consideration: Charlie Yue, Sarah Jane Dunlap, Harriet Crandall and Kee Chinn.

If you would like to contribute to the funding of historical tiles please contact Auburn City Clerk, Amy Lind at alind@auburn.ca.gov or Councilwoman, Bridget Powers at bpowers@auburn.ca.gov.

Our next general meeting is December 7th and we will hold our annual raffle event. If you have something to contribute just bring it along, or just come, buy tickets and maybe pick up some treasures!

april400@wavecable.com (530) 823-2128


Placer County Historical Society Dinner Meeting

By Addah Owens, Vice President


When: December 7, 2017

Time: 6:30 Dinner, 7:30 Program

Where: Veterans Memorial Hall, 100 East St, Auburn

Cost: $16 per person

Menu: Gourmet Christmas Dinner, catered by Lisa Bloom “A Window Opened.”

Program: “Rotaries—Avalanche on the Mountain” - A video about the battle against Mother Nature’s wrath in the Sierra Nevada.

The winter of 2011 broke records dating back nearly thirty years. A rotary snow plow was called into action to clear an avalanche that had destroyed important equipment on the Southern Pacific mainline at Cisco Grove.

Filmmaker, Brendon Compton spent five days during the most inclement times to film the rotary snow plow in action. See how the A-Team worked day and night to clear the line. The film will be available for purchase at the meeting where we will also hold our annual drawing.

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.

Calendar of Events


Click for enlarged view


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
Sarah Fugate, (530) 389-2121

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