Tuesday, May 8, 2018

May - June 2018

Administrator’s Notes

by Ralph Gibson


We are getting ready to kick off the 11th Annual Heritage Trail! This year, 22 museums from www.placer.ca.gov/heritagetrail.
Roseville to Tahoe will open their doors, admission free, on special Saturdays throughout the summer. The event kicks off on June 16th at the Benton Welty School Room, the Bernhard Museum and the Gold Rush Museum. For the full summer schedule, please visit

A new twist we’ve added this year is that we’ve opened up the event to border museums, those that are outside of Placer County but close to the border. This year the Wheatland History Museum, which is located on the Bear River just outside of Placer County, will be part of the Heritage Trail alongside the Lincoln Area Archives Museum on July 21st.

A new focus this year is the heritage of our early highways: The Lincoln Highway and Historic Highway 40. Along with the Trail Guide, you’ll receive a free Highway 40 Driving Guide that also highlights many of the museums on this year’s Heritage Trail. Some of the participating museums will have speakers and special interpretation on the early highways. So saddle up your horse, hitch your wagon or start your engine and join us on this year’s Heritage Trail!

Collection Strategy

by Kasia Woroniecka, Curator of Collections 


The history of the family album dates back to the origins of photography itself. The flatness of photos and the desire to preserve and share them gave way to the creation of albums that were often produced with ornate leather covers, brass clasps and locks, gilt edgings and other decorations. They became prized possessions, intended to be handed down through the family over many generations.

Before photography the only way to preserve one’s likeness was to have a portrait painted by an artist, which was expensive. By the mid-1800’s, scientists and photographers were experimenting with new and more efficient ways to take and process photographs. Emulsion plates, which replaced the daguerreotypes, were less expensive and took only two seconds of exposure time. This made them very popular with portrait photography, especially since early daguerreotypes had to be exposed to light for at least 15 minutes.

In the 1870s, the invention of dry plates allowed photographers to store images and develop them later. Cameras became smaller and the exposure time decreased. By the late nineteenth century photography was no longer just for the professionals and the wealthy. The improvements in technology and processing as well as inexpensive cameras made by Kodak made photography a favorite pastime.

Today, the ornate photo album has given way to the self-published photobook or the digital album. People still desire the physical object that can be held and shown to others, but the convenience of a computer program that organizes images is difficult to give up. Hopefully, the photo album will survive in one form or another.

The popularity of collecting photographs brought with it much innovation and creativity in the area of book binding. Many producers of albums were determined at outdoing each other in the extravagance of materials and decorations. The album was more than a book of photographs – it became an object d’art.

This album’s red velvet cover features a mirror in the shape of a heart, as well as a beautiful metal edging and a clasp. According to the donor the photos might be of the Macy family.
Circa 1890-1900.

This small album with an embossed cover and a brass clasp is a
carte-de-viste album. These small albumen prints were mounted on cards 2.5 “x 4” and were very popular as their size made them relatively inexpensive. The format was an international standard, and fit photo albums all over the world. This album dates to 1870s.

The wooden cover of this photo album contains an intricately made metal decoration of leaves and flowers. The album contains photographs of the Dependener family. Frank “Big Dip” Dependener was one of Auburn’s most colorful lawmen, but his photo is not in this album.

This photo album with a stand was made around 1870. It has a celluloid medallion on the front cover that depicts a scroll with birds and berries on a green velvet
background.


This photo album is a feast for the senses. Orange velvet, or what remains of it, covers the spine and the edges of the back board that rest on a beautifully embossed platform. The cover, made of celluloid, depicts two cherubs in a chariot driven by three butterflies. The last page presents a surprise: an insert with a Swiss made music box movement that plays two songs: “Alice, Where Art Thou” and “She May Have Seen Better Days.” According to the donor of the album, which contains no photographs, it was purchased around 1895.

From the Archives:

by Bryanna Ryan, Curator of Archives 


Connecting the Dots 

Archives hold the primary sources and records that document history as it unfolds. It is through the study of these materials that researchers can illuminate a forgotten past or help foster a broader understanding of historic events. The more widely accessible they become, the greater the opportunity is for scholars to connect-the-dots. In today’s internet age, this means getting them digitized and online.

While that is the future of this facility, researchers today must still do the work of calling, emailing, and even making appointments to come in and see the original documents themselves.

Recently, a researcher from Oregon contacted us to learn if we had any records of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau in Placer County. As the son of Sacagawea, Charbonneau is a historic figure. As a baby, he traveled on the Lewis and Clark Expedition and spent his adult years as a trapper, explorer and scout in the American West.

Famed mountaineer, Jim Beckwourth wrote about visiting Charbonneau at Murder’s Bar in 1849.
However, he does not appear in the 1850 or 1852 Federal Census. For such a monumental figure, this period of his life until his death in 1866 remains largely unknown to most scholars. Discoveries in our Archives have revealed glimpses of Charbonneau’s life via official business records for the County of Placer.

In 1852, J.B. Charbonneau was paid $48 by the Placer County Board of Supervisors for services as assistant surveyor. In 1857, he wrote a petition to the Board to operate a ferry across the American River at Manhattan Bar and posted his notice in the Placer Herald newspaper in July.

He finally appears in the 1860 census and by 1861 John B. Charbonneau (now 56-years-old) is listed in the Placer County Directory as a Clerk at the Orleans Hotel in Auburn. In 1866 he died en route to new adventures in Oregon, leaving behind his life in Placer County and the original documents that help piece it together for today’s researchers.

This is just one example of some of the little-known parts of history that exist in this archive and we hope to make accessible online to researchers around the world. In the meantime, our card catalog awaits you!

By the way, in related news, the Placer Herald and Auburn Journal are now searchable online! Unfortunately, this newspaper site is not free, but we have a subscription and are happy to help researchers, using this new and amazing tool we have at our disposal.

News from Placer County Historical Society

by April McDonald-Loomis, President


April400@wavecable.com (530) 823-2128

At the April dinner meeting we held the election for the Society Board of Directors. For the coming year the Board will consist of:

President: April McDonald -Loomis

1st Vice President: Mike Holmes

2nd Vice President & Programs: Addah Owens

Secretary: Richard Ravalli

Treasurer: Al Stoll

Membership Chair: Jane Hamilton

Board Members: John Knox, Sherri Schackner, Carmel Barry-Schweyer, Karri Samson, Karen Bleuel, Jean Allender, Delana Ruud and immediate past president, Walt Wilson.

Also at the dinner meeting, the Board presented a draft copy of the by-laws changes to the membership. We will vote on them at the next board meeting in June. If you need a copy, please contact me.

This is the time of year that dues need to be collected. You can send your check for the individual membership for $10.00, the family membership for $15.00 or the lifetime membership for $200.00 to:

Placer County Historical Society
P. O. Box 5643
Auburn, California 95604

Heritage Trail is set for June 16th at the Benton Welty Historic Classroom at City Hall. As always, we will need volunteers to help out. Christie Brzyscz has again volunteered to be in charge of the ink pen handwriting activity that the children so enjoyed last year. Jean Allender will again put together a great gift basket for the drawing. Please let me know if you can come for a couple of hours and help monitor the activities.

The next Board meeting will be May 3rd at 2:00 in room #10 at City Hall.

The next Dinner meeting will be June 7th at 6:30 at the Veteran’s Hall.

April McDonald-Loomis
President

Rusty Wranglers from the Historical Society at the AAUW Trivia Bee. Michael Otten, April McDonald-Loomis and Walt Wilson. We came in the top 10.

Placer County Historical Society Dinner Meeting

by Addah Owens, Vice President


When: June 7th, 2018

Time:  6:30 Dinner, 7:30 Program

Where: Veterans Memorial Hall, 100 East Street, Auburn

Cost: $16 per person

Menu: BBQ Tri-ip and Chicken, BBQ Beans, Salad, and Strawberry Shortcake. Catered by Lisa Bloom, A Window Opened

Program: The program will be presented by Brendan Compton. Brendan has been making documentary films for twenty-five years. His company is BA Productions. He recently presented to the Society the informative and enjoyable program on the use of rotary plows in the Sierra. This program will be a short film interviewing Nancy Longnecker, a resident of Blue Canyon since 1936. She has wonderful tales of growing up in that isolated community in the foothills. Her family includes engineers who drove the Donner Summit route for many years. This promises to be an in-depth look at one of Placer County’s unique citizens.

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


May                    June                  

Click on the calendar 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

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

March - April 2018

Administrator’s Notes

by Ralph Gibson


We now live in a world where the County of Placer manages seven museums. On Tuesday, February 27th, we had the grand opening for our new DeWitt History Museum. The event was attended by over 200 people including Supervisors Jim Holmes and Jennifer Montgomery, the new CEO Todd Leopold and former Museums Administrator, Melanie Barton. As a staff, we enjoyed working on this project but are glad to have it behind us so we can refocus our efforts on completing another monumental task: the Gold Rush Museum. So, back to work!


 

  
 

Collection Strategy

by Kasia Woroniecka, Curator of Collections

Armand Marseille Doll

This beautiful doll needs your help. She was recently donated to our collection and will eventually be on display at the Bernhard Museum. She came to us in her “unmentionables”, and as a proper Victorian lady she needs a wardrobe reflecting the time period in which she was created: 1895-1910. She needs at least two outfits that can be rotated when other textiles at the museum are installed. Since dolls were dressed as dolls are today, in costumes reflecting current fashion, she needs dresses of the late Victorian period, in either junior or adult style, made of variety of fabrics, including linen, cotton, wool, silk, velvet, lace, lawn, or sateen.

Our doll was made by a German doll maker Armand Marseille in the period of the late19th and early 20th century that was often called the “Golden Age” of dolls. During this time Germany was the doll making capital supplying 80 percent of the world production of dolls. The company specialized in making dolls heads and at their height it produced over 1,000 doll head a day. The composition and the stuffed leather bodies were supplied by other manufacturers and added to the Marseille head molds.

The French name of the founder of the company, Armand Marseille, has caused some confusion in the world of antique toys. Marseille was born in 1856 in St. Petersburg, Russia. His father was an architect to the court of Tsar Alexander II. The family moved to Germany in the 1860s. In 1884, the 19 years old Marseille purchased his first in a series of toy and porcelain factories that he merged into his own company, the Armand Marseille Porzellanfabrik. Marseille’s only son, Armand J., also known as Herman, took over the business in 1918, and the company continued production until the 1930s.

Armand Marseille made a large variety of baby dolls, dolly-faced child dolls and character dolls. Brand names include Floradora, Queen Louise, Darling Dolly, the Dream Baby and Just Me. Armand Marseille dolls are generally very clearly marked on the back of the bisque head. Mold 390, the mold of our doll, was the most commonly made.

Some of the most popular women’s magazines of the Victorian period, like the The Delineator, offered detailed doll clothes patters to make an extensive doll’s wardrobe. Hopefully one day our doll will make her debut in the fashion of her time. If any of or our talented readers are interested in this sewing project, please contact the Curator of Collections Kasia Woroniecka at kworonie@placer.ca.gov for more information.

From the Archives: Spanish Flat 

by Bryanna Ryan, Curator of Archives


One of the most iconic images of the California Gold Rush is a daguerreotype taken at Spanish Flat in 1852. The early life of this village was brief but prosperous. Year-round water arrived via the Bear River and Auburn Canal Company in 1852.

By 1861, the diggings were “worked out” and water had helped transform the area into a fertile garden spot primarily owned by horticulturalist, James Collins.

Researchers studying the Flat over the years have become acquainted with some of the more well-documented aspects of its history.

Recently, diligent research efforts by Archives volunteer, John Knox, breathes new life into the story of Spanish Flat and reveals a better understanding of the location and existence of this historic place.

Using books of Land Claims and Deeds, John’s research locates the village upon the Flat as nestled at the intersection of today’s Nevada Street and Mount Vernon Road. At the time, these were the main wagon roads leading from Auburn to Nevada City and Marysville, respectively.

An 1853 Deed shows the sale of “that certain house located on Spanish Flat…being the third house on the left side of the road going from Auburn to Grass Valley.”

1852 Records of Retailing Licenses show nine merchant establishments serving liquor, and the Placer Herald records great detail of events upon the Flat. Using Assessment Rolls and Court Case Files, research continues to reveal a more complete picture of this historic location.

One of the exciting aspects of studying history is knowing that new sources can reveal such a wealth of information. They can change perceptions, expose myths, and illuminate forgotten stories. It is never too late to add a new chapter to an old story.

The Scoop 

by Beth Rohlfes, Supervising Curator 


Don’t miss the Placer County Museums’ FREE Community Education events this spring! Seating is limited, so please let us know if you plan to attend. 530-889-6500 or brohlfes@placer.ca.gov.

March 17 

The “Good Old Days” of Leeches and Arsenic, by Dr. Bob LaPerriere

1:00 p.m. at the Gold Rush Museum, 601 Lincoln Way, Auburn

When a miner’s gold fever turned into a real fever or worse, they could sometimes expect the cure to be as bad - or worse - than the illness. Come find out what kind of treatments miners could expect from a doctor’s visit. People during the Gold Rush era trusted the experts, even though “Many of the doctors were really not doctors” according to LaPerriere. He will share first-hand accounts of the devastation of disease that plagued early travelers to California and their treatments.

April 14

The Japantowns of Placer County, by David Unruhe 

1:00 p.m. at the Bernhard Museum Winery, 291 Auburn-Folsom Road, Auburn

“It would surprise many in California to learn that there was once an active Japantown in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.” The Japantowns of Placer County

Join David Unruh, as he shares oral histories, artifacts and photographs of local communities and existing historic buildings to help visualize the once thriving Japanese communities that have enriched Placer County’s cultural and economic history.

News from Placer County Historical Society

by April McDonald-Loomis, President  April400@wavecable.com (530) 823-2128


Happy Spring!

It’s the time of year for the Society to elect officers for the coming terms. Carmel Barry-Schweyer, the former curator at the Placer County Archives, has agreed to step in and fill in the position recently vacated by Melanie Barton. We all extend our best wishes to Melanie who is facing some medical issues.

We now have a Facebook page. If you belong to Facebook just search for Placer County Historical Society. It is interesting to see that this platform is attracting some folks who are eager to learn about what we do.

The Society is trying to come up with an idea to tie into the One Book, One Community event in late April. The book this year is about the Donner Party. If anyone has any thoughts, please contact a board member. We are looking for volunteers to help with Heritage Trail at the Benton Welty Classroom on June 16th. Please contact a board member if you are willing to lend a hand.

Members of your board will be participating in the annual AAUW Trivia Night on March 24th at the State Theater, wish us luck! Make plans to attend this great fund raiser. Our Treasurer, Al Stoll, has just finished revamping and updating our By-Laws. Most of the changes are clerical in nature and just streamline some antiquated language. Copies for your review will be available at the next General Meeting on April 5th, we will then vote on the acceptance at the June 7th meeting.

Here is the slate of candidates for the Board for the coming term:

President: April McDonald-Loomis

1st Vice President: J. M. “Mike” Holmes

2nd Vice President (programs): Addah Owens

Secretary – Richard Ravalli

Treasurer – Al Stoll

Immediate Past President: Walt Wilson

Board Members (Two-Year Terms, 2018-2020): Sherri Schackner, Karri Samson, Carmel Barry-Schweyer

Board members (Two-Year Terms, 2017-2019): Jean Allender, Karen Bleuel, Delana Ruud, John Knox

Nomination Committee: Walt Wilson, Michael Otten, George Lay, Mike Holmes, Jane Mispley, Delana Ruud.

Officers will be elected at the dinner meeting on April 5th 2018 at 6:30 pm, Veteran’s Memorial Hall, 100 East St. Auburn. Additional nominations may be made and a vote taken. If a candidate is unopposed, election to that office may be made by voice vote. Should there be more than one nominee for an office then there shall be an election by ballot for that office. Those elected will assume office May 1st.

Education isn’t all in the Textbook

by Katy Bartosh, Curator of Education


February saw the end of the Gold Rush Program and the beginning of Bernhard Living History. While I’ve worked with students before, these programs have reminded me that no student interaction is the same, and how that’s one of the best parts of the job.

Two things have stood out in the last few weeks. First, children are wonderfully creative, and second, it’s very rewarding to teach a child to hammer a nail.

During the Gold Rush Program each student receives the biography of a historic person from Placer County. During the conclusion the students tell us what they’ve learned about their person. One girl got Mrs. Elizabeth Kittler. At a point in her narrative, our fourth grader assumed the persona of Mrs. Kittler, (recently widowed, raising six babes on her own) and her friends joined in, consoling her, and generally putting on a grand show with the grieving widow. The docents are still talking about it.

During Living History, getting in to character is easier with everyone in Victorian attire. However, that doesn’t always make doing 19th century chores any easier. Butter churning and wheat grinding aren’t usually familiar to kids, but they pick them up quickly. Assembling fruit crates with a hammer and nails can be a bit trickier. One boy wanted nothing to do with his hammer and nail. I put in his first two nails then started the next two and got him to finish them. The next ones he started and finished with me just holding the box, after which he told me that he could do it alone.

It might not seem like a big thing, getting a kid comfortable hammering a nail, but is that what are they’re really learning? Sure, but you’re also helping grow their self-confidence.

Getting positive feedback from teachers is great. But when students act out a part or learn a new skill it feels truly rewarding. It’s then that I know we aren’t only meeting content standards, but that we’re giving kids room to explore and grow.

Placer County Historical Society Dinner Meeting

by Addah Owens, Vice President 


When: April 5, 2018

Time:  6:30. Dinner, 7:30 Program

Where: Veterans Memorial Hall, 100 East St, Auburn

Cost: $16 per person

Menu: Glazed Ham, Scalloped Potatoes, Roasted Vegetables, Salad, and Dessert

Program: An overview of the newly published Arcadia Book “Railroads of Placer County” by Author’s Art Sommers & Roger Staab. This book includes 14 different railroads that have operated in or through Placer County since 1861. Co-author Roger Staab will describe how the book evolved, highlight the railroads included in the book, and show a sample of the 200 photos and maps that help tell the stories of these railroad lines. Copies of the book will be available for sale after the presentation.

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
 

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