Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

May 19, 2011
Experience the Civil War at Gibson Ranch

What: Civil War Experience
When: 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Gibson Ranch Regional Park, 8556 Gibson Ranch Road, Elverta
How to get there: From Sacramento, take Interstate 5 north toward Woodland. Merge onto highway 99 toward Yuba City/ Marysville. Turn right onto West Elverta Road, then onto Gibson Ranch Road.
Cost: $7 for those 11 and older (parking included)
The organizers say: Lois Meidinger looked toward the rolling hills at Gibson Ranch and marveled at the flickering lamp inside a tent in a camp of "Confederate combatants."

On another day, battle-ready horses galloped through the ranch. Then poor citizens followed other soldiers, offering to do their laundry for money.

No detail is overlooked at the annual Civil War Experience. Hundreds of war buffs dressed in full garb - many of them with encyclopedic knowledge of the time - will convene at Gibson Ranch this weekend for three days of interactive history.

"We have to look back and be reminded of what we can't remember," said Meidinger, founder of the Civil War event at Gibson Ranch.

The event begins Friday for area schoolchildren, then opens to the public over the weekend with music, camp demonstrations, lessons on medical treatments of the time and seminars on guns and canons.

Meidinger said the ranch is ideal for the re-enactments because it reminds her of mid-Southern parts of the United States. The setting is a 150-acre ranch with horses and cattle and about 70 acres of rolling hills. The area also has a 9-acre lake and a creek. Native oaks are abundant as well. Participants can lounge on the grassy hills of the ranch during battles.

About 500 men and women and 40 horses will be part of the show. They stay in character - even when the battles are not ongoing - and answer visitors' questions.

"They don't leave out any detail," Meidinger said. "They are well schooled on the aspects of the war. It's all about entertainment and education."

-- Gamaliel Ortiz

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About Sac History Happenings

California and Sacramento have a long, rich, vibrant history. And our region is blessed with an abundance of historical resources maintained by museums, libraries, archives and societies. This blog aims to alert readers to the latest developments in local/state historical education and research.

Send tips concerning upcoming exhibits, tours, lectures and meetings, as well as new books, magazine articles and online collections to the blog's contributors.

The Contributors:

Michael Dolgushkin

Michael Dolgushkin is Manuscript Librarian at the California State Library History Section. He is co-author of San Francisco's California Street Cable Cars and is a frequent contributor to the California State Library Foundation Bulletin. Contact him at

Amanda Graham

Amanda Graham is a Certified Archivist working in the Sacramento Room of the Sacramento Public Library. She earned a BS in History from Southern Oregon University and a MS in Information Studies with an emphasis in archives from The University of Texas at Austin. Contact her at

Pete basofin

Pete Basofin is Director of Editorial Research at The Sacramento Bee. He previously worked at The St. Petersburg Times and Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. Contact him at

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