Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

July 31, 2011
In History's Spotlight: Kevin Johnson

johnson.JPGBorn: March 4, 1966

Known for: Kevin Johnson, a Sacramento native, played 12 seasons in the NBA and was a three-time All-Star. Via his St. Hope organization, he's made a major investment in the economic and educational future of his childhood Oak Park neighborhood. [Elected Sacramento Mayor in 2008.]

Background: Johnson emerged as a top player at Sacramento High, leading the state in scoring in 1983. He had a stellar college career at Cal before being drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1987. A year later, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns, who reached the 1993 NBA Finals before losing to the Chicago Bulls. In 1989, he founded the St. Hope Academy, which started in a portable classroom at Sacramento High School. Through St. Hope, Johnson has invested more than $11 million in Oak Park, creating 14 businesses and 282 jobs. His 40 Acres complex on Broadway at 35th Street includes a Starbucks, Guild Theater, a bookstore and apartments.

A highlight: St. Hope also operates St. Hope Public Schools, a K-12 independent public charter school district composed of six small schools, which is planning to take the reins of a New York City school with historic ties to the famous Boys Choir of Harlem

In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.

July 29, 2011
A genealogical guide for researching pre-1906 earthquake records

Thumbnail image for ashes.jpgGenealogists having trouble finding San Francisco records prior to the great earthquake can get some valuable tips in the new, expanded edition of Raking the Ashes: Genealogical Strategies for Pre-1906 San Francisco Research.

Written by Nancy Peterson of the California Genealogical Society, the handbook "is a must have for researching San Francisco ancestors, providing invaluable guidance on which records were lost in 1906, which records survived, and where to find them."

You can order Raking the Ashes on the Society's web page. Price: $25.00 ($20.00 for CGS members).

News release

July 28, 2011
Deadline for Gold Rush Days is approaching

GRD.JPGGold Rush Days is Old Sacramento's annual Labor Day weekend extravaganza celebrating the city's historic past. It's a huge event requiring the participation of more than 200 volunteers and artisans.

Volunteers help with the information booth, hospitality tent, first aid station, security booth, children's activity areas and other tasks.

Organizers also seek artisans for a new area called "Artisan Alley" where candle dippers, soap makers, gold panning experts, dyed wool makers, basket weavers, leather tanners, silver smiths, barrel makers or other period craftspeople can demonstrate skills and sell wares.

To become a Gold Rush Days artisan or a volunteer, please submit an application by the deadline, Aug.1. Application forms are available for download at

What: Volunteer and Artisan Applications Accepted Now for Gold Rush Days 2011
Where: Old Sacramento
When: Application deadline: Aug. 1
Volunteer orientation: Aug. 19 - 20
Gold Rush Days: Sept. 2 (preview/education day) and Sept. 3 - 5 (main event)
Volunteer hours vary: event hours are 10 to 5 p.m. each day
Cost: free
For more info: 916-808-7059 or

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Bob Firato, plays "Curly Bob" during a Wild West gun fight on the streets of Old Sacramento at the annual Gold Rush Days. 2010 Sacramento Bee photo by Manny Crisostomo

July 27, 2011
Road Trip to the Mother Lode

Huell Howser, the avuncular host of the PBS California's Gold series, recently took his Road Trip crew on a ramble through the Mother Lode country of Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties. Along the way they saw several historic sites reflective of the region's Gold Rush past.

The episode begins with a stop at the Mark Twain Cabin Marker, erected on the site where the author supposed stayed during his brief sojourn in the Mother Lode. From there Howser checks out the Murphys Historic Hotel, the Moaning Cavern Adventure Park, the Ironstone Vineyard and Museum and the Angels Camp Museum. The program ends with leaping amphibians competing at the Calaveras County Fair and Frog Jumping Jubilee.

It's a fun video which you can watch with your computer's web browser.

IMAGE CREDIT: Huell Howser visits the Angels Camp Museum to see the expanded Mark Twain exhibit.

July 26, 2011
The missing tombstones of New Helvetia Cemetery

new helvetia.JPGIt may surprise you that Sacramento's earliest cemetery vanished decades ago when it became a city park and later a school, the current Sutter Middle School at Alhambra Blvd. and J St. Only an historic marker is evidence of its prior existence. But one question persists: where did all the tombstones go? Lance Armstrong of Valley Community Newspapers sheds light on the mystery in his recent two-part series on the defunct New Helvetia Cemetery.

Armstrong traces its history from its Gold Rush beginnings as a burial plot for Sutter's Fort. New Helvetia operated until 1912 after which Sacramento officials took steps to convert it into a city park. Over several years the remains were re-interned at various cemeteries in the region. Many of the grave markers were also relocated, but some were simply lost. Strangely, some of the flat tombstones ended up in the gardens and driveways of a couple East Sacramento homes.

The Bee reported in 2008 on the transfer of grave markers from Sutter Middle School to East Lawn Memorial Park. Volunteers carried the rescued tombstones in a horse-drawn wagon to underscore the solemnity of the occasion.

PHOTO CREDIT: An historic marker in East Sacramento tells how the property that is now Sutter Middle School, was once the New Helvetia Cemetery, established in 1847 by John Sutter. 2010 Sacramento Bee photo by Lezlie Sterling

July 25, 2011
Sacramento Room expands open hours

Sacramento Room.jpgThe Sacramento Public Library's Central Library recently adjusted its evening hours, and the Sacramento Room is now open for research an additional two hours each week. The Sacramento Room, located on the 2nd floor of the Central Library (828 I Street), houses the special collections and archives of the Sacramento Public Library -- resources on Sacramento history, California history with an emphasis on Northern California, printing and book arts history, books by local authors and music by local musicians. Researchers are welcome during open hours without appointment.

The new Sacramento Room hours are:

Sunday 1-5 p.m.
Tuesday 1-8 p.m.
Wednesday 1-6 p.m.
Thursday 1-6 p.m.
Saturday 1-5 p.m.

For more information, visit or call (916) 264-2920.

July 24, 2011
In History's Spotlight: Cornel West

WEST.JPGBorn: June 2, 1953

Known for: Cornel West, a John F. Kennedy High School graduate, is a social and economic philosopher. He is professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University.

Background: West was born in Tulsa, Okla. His father was a civilian Air Force administrator and his mother a teacher. West grew up in Sacramento before moving east and earning degrees from Harvard and Princeton. West's 1993 "Race Matters," which sold 400,000 copies, touched a nerve in the American public and triggered a national debate on race issues. He was also part of former President Clinton's National Conversation on Race. West received the Lannan 2005 Prize for Cultural Freedom at Shiloh Baptist Church in Sacramento, his childhood house of worship. The award recognizes work celebrating the human right to freedom of imagination, inquiry and expression. His latest book is "Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism."

A highlight: Irene B. West Elementary School in North Laguna Creek is named for West's mother, who was a teacher and a principal in the Elk Grove Unified School District for 27 years.

In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.

July 22, 2011
California's Golden Fairs

It's that time of year again- time for summer fun at the California State Fair! This year's festivities include another round of great exhibits and California's Golden Fairs, on display in Expo Center #4, is certainly worth checking out.

According to the Fair website, the retrospective Horton1961.jpgexhibition celebrates 200 years of North American fair history and places special emphasis on the history of fairs here in California. The exhibit features a wide array of ephemeral materials like banners and buttons, and includes a large collection of photographs from county fairs throughout the state.

California's Golden Fairs runs through the remainder of the California State Fair, which officially ends on Sunday, July 31.

PHOTO CREDIT: Center for Sacramento History, Sacramento Bee Collection, Don Horton, Photographer, 1961.

July 21, 2011
State Library's "Food for Thought" for August

Tiburcio Vasquez .jpgSpeaking at this month's California State Library "Food For Thought" event will be John Boessenecker, author of Bandido: The Life and Times of Tiburcio Vasquez. Vasquez was born Jose Jesus Lopez in Monterey< in 1835, and changed his name to Tiburcio Vasquez after fleeing the scene of a fatal altercation in 1854. In subsequent years Vasquez turned to a life of banditry. Leading a gang, he was in and out of jail during a span of twenty years as he worked a large area of the southern half of California. Vasquez was hanged in San Jose on March 19, 1875, after being convicted of murder committed during a robbery in Tres Pinos. Was he a common thief and heartless killer, or a Mexican-American Robin Hood seeking social justice? Boessenecker will pull back the curtain on a story shrouded in myth--a myth created by Vasquez himself and abetted by writers who saw a tale ripe for embellishment. Historic artifacts associated with Vasquez' life and death, drawn from the Special Collections of the California State Library, will be on display.

"Food for Thought" will take place Wednesday, August 17, from 5:00 to 8:30 pm at the California State Library, 900 N Street, Sacramento. Doors open at 5:00 pm; the program begins at 6:00 pm. Metered street parking is free after 6:00 pm; 8th and O light rail access is nearby. Seating in this venue is limited, so attendees must RSVP to Rebecca Ann Fontaine at (916) 653-9942 or

Shown is a photo of Tiburcio Vasquez from the collection of the State Library's California History Section, a photo owned by Vasquez himself.

July 21, 2011
Film explores the sustainability of older buildings

greenest.pngHere's a question for environmentalists. What's more sustainable, renovating and reusing an older structure or erecting a brand-new "green" building? A new documentary film argues that keeping existing buildings is often more economically, ecologically and socially sustainable for the community and the world

The Greenest Building will be shown in Sacramento at the Crest Theatre on Monday. Following the screening, a panel of local architects, green builders, developers, planners and advocates will discuss  the implications of adaptive building reuse for Sacramento.

What: The Greenest Building documentary film.
When: July 25, 7-9 p.m.
Where: The Crest Theatre, 1013 K Street, Sacramento
Cost: Free
For more info: call 916-455-2935 or see

News release and film flyer

July 20, 2011
An amble through State Fair history

California State Fair.JPGThe Eichler Homes blog scores another hit with a beautifully-illustrated posting on the history of the California State Fair when it was located at Broadway and Stockton. The Fair moved to that site in 1909 and left for Cal Expo in 1968.

Included in the piece are family snapshots, vintage color postcards and a newspaper advertisement for the Fair. There's also a Bee newspaper photo of a man blasting off in a Bell Aerosystems rocket belt. But the kicker is the video clip of two locomotives crashing head-on as "entertainment" at the 1913 State Fair.

You can view many more historic State Fair photographs using the Center for Sacramento History online catalog.

PHOTO CREDIT: Children sit atop one of the Golden Bear statues in front of the Agriculture Building at the old State Fair grounds. 1957 Sacramento Bee file photo

July 19, 2011
Special Railtown train ride honors Mark Twain

Shay.jpgRailtown 1897, home of the "movie star" locomotives, is offering a special evening train ride honoring the great American writer Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain. The Sidewinder Express (No. 2 Shay) train will take passengers through the Gold Country, passing meadows and grassy hills studded with oak trees. Prior to the ride, fiddler Dave Rainwater will treat visitors to traditional music and Mark Twain himself (portrayed by Pat Kaunert) will tell stories about the author's train travels in the west.

What: Mark Twain Train Ride
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown (Tuolumne County)
When: Saturday, July 23. Live music and Mark Twain impersonation starts at 4 p.m. Train departs at 5 p.m.
Cost: General: $24 adults, $12 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under
For more info: 209-984-3953 or visit

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: No. 2 Shay locomotive pulls into the station of the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, CA. Paul Sullivan via Flickr.

July 18, 2011
Two new Arcadia books on Donner Summit

donner.jpgArcadia Publishing just released two new volumes of regional interest: Donner Summit and its companion postcard book. They're written by Arthur Sommers who used images from his personal collection, the Donner Summit Historical Society, Nevada County Historical Society, Placer County Museums Division, and California State Library. The publisher's description:

The pass over Donner Peak in Northern California is known as Donner Summit and has been a critical route across the Sierra Nevada Mountains for centuries. First it was used by Native Americans, then early settlers, and then emigrant wagon trains such as those used by the ill-fated Donner Party, in whose honor the region is named. The first transcontinental railroad in the United States and the first transcontinental highway in America both made use of the Donner Summit route to gain access to California; even early aviators used a beacon at the Summit for guidance across the Sierras. Most of the communities and points of interest along the railroad and highway route up and over Donner Summit are covered in this book.

Arcadia Publishing is well known for producing small, beautifully illustrated books on local and regional history. It typically partners with local historians and organizations in developing its publications, which now number nearly 6,000 titles celebrating communities all across the country.

July 17, 2011
In History's Spotlight: Newton Booth

Booth.JPGBorn: Dec. 30, 1825
Died: July 14, 1892

Known for: Republican Newton Booth was California's 11th governor (1872-1874) and a U.S. senator.

Background: Born in Salem, Ind., Booth arrived in Sacramento in 1850 and started a successful merchandising business with Charles Smith. He retired in 1856 and returned to Indiana but came back in 1860 and was elected a state senator two years later. In 1871, he became governor. Booth helped to form the "Dolly Vardens" party in 1873, and with its support was elected to the U.S. Senate. Since his swearing-in would take place 18 months later, he remained in office as governor after being elected. The controversial move prompted an attempt to amend the state constitution to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.

A highlight: Sacramento's Newton Booth neighborhood -- bordered by 24th Street to the west, 30th Street to the east, X Street to the south and R Street to the north -- is named for the governor. He is buried at the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery

In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.

July 15, 2011
Architecture tours explore old and new of Crocker Art Museum

Crocker Postcard.jpgOn the third Sunday of each month the Crocker Art Museum offers docent-led Architecture Tours free with museum admission. Visitors learn about the Italianate mansion and gallery buildings that comprise the historical Crocker Art Museum and explore the distinct architectural elements of the 125,000-square-foot Teel Family Pavilion, which opened in October 2010, and was designed to complement the original structures. 

What: Architecture Tour of the Crocker Art Museum
Where: Crocker Art Museum (216 O Street, Sacramento, CA 95814)
When: July 17, 2011, 12 p.m. (third Sunday of each month)
Cost: Free with museum admission
More information:

PHOTO CREDIT: Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento, California, by Edward H. Mitchell. From the Special Collections of the Sacramento Public Library.

July 14, 2011
John Muir in the New World

TEDDY.JPGThe Public Broadcasting Service has much expanded the full-length video offerings on its web site. I was happy to see the American Masters documentary on John Muir is still available online even though it aired back in April.

John Muir, of course, was the 19th century naturalist, author and father of the conservation movement who tirelessly advocated for preservation of the Yosemite Valley and other wild areas of the Sierra Nevada. He played a central role in the development of the U.S. National Parks system.

John Muir in the New World examines the early life and experiences that shaped this icon of California history. The film paints an intimate portrait of the man with reenactments shot in some of the beautiful places that Muir traveled: Wisconsin, Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada, the Alhambra Valley of California, and the Alaskan glaciers.

Muir wrote prolifically on the need to preserve the natural world. You can get a sense of the power of his prose in an 1876 essay that appeared in the Sacramento Daily-Record Union. Here Muir argues for the conservation of the Sierra Nevada forests, explaining their essential role in the health of the overall ecosystem. (I found this piece by searching the California Digital Newspaper Collection.)

PHOTO CREDIT: Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir at Yosemite, circa 1906. Library of Congress.

July 13, 2011
Gambling focus of next Sutter's Fort "Hands on History"

doll.JPGThe Sutter's Fort "Hands on History" series continues this Saturday with a program focus on gold mining and gambling circa 1850. Visitors can pan for gold to get a "stake" and local currency to play vintage games of chance such as Faro, three-card monte and chuck-a-luck. Kids can create their own hand-made crafts they can take home.

Incidentally, there's a new web site displaying many of the important artifacts associated with John Sutter and other early pioneers who emigrated to California. Stronghold of Pioneer Memories also explains the history of Sutter Fort's reconstruction and the development of the museum collection. You'll see pictures of rare pieces such as Sutter's opera glasses, an 1864 Hammond Bulldog .38 caliber pistol, and house boots and bible used by Donner Party survivor Patty Reed Lewis.

What: Hands on History: Mining the Miners
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L Street, Midtown, Sacramento
When: July 16, 2011. Fort hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cannon firing demonstrations: 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.
Cost: $6 per adult (18 and older), $4 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under
For More: Call 916-445-4422 or visit

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Patty Reed's doll on permanent display in the Sutter's Fort museum collection. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park.

July 12, 2011
African Americans on the overland trail

Recently, the Center for Sacramento History partnered with the Cooper-Woodson College Enhancement Program at CSUS to help create a new living history project. "Sweet Freedom's Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails, 1841-1869" explores the stories of African Americans who were part of the great overland trail migration of the nineteenth century. The program will include a replica wagon like that built by Hyrum Young, an African American wagon maker in Independence, Missouri. Young built some of the wagons used by the ill-fated Donner Party.

The team of volunteers led by Joe Moore and Roy Korb are using an authentic overland wagon undercarriage from c. 1860. The undercarriage was restored by a South Dakota company, but Moore, Korb, and team, used the wood/fabrication shop at the Center for Sacramento History to create remaining parts of the wagon. The attached slideshow/video depicts the four-month project:

For more information about "Sweet Freedom's Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trials, 1841-1869", you may contact Project Director, Joe Louis Moore at (916) 278-5363.

July 11, 2011
Lodi, the post-war years

Lodi.jpgLodi's post-war period is the subject of a new volume in the Images of America series produced by Arcadia Publishing Co. Lodi: 1945-2005 was written by local author Ralph A. Clark, who selected photographs from the Hill House Museum, the Lodi Public Library and other groups and individuals. Here's the publisher's description:

From its beginning as a small pioneering settlement in 1869 to its growth into an agricultural and industrial modern city, Lodi has been touted for years as a desirable place to put down roots and raise a family. The fertile soil here on the south bank of the Mokelumne River has seen several generations of citizens proud of their city at the crossroads of the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys. Following World War II, Lodi's attractiveness as a family city has caused it to boom and grow, to the delight of some and consternation of others. In 2006, Lodi celebrated the centennial anniversary of its incorporation as a city and is now trying to preserve its unique heritage and identity as the livable and lovable place that it is.

Arcadia Publishing is well known for producing small, beautifully illustrated books on local and regional history. It typically partners with local historians and organizations in developing its publications, which now number nearly 6,000 titles celebrating communities all across the country.

July 10, 2011
In History's Spotlight: Jackie Greene
Thumbnail image for Greene.JPG

Born: Nov. 27, 1980

Known for: Jackie Greene, a Curtis Park resident, has attracted national attention as a multifaceted singer-songwriter who plays guitar, keyboards and harmonica. He has legions of "Greeneheads," who follow him from show to show.

Background: Greene was born in Monterey on Thanksgiving Day and settled in Cameron Park at age 11. He lived with his mother, Karen, who once played the flute, and three younger siblings. Greene started to show promise as a musician at Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills. A Led Zeppelin devotee, he sought out some of the Willie Dixon tunes covered by the famed British band and was floored by the music's gut-level directness. Greene has performed as an opening act for Los Lobos, B.B. King and Buddy Guy. By age 23, Greene had produced three albums, a DVD and toured extensively. Last year, he took an unexpected turn to rock and roll with the American Myth CD for the Verve Forecast/Universal label.

A highlight: Last August, Greene made a debut performance before a national television audience when he sang "So Hard to Find My Way" on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien."

In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.

July 8, 2011
Auto Museum celebrates the American muscle car

Thumbnail image for muscle.jpgEnding this weekend: American Muscle, the California Automobile Museum's celebration of those "overweight, mid-sized cars with big engines" that tore up the roads in the 1960s. These roaring monsters vanished during the economy-conscious 1970s, but you can relive their colorful history at the CAM exhibit.

Vehicles on display include the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS350, the 1973 Dodge Charger and the 1965 Pontiac GTO.

What: American Muscle
Where: California Automobile Museum, 2200 Front St. in Old Sacramento
When: Exhibit ends July 10. Museum is open 10:00-6:00 p.m.
Cost: Adults $8, seniors $7, students (with current ID) $4, members & children (ages 0-5) free
For more info: (916) 442-6802 or the CAM web site.

July 7, 2011
Explore the Maidu Indians at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center

Come explore the history and culture of the Maidu people who lived in this region long before Europeans arrived in California. A naturalist will be on hand at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center to explain artifacts and lead a tour of a replica Maidu Village.

Located in Ancil Hoffman Park, the Nature Center is an environmental and cultural educational resource that offers a variety of exhibits and workshops for children and adults of all ages. In addition to the gift shop and replica Indian village, the Center boasts a 77-acre riparian woodlands nature preserve with interpretative trails.

What: Maidu Summer Village Tour
Where: Effie Yeaw Nature Center, 2850 San Lorenzo Way, Carmichael
When: July 9, 10:30 a.m.
Cost: Tour is free. Park entrance fee is $5 per car.
For more info: (916) 489-4918 or email.

July 6, 2011
Old Sacramento adds new site to the Underground Tour

hall luhrs.jpgRecently I had the pleasure of taking one of the Underground Tours of Old Sacramento. One thing you learn is there aren't maze-like catacombs running under the streets. The spaces created by elevating the old buildings are more like basements. That's because the structures were raised individually by each owner.

Now the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation has added a new site to the archaeological tour. It's the Hall, Luhrs & Co. building, which operated as a grocery store from 1885-1908, and was known to be one of two bordellos in the district. Unlike other buildings that were raised, its owner simply converted the first floor into a basement.

The Underground Tours offer participants a chance to walk on original foundations and examine 19th century construction and artifacts up close.

What: Old Sacramento Underground Tours
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street in Old Sacramento
When: Continuing thru November 27, 2011 (advance online tickets available now). Departing every half hour 10:30-3 p.m. Thursdays thru Sundays (thru August). Check website for updated tour times September thru November
Cost: $15 for adults; $12 for HOSF members; $10 for children
For more info: 916-808-7059 or

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Hall Luhrs & Co. Wholesale Grocers. Photo by Rojer.

UPDATE (July 18):

Heather Downey, a writer/researcher who has worked on the Underground Tour, kindly emailed with some clarifications regarding the Hall, Luhrs building:

There were more than two bordellos in Sacramento during the Gold Rush...many more! There just happened to be two on the site of the Hall-Luhrs Building, but not in that particular building. That 1880s structure was erected atop 4 separate lots at the original level of the city which existed between 1850 and 1884, two of which were at one time brothels.

Since Hall-Luhrs wasn't constructed until 1884, well after the street-raising was complete, there was no way its owners could have opted out of raising it to the new street level. Instead, we suspect that those buildings that used to be there were left at their original level instead of being raised. What guests see when they go under the Hall-Luhrs Building is the evidence of these long-gone structures that date from the Gold Rush.

July 5, 2011
New childrens program, admission deal at California Museum

A new family program aimed at helping kids explore California history in a fun, activity-driven setting launches today at The California Museum in Sacramento.

The learning series titled "Poppies, Butterflies & Bears! Oh My!" is held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday through July 28, according to a museum news release. The program is free with museum admission and for members.

The program, appropriate for children ages 3 to 12 years old, features crafts and scavenger hunts based on various themes, such as panning for gold, grizzly bears and deep sea fishing. For a complete list of themes and crafts, follow the link below.

The museum also is offering an admission special through July 31. Simply "Like" the California Museum on its Facebook page, where details on how to get the two tickets for $10 special are listed. Click here to go the museum's Facebook page.

The special is an effort to help kick off the museum's newest exhibit, "Riding Concrete: Skateboarding in California," the release states.

Here is a list of themes and activities for the new family program:

Today (July 5): Eureka! Pan for Gold - discover gold and trade nuggets for goods from the Museum's general store.

Thursday (July 7): Symbols of the Stone Age - kids will create their own Chipped Stone Bear.

July 12: Decked Out, CA Style - decorate a mini skateboard deck with state symbols. Inspired by the new exhibit "Riding Concrete: Skateboarding in California."

July 14: Deep Sea Fishing - meet the Garibaldi fish, the state's salt water fish, and decorate one to take home.

July 19: Wonderful, Whacky Weaving - children will learn about the Native art of basketry and weave with paper strips.

July 21: Historical Hats - discover the connection between history and fashion. Children also will design their own top hat or sunbonnet.

July 26: Back to the Bear - children will learn why the grizzly bear is on the state flag and design their own.

July 28: Minerva, Ships and Stars! Oh My! - learn about the state's many symbols. Children can create their own California seal.

The California Museum is located at 1020 O St., Sacramento. For more information about the museum, click here.

-- Niesha Lofing

July 5, 2011
Eagle Theater offers Silent Movie Festival

thekid.JPGAs part of Time Travel Weekends (described in a prior post), the Eagle Theatre is offering a series of weekly silent movie nights featuring classic films from 1900-29. The movies are accompanied by audience sing-alongs, plus music, mini skits and comedy routines by performers in period costumes.

What: Silent Movie Festival!
Where: Eagle Theatre, Old Sacramento State Historic Park
When: 7 p.m., Saturday evenings thru August 27, 2011
Cost: Minimum $5 donation at the door
For more info: 916-808-7059 or

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Charles Chaplin and Jackie Coogan in "The Kid"

July 3, 2011
In History's Spotlight: Tony Lopez

Lopez.JPGBorn: Feb. 24, 1963

Known for: Tony Lopez was a three-time world champion boxer who compiled a 50-8-1 record with 34 knockouts. He was the first Sacramento-born fighter to win a world title.

Background: Lopez grew up in south Sacramento as a member of a boxing family. His father, Sal Lopez Sr., fought professionally as a lightweight in Southern California in the 1950s. His brother, Sal Jr., fought as a junior welterweight in the late 1970s and early '80s. Tony Lopez boasted a 29-1 record when he took on Rocky Lockridge for the IBF junior- lightweight title in July 1988 before 7,590 fans at the old, temporary Kings arena. Lopez was knocked down in the eighth round but recovered to dominate the final rounds and win a unanimous decision. He won nine other title fights, including a rematch against Lockridge, before retiring in 1999.

A highlight: In 1990, Lopez successfully defended his junior-lightweight title against Jorge Paez before an Arco Arena crowd of 15,008 and a gate of $601,000. For 10 years, both figures were state highs for a professional boxing match. His first fight against Lockridge was Ring Magazine's 1988 fight of the year.

In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.

July 2, 2011
Skateboarding exhibit on display at California Museum

RIDING CONCRETE: Skateboarding in California, an exhibit curated by Z-Boy Nathan Pratt, will be on display at the California Museum starting July 2, 2011.  Over 200 unique items contributed by The Sidewalk Shop, Skatelab, the Z-Boy Archive and other collectors illustrate the history of the sport of skateboarding, a California creation. Highlights include a number of firsts: the first boards sold by Val Surf in 1962, the first pro model skateboard (produced by Makaha), and the first board featuring urethane wheels. RIDING CONCRETE will be on display through March 25, 2012.

What: RIDING CONCRETE: Skateboarding in California exhibit
Where: California Museum, 1020 O Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
When: July 2, 2011, through March 25, 2012
Cost: $8.50 for Adults, $7.00 for Seniors and College Students, $6.00 for Youth (Ages 6-13), and Free for Ages 5 and Under
For more info: or (916) 653-7524

July 1, 2011
Old Sacramento street theater takes you back in time
old sac theater.jpg

Street theater returns to Old Sacramento as part of the popular Time Travel Weekends that began last year.

Visitors to the historic district will enjoy spontaneous, interactive skits and other performances by talented actors in period garb. You might stumble on re-enactments featuring wagons, gunfights, children's pioneer craft activities, gambling, bowling, juggling, singing, dancing, parades, medicine shows and Civil War cannon firings.

Check the Old Sac website for complete and updated information on the scheduled performances.

What: Time Travel Weekends!
Where: Throughout Old Sacramento with scheduled performances on four stages: Eagle Theatre, Passenger Station, Pioneer Park, Waterfront Park
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekends July through August (with expanded performances during Gold Rush Days over Labor Day weekend)
Cost: Free
For more info: 916-808-7059 or

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Howard Gold

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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