Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

August 31, 2011
Special Labor Day weekend events at Railtown

RT 1897.jpgExcursion trains will be running all three days this weekend at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. On Monday only there will be special rides aboard Sierra No. 3, the "Movie Star Locomotive" seen in many movies and television shows.

Besides the excursions, the Starlight Serenaders will treat visitors to vintage jazz on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. Fiddler Dave Rainwater will perform on the trains all three days.

What: Labor Day Weekend Activities at Railtown 1897 SHP
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown (Tuolumne County)
When: Sept. 3 - 5. Trains depart hourly from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
Cost: Park entrance: $5 adults, $3 youths, free for children 5 and under. All excursion train rides: $13 adults, $6 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under.
For more info: 209-984-3953 or visit

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Docent John Rand shows off the steam locomotive at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. 2007 McClatchy-Tribune photograph by Robert Reid Hepler

August 30, 2011
Watch the film about Ishi, the last Yahi Indian

Thumbnail image for ishi film.jpgThe centennial anniversary of the "discovery" of Ishi is getting a lot of attention this week, including the special Ishi exhibit at the California Museum.

As The Bee's Steve Magagnini reported yesterday, Ishi's reputation as a "noble savage" endeared him to generations of children and "made him one of the most beloved American Indians, celebrated in books, plays and film."

Speaking of films, the award-winning documentary Ishi, the last Yahi is available for free online viewing on the SnagFilms web site. This 1992 production recounts the story of Ishi's emergence, his collaboration with anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and his final years as a teacher and informant for a lost way of life.

California Museum news release

August 29, 2011
Check out the nights of Gold Rush Days

Gold Rush Days.JPGGold Rush Days, Sacramento's annual heritage celebration, is fast approaching. Despite its name, the weekend festival also includes some terrific evening activities.

The Gold Rush Days Preview on Friday is a fund-raising reception at the CP Station that will feature appetizers and refreshments from nearby restaurants, period entertainment and the debut of a new video about Old Sac narrated by Timothy Busfield.

Also Friday evening there will be a beer crawl through many of Old Sac's popular bars, discounted food at the Ten22 restaurant and live music at the Save Mart BBQ Patio & Farmers' Market (the latter continuing Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights).

The Silent Movie Festival summer series concludes at the Eagle Theatre Saturday night (7 p.m.). Besides the films, guests will be treated to a sing-along and live music, skits and comedy performed by period entertainers.

Gold Rush Days is co-produced by the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation, the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, the City of Sacramento and California State Parks with cooperation from the Old Sacramento Business Association.

What: Gold Rush Days Preview Reception
Where: Central Pacific Railroad Passenger Station, Old Sacramento State Historic Park, 930 Front Street
When: Sept. 2, 5-7:30 p.m.
Cost: $18.49 per person. Tickets can be purchased online, in person at the Sacramento History Museum, or over the phone at 916-808-7108.
For more info: 916-808-7059 or Gold Rush Days website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Galena Street East's Performing Ambassadors will perform traditional song and dance arrangements at Old Sacramento's Old Eagle Theater at the upcoming Gold Rush Days celebration. 2005 photograph by Chris Chavez for Galena Street East Productions

August 29, 2011
New book highlights Northern California riverboats

Thumbnail image for riverboats.jpgTransportation historian Paul C. Trimble has penned a photo book exploring the contributions of river-going vessels in the 19th century development of northern California. Riverboats of Northern California features images selected from the California State Library, Sacramento City Library, Western Railway Museum Archives, J. Porter Shaw Library at the National Maritime Museum, and other sources. From the publisher's description:

California's mighty rivers served as the state's early superhighways. Riverboats transported countless tons of supplies, workers, and settlers from the coast to inland gold rush colonies and everywhere in between. Majestic sidewheelers and sternwheelers burning coal, wood, and oil plied the waterways of the delta, as well as the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Napa Rivers, and the lesser-known routes of the Sonoma and Petaluma.

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.

August 28, 2011
In History's Spotlight: Dusty Baker

DustyBaker.jpgBorn: June 15, 1949

Known for: A multisport star at Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks, Dusty Baker played for four major league baseball teams and managed two teams.

Background: Born in Riverside, Johnnie B. Baker Jr. moved with his family to Sacramento at age 15. He starred in football, basketball, baseball and track at Del Campo, where he graduated in 1967. He attended American River College until he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves, for whom he played through 1975. The outfielder had his best years with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1976-1983), when he made the All-Star team twice and played in the World Series three times. He later played for the Giants and A's before retiring in 1986 with a .278 lifetime batting average and 242 home runs. He was the Giants' batting coach and became their manager in 1993. He managed the Cubs from 2003 to 2006. Today he is a baseball analyst for ESPN.

A highlight: Baker was named National League Manager of the Year three times (1993, 1997, 2000) and led the Giants to the 2002 World Series. He was named to the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.

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.

August 25, 2011
State Indian Museum seeks volunteers to be docents

By Dante Geoffrey

The State Indian Museum is seeking the help of enthusiastic volunteers to be trained as State Park docents.

The free seven-week training course begins Oct. 2, after which docents will share their knowledge of California Native history with museum visitors at Sutter's Fort State Historic Park.

Docents are volunteers, but the positions are not without perks. Those who volunteer at least 84 hours annually receive a pass from the Capital District State Museums and Historic Parks, and docents who volunteer 200 or more hours annually receive a pass to statewide parks.

No previous experience or knowledge is required. Weekday and weekend positions are available.

Apply before the Sept. 18 deadline by clicking here or by calling Volunteer Coordinator Connie McGough at (916) 324-8112.

Call The Bee's Dante Geoffrey, (916) 321-1198.

News Release

August 25, 2011
100 years of naval aviation celebrated by local Coast Guard

Hercules.JPGIn celebration of 100 years of naval aviation, the Sacramento Coast Guard Air Station will open its gates to the public for a day.

There will be a search and rescue demonstration and visitors will be able to examine two warplanes on display, a F-14 Tomcat and an A-4 Skyhawk. In addition, the rifle team from the Burbank High School JROTC program will perform a precision exhibition drill.

The Aerospace Museum next door is offering discounted admission for this special day.

What: U.S. Coast Guard Open House
Where: U.S. Coast Guard Air Station, 6037 Price Ave. Aerospace Museum of California, 3200 Freedom Park Dr.
When: Aug. 27, 10 to 3 p.m.
The Open House begins at 10:00 a.m. and will include the following:
1:45 p.m. Search and Rescue Demonstration begins
2:30 p.m. Search and Rescue Demonstration ends
3:00 - 3:30 p.m. Gates close
Aerospace Museum open 9 to 2:00 p.m.
Cost: Open House is free. Admission to the Aerospace Museum will be $5.00 for everyone ages six and up; children under five are free; and active duty military with ID.
For more info: Air Station Sacramento or Aerospace Museum of California

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Lt. Ed Newman, left, and Lt. Commander Joe Pesci walk to a C-130 Hercules waiting for them on the tarmac at McClellan AFB, site of the USCG Sacramento Air Station. 1998 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randy Pench

August 24, 2011
Pony Express rides again

Pony Express.JPGThe Pony Express delivered mail from Missouri to California for just a brief time in the early 1860s. But the romance of those intrepid riders racing across the country lives on in the annual reenactment by the National Pony Express Association.

This year over 600 NPEA members are participating in the 10-day relay that follows segments of the 1,966-mile route between St. Joseph and Sacramento.

The 2011 "re-ride" was delayed until August due to an outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus in May. The first rider left St. Joseph on Aug. 17, and the last rider is expected to gallop into Pony Express Plaza in Old Sacramento on Aug. 27 around 10 a.m. (give or take a few hours). There won't be as elaborate a reception in Old Sac as in years past, but it will be exciting nonetheless.

You can follow the progress of the ride with this updating Google map. There's also a detailed schedule of arrivals and departures along the route. And here's the NPEA news release describing the 2011 festivities.

PHOTO CREDIT: Brian Jensen, the last rider of the Pony Express National Historic Trail, pats his horse, Stormy, after his arrival in Old Sacramento. 2001 Sacramento Bee photograph by Sarah Orr

August 24, 2011
John Muir letters featured in Calisphere themed collection

MuirPortrait.jpgCalisphere very recently announced the release of a new Themed Collection featuring the Letters of John Muir (1838-1914).  The collection of 22 letters draws from over 6,500 pieces of Muir's correspondence that were digitized and made available through Calisphere and the Online Archive of California in October 2009. Letters from the renowned California naturalist were selected to document three of his roles: Scientist, Writer, and Activist. In addition to images and transcriptions of the letters themselves, the themed collection includes a biographical sketch and links to Analysis Tools.

The Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley and the University of the Pacific Library Holt-Atherton Special Collections contributed the complete collection of Muir's correspondence. The project was supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

PHOTO CREDIT: John Muir, 1838-1914 (by Edward Hughes, ca. 1902). Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-53148.

August 23, 2011
Chinatown Mall Fair showcases Chinese culture

Chinatown fair.JPGChinese dance, music, food and history are in the spotlight next Sunday at the annual Sacramento Chinatown Mall Fair.

The event kicks off with a traditional lion dance, followed by performances demonstrations of singing, dancing, instrumentals, marital arts and calligraphy. Vendors will be on hand selling unique food, crafts, books and clothing.

Historical exhibits will explore the contributions of Sun Yat-sen, the Flying Tigers of World War II, Chinese immigration to California and restaurants as a window into Chinese-American culture.

Bring the kids. They can enjoy hands on crafts, face painting, shows and games. 

What: Chinatown Mall Fair
Where: Sacramento Chinatown Mall, between 3rd, 5th, I and J Sts. (across from Downtown Plaza)
When: Aug. 28, 11 to 4 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: website or Facebook page

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Girls in princess costumes performing Mongolian dance "The Red Princess".  Courtesy of Xiaoting Su from the Red Shoes Performing Arts Group.

August 22, 2011
Award-winning photos at the Railroad Museum

Kranjec.jpgOn Friday the California State Railroad Museum will unveil a new international exhibit of award-winning photos from the Center for Railroad Photography & Art in Madison, Wisc.

The theme of the 2011 Creative Photography Award contest was "A Story in Three Photographs," which asked artists to submit a trio of images evoking a rail-related event, place or time period. First prize went to Misko Kranjec of Slovenia who hauntingly depicted a fueling station in winter.

This special exhibit will be available for viewing at the Railroad Museum through June of next year.

What: Special Exhibition of 2011 Award-Winning Photographs
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento State Historic Park
When: Aug. 26 thru June 2012.
Cost: $9 adults; $4 youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under
For More: 916-445-6645 or or

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Slovenian Railways refueling facility by first place winner Miško Kranjec, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Courtesy Center for Railroad Photography & Art

August 21, 2011
In History's Spotlight: Larry Linville

linville.jpgBorn: Sept. 29, 1939
Died: April 10, 2000

Known for: Larry Linville, a veteran television actor who grew up in Sacramento, played Maj. Frank Burns on "M*A*S*H," one of the longest-running shows in television history (1972-83).

Background: Born in Ojai, Linville moved to Sacramento and graduated from El Camino High School. He studied aeronautical engineering at the University of Colorado before attending London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. He appeared in dozens of television shows, including "Marcus Welby, M.D." and "Mannix" before landing the "M*A*S*H" role. He appeared in 115 episodes of the hit show before leaving in 1977. He continued to appear on TV shows, including "The Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island," through the late '90s. In 1998, he underwent surgery to remove part of his lung after doctors found a malignant tumor under his sternum.

A highlight: He was one of three Americans out of 300 applicants to win a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

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.

August 20, 2011
History displays abound at the Central Library

YearbooksDisplay.JPGNow that the popular American Sabor: Latinos in Popular Music exhibit has moved on to the San Francisco Public Library, a number of local history displays are going up at the Central Library (828 I Street). 

Beginning September 1, the library will be showcasing early images of the Sacramento and American Rivers in the lobby to coincide with the launch of the library's 2011 Big Read/One Book series on Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer.  Also exhibited in the lobby is a display highlighting resources for genealogical research in anticipation of Family History Day (October 15, 2011).

Visit the second floor of the Central Library to view a display on "Yearbooks through the Years" located on the Library Galleria balcony just outside the Sacramento Room.  Inside the Sacramento Room are two new exhibits that feature historical publications by local schools, including Sacramento High School's The X-Ray, and The Blotter, a Sacramento Junior College newsletter.

All displays at the Central Library are available for viewing during the library's open hours.

August 18, 2011
The Great Depression in Dixon

Bank of Dixon.jpgColumnist Bil Paul has written a string of informative historic pieces for Dixon Patch. His latest surveys the impact of the Great Depression (1929-41) on that Solano County burg. Though focused on Dixon, the article reflects what likely was going on in towns across the region.

Bank failures were a central factor in the collapse of the U.S. economy. Some 11,000 of the country's 33,000 banks failed by 1933. "... the major share of the blame rests on those [rural] banks that have failed [due to] disregarding fundamental principles in loaning other people's money," Paul quotes from a Dixon Tribune article at the time. Many depositors panicked and the run on the banks prompted the federal government to close them temporarily to cool things down. It took some time for bankers to convince people to return their money.

Unemployment soared and many farms went into foreclosure in the area, though some local agricultural businesses, such as Dixon's meat packing plant, actually grew.

The Patch column includes some interesting photographs of Dixon residents from the 1930s, courtesy of the Dixon Library archives.

PHOTO CREDIT: Bank of Dixon teller's cage, circa 1930s. Courtesy Dixon Public Library.

August 17, 2011
Sacramento's historic underground wins preservation award

underground2.JPGThe Sacramento Preservation Commission and Preservation Office, in conjunction with the Sacramento Old City Association, has won a California Preservation Foundation award for its development of the city's underground resources, i.e. the network of raised streets and hollow sidewalks constructed in the 1860s and 70s as an early means of flood control.

The CPF Preservation Design Award recognizes the important work done to survey, map and analyze the subterranean spaces, not only in Old Sacramento, but in the downtown area as well. The interest generated by that effort led to the popular underground tours conducted by the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation and the California State Parks.

CPF will formally honor the Sacramento "Hollow Sidewalks" project at the 28th Annual Preservation Design Awards event on Oct. 1 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Hammond, Museum Director Sacramento History & Railroad Sector, Heather Downey, and Marcia Eymann, History Manager Center for Sacramento History in the basement of the B. F. Hasting Building. 2010 Sacramento photograph by Paul Kitagaki Jr.

August 16, 2011
Japanese pastry shop still cooking after 100 years

OSAKA YA.JPGBrandon Darnell of the Sacramento Press recently profiled Osaka-Ya, a Japanese bakery that's been in business almost a century.

The pastry shop at 2215 10th St. is known for traditional rice cakes filled with sweet bean paste. But the big hit in the summer are shaved ice snow cones made with a variety of flavorings including cherry, strawberry, orange, vanilla, and an exotic version mixed with azuki beans.

Darnell explains that Osaka-Ya is located in the vestiges of Sacramento's once bustling Japantown, a neighborhood bordered by L, N, Third and Fourth Streets. The Bee's Elizabeth Hume wrote about the shop and other surviving Japanese businesses in 2002.

PHOTO CREDIT: Etsuko Dote (l) and Kyoko Tokunaga box up some mochi, Japanese tea cakes, at Osaka-Ya. 2001 Sacramento Bee photograph by Leilani Hu

August 15, 2011
Gold fever strikes Sutter's Fort

Militia.JPGIn its next "Hands on History" program, Sutter's Fort docents will explain the far-reaching impact the discovery of gold in 1848 had on California and the nation as a whole.

Visitors can try their luck at panning for gold, listen to speeches, argue in mock debates, bowl in a pioneer bowling alley, hear miner's stories, and experience the gold rush economy with its inflated prices and limited supplies.

What: Hands on History: Gold Fever!
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L Street, Midtown, Sacramento
When: Aug. 20. Fort hours: 10 to 5 p.m. Cannon firing demonstrations: 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.
Cost: Special event pricing: $6.00 per adult (18 and older), $4.00 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 and under.
For More: Call 916-445-4422 or visit

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Sutter's Fort Militia. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

August 14, 2011
In History's Spotlight: Artie Samish

samish.JPGBorn: Aug. 9, 1897
Died: Feb. 12, 1974

Known for: Artie Samish was a powerful lobbyist in the 1930s and '40s who described himself as "the governor of the Legislature."

Background: Born in Los Angeles, Samish grew up poor in San Francisco. He came to Sacramento in his 20s as a legislative clerk but found that the real money and power were in lobbying. Samish's influence grew by following a formula: A special interest would come to him with a specific problem. He would use campaign contributions and organizational help and other "incentives" to get the problem solved legislatively. Then he would make it clear that it could be unfixed unless his services were retained. State lawmakers banned Samish after a photograph appeared in Collier's magazine in 1949 showing him with a ventriloquist's dummy on his knee and asking, "And how are you today, Mr. Legislature?" In 1953, he was convicted of income tax evasion and eventually served two years in federal prison.

A highlight: By 1949, Samish was said to be worth $10 million and at one point, had 17 operatives monitoring activity under the Capitol dome.

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.

August 11, 2011
Sacramento's Rock and Radio Museum reopens

This weekend's Second Saturday festivities will include something exciting for local music/history buffs.

After a two year hiatus, the Sacramento Rock and Radio Museum will reopen its doors, allowing the public to once again view an impressive collection of posters and ephemeral materials dedicated to the history of music and rock and roll in Sacramento.Sea of Bees by Laura Edmisten.jpg

The museum's curator is well-known radio personality, Dennis Newhall, and many of the items on display come from collections he gathered while working at the now defunct, but still infamous, KZAP radio station.

Posters from Sacramento's 1930s radio days are part of the display, as are contemporary posters from the area's punk rock scene. Big names like the Rolling Stones and the Doors appear in the collection, as do the names of smaller local acts, like those depicted in the work of Sacramento screen print artist Laura Edmisten.

Currently, the Rock and Radio Museum is open once a month in conjunction with the Second Saturday Art Walk. Additional hours are available by appointment.

For more information visit:

Sacramento's Rock and Radio Museum is now located at 907 20th Street. The grand re-opening takes place this Saturday evening, August 13.

IMAGE CREDIT: Sea of Bees Gig Poster, Courtesy Laura Edmisten.

August 10, 2011
Tahoe Heritage Foundation to hold Gatsby Festival

The weekend of August 13 and 14 the Tahoe Heritage Foundation will hold its annual Great Gatsby Festival at the Tallac Historic Site near the southern shore of Lake Tahoe.  Held the second weekend in August each year, the festival celebrates the Roaring 20s and features vintage car shows, performers, a raffle and sales of period items.  Activities take place at the Pope and Baldwin Estates and the event is staffed by volunteers, many dressed in period attire.  A Gatsby Tea will be held on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., and in addition to tea and treats from the era, attendees will enjoy a vintage fashion show.

What: Great Gatsby Festival
Where: Tallac Historic Site (approximately 3 miles north of South Lake Tahoe on the lake side of Highway 89.  The entrance is across the street from Fallen Leaf Lake Road)
When: August 13-14, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Cost: Free for Festival; $35 for Gatsby Tea
For more information: or (530) 544-7383

August 8, 2011
Old Sac Underground Tours expand

Due to popular demand, the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation has scheduled additional Underground Tours on Mondays through Labor Day.

These one-hour programs acquaint guests with the enclosed spaces created when the city raised buildings and sidewalks as protection from regular flooding of the river. Knowledgeable docents explain the history and significance of these amazing archaeological sites.

Recently the Foundation added the Hall & Luhrs building to the tour.

What: Old Sacramento Underground Tours
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street in Old Sacramento
When: Continuing thru Nov. 27. Mon - tours offered from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 8, 15, 22 & 29 and from 10:30 thru 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 5; Thurs thru Sun - departing every half hour from 10 thru 3:30 p.m. (Check website for updated tour times).
Cost: $15 for adults; $12 for HOSF members; $10 for children
For more info: 916-808-7059 or

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Sacramento Museum guide Staci Cox leads an underground tour of Old Sacramento. 2011 Sacramento Bee photography by Randall Benton

August 7, 2011
In History's Spotlight: Donald Cox

cox.JPGBorn: Oct. 1, 1893
Died: Sept. 28, 1983

Known for: Donald Cox was Sacramento County sheriff for 28 years (1932-60), the longest tenure for a sheriff in department history.

Background: A native of Spencer County, Ind., and a Navy veteran in World War I, Cox joined the Sheriff's Department in 1921 as a bookkeeper. He was named undersheriff six months later. He attended night classes at McGeorge School of Law shortly after he joined the department and was admitted to the State Bar five years later. He was appointed sheriff in 1932 after Ellis Jones suffered a stroke. Elected to a four-year term in 1934, Cox was re-elected for six more terms before retiring. He was a founder of the Sheriff's Air Squadron, the Boat Patrol and the Reserve Deputy Program.

A highlight: An avid horseman, he once rode with film cowboy star Roy Rogers and formed the Sacramento County Sheriff's Posse in 1938. The state Senate Rules Committee in 1972 praised Cox's efforts in advancing law enforcement such as encouraging officers to study law and promoting higher education in criminal justice studies.

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.

August 5, 2011
New Exhibit at State Library

008.JPGA new exhibit is now in place in the first floor rotunda at the California State Library at 900 N Street. It highlights the old Library and Courts I Building at 914 Capitol Mall, which is now in the process of renovation and will probably be reo002.JPGccupied early in 2013. The exhibit features building plans, architectural drawings, photographs, and such unique items as muralist Maynard Dixon's palette. In fact, specific attention is given to Dixon's mural Pageant of Tradition in LCI's Gillis Hall, as well as the sculpture in the old circulation room. Also of interest are the plans and photographs of the pre-1928 State Library when it was located in the circular area at the rear of the State Capitol.

This new exhibit can be viewed by the public during the State Library's regular hours, 9:30AM to 4PM Monday through Friday. 004.JPG

August 5, 2011
Admission bargains at Sacramento museums

crocker.JPGTwo Sacramento museums will have free admission for Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders on Aug. 6 and 7.

The California Museum and the Crocker Art Museum are the two participating local museums and are open to participants during their regular weekend hours.

Bank of America and Merrill Lynch are continuing with the 14th season of Museums on Us, a program that provides their cardholders with admission to more than 150 cultural institutions in 87 cities across the country for the full first weekend each month through Dec. 2011.

The next Museums on Us weekends will be Sept. 3-4 and Oct. 1-2.

The program requires its participants to present valid photo identification and a Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card and is good for one admission fee. The program excludes events like fundraisers, special exhibitions, and ticketed shows and is not intended to be combined with other offers.

For more information, visit

-- Whitney Mountain

PHOTO CREDIT: Janice Driesbach, acting director of the Crocker Art Museum, discusses "Sunday Morning in the Mines," painted by Charles Christian Nahl in 1872. 1998 Sacramento Bee photograph by Chris Crewell.

August 4, 2011
Historic City Cemetery honors railroad workers

The Historic City Cemetery continues its series of docent-led tours with a program honoring the hundreds of workers who built the transcontinental railroad. Guests will hear tales of backbreaking labor and unending danger that these men endured.

What: History of Railroad Workers
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento. Free parking across from the 10th St. gate.
When: Aug. 6, 10 a.m.
Cost: Free, donations appreciated
For more info: (916) 264-7839, 448-0811 or

PHOTO CREDIT: A 1,100-foot trestle over Secrettown Ravine, about 64 miles east of Sacramento. Courtesy Southern Pacific Co.

August 4, 2011
Collection of Town & Country designer at Public Library

Town and Country.jpgThe papers of John W. Davis, a local mid-century architectural designer, are now open for research in the Sacramento Room at the Central Library. Davis worked for many years in partnership with local developer Jere Strizek to design and construct the Town & Country Village shopping center and affordable homes in the Town & Country community.  His papers consist of correspondence, plans, photographs and clippings documenting his design work between 1946 and 1954.

Town and Country home.jpgTown and Country Village opened in 1946 as one of the first shopping centers in the region.  A couple years after its completion, Strizek and Davis began building low-cost family homes in the surrounding area to boost profits. By 1949, there were 5,000 living units in the Town and Country suburb, and the nationally-recognized Town and Country Village with 61 stores welcomed customers from throughout the Sacramento area and beyond. Design plans, nearly 100 photographs, and extensive clippings in the papers of John W. Davis offer invaluable insight into Town and Country's early years.

To view the finding aid for the Davis papers and other small manuscript collections available in the Sacramento Room at the Central Library, visit the Sacramento Public Library page on the Online Archive of California website.

PHOTO CREDIT: Top - Town and Country Village shopping center, ca. 1955. Bottom - Town and Country home design featured in Parents' Magazine (February 1952). Both from the John W. Davis papers, MC 16, Sacramento Room, Sacramento Public Library.

August 3, 2011
Aerospace Museum offers Open Cockpit Evening

aerospace.JPGKids of all ages will get the chance to sit behind the controls of several vintage aircraft at the Aerospace Museum during its Open Cockpit Evening this Friday.

Guests will also have the opportunity to examine close-up the many airplanes on display, including the U.S. Navy Blue Angels' fighter, the A-10 Thunderbolt and the F-14 Tomcat of "Top Gun" fame.

What: Open Cockpit Evening
Where: Aerospace Museum of California, 3200 Freedom Park Drive, McClellan.
When: Aug. 5, 4 - 8 p.m.
Cost: $5 general admission. Free for children five and under.
For more info: (916) 643-3192 or

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: A restored Grumman HU-16B Albatross rescue airplane on display at the Aerospace Museum of California. 2008 Sacramento Bee photograph by Autumn Cruz

August 3, 2011
Yolo County Library celebrates its 100th anniversary year
yolo library.JPG

In honor of Yolo's first community celebration and the 100th anniversary of the county library system, the Yolo Public Library will offer a special program this Saturday.

Adults can get a library card and tour the two-room Carnegie building (listed in the National Historic Register). Children can enjoy games, a petting zoo and other events. The Yolo County Archivist will be on hand to discuss local history and to explain the resources at the County Archives.

What: Yolo County Library celebrates its 100th anniversary year
Where: Yolo Branch Library, 37750 Sacramento St., Yolo
When: Aug. 6, 10-12 p.m.
Cost: Free
For more info: (530) 662-236

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Librarian Nora Gortze (r) checks in books for Becky Hallett at the Yolo County branch library in Yolo. 2009 Sacramento Bee photograph by Paul Kitagaki Jr.

August 2, 2011
Heritage Trail showcases Placer County museums

TELE MUSEUM.JPGEighteen Placer County museums from Roseville to Tahoe City will strut their stuff during this weekend's 2011 Heritage Trail tour.

The museums are grouped in three "clusters," each close to Interstate 80: Five Valley Museums in South Placer; six Auburn Museums; and seven Mountain Museums in the Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe.

Admission will be free at all museums and each will offer special activities that will appeal to visitors of all ages. Many will offer food and beverages.

See the Heritage Trail blog for the latest information on bus tours, raffles, food, souvenirs and activities.

What: The Heritage Trail: Placer County Museums Tour
Where: You can start at any of the 18 participating museums.
When: Aug. 6 & 7, 10 to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free admission at all museums. Bus tours, $10.
For more info: Heritage Trail Blog and Trail Guide Brochure. Call (530) 889-6500 to reserve a seat on the bus tours.

PHOTO CREDIT: Roseville Telephone Museum, one of 18 Placer County museums featured in the 2011 Heritage Trail. 2007 Sacramento Bee photograph by Michael A. Jones

August 1, 2011
Boulevard Park nominated for historic register

Boulevard Park is being considered for a spot in the National Register of Historic Places, according to a Bee story just posted in the paper's History Section.

The Sacramento neighborhood located just north of midtown must be approved by the State Historical Resources Commission and then by the National Park Service.

Boulevard Park is home to some 300 buildings and is celebrated "for its large trees, landscaped medians and largely intact historic architecture, including many Craftsman, Revival and Prairie-style homes."

The district is the subject of one of Arcadia's "Images of America" illustrated history books.

PHOTO CREDIT: Bramson House at G and 21st Sts. in Sacramento. 2003 photo by Larry Fox.

August 1, 2011
Third Annual CAM Car Cruise

cruise.JPGCalling all classic car fans. It's time for the California Automobile Museum's Third Annual Car Cruise. Come see a caravan of hundreds of great cars from all eras and manufacturers. The cruise ends with a big car show and awards ceremony. Plus a beer garden, live music and vendors.

Watch video of the 2010 Car Cruise.

What: Third Annual California Automobile Museum Car Cruise
Where: Starting at 3000 J St. (CSUS Lot 1) and ending at Fulton between Camino and Marconi for the car show. See route map.
When: Aug. 6. Cruise starts at 4 p.m. Awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $49 for participants. Free for spectators.
For more info: Cruise brochure, Participant Registration Form and CAM web site.

PHOTO CREDIT: Vintage cars cruise through Sacramento streets during the 2nd Annual CAM Car Cruise. 2010 Sacramento Bee photo by Jose Luis Villegas

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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