Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

January 31, 2012
A maritime history of Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe maritime.jpg

Peter Goin, a professor of art at the University of Nevada, has assembled a new Arcadia volume on the maritime history of Lake Tahoe.

Drawing on photo collections at the Nevada Historical Society, North Lake Tahoe Historical Society, South Lake Tahoe Historical Society, Special Collections at the University of Nevada and Tahoe Maritime Museum, the book illustrates the wide variety of commercial and recreational vessels that plied the lake over the years.

Lake Tahoe: A Maritime History (Images of America series) is now available for purchase at $21.99.

Arcadia Publishing is 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 7,500 titles celebrating communities all across the country.

January 30, 2012
14th Annual Sacramento Museum Day

California Gallery.JPGMuseum Day is your once-a-year opportunity to sample the region's wealth of art, history, science and wildlife exhibits for free or half-price.

The event features 28 facilities, including the Sacramento History Museum, California State Railroad Museum, Aerospace Museum of California, the California Museum, State Capitol Museum, State Indian Museum, State Military Museum and Sutter's Fort.

Special this year: free ice cream will be provided by Umpqua Bank (while supplies last) at three locations as follows: 10 a.m. at Fairytale Town, noon at the California State Railroad Museum and 2 p.m. at the Aerospace Museum of California.

Please note that shuttle buses will not operate this time.

What: Sacramento Museum Day 2012
Where: 28 museums located throughout the Sacramento region (complete list and map)
When: Feb. 4, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last guests are admitted at 4 p.m.)
Cost: free at 26 museums; half-priced at Sacramento Zoo & Fairytale Town (Sacramento Zoo is $5.50 for adults, $3.50 for children ages 2-11 and free for children under two; Fairytale Town is $2.25 for everyone and free for children under two years of age).
For more info: 916-808-7777 or website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: The California Gallery at the Crocker Art Museum. 2010 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randall Benton

January 29, 2012
In History's Spotlight: John Powell

Powell.JPGBorn: June 25, 1947

Known for: A Mira Loma High School graduate, John Powell won two Olympic medals in the discus and won the national discus championship seven times.

Background: Powell began his discus career as the fourth-best thrower on the American River College track and field team. A shot-putter at Mira Loma, Powell switched to discus during his freshman season at ARC. Powell threw the discus 141 feet as a college freshman in 1966. He reached 164 feet the following season, competed at San Jose State University and improved each of the next nine years, culminating in his world-record throw of 226 feet 8 inches in 1975. He then won bronze medals in the 1976 and 1984 Olympics in Montreal and Los Angeles, respectively. He won the national discus championship in 1974 and 1975 and from 1983 through 1987.

A highlight: Summarizing his discus career, which spanned more than two decades, Powell told The Bee in 1988, "At some point you want to say, 'Look, I do something well.' I'm not saying it shakes the roots of humanity like the Salk vaccine, but I always wanted to say I'm one of the best in the world at something."

In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were originally published 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.

January 27, 2012
Stockton featured in new Arcadia photo book
Stockton Arcadia.jpg

The city of Stockton, founded in 1848, is the focus of a new "Then and Now" volume from Arcadia Publishing.

Authors Daniel Kasser and Amanda Zimmerman of the University of the Pacific's Department of Visual Arts illustrated the work with images borrowed from the Bank of Stockton, Haggin Museum, San Joaquin County Historical Museum, the University of the Pacific Special Archives Collection and other sources.

Stockton (Then and Now) is 96 pages and is priced at $21.99.

Arcadia Publishing is 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 7,500 titles celebrating communities all across the country.

January 26, 2012
Concert will benefit the historic Folsom-Placerville railroad
Placerville rail.JPG

A group train seeks to establish excursion trolley service between Folsom and Placerville on the historic Placerville & Sacramento Valley Railroad tracks will hold a benefit concert Monday night.

Music will be provided by Igor Glenn and a group of prominent California musicians. Glenn first toured with the New Christie Minstrels and later with his own Igor & the Jazz Cowboys, a fixture of the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee. He also toured with the American Freedom Train and has recorded railroading songs for the Smithsonian.

Opening the show will be the Sacramento Banjo Band (comprised of 30 banjo players).

What: Benefit Concert for the Placerville & Sacramento Valley Railroad
Where: Oak Hill Auditorium, 1100 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom
When: Jan. 30, 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $20 (includes beverage and dessert)
For more info and tickets: Kathryn Corbett, 916-353-0556

News release
Event poster

PHOTO CREDIT: Bill Anderson of the Folsom Historical Railroad Association wants to establish an excursion line between Folsom and Placerville on existing tracks known as the Sacramento Valley Railroad. If the project is accepted it would allow tourists to travel retail shops on historic Sutter Street in Old Town Folsom to the new Broadstone Plaza. 2000 Sacramento Bee photograph by Lezlie Sterling

January 25, 2012
Crab feed will benefit firefighting museum

Founded in 1990, the Pioneer Mutual Hook & Ladder Society is dedicated to establishing a fire museum in Sacramento. The group has been collecting vintage equipment and memorabilia for years and hopes to secure a permanent building to display it all.

This Saturday's crab dinner is the Society's biggest fundraising event of the year.

What: Pioneer Mutual Hook & Ladder Society's 21st Annual Crab Feed
Where: St. Mary's Parish Hall, 58th & M Sts., Sacramento
When: Jan. 28. 6 p.m. no host cocktails; 7 p.m. dinner (antipasto, salad, pasta and crab).
Cost: $40 donation
For more info: contact: Craig Barmby, 916-686-8395 or Ed Basurto, 916-457-9998

PHOTO CREDIT: A historic leather Sacramento Fire Department helmet, left, and a fire extinguisher from the Victorian era, right, are among the items Randy Wootton has been collecting in hopes to open a fire museum. Currently most of the artifacts are housed at Station 21 in Citrus Heights, where he works. 2007 Sacramento Bee photograph by Lezlie Sterling

January 24, 2012
Volunteers sought for railroad museums

The California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento and its sister facility Railtown1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown have put out a call for new volunteers to help with their educational activities.

The Railroad Museum seeks adults over 18 who can serve as docents, help with steam train operations, track restoration, clerical work and other types of essential jobs. Volunteers commit to 84 hours of work annually, but hours are flexible. You don't have to be an expert in rail history. Most folks learn by doing.

The Museum's volunteer orientation will be held on Feb. 25, but you must fill out an application and be interviewed prior to the meeting. Applications are being accepted through Feb. 6. Call Volunteer Training Coordinator Theresa Gonsolis at (916) 324-7593 or see the CSRM website for more information.

Railtown, home of the "movie star" locomotive, is currently recruiting Car Hosts, Ticket Agents, Tour Guides, Public Greeters, and Fire Patrol Operators (entry level engine crew). Interested people should attend the Volunteer Open House on Feb. 4 and submit an application by Feb. 6. For more information call 209-984-4408 or visit the web site.

News releases

PHOTO CREDIT: California State Railroad Museum docent Jack Seigal talks about the completion of the transcontinental railroad during a tour. 2001 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randy Pench

January 23, 2012
Snowshoe through history along Lake Tahoe

On Saturday, January 28, California State Park Interpretive Specialist Lindsay Harbison will lead an easy and fun snowshoe tour along the west coast of Lake Tahoe in Ed Z'Berg Sugar Pine Point State Park.  The tour will explore the natural environment of the lakefront, stories of early Tahoe settlers, and the history of a Tahoe landmark - the historic Hellman-Ehrman Estate. Hikers are asked to wear warm clothing and waterproof winter shoes, bring water, snacks, and their own snowshoes (snowshoes can also be rented from a local sporting goods shop such as West Shore Sports in Homewood).

What:Snowshoe through History Hike
When: 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., January 28, 2012
Where: Hike begins near restrooms in the Day Use side of the park (lake side entrance off Highway 89)
Cost: Free; $8 vehicle parking fee
For more information: The hike is contingent upon weather conditions; please call 530-525-9528.

January 23, 2012
Judges for Sacramento County History Day

The Center for Sacramento History is partnering with the Sacramento County Office of Education to host Sacramento County History Day (SCHD) on Saturday, March 3 at Rosemont High School. This year, young scholars from around the country will gather to present their original projects in one of six categories based on the theme, "Revolution, Reaction and Reform in History."

National History Day Logo.jpgFriendly, service-oriented folks with an interest in history are invited to serve as judges at the competition. Judges evaluate student entries, providing positive feedback and constructive criticism to help them advance to the state competition in Riverside. It's a fun day for all, and one that allows some of the best and brightest in our community to shine!

If you're interested in being a judge, please visit the SCHD website and fill out the Judge Registration Form.

What: Sacramento County History Day
Where: Rosemont High School, 9594 Keifer Boulevard, Sacramento
When: March 3, 7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
For more information: 916-808-7072 or email

January 22, 2012
In History's Spotlight: Lotta Crabtree

CRABTREE.JPGBorn: Nov. 7, 1847
Died: Sept. 25, 1924

Known for: Discovered in Grass Valley at age 8, Lotta Crabtree received accolades for her dancing and singing for gold miners. She grew up to be an actress and the highest-paid performer in America.

Background: During the Gold Rush, Crabtree became kind of a Shirley Temple of her time. The daughter of the operator of a boardinghouse for miners, Crabtree met Lola Montez, an infamous chanteuse who taught her to sing and dance. Crabtree performed childish songs and dances regularly for miners and at venues in Nevada City and Sacramento, including the Forrest Theater on K Street, during the late 1850s. She eventually became a San Francisco favorite and, by the 1870s, was touring the nation with her own theatrical company. When her career ended, she had amassed a fortune estimated at $4 million.

A highlight: In 1875, Crabtree donated a fountain on Market Street to the city of San Francisco. During the 1906 earthquake, the fountain served as a message center, a pole in a refugee tent or both. The fountain's role in the earthquake has been celebrated every year on April 18.

In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were originally published 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.

January 20, 2012
3D show of Yosemite Valley in 1908

Yosemite Valley stereo.jpgThis January at the Central Library, Yosemite Valley through the Stereoscope, a 1908 stereographic tour kit, will be presented for the first time on the big screen in spectacular 3D.  Participants will don glasses to view two dozen 3D photographs created by overlaying the vintage stereograph images and will hear vivid tour descriptions from the tour booklet.

The Yosemite Valley through the Stereoscope tour set was published by Underwood & Underwood, and consists of stereographs, a map and a booklet, which together create a virtual tour of the Yosemite Valley at the turn of the century.

Yosemite Valley stereo 3D.jpgYosemite Valley stereograph.jpgStereographs are an early form of 3D photography that reached their height of popularity in the 1870s and 1880s.  When viewed through a stereoscope, the nearly-identical side-by-side photographs appear as a single 3D image. 

What: Yosemite Valley in 3D!
When: January 29, 2013, 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, 828 I Street, Sacramento
Cost: Free; 3D glasses provided
For more info: (916) 264-2920;

January 20, 2012
UC Libraries digital book collection
Hunt Jackson.JPG

The University of California has launched a reprint service that provides access to digitally scanned "rare, out-of-print, and hard to find books" from its library collections. You can purchase printed and bound copies of these titles. In addition, you can read hundreds of out-of-copyright books for free online.

Note that these electronic volumes contain images of each page. So what you see is the original typography (which may be hard to read), not generic flowing text (such as displayed in a device like the Kindle).

The UC LIbrary Reprints website has a handy search interface for finding books by author, title, category and description word. Here are just a few volumes related to California history and historical fiction that can be read online:

History of Santa Cruz County, California (1892).
Rezanov by Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton (1906).
The founding of Spanish California by Charles E. Chapman (1916).
Three years in California, 1846-1849 by Walter Colton (1852).
A history of the College of California by Samuel H. Willey (1887).
History of early California journalism by Ralph S. Kuykendall (1918).
California, romantic and resourceful by John F. Davis (1914).
Glimpses of California and the missions by Helen Hunt Jackson (1914).
A brief history of astronomy in California by William Wallace Campbell (1913).
Stories of California by Ella May Sexton (1902).

January 19, 2012
Celebrate the discovery that changed the world

coloma volunteer.JPGOn Hundred sixty-four years ago the finding of flecks of yellow metal in Coloma ignited a huge migration of people into California and spurred the development of the state in the 19th century. You can help celebrate this historic event this Saturday during Gold Discovery Day at John Marshall park.

As usual knowledgeable volunteers dressed in period garb will be on hand to demonstrate pioneer cooking, trading and a long-ago way of life. Plus visitors will be treated to stories by the Cemetery Players and other historical performances.

What: Gold Discovery Day
Where: Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Coloma
When: Jan. 21, 10 to 2 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: (530) 622-3470 or web site

PHOTO CREDIT: Carol Timmerman of Cool portrays a pioneer woman and Ed Allen of El Dorado portrays James W. Marshall at Marshall Gold Rush State Historic Park in Coloma. 2009 Sacramento Bee photograph by Michael Allen Jones

January 18, 2012
Contribute your war photos to "Spirit of '45"

WEDDING.JPGSacramento Magazine posted a brief item concerning National Spirit of '45 Day (second Sunday of August), a day of remembrance honoring the generation that lived through the Depression and World War II. Congress approved the observance in a 2010 resolution.

Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive, the organization promoting the event, is soliciting images from families to go into the "Times Square Kiss" mosaic that will debut on Aug. 14, 2012. The group wants wedding photos or other pictures of couples who married between 1941 and 1945.

In addition Keep the Spirit also requests service photos of WWII vets to go into its Wall of Honor Project,

PHOTO CREDIT: David and Jane Morse on their wedding day, May 2, 1943, outside the Methodist Church in Elk Grove. Courtesy of the Morse family.

January 18, 2012
Naida West to speak on her latest historical novel
Rest for the Wicked.jpg

Local author Naida West will speak on Rest for the Wicked, the third volume in her California Gold trilogy, a series of historical novels set in 19th century Sacramento.

The latest book tells the story of Mae Duffy, who emigrates from Iowa to California with her family in search of a better life. But what they find is a state in economic panic.

Last year Rest for the Wicked won the New Generation Book Award for historical fiction. You can listen to West's 2010 interview on the KXJZ radio program Insight. You can also read Allen Pierleoni's author profile that appeared in The Bee.

The program is co-sponsored by the Rancho Cordova Public Library and Rancho Cordova Historical Society.

What: Naida West speaking on her book Rest for the Wicked
Where: Rancho Cordova Library, 9845 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento
When: Jan. 22, 3 - 5 p.m.
For more info: 916-264-2700 or web site

January 17, 2012
Catholic sisters exhibit to open at the California Museum

sisters.JPGConcluding its two-year tour in Sacramento, Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America recounts the important social and cultural contributions of a small group of dedicated women. For 300 years Catholic sisters built and maintained schools, colleges, hospitals and orphanages. They ought for social justice and were early advocates of health and child care. Their remarkable stories are documented by a variety of artifacts -- some never displayed before.

The local exhibit is supplemented by a special display depicting the history of those sisters who arrived in San Francisco in 1851 and served this state in its early years.

What: Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters In America
Where: California Museum, 1020 O St., Sacramento
When: Jan. 24 thru June 3. Museum hours: Mon-Sat, 10 - 5 p.m.; Sun, 12 - 5 p.m.
Cost: Adults $8.50, seniors and college students $7, youth 6 to 17 $6, children under 6 free.
For more info: 916-653-7524 or web site

Exhibit brochure

PHOTO CREDIT: Women & Spirit exhibit. Courtesy Leadership Conference of Women Religious

January 17, 2012
Forgotten WWII aviator subject of talk

Royal Leonard.jpgThe Golden Age of American Aviation (1925-41) produced many fascinating, bigger-than-life pilots. One of the lesser-known ones was Royal Leonard, a pioneering aviator who early on flew mail planes, racers and passenger liners for TWA, where he introduced celestial navigation. Later in China he served as Chiang Kai-shek's personal pilot. And during the Sino-Japanese War, General Claire Chennault picked Leonard to command the Flying Tigers Bomber Group.

Sacramento author Barry S. Martin has penned a new biography, Forgotten Aviator: The Adventures of Royal Leonard, which chronicles the life of this color individual. Martin spent 20 years researching Leonard and will speak about his book this Saturday at the Arden-Dimick Library.

What: Barry S. Martin speaking on aviator Royal Leonard
Where: Arden-Dimick Community Library, 891 Watt Ave., Sacramento
When: Jan. 21, 2 to 3 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-264-2700

Book Facebook Page

January 16, 2012
Trappers take center stage at Sutter's Fort

Thumbnail image for trapper.JPGTrappers played an important role in the development of early California. Sutter's Fort pays tribute to these entrepreneurial pioneers at the next "Hands on History" event.

Led by docents in period clothing, visitors this Saturday will learn how trappers lived, worked, traded and explored. You'll watch musket demonstrations and have the chance to examine fur pelts, write with a quill pen and oak gall ink and string trading beads.

What: Hands on History: Trappers, Trades, and Treaties
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: Jan. 21, 10 to 5 p.m.
Cost: $6.00 per adult (18 and older), $4.00 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under
For more info : 916-445-4422 or

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: A Mexican Officer (Tom Hill) checks the passport of an American trapper (Jeff Volberg) at Sutter's Fort Living History Day. 2006 photograph by Eileen Hook

January 15, 2012
In History's Spotlight: J. Neely Johnson

JNEELY.JPGBorn: Aug. 2, 1825
Died: Aug. 31, 1872

Known for: California's governor when The Bee launched its first edition in 1857, J. Neely Johnson became the state's youngest leader after taking office at age 30.

Background: An Indiana native, Johnson moved to Sacramento in 1849 and became an attorney. He then served as Sacramento's city attorney, and was re-elected in 1851. Johnson became a state assemblyman in 1852 before being elected the state's fourth governor in 1855. He represented the new American Party, better known as the Know-Nothings. During his term, California's first railroad was completed and the first wagon road was accessible over the Sierra Nevada. Johnson served one term as governor, and in 1867 was appointed to the bench of the Nevada Supreme Court.

A highlight: J. Neely Johnson Park at 11th and F streets in Sacramento was named for the former governor. The Greek Revival style J. Neely Johnson House -- one of the city's oldest homes -- stands at 1029 F St.

In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were originally published 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.

January 13, 2012
Woodland showcased in new Arcadia book

Woodland.jpgArcadia this week unveiled another Images of America volume dealing with a Sacramento area community. Woodland documents the history of the Yolo County county seat from its founding in 1853 to the present

Using images from the Yolo County Archives, UC Davis Library and private collections, local geographers Robin Datel and Thomas Krabacher at CSUS and Dennis Dingemans at UC Davis have assembled an attractive portrait of this ever-changing Central Valley city.

Images of America: Woodland may be purchased online for $21.99. Proceeds benefit the Yolo County Historical Society.

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 7,500 titles celebrating communities all across the country.

January 12, 2012
New Arcadia book on Mather Field

Thumbnail image for Mather Field.jpgMather Air Force Base, originally called Mills Field when it opened in 1918, served the nation in several important capacities until its closure in 1993. Now there's a new Arcadia volume which honors the Sacramento base's distinguished service that spanned two world wars and the Cold War.

Richly illustrated, Images of America: Mather Field documents the changing role of the facility as a classroom for pilots, navigators and bombardiers, as well as home to a strategic radar station and refueling squadron. Authors James Scott and Tom Tolley of Sacramento Public Library Special Collections delved into city and state archives for photographs and background. Scott and SPL Archivist Amanda Graham discussed the project in an interview conducted last week during the Capital Public Radio program Insight.

Mather Field may be purchased online. Price is $21.99. Proceeds benefit the Public Library.

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 7,500 titles celebrating communities all across the country.

January 11, 2012
Sacramento streetcars featured in lecture

K STREET STREETCAR.JPGThe next general meeting of the Elk Grove Historical Society includes a presentation by local historian William Burg speaking on streetcars and electric railroads that served Sacramento, its suburbs and nearby Northern California cities.

Burg will illustrate his lecture with historic photos and postcards documenting the golden age of intraurban and interurban mass transit that lasted from 1870 to 1947.

An expert in the history of urban development and transportation, William Burg is author of Sacramento's Streetcars, Sacramento's Southside Park and Then and Now: Sacramento, and is a staff writer for Midtown Monthly magazine.

What: "Sacramento's Streetcars," a lecture by William Burg
Where: Elk Grove Farm Bureau, 8970 Elk Grove Blvd #A.
When: Jan. 16, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: (916) 686-8336 or Elk Grove Historical Society

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: A streetcar on K St., looking east from 10th St. Sacramento Bee file photograph

January 10, 2012
Railtown offers special Shop Tours

Railtown shop.JPGRailtown 1897 State Historic Park will offer special tours of its large repair shop on three dates this winter.

Visitors will get a closeup look at the remarkable train restoration work being done at Railtown and will learn about recently completed projects, including the two-year reconstruction of Sierra No. 3, the "Movie Star" locomotive.

What: Behind-the-Scenes Shop Tours
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: Jan. 13, Feb. 10 and March 9, 10 to 12 p.m.
Cost: included with Park admission: $5 for adults, $3 for youths ages 6-17, children under five are free
For more info: 209-984-3953 or go to Railtown website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Workers remove rivets from the the boiler of the famous Sierra No. 3. The steam locomotive, seen in more than 200 movies and TV shows, went through a two-year restoration at the state-owned Railtown in Jamestown. 2000 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randy Pench

January 9, 2012
Military Museum to host talk on Modoc War

The Modoc War of 1872-73, a dramatic conflict of the American Indian Wars waged in Northern California will be the subject of discussion at the California State Military Museum on Saturday, January 14 from 1-3 p.m. The Military Museum will screen the hour-long documentary The Modoc War (produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting), and Sacramento author Cheewa James will discuss and sign copies of her new book, Modoc: The Tribe That Wouldn't Die.

What: Modoc War film and book talk
Where: California State Military Museum (1119 2nd Street, Sacramento)
When: January 14, 2012, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Cost: Free
For more info: (916) 854-1904;

January 8, 2012
In History's Spotlight: Sue Pedersen

Pedersen.JPGBorn: Oct. 16, 1953

Known for: As a Rio Americano High sophomore, Pedersen won two gold medals and two silver medals in swimming events at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

Background: Pedersen, along with teammate Debbie Meyer, was trained by Sherm Chavoor at the Arden Hills Swim Club. Called "the baby of the American Olympic team," Pedersen celebrated her 15th birthday at the Mexico City Games. She won gold medals in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay and the 4x100-meter medley relay events and silver medals in the 100-meter freestyle and the 200-meter individual medley events. Shortly after the Olympics, Pedersen retired from competitive swimming after compiling six national championships and setting nine American records. She eventually moved to Washington state and became a certified public accountant.

A highlight: Pedersen set a world record time of 59.0 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle event at the 1968 Olympic Trials in Los Angeles. She swam a 1:00.3 in the event in Mexico, trailing U.S. teammate Jan Henne by 0.3 seconds. She was selected to the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1995.

In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were originally published 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.

January 6, 2012
Newspapers and genealogy reasearch

Root Cellar, the Sacramento Genealogical Society, offers month workshops on tools and techniques of interest to the amateur family historian. These lectures are free and open to the general public.

The Jan. 11 meeting features Janice Sellers speaking on the use of online newspapers in genealogical research. Sellers is a professional genealogist, providing research services primarily in European and North American family history,

Check the Root Cellar website for information on future workshops.

What: Root Cellar Genealogy Workshops
Where: Citrus Heights Community Clubhouse, 6921 Sylvan Road, Citrus Heights
When: Second Wednesday of the month at 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-412-3511 or

January 5, 2012
Oakland genealogy classes focus on web research

genealogist research.JPGIf you're a family historian who wants to get the most out of your Internet research, you may be interested in a course offered in Oakland starting this month.

Co-sponsored by the California Genealogical Society and the Oakland California Family History Center, this 8-session series covers essential online tools: Google,,, FamilySearch,, USGenWeb, WorldGenWeb, NewspaperArchive and Genealogy Bank.

The classes are limited to the first 40 people who register (and registration is required). No refunds given once the course begins.

What: Best Genealogy Websites: Tips and Tricks
Where: Oakland California Family History Center, 4766 Lincoln Ave., Oakland
When: Eight classes, Jan. 26 thru March 15, Thursdays 1:30 to 3 p.m
Cost: $40 for eight sessions, including course materials
For more info and registration: 510-531-3905 and website

Series flier

PHOTO CREDIT: Dianne McKinley does genealogical research at the Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Family History Center) on Eastern Ave. 2004 Sacramento Bee photograph by Bryan Patrick

January 4, 2012
New film documents Sacramento's love affair with the Kings

kings 1985.JPGSmall Market, Big Heart is a new full-length, locally-produced documentary examining the 26-year struggle by the Sacramento community to attract and keep a professional basketball team in this region despite enormous economic challenges. The filmmakers tell this story with interviews with local journalists, politicians, members of the Kings organization and devoted fans.

Small Market, Big Heart premieres Jan. 9, 7 p.m., at the Crest Theatre. You can find ticket information, read media coverage, view a movie trailer and buy a T-shirt on the film's website.

Facebook page
Twitter feed

PHOTO CREDIT: Members of the Sacramento Kings line up for the opening ceremonies for the franchise's first game in Sacramento. Among those identified are players (from left): Reggie Theus, LaSalle Thompson and Eddie Johnson (behind Thompson). 1985 Sacramento Bee photograph by Mitch Toll

January 4, 2012
Upcoming genealogy classes at the Sacramento Public Library

Genealogy Pub Lib.JPGThe Sacramento Public Library hosts another year of free genealogy classes intended to help amateur family historians improve their research skills. Here's a summary of upcoming sessions in January and February:

Jan 8: Common Surname Search Strategies with Lisa Louise Cooke. 1:30 - 3 p.m. West Meeting Room. Registration not required.

Jan. 15: Getting Ready for the 1940 Census with Stephen Morse. 1:30 - 3 p.m. West Meeting Room. Registration not required.

Jan. 22: Naturalization: Rules & Records with Barbara Leak. 1:30 - 3 p.m. West Meeting Room. Registration not required.

Feb. 4: Beginning Genealogy - Using Records to Tell Your Ancestors' Stories with Karen Burney. 1 - 2:30 p.m. West Meeting Room. Registration required.

Feb. 18: Introduction to Online Genealogy (Computer Class). 10:15 -11:45 a.m. 3rd floor Technology Lab. Registration required

Feb. 26: Beginning Genealogy with Janice Sellers. 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. West Meeting Room. Registration required.

For more information on the classes call 264-2920 or see the website.

Incidentally, the "Book a Genealogist" service at the Public Library has a new schedule starting this month. Genealogy volunteers will be available Tuesdays (1, 1:45, 2:30 and 3:15 p.m.) and Thursdays (1, 2 and 3 p.m.). Call 264-2920 to arrange a 45-minute session with a volunteer.

PHOTO CREDIT: Library volunteer Bernard Marks, right, shares genealogy researching advice with Blair Leatherwood, center, and his wife Judy Emick-Leatherwood at the Sacramento Public Library. 2010 Sacramento Bee photograph by Autumn Cruz

January 3, 2012
Happy Birthday to Sac History Happenings

Old Bee Building.JPGThis blog turns one today. It's a good occasion to thank all our tipsters, especially the regular ones, who sent information about items of historical interest this past year.

As mentioned in the first blog posting, the Sacramento region is blessed with extensive historical resources. And we're fortunate to have so many dedicated professionals and volunteers who preserve and make them available in museums, archives and libraries. Our local culture is that much richer for their efforts.

Sac History Happenings aims to support the historical community by posting news about the latest exhibits, lectures, tours, meetings, as well as new research, publications and online resources. Occasionally we'll spotlight existing collections of high value and interest. Every Sunday you'll see a brief profile of an important figure from Sacramento history.

SHH also supplements the Sacbee History Section. That web page features related articles written by Bee staffers as well as stories from the paper's wire services. It also contains links to essential historical sites, AP's Today in History chronology and the reader photo gallery (where you can display family snapshots of historical interest). If you're a Twitter user, the Bee's history section and blog share a combined feed: @Sac_History_Hap.

Finally I want to thank the blog's co-writers -- Rebecca Crowther, Michael Dolgushkin and Amanda Graham -- for their help this first year. All three are experts in the field of historic preservation and archiving and I much appreciate their professional work and their contributions to SHH.

PHOTO CREDIT: The Sacramento Bee was located on 7th Street between "I" and "J" Streets from 1902 until 1957. Bee archives

January 1, 2012
In History's Spotlight: William Russell

russell.jpgBorn: Jan. 31, 1812
Died: Sept. 10, 1872

Known for:
Russell was the front man for the overland freight company Russell, Majors and Waddell, which formed the Pony Express, whose western terminus was Sacramento.

Background: A successful Missouri businessman, Russell was called "Napoleon of the West." He and his partners' freight company transported supplies to forts and government outposts throughout the West. At the suggestion of U.S. Sen. William M. Gwin of California, the company formed the Pony Express to keep California in touch with the Union in case of Civil War. The Pony Express began April 3, 1860, when a rider dashed from St. Joseph, Mo., toward Sacramento. Before, it took more than three weeks to move mail across the 1,966-mile span. Pony Express riders cut that by more than half. Because of the advent of the transcontinental telegraph, the Pony Express was no longer needed after one year, five months and 21 days of service. Russell, Majors and Waddell are said to have lost at least $100,000 on the venture.

A highlight: At its height, the Pony Express had 400 horses, 80 riders and 190 stations. A statue of a Pony Express rider and horse stands in Old Sacramento.

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.

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

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

History headlines on