Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

February 29, 2012
The Japanese internment remembered in Bee news story and photos

Internment.JPGFeb. 19 was the 70th anniversary of Executive Order 9066. Signed by Franklin Roosevelt a few months after U.S. entry into World War II, the document authorized the removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast.

The Bee observed this milestone with an article by Anita Creamer that examined the lasting psychological impact of the internment on the children of those who were evacuated to remote camps. Some researchers believe the wartime experience of parents have left scars of low-level depression and insecurity on the next generation.

The story is accompanied by two large photo slide shows.

Executive Order 9066: Legacy of Shame includes many historic images of interned Japanese by the renowned photographer Dorothea Lange. There are also contemporary pictures by the Bee's Paul Kitagaki, who has embarked on an ongoing project to photograph veterans of the camps and their descendents.

Unknown Japanese Internment Photographs contains over 200 historic pictures by Lange, Ansel Adams and others. Many of the people in these photographs are unidentified. If you recognize any of them, please contact Paul Kitagaki at The Bee.

PHOTO CREDIT: Nisei, second generation Japanese Americans of the Mochida family are Hiroko Mochida, 69, and seated Miyuki Hirano, 72, photographed May 21, 2006. The Mochida family operated a nursery and five greenhouses on a two-acre site in the Eden Township, now Fremont, Calif. Their father, Moriki Mochida raised snapdragons and sweet peas. They were interned at the Tanforan Assembly center and the Topaz Interment Camp during WWII and when they returned they had lost their business and had to start over. Copyright 2012 by Paul Kitagaki Jr.

February 29, 2012
Two valuable sites for California black history study

MLK at CSUS.JPGAs Black History Month comes to an end, I ought to mention two valuable online resources for students of California African American history.

The first is African Americans in California, a comprehensive timeline prepared by the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. It begins way back in 1781 (when 46 individuals -- 26 or whom were black or mulatto -- first settled Los Angeles) and proceeds through the Spanish Period (1769-1821), the Mexican Period (1821-1848) and the U.S. Era (1850-present).

Second is Calisphere, a digitized repository of California-related photographs, documents, artworks and other artifacts that includes a themed collection on the state's African Americans. The images and narrative are organized in chronological sections: Gold Rush Era to 1900; the Struggle for Economic Equality (1900-1950s); Community Life (1950s-1980s); Politics and Community (1970s-present); Civil Rights and Social Reform (1950s-1970s). There are also links to material dedicated to important people and events in California black history.

Incidentally, The Bee recently posted its own photo gallery of prominent African Americans in state and local history. We know it's not complete. Share your suggestions (with justifications) in the comments below.

PHOTO CREDIT: Martin Luther King speaking at California State University, Sacramento on October 16, 1967. Sacramento Bee photograph by Erhardt Krause

February 28, 2012
Pioneer women the focus of historic cemetery tour

Sac women.jpgThe next Historic Cemetery tour pays homage to California's pioneer women who held their migrant families together and helped settle the state amidst severe challenges.

As usual knowledgeable docents will illustrate the topic with stories and references to cemetery markers.

What: "Pioneer Women: How the West was Really Won"
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: March 3, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations appreciated.
For more info: call 916-264-7839 or 916-448-0811

News release

IMAGE CREDIT: Advertisement from the 1861 Sacramento City Directory. Courtesy of the Center for Sacramento History.

February 27, 2012
Women's History Month Luncheon in Yolo County

"Twenty-five years of Yolo County Women's History" is the theme of the 25th annual Women's History Month Luncheon scheduled for March 8 in Woodland. On the program is a special video featuring reflections by BJ Ford and Helen Thomson, former Yolo County Supervisor and California Assembly member, who organized the first luncheon in 1987.

Anderson Family Catering & BBQ of Winters will cater the event. Proceeds will go to purchase women's history materials for the Yolo County public libraries.

What: Yolo County Women's History Month 25th Annual Luncheon
Where: Woodland Community & Senior Center, 2001 East St., Woodland
When: March 8, 11:30 to 1 p.m.
Cost: $20 per person. Reservations required by March 2.
For more info and to make reservations: contact Dotty Pritchard 530-666-8230, Louisa R. Vessell 916-451-2113, or visit website.

PHOTO CREDIT: Helen Thomson 2002 candidate photograph.

February 26, 2012
In History's Spotlight: James L. Gillis

GILLIS.JPGBorn: Oct. 3, 1857
Died: July 27, 1917

Known for: As state librarian beginning in 1899, James L. Gillis led the movement to establish a county library system in California. He also extended the use of the State Library to the general public.

Background: An Iowa native, Gillis and his family moved to Sacramento in 1870. In 1894, he became chief clerk of the Assembly Committee of Ways and Means. He was also keeper of the archives of the secretary of state. In 1898, he was appointed a deputy in the State Library, then became state librarian. In 1909, the Legislature passed a law allowing each county to install a tax-supported library controlled by a board of supervisors and managed by a qualified librarian.

A highlight: In 1899, the State Library was in the Capitol and had more than 100,000 volumes. Its use was restricted to state officials, legislators, clergy and press. Gillis opened it to the general public. He also helped create the first union catalog in the country -- the California Information File -- and the Books for the Blind department at the State Library.

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.

February 24, 2012
California and the Civil War

The Yolo County Historical Society and West Sacramento Historical Society will present a multimedia presentation about California's role in the Civil War.

Grass Valley authors Richard Hurley and TJ Meekins will explain the deep split in the state's political allegiances. Although California was officially allied with the North, Southern sympathies were strong in places and a secessionist coup was a real possibility.

After their talk, Hurley and Meeks will sign copies of Queen of the Northern Mines - a Novel of the Civil War in California.

The writers gave a similar presentation at the California State Military Museum last October.

What: California and the Civil War: a multimedia show
Where: River Bend Manor, 644 Cummins Way, West Sacramento
When: Feb. 26, 2 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 530-661-2212

Event flyer

IMAGE CREDIT: Reynolds' political map of the United States, showing the comparative area of the free and slave states and the territory open to slavery or freedom by the repeal of the Missouri Compromise.

February 24, 2012
Contruction of the Central Pacific Railroad documented in photos

CPRR.jpgIn 1864 photographer Alfred A. Hart was hired by the company to document the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad. He published 364 photos during the next five years. Many of these images were reproduced in The Railroad Photographs of Alfred A. Hart, Artist (1995) by Mead B. Kibbey.

The book is long out-of-print, but Kibbey will show some of Hart's CPRR photography during an illustrated talk at the next Sacramento County Historical Society meeting this Tuesday. The program is free to SCHS members and the public.

Kibbey, a longtime student of local history, also edited a reproduction of the 1851 Sacramento City Directory, the first book published here.

What: Building the Central Pacific with Mead B. Kibbey
Where: Sacramento Medical Museum, 5380 Elvas Ave., Sacramento.
When: Feb. 28, 7 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: call 916-443-6265 or website

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

February 22, 2012
"The Envelope, Please...."

006.JPGWant to read about movies, movie stars, and the Academy Awards? Each month the California History Section at the State Library displays books on a specific theme in its reading room, and the February theme is: "The envelope please...". In honor of the Academy Awards which will be held on February 26th, California Section staff have selected an assortment of books from the Section's extensive holdings on movies, movie stars, and the Academy Awards. The books are on display in Room 200 at 900 N Street on the shelves across from the lockers and are from our circulating collection--so come have a look before the end of the month, and the theme changes again!005.JPG

February 22, 2012
Tracing your African American roots

Pocket-Greenhaven Library.JPGProfessional genealogist Lisa B. Lee will speak this Sunday at a workshop intended to help African Americans learn about the variety of available resources for tracing ancestors and building a family tree. Owner of Got, Lee has been been doing family research for several decades and is expert at both computerized and non-computerized tools.

What: Tracing Your Black Roots with Lisa B. Lee
Where: Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library, 7335 Gloria Dr., Sacramento
When: Feb. 26, 1 to 3:45 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: (916) 264-2700 or visit website.

PHOTO CREDIT: Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library. 2011 Sacramento Bee photograph by Andy Alfaro

February 21, 2012
State Archives behind-the-scenes tours

Archives.JPGThe California State Archives houses a mind-boggling variety of materials: millions of government documents, thousands of maps, architectural drawings, video and audio recordings, artifacts and ephemera. Plus really precious items such as the original state constitution. Minerva, the Archives' online catalog, provides easy-to-access indexing of these vast holdings.

On one Friday each month visitors have an opportunity to go behind the scenes to tour this historic treasure trove. (See 2012 tour schedule.)

What: State Archives Tour
Where: California State Archives, 1020 O St., Sacramento
When: Feb. 24 (and one Friday each month for the rest of 2012), 12 - 1 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-653-2385 or email tour coordinator

PHOTO CREDIT: California's chief archivist, Nancy Zimmelman Lenoil, leads a rare, behind-the-scenes media tour of the California State Archives. 2007 Sacramento Bee photograph by Brian Baer

February 20, 2012
Iconic images of U.S. presidents

Johnson Gall Bladder.jpgHappy President's Day!

To help you get in the mood, take a look at The Bee's gallery of notable presidential pictures, some serious, some less-than-serious.

You'll see such memorable moments as: George W. Bush's visit to the USS Abraham Lincoln to declare "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq, Jimmy Carter fighting off the "killer rabbit," Ronald Reagan demanding that Mr. Gorbachev "tear down this wall" in Berlin, and Harry Truman crowing over the Chicago Tribune erroneous election headline.

We couldn't include every picture we'd like (being limited to what's in the paper's wire collection). So some obvious things are missing. Tell us what you would have included in the comment section below.

PHOTO CREDIT: President Lyndon Baines Johnson displays the incision from his gall bladder surgery and kidney stone removal at a news conference at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Washington in this Oct. 20, 1965. Associated Press photograph by Charles Tasnadi.

February 19, 2012
In History's Spotlight: Steve Sax

Steve Sax.JPGBorn: Jan. 29, 1960

Known for: Steve Sax, a second baseman and West Sacramento native, played 14 seasons with four major league teams. He was a five-time All-Star and National League Rookie of the Year.

Background: Sax graduated from Marshall (now River City) High School. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers after being picked in the ninth round of the 1978 summer draft. Sax was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1982, hitting .282 and setting a club rookie record with 49 stolen bases. He followed that up by hitting .281 and stealing 56 bases in 1983. He played for the Dodgers through the 1988 season, when Los Angeles upset the Oakland A's in the World Series. He then played three seasons with the New York Yankees, two with the Chicago White Sox and completed his career with Oakland in 1994. After moving to Loomis, Sax ran as a Republican for the 4th Assembly District in 1995 but withdrew in early 1996.

A highlight: In 1986, Sax batted a career best .332 but lost the National League batting title by a point to Montreal's Tim Raines. He amassed a career batting average of .281 and 444 stolen bases.

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.

February 17, 2012
History of Sacramento's breweries discussed

Sacramento's Breweries.JPGIn celebration of the 3rd Annual Sacramento Beer Week (Feb. 24 - Mar. 4), local historian Ed Carroll will lecture on the city's brewing heritage.

Carroll, a contributor to Midtown Monthly, is author of Sacramento's Breweries, a history of the industry from the Gold Rush to Prohibition published by the Sacramento County Historical Society.

What: Ed Carroll Speaking on Sacramento's Breweries
Where: Time Tested Books, 1114 21st St., Sacramento
When: Feb. 19, 7 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-447-5696 or website

February 16, 2012
Film documents Japanese internment at Santa Fe camp

internment.JPGTo observe the 70th anniversary of the Executive Order 9066, the presidential order permitting the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, the Northern California Time of Remembrance organization is showing a film describing life at the Department of Justice camp in Santa Fe, about which little has been generally known.

The Santa Fe facility housed 4,555 men, whom the FBI considered the most dangerous "enemy aliens," although there was little evidence to support the accusation. Most of these prisoners "were community leaders, teachers, Buddhist ministers and others who the government feared would rally and organize the Japanese community."

Neil Simon, the documentary's producer, will be on hand to answer audience questions after the showing of the film.

What: Prisoners and Patriots: The Untold Story of Japanese Internment in Santa Fe
Where: Secretary of State's Auditorium, 1500 11th St., Sacramento
When: Feb. 18, 1 to 3 p.m.
Cost: Donation: $15 for adults, $10 for students over 18, and free for students under 18.
For more info: 916-427-2841 or website

Event flyer
News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Young evacuees of Japanese ancestry wait their turn for baggage inspection upon arrival at the Turlock Assembly Center. Photograph by Dorothea Lange

February 15, 2012
Your chance to be true to your zoo

Zoo entrance.jpgHere's a surprising entry for a preservation contest: the entrance to the Sacramento Zoo. It's competing for a $10,000 grant offered by Dwell Magazine.

What makes these buildings so special? It's the hyperbolic paraboloid roofline (hypar for short). That saddle shape found its way into much of 19th and 20th century architecture. Built in 1961, the zoo structures are an interesting example of what's called the Mid-Century Modern style.

Dwell Magazine will choose from the top ten most voted for entrants in its Rethinking Preservation contest. The Zoo Entrance is our region's only submission. You can support the local effort by registering your vote on the Dwell website.

Eichlerific blogger Gretchen Steinberg has been drumming up support for the project. She's posted some interesting historic images of the Entrance in a recent posting, as well as helpful background on the hyperbolic paraboloid in architecture. You can also see more photos of hypar buildings on her Flickr page.

PHOTO CREDIT: December 2011 photograph of the Sacramento Zoo Entrance by Gretchen Steinberg.

February 15, 2012
Emigrants invade Sutter's Fort

Sutter's Fort cannon.jpgIn the early days of the state, emigrants to California came overland or by ship. Their experiences will be vividly described at Sutter's Fort next "Hands on History" program.

Docents in period costumes will explain the special challenges these travelers faced on their journeys. Park visitors will help weave rope, learn simple knots, pack wagons, create maps and do other fun educational projects.

In addition the New York Volunteers group will pay a special visit to the Fort dressed in full military gear, ready to demonstrate marching, flag raising and lowering and activities.

What: Hands on History: By Land and By Sea
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: Feb. 18. Fort hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cannon firing demonstrations: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. Musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day
Cost: $6 per adult (18 and older), $4 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under
For more info: call 916-445-4422 or visit website

News release

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

February 14, 2012
Will Sacramento flood? Our renegade Sacramento flood control system and why we are lucky to have it

After a two-month hiatus, the California State Library's Food for Thought program is back with a new name: A Night at the California State Library. This month's program will feature the fascinating tale of the Sacramento River Flood Control system. Join George Basye as he shares the history and issues surrounding Sacramento's complex water issues. Basye, past president and now vice president of the California State Library Foundation, has served on its board for many years, and practiced law with the firm of Downey Brand in Sacramento for fifty years, most of which was spent on water and flood control issues involving the Sacramento River and the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta.

1862 flood.bmp

George Basye's book Battling the River, a History of Reclamation District No. 108, formed in 1870, will be available for purchase and signature for $15.00 including tax.

A Night at the California State Library will take place Wednesday, Feb. 15th at 900 N St., in the California History Room at the State Library. Doors open at 5 p.m., the lecture begins at 6 p.m., and light refreshments will be served. For more information please contact Rebecca Ann Fontaine at

February 14, 2012
Love letters from the Vietnam War

Maness book.jpgIn a serious nod to Valentine's Day, the California State Military Museum will host a program describing one American soldier's heart-felt correspondence to his wife from the jungles of Vietnam.

It's Lonely Here in Hell: Love Letters from Nam is a collection written by James Dennis Piper who was drafted in August 1966 and killed in action just eight months later. His wife Michelle entrusted the letters to local author Charity Maness who put them in a historical context in this book.

What: Charity Maness, author of It's Lonely Here in Hell: Love Letters from Nam
Where: California State Military Museum, 1119 2nd St., Sacramento
When: Feb. 18, 1 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-854-1904 or website

February 14, 2012
African Americans and railroad history explored in lecture

Railroads African Americans.jpgThe history of African Americans is intertwined with the history of American railroads from slavery to Amtrak. The rail industry provided black people with employment as brakemen, firemen, porters, chefs, mechanics and laborers. In addition, it also served as a setting for many important civil rights protests and breakthroughs.

This story will be explored at a lecture by Theodore Kornweibel, Jr., author of Railroads in the African American Experience: A Photographic Journey, who will speak twice at the California State Railroad Museum this Saturday. The presentation will be illustrated with some of the book's 200 images, many never before published.

Prof. Kornweibel will also meet informally with the public at Underground Books, 2814 35th Street in Sacramento Feb. 17, from 6 to 8 p.m.

What: Two Special Presentations & Book Signing Opportunities with Theodore Kornweibel, Jr.
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento State Historic Park
When: Feb. 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Cost: $9 adults; $4 youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under (regular Museum admission)
For more info: 916-445-6645 or website

News Release

February 13, 2012
Black History Tour at the Old City Cemetery

CaliforniaBlackPioneersLogo.jpgAs part of Black History Month, Sacramento's African American pioneers will be celebrated at the next Historic Cemetery tour this Saturday.

Docents from the Old City Cemetery Committee and the Sojourner Truth Multicultural Arts Museum will explain the contributions of a dozen fascinating people. Some were abolitionists, some fought in the Civil War, some worked in the Underground Railroad.

The Old City Cemetery Committee conducts free monthly tours on a variety of topics. Evening "lantern-light" tours are offered three times each year. This year's programs will focus on Sacramento's labor history.

What: Black History Tour
Where: Old City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: Feb. 18, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, donations appreciated.
For more info: 916-264-7839, 916-448-0811 or website

Event flyer
News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Old City Cemetery Committee

February 12, 2012
In History's Spotlight: Joan Lunden

LUNDEN.JPGBorn: Sept. 19, 1950

Known for: A Fair Oaks native, Joan Lunden (originally Blunden) co-hosted ABC's "Good Morning America" from 1980 to 1997.

Background: Lunden grew up in what is now the Phoenix Field subdivision. She attended California State University, Sacramento, and became a news anchor at Channel 3 (KCRA). After working in New York, she joined "Good Morning America" in 1976 as a consumer reporter. Four years later she was named co-host with David Hartman, and later with Charles Gibson. On the show, she traveled the world, covered five Olympic Games, four presidents and two royal weddings. Since leaving the show, she has hosted a prime-time series, "Wickedly Perfect," and has written books, including her latest, "Growing Up Healthy: A Complete Guide to Childhood Nutrition, Birth Through Adolescence." She also appeared as herself in the 2005 movie "Thank You for Smoking."

A highlight: Among some of her on-air feats during her "GMA" run were flying in an F-18, hang gliding, dog sledding, river rafting, ice climbing and bungee jumping.

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.

February 11, 2012
Mobile WWI exhibit to visit Napa, Stockton
WWI exhibit.jpg

With the recent death of the last known World War I veteran, direct memory of "The Great War" has passed away.

Fortunately there's a traveling exhibit coming to Northern California to help educate the public about this pivotal chapter in world history.

This week the 18-wheel big-rig WWI Museum visits downtown Napa and the University of the Pacific as part of its 75-city "Honoring Our History" tour. Visitors to the exhibit will get a direct experience of the war via artifacts (weapons, tools, equipment and uniforms), multimedia displays and a walk-through simulated trench environment.

What: Honoring Our History Traveling World War I Exhibition
Where: Veterans Park, Downtown Napa and University of the Pacific, 3601 Pacific Ave., Stockton.
When: Feb. 15 (Napa) and Feb. 17 (Stockton), 9 - 5 p.m.
Cost: free, donations appreciated.
For more info: website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: WWI Machine Gun and Trench Experience, part of the Honor Our History traveling exhibition. Courtesy National WWI Museum

February 10, 2012
Mission studies group to meet in San Rafael

Thumbnail image for San Rafael Mission.JPGCalifornia Mission Studies Association, a group "dedicated to the study and preservation of the California Missions, presidios, pueblos, ranchos and their Native American, Hispanic and Early American past," is holding its annual conference in San Rafael this year.

The three-day program consists of presentation of scholarly papers and tours of nearby historic sites.

The conference site is Mission San Rafael Arcangel, the 20th California Mission founded in 1817 by Father Vicente de Sarria.

What: California Mission Studies Association 29th Annual Conference
Where: Mission San Rafael Arcángel, 1104 Fifth Ave. San Rafael
When: Feb. 17-19
Cost: registration fee $85; students $30.
For more info: conference web site

PHOTO CREDIT: A view of Mission San Rafael in downtown San Rafael from Albert Park. 2008 Sacramento Bee photograph by Michael Allen Jones

February 9, 2012
Epidemiology of Disaster: The Donner Party, 1846-47

The story of the Donner Party remains to this day an important chapter in California's history. Beginning their overland trek from Missouri in the spring of 1846, the party eventually comprised 90 individuals, approximately half of whom died of cold and starvation by journey's end. Yet the force of mortality did not act equally on all in the group. Dr. Stephen McCurdy, Director and Professor of the UC Davis Master of Public Health program in the Department of Public Health Sciences and a member of the Sierra-Sacramento Valley Medical Society, will address an often overlooked aspect of the Donner Party: it's epidemiology.

Dr. McCurdy has a long-standing interest in teaching and history. While searching for ways to keep medical students interested (and awake) for discussions of epidemiology and statistics, he was inspired to use the Donner Party experience to illustrate key concepts in these disciplines. Dr. McCurdy will address risk factors and lessons that are relevant even today.

This address will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21 at the Medical Museum, Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society, 5380 Elvas Avenue in Sacramento

February 9, 2012
Online hydraulic mining exhibit

hydraulic.JPGBefore a federal court ended the practice in 1884, hydraulic gold mining in the Mother Lode exacted a terrible environmental cost on the downstream rivers and farmland.

To help visitors better understand this era in mining history, the Gold Country Museum in Auburn rebuilt its exhibit on hydraulic extraction (the use of water jets to sweep away whole hillsides to get at the ore).

If you're unable to see the exhibit in person, check out the online version on the Placer County Museums' blog. Six diorama-like displays explain in detail the technique and its impact.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo of powerful hydraulic hoses being used in gold mining operations.

February 8, 2012
Lake Tahoe skiing remembered in photos, postcards

Lake Tahoe skiing.jpgHistorian, lecturer and photographer Mark McLaughlin has authored two new volumes for Arcadia devoted to the history of Lake Tahoe skiing. McLaughlin tells the story of the development of the sport with images found at the Donner Summit Historical Society, North Lake Tahoe Historical Society and private collections,

Skiing in Lake Tahoe (Images of America), 128 pages, price $21.99.
Skiing at Lake Tahoe
(Postcards of America), 15 pages, price $7.99.

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.

February 7, 2012
Tuskegee Airman take flight at the California Museum

MatthewsPilot1944.JPGA new California Museum exhibit on the Tuskegee Airmen coincides nicely with the recent release of Red Tails, the George Lucas film depicting the famed World War II fighter group.

The Tuskegee Airmen not only fought heroically in Europe, they also overcame prejudice and discrimination in the Army Air Forces. Their success helped prepare the way for desegregation of the U.S. military in 1948.

Developed by the California African American Museum in partnership with The California Museum, the exhibit showcases aircraft and military memorabilia, original letters, journals and other personal mementos.

What: Tuskegee Airmen: Journey to Flight
Where: California Museum
When: Today thru Aug. 5, 2012. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 - 5 p.m.; Sun.: 12:00 - 5 p.m.
Cost: Adults $8.50; college students & seniors $7 with valid ID; youth 6-17: $6; children 5 & under free.
For more info: see website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Robert A. (Bob) Matthews, former Tuskegee Airman of World War II (1944 photo) and UC Davis geology instructor. Matthews died in 2006. Courtesy Friends of the Davis Library

February 6, 2012
Beer in Mother Lode history
breweries book.jpg

The importance of beer production in Sacramento history is generally known. But less known is the proliferation of breweries in the foothill region that began in the Gold Rush. Now a new Arcadia illustrated volume aims to document the historic Gold Country breweries and the people who operated them.

Local archaeologists R. Scott Baxter and Kimberly J. Wooten co-authored this book and several others in the Images of America series, including Shenandoah Valley and Amador Wine Country and Sutter Creek.

Breweries of the Gold Country (Images of America series) is now available for purchase for $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.

February 5, 2012
In History's Spotlight: Richard Marriott

MARRIOTT.JPGBorn: Feb. 7, 1918
Died: June 4, 2000

Known for: Richard Marriott served nearly eight years as mayor and 16 years on the City Council.

Background: Born in Ely, Nev., Marriott later moved with his family to Nevada City. He graduated from Nevada City Union High School in 1935, earned a bachelor's degree from the University of San Francisco in 1940, and did graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley. After World War II, he began selling newspaper advertising. He then worked briefly for the Catholic Herald in Sacramento before joining the Sacramento Valley Union Labor Bulletin, where he worked as editor and manager. He entered local politics in 1959, when there was no district system. He served two two-year terms as mayor. At that time, the council picked the mayor from its members. In 1971, Marriott won a four-year term in the first citywide mayoral election.

A highlight: In 1975, Marriott was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the State Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. Four years later, he was named deputy secretary of the Health and Welfare Agency. He retired in 1982.

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.

February 3, 2012
S.F. exhibition highlights golden era of Golden State songs

Songs celebrating California predate Katy Perry, Tupac and Dr. Dre and even the Beach Boys.

By a good century. The San Francisco exhibition "Singing in the Golden State" has collected songs -- from the Gold Rush to the vaudeville era -- name-checking the state and its events. Its sheet-music collection includes the 1913 song "I Love You, California," as well as "California Flood Mazurka," which commemorates the 1862 Sacramento flood.

The songs evoke pre-radio, pre-television parlor get-togethers that helped spread news about California. The show at the Society of California Pioneers, 300 Fourth Street, includes visually evocative sheet-music covers, sound recordings and instruments

The show runs into December. Hours are 10 - 4 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays and the first Saturday of each month. For information, see the Society of California Pioneers website or call (415) 957-1849.

-- Carla Meyer

February 3, 2012
The Bee and McClatchy Company are 155 years old

Today is the 155th birthday of the The Sacramento Bee and its parent firm, the McClatchy Company.

We made quite a deal of the 150 anniversary back in 2007. That year the paper published a nine-part history of the company based on Steve Wiegand's book, Papers of Permanance: The First 150 Years of The McClatchy Company. It's an authorized profile, but Wiegand covers most of the important developments, warts and all. You can read an excerpt about James McClatchy and the birth of The Bee here.

As part of the 2007 celebration, The Bee also published In History's Spotlight, a series of brief profiles of notable Sacramentans. These are being reprinted in this blog every Sunday.

The Bee's online site recently launched a new section devoted to Scoopy, the newspaper's loveable mascot. There you'll find a photo gallery of Scoopy through the years, a couple stories on his creation and a brief history of the company.

IMAGE CREDIT: Reproduction of the first edition of The Daily Bee, published Feb. 3, 1857. Click it to see a full-size version.

February 3, 2012
Upcoming California Book Fairs

Those interested in California History (particularly books on California History) who will be traveling outside of Sacramento over the next two weeks will likely be interested in two upcoming events. San Francisco will be hosting the 2012 Antiquarian Book, Print & Paper Fair the weekend of February 4 and 5. This show will include dealers from the United States and around the world featuring antiquarian and rare books as well as other paper ephemera. In addition, complementary appraisals will take place on Sunday from noon to 3pm, limited to two items per person with paid admission. The San Francisco 2012 Antiquarian Book, Print & Paper Fair will be open on Saturday from 10 to 7 p.m., and Sunday 11 to 5 p.m. at the Concourse Exhibition Center, 7th and Brannan Streets. Admission is $10 with return privileges.

The following weekend the Pasadena Convention Center will host the 45th California International Antiquarian Book Fair, which will also feature a wide variety of antiquarian and rare books, and paper ephemera. Open hours are Saturday, February 11 from 11 to 7 p.m., and Sunday, February 12 from 11 to 5 p.m.. Admission is $15 with return privileges. In addition, there will be a $25 opening preview on Friday the 10th from 3 to 8 p.m., with proceeds benefiting the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. The Pasadena Convention Center is located at 300 East Green Street in Pasadena.

February 2, 2012
Singles night at the history museum

UPDATE 2/4/12: This event has been canceled.

On Thursday, February 9, the Sacramento History Museum will be offering a singles event targeted at Sacramento history buffs: Singles Night at the Museum. Attendees will mingle with fellow singles, enjoy tasty hors d'oeuvres and a wine sampling, go on an Underground Tour of Old Sacramento hosted by 19th-century matchmaker Miss Odessa, and take part in a museum scavenger hunt. For those who wish to catch dinner later in the evening, the Rio City Cafe will offer a 15% discount to ticket holders.

What: Singles Night at the Museum
When: February 9, 2012, 5 p.m.
Where: Sacramento History Museum (101 I Street)
Cost: $25; Ages 21+
For more info: (916) 808-7059;

February 1, 2012
Black History Month events in Sacramento

Washington ClubBlack History Month is upon us and there will be scores of programs and activities taking place this month in celebration throughout the Sacramento area. Rosa Parks Day events will be held the first week of February, while Sacramento Public Library will be putting on special programs throughout the month, including history lectures, arts and crafts programs, and interactive music concerts.

The first week of February, several events will be held commemorating Rosa Parks Day (February 4) in anticipation of the Rosa Parks Centennial Celebration in 2013 and the installation of her statue in National Statuary Hall, Washington, D.C.:

     For Sacramento Museum Day, the Historic Regional Transit "Ole Blue" bus will honor
     the birthday of Rosa Parks at the Crocker Art Museum (February 4, 2012, 10:00 a.m.)

     Rosa Parks Day at the Capitol (February 6, 2012, 11:30 a.m., West Steps of State Capitol)

     Chocolate, Wine and Roses, Rosa Parks Day Celebration (February 6, 2012, 6:00
     p.m., Queen of Sheba Restaurant, 1704 Broadway)

Sacramento Public Library Black History Month programs are listed in the library's Events Calendar. For more information, phone (916) 264-2920.

PHOTO CREDIT: The Washington Club, named in honor of George Washington and Booker T. Washington, Sacramento High School (1945). From the Special Collections of the Sacramento Public Library.

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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