Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

November 29, 2012
San Francisco's well-known spots featured in new Arcadia volume

SF Landmarks.jpgSan Francisco certainly ranks as one of the world's most distinctive, recognizable cities. A now a newly-released Arcadia photo book documents 493 local, state and national designated landmarks within The City. These include Mission Dolores, Jackson Square, Bank of Italy, Mark Hopkins Hotel and others.

Author Catherine Accardi collected images from various photographic collections, including the San Francisco Public Library History Center and the J.B. Monaco collection.

San Francisco Landmarks (Images of America series)
by Catherine Accardi
128 pages

Arcadia Publishing is known for producing small, richly 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 that celebrate communities all across the country.

November 28, 2012
This atlas documents California history with maps
Historical Atlas.jpg

Oklahoma University Press has come out with a paperback edition of a well-regarded atlas that documents the range of California history from ancient earthquakes, through Spanish exploration, Mexican settlement, Gold Rush and statehood, up to 20th century military bases, water projects and wildfires. The volume is illustrated with 101 maps, some previously not available to the general public.

Historical Atlas of California is co-authored by CSU Fullerton history professor, Warren A. Beck, and Fillmore cartographer, Inez D. Hasse, who also produced the Historical Atlas of New Mexico.

Historical Atlas of California
by Warren A. Beck and Ynez D. Haase
University of Oklahoma Press
240 pages (paperback edition)

November 27, 2012
Pony Express gears up for annual holiday ride

ponystamp1$.jpgTo make this year's holiday card-sending experience even more memorable, consider having your letters carried by the Pony Express.

Pre-stamped envelopes can be brought to Rancho Cordova City Hall, 2729 Prospect Park Drive, by Dec. 3 for the Annual Pony Express Christmas Card Ride. The collection box is in the first-floor lobby.

Riders from the National Pony Express Association will travel on the American River Parkway's horse and bicycle trails from Folsom, through Rancho Cordova, and end in Old Sacramento.

Letters will be imprinted with a commemorative stamp, canceled by hand and sent to the postmaster for delivery.

The public is welcome at a starting celebration at 9 a.m. Dec. 8 at the Folsom History Museum, 823 Sutter St. Letters will arrive at the Sacramento History Museum, 101 I St. around 3:30 p.m.

The National Pony Express Association is a nonprofit organization that supports the preservation of the Pony Express National Historic Trail, which runs though eight states, according to the organization's website.

Donations are welcome at all collection boxes during this annual event.

- Vanessa Walker

PHOTO CREDIT: Between April and October 1861, Wells Fargo issued Pony Express stamps. This Wells Fargo franked envelope addressed to New York left Nevada City, California on July 25, 1861, and went by Pony Express from Sacramento to St. Joseph, Missouri in ten days. Courtesy Wells Fargo. (Click image for a larger view.)

November 26, 2012
Early Sacramento women featured in talk
Thumbnail image for Disaster and Triumph.jpg

Local author Cheryl Anne Sapp will discuss her book, Disaster and Triumph: Sacramento Women, Gold Rush through the Civil War, tomorrow at the next Sacramento County Historical Society meeting.

Although women constituted a small percentage of early Sacramento's population, they influenced the development of the city in many ways, according to Sapp. In biographical sketches she shows how six very different women displayed skill and tenacity in meeting the challenges of flood, fire and hardship.

Lorraine Dias Herbon will also give a brief talk based on her Golden Notes profile of her great aunt, "Daisy's Legacy, A Tale of the Progressive era in Sacramento."

What: Women Authors' Night: Presentations and Signings
Where: Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society, 5380 Elvas., Sacramento
When: Nov. 27, 7 p.m.
Cost: free, open to the pubic
For more info: website

November 25, 2012
Archiving basics for beginners

RP STATE ARCHIVE CONSTITUT.JPGAre you someone who is responsible for taking care of historical materials but lacks formal training in archival work? The State Archives is offering a one-day crash course in the art of collecting, organizing, protecting and displaying precious artifacts.

Topics include the proper handling of photographs, maps and multimedia records, copyright policies, security and environmental concerns, collection promotion and public access, and other essential issues.

The seminar will be led by Laren Metzer, Deputy State Archivist, and Teena Stern, archival and historical consultant. Workshop is limited to 30 participants, and the deadline for registration is Nov. 29.

What: The Basics of Archives workshop
Where: Secretary of State Multipurpose Room, 1500 11th St., Sacramento
When: Dec. 4, 8:30 to 4 p.m.
Cost: $50 per person
For more info and registration: Laren Metzer, 916-653-3844 or email

PHOTO CREDIT: Brian Lamb in the California State Archives vault holds the original copy of California's first state constitution in use from 1849-1879. 2006 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randy Pench

November 25, 2012
In History's Spotlight: Jimmie Yee

Jimmie R. Yee.jpgBorn: Feb. 10, 1934

Known for: Jimmie Yee served 12 years on the Sacramento City Council and was interim mayor for nearly a year. He retired from politics in 2004 but returned in 2006 to run for and win a seat on the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.

Background: A Sacramento native, Yee spent his teenage years joining other young men at Fifth and N streets as day laborers. A Sacramento High School graduate, Yee earned a civil engineering degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and started his own firm, now called Cole, Yee, Schubert & Associates. He served on the city Planning Commission, and was elected to City Council in 1992. A year later, a racially motivated fire bombing targeted Yee's house along with the offices of the NAACP, Japanese American Citizens League and a Jewish synagogue. In 1999, Mayor Joe Serna Jr. died and Yee, the vice mayor, was appointed to serve out his term.

A highlight: Yee's firm designed the 300 Capitol Mall building next to where his father's grocery store once stood, and the original Arco Arena, Sacramento Convention Center and Sutter General Hospital.

-- Anthony Sorci

November 22, 2012
Small trains take center stage at Railroad Museum
RR Small Train Holiday 2.jpg

Generally the main floor of the State Railroad Museum is dominated by huge steam and diesel locomotives. But this weekend the behemoths give way to the small trains -- toy train and scale model displays -- that will delight visitors of all ages.

In addition to the exhibits, there will be hand car rides, a scavenger hunt, a film about vintage toy trains, plus an appearance by Mrs. Claus who'll be greeting kids and sharing stories.

What: Small Train Holiday!
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento State Historic Park
When: Nov. 23 & 24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $10 for adults; $5 youths ages 6-17 and free for children five and under
For more info: 916-445-6645 or go to website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Toy train exhibits. Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

November 21, 2012
Holiday arts & crafts fair at the Indian Museum

CSIM holiday fair.JPGThe State Indian Museum's final event for Native American Heritage Month is the annual Arts & Crafts Holiday Fair.

Visitors will have the opportunity to meet native artisans from all over California and to purchase their traditional creations, including jewelry, basketry, pottery, hand-painted gourds, dolls, holiday ornaments and more.

What: Arts & Crafts Holiday Fair
Where: California State Indian Museum, 2618 K St., Sacramento
When: Nov. 23 & 24, 10 to 5 p.m.
Cost: Regular admission fees apply -- adults $3; youths (6-17) $2
For more info: call 916-324-8112 or 916-324-0971 or website

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Museum gift shop manager Helen Kawelo staffs one of the many artisan booths at a previous Arts & Crafts Fair.  Courtesy California State Indian Museum.

November 20, 2012
Weinstock's book talk at Central Library

444-5-weinstocks-cover-blog.jpgLocal author Annette Kassis will visit the Central Library on Tuesday, November 27 (6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.) for a discussion and signing of her new book on a former Sacramento landmark, Weinstock's: Sacramento's Finest Department Store (The History Press, 2012): 

While many Sacramentans will remember Weinstock's spectacular Christmas displays, the signature children's milk bar and the gala openings of suburban stores at Country Club Plaza and Sunrise Mall, historian Annette Kassis goes beyond the storefront to uncover the philosophy that placed Weinstock's at the forefront of business innovation. More than a retail establishment, Weinstock's one-hundred-year legacy brought high fashion, progressive politics and the leading edge of modernization to California's Capital City.

In addition to the presentation, a historical display featuring images, catalogs and newsletters from Weinstock & Lubin Co. will be exhibited outside the Sacramento Room at the Central Library through the month of November. 

What: Weinstock's book discussion and signing
When: November 27, 2012, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library, 828 I Street
Cost: Free
For more info: (916) 264-2920;

November 18, 2012
In History's Spotlight: George Stanich

GEORGE STANICH.JPGBorn: Nov. 4, 1928

Known for: George Stanich was one of the area's best all-around athletes. He became a basketball All-American at UCLA, a bronze medalist in the high jump at the 1948 Olympic Games and a professional baseball pitcher in the Pacific Coast League.

Background: At Sacramento City College, Stanich lettered in baseball, basketball, and track and field during the 1946-47 school year. He was the leading scorer for the basketball team, the top pitcher on the baseball team and the top high jumper in the state. After his Olympics appearance, Stanich became the first of legendary coach John Wooden's All-American players at UCLA. As a professional baseball pitcher for the Oakland Oaks, he played in 1950 and 1951. Stanich was also the No. 1 draft pick of the Rochester Royals (now the Sacramento Kings) in 1950. He became a basketball coach and physical education teacher at El Camino College in Southern California.

A highlight: Stanich was inducted into the Sacramento City College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998. When UCLA renamed the Pauley Pavilion for Wooden and his late wife in 2003, the ceremony was attended by 70 of his former players, including Stanich.

-- Anthony Sorci

November 16, 2012
Santa rides by day and night at Railtown

RT christmas 2011 386.jpgRailtown 1897 State Historic Park, the home of famous old locomotives, will again offer day and night time holiday rides featuring special guest, Santa!

Guests will be treated to holiday music and song at the depot and on the train. Santa will arrive aboard Sierra No. 3 (the movie star steam locomotive) and then join passengers on a festively decorated excursion train pulled by a vintage diesel engine. Every child will have a chance to meet Santa and his elves.

These rides are popular, so advanced ticket purchases are highly recommended.

What: "Santa's Starlight Express" Train Rides
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: Nov. 23 and 24, 5:30 and 7 p.m.
Cost: $24 for adults, $12 for youths ages 3-17, free for children two and under
For tickets and info: 209-984-3953 or go to website

What: "Santa By Daylight" Train Rides
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: Nov. 23 to 25 and Dec. 15 and 16. Hourly 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $13 for adults, $6 for youth ages 6-17, free for children five and under. Note: all train ride tickets include free Park admission.
For tickets and info: 209-984-3953 or go to website

News releases

PHOTO CREDIT: Santa Claus delights passengers on the Starlight Express. Courtesy Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

November 16, 2012
Spielberg film depicts struggle to pass the 13th Amendment

Film-Lincoln.JPGSteven Spielberg's new historical film Lincoln opens today at local theaters. It tells the story of how the 16th president used all his political skills to shepherd the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery through Congress. Lincoln needed passage before southern states rejoined the Union. (See Carla Meyer's movie review.)

The U.S. Senate approved the amendment on April 8, 1864 and the U.S. House on Jan. 3, 1865. It was adopted on Dec. 6, 1865 when a sufficient number of states ratified it. California did so on Dec. 19.

On Dec. 21, 1965, The Sacramento Bee lauded the achievement with reference to Forefathers Day, the obscure celebration of New England Pilgrims that has been eclipsed by the Thanksgiving holiday (whose date was fixed by Lincoln in 1863). The Bee editorialized:

"Tomorrow -- the anniversary of the Landing of the Pilgrims on the world-renowned rock of Plymouth, usually denoted 'Forefather's Day' -- will doubtless be celebrated in every portion of the continent, with more than usual spirit. The sons of New England are scattered far and wide on land and sea; for without arrogating to this class more than their merits deserve, or indulging on invidious sectional comparisons, New England enterprise has penetrated to and made itself felt in every portion of the habitable globe.

"Our country having successfully emerged from a bloody internecine war, which has resulted in the complete triumph of free institutions and the wiping of the black blot of slavery from out national escutcheon forever, there is a particular fitness in the special observance of this day at the present time. The descendents of the Pilgrim Fathers were the first to abolish that relic of barbarism -- African slavery -- which was done in the Constitution adopted by the people of the State of Massachusetts in the year 1780. Could good old Parson Brewster, the pugnacious and self-willed Miles Standish, with the little crowd of determined spirits that embarked at Plymouth, in the mother country, on September 6th, 1620, and landed upon the rock which this event has rendered immortal on the 22nd of the following December, have foreseen the mighty results which were to follow, what must have been their sensations?"

PHOTO CREDIT: Daniel Day-Lewis, center rear, as Abraham Lincoln, in a scene from the film, "Lincoln." AP Photo / Disney-DreamWorks II by David James

November 15, 2012
California in the Civil War subject of talk in Chico

cannon.jpgThere were no major Civil War battles in California, but the state played a significant role as a source of gold and volunteer troops for the Union. It was also a state where pro-slavery sympathy was strong in some sections -- particularly in southern California where there were attempts at secession by splitting the state.

Two Grass Valley authors will survey the political and military history of California from the Mexican-American War through the Civil War in a multimedia lecture this Sunday in Chico. Richard Hurley and TJ Meekins draw upon their research done for their historical novel Queen of the Northern Mines. They'll relate stories of heroism and daring in the struggle to secure the state for the Union.

What: "California and the Civil War" multimedia presentation
Where: Butte County Library Chico Branch, 1108 Sherman Ave. Chico
When: Nov. 18, 2 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: Dale 530-529-4843 or website

Event flyer
News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Union Army volunteers serve a Rodman Gun on Alcatraz Island. Courtesy TJ Meekins

November 15, 2012
CAM exhibit celebrates 4-wheel drive travel
1943 Jeep(R) MB.JPG

Since their development during World War II, four-wheel drive vehicles have provided civilians with greater opportunity to get off the pavement and explore the natural world. "Off the Beaten Path" is the California Automobile Museum's new exhibit celebrating the history of these hardy vehicles, from military equipment through the modern SUV. Included in the display are jeeps, Volkswagens and the Mercedes-Benz Unimog.

Incidentally, CAM is recruiting new volunteer docents for training that starts Jan. 10. See the Museum's website for details.

What: Off the Beaten Path
Where: California Automobile Museum, 2200 Front St., Sacramento
When: Nov. 10 thru Jan. 20, 2013. Museum hours: Monday thru Friday, 10 to 6 p.m. Every third Thursday, 10 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $8 general, $4 student, free kids under 5, $1 off for seniors (65+) and AAA members, $4 on 3rd Thursdays (after 5 p.m.).
For more info: (916) 442-6802 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: 1943 U.S. military jeep. Courtesy DaimlerChrysler

November 14, 2012
Traditional skills shared at State Indian Museum

poster_09_24_12_thumbnail.jpgAs part of its observance of Native American Heritage Month, the California State Indian Museum is offering traditional skills workshops this Saturday.

Skilled artisans will lead adult classes in Soapstone Carving, Cordage Making, Clapstick Making, Tule Doll Making, Indian Beadworking, Pinenut Crafting, Native hand game instruction, and other crafts. There will also be activities for children.

Workshop attendees must preregister. Call 916-324-8112 for details.

What: Traditional Skills Workshop
Where: California State Indian Museum, 2618 K St., Sacramento
When: Nov. 17, 10 to 4 p.m.
Cost: adults $3; youths (6-17) $2
For more info: 916-324-8112 or website

Event flyer

November 13, 2012
Donner Party doll returns to Sutter's Fort
SF Patty Reed Doll & Stand.jpg

This Thursday Sutter's Fort will unveil its new Orientation Gallery, permanent exhibit and movie theater to the public. The mission of the gallery and exhibit is to educate visitors to the important role the Fort played -- as central gathering spot for diverse cultural groups -- in the history of California.

The star of the exhibit is the Patty Reed Doll, which returns to public display after a 15 month restoration. The iconic toy accompanied 8-year-old Martha Jane "Patty" Reed as she and her family traveled overland to California in what became the infamous Donner Party. Reed survived the deadly winter of 1846-47 and lived to 1923. In 1946 her heirs donated Dolly to Sutter's Fort, the Donner Party's intended destination.

This Saturday at the next "Hands on History" event, visitors will have the opportunity hear stories about the Donner tragedy and view the Patty Reed doll and other Donner artifacts. In addition there will be hands-on demos of wagon packing, quill pen writing and rag or corn husk doll making.

What: "One Fort, Many Views" Orientation Gallery & Exhibit Opening
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: Nov. 15 (note: once opened, the gallery and exhibit will be permanent at the Fort). Hours: 10 to 5 p.m.
Cost: Regular Fort admission: $5 per adult (18+), $3 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under. Note that on Special Interpretive Program Days (including Nov. 15 & 17) cost $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6-17).
For more info: 916-445-4422 or website

What: Hands on History -- There are Folks Trapped in the Mountains
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: Nov. 17, 10 to 5 p.m. Cannon firing demonstrations: 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day.
Cost: $7 per adult (18+), $5 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under.
For more info: 916-445-4422 or website

News releases

PHOTO CREDIT: Priceless doll belonging to Martha Jane "Patty" Reed who in 1846 migrated west with her family in what became known as the Donner Party. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

November 12, 2012
Lecture explores the wit and wisdom of Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln by Brady.JPGRoot Cellar, the Sacramento Genealogical Society, holds it November membership meeting this Wednesday. The featured speaker is Arnold Kunst who'll discuss the humor and story-telling skills of Abraham Lincoln.

A retired teacher, Kunst has been speaking about the Civil War president for many years. He is author of Lincoln 365, a calendar-based "series of short stories about or quotes from Abraham Lincoln coupled with a quote from one other authority."

Visitors are always welcome at Root cellar membership meetings, board meetings and workshops.

What: "The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln" with Arnold Kunst
Where: Citrus Heights Community Clubhouse, 6921 Sylvan Rd., Citrus Heights
When: Nov. 14, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: John Jay (916) 331-0963 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: An 1860 photo of Abraham Lincoln by Matthew Brady AP Photo/Matthew Brady/National Portrait Gallery

November 11, 2012
In History's Spotlight: John McCrea

John McCrea.JPGBorn: June 25, 1964

Known for: Lead singer John McCrea of Cake is the songwriter of the group's distinctive songs "The Distance," "Never There" and "Sheep Go to Heaven."

Background: McCrea leads a quintet that defies description. Critics still can't resist calling it something: indie, alternative, country, rock, ska, funk ... the list goes on. McCrea moved from Berkeley to Sacramento as a child and formed Cake in 1991. "There's a great scene here, a lot of small places to play and a lot of bands. And the rent is cheap enough to let you put more focus on music," he said in 1995. In 1994, Cake released the album "Motorcade of Generosity." Platinum success came in 1995 with "Fashion Nugget," followed by "Prolonging the Magic" (1998), "Comfort Eagle" (2001), "Pressure Chief" (2004) and the current "B-sides and Rarities," on the band's Upbeat label. McCrea said on NPR's "Fresh Air" in 2005 he was influenced by Hank Williams and Benny Goodman. His songs have been featured in movies such as "Shallow Hal" and "Orange County." Cake is currently touring (Thursday, San Diego).

A highlight: Cake's song "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" is the theme song for NBC's "Chuck."

-- Anthony Sorci

November 9, 2012
New edition of San Francisco photo book

SFThenBook.jpgThunder Bay Press has released the third edition of San Francisco Then and Now, a richly illustrated photo book first published in 2002.

This all-new version features then-and-now photographs of the City's famous landmarks, such as cable cars, Ferry Building, Palace of Fine Arts, and Transamerica Pyramid. It also includes dramatic images of the 1906 earthquake and its aftermath, as well as of the Golden Gate Bridge over the decades.

Co-authors Eric J. Kos and Dennis Evanosky also produced East Bay Then and Now, San Francisco In Photographs and other community history volumes.

San Francisco Then and Now (3rd edition)
by Eric J. Kos and Dennis Evanosky
Thunder Bay Press
144 pages

November 8, 2012
Neil Armstrong remembered at USS Hornet Museum

Hornet pier3.JPGAs part of Veterans Week at the USS Hornet Museum, there will be a ceremony this Saturday to honor veterans and to pay special tribute to Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong who died in August.

Festivities will include remarks by Dr. William Carpentier, NASA flight surgeon assigned to the Apollo 11 mission, who will share personal memories of the late astronaut. Former astronaut Dan Bursch will also speak on the significance of the Apollo moon landings.

In addition there will be the unveiling of the renovated Apollo Exhibit, a flyover of historic Nanchang CJ-6As (weather allowing) and a wreath-tossing ceremony.

What: Veterans Tributes -- Remembering Neil Armstrong
Where: USS Hornet Museum, 707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3, Alameda (driving directions)
When: Nov. 10. Museum hours 10 to 5 p.m. Armstrong Tribute starts at 1 p.m. in Hangar Bay 3.
Cost: Adults $16.00; Seniors (65+) $13:00; Military w/ I.D. or uniform free; Students w/ I.D. $13.00; Youth (5-17) $7.00; Children (4 & under) free w/ paying adult; museum members free.
For more info: 510-521-8448 or website

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: USS Hornet Museum in Alameda. Courtesy Denise Howe, Pacific Communications

November 7, 2012
1912 presidential election: "Glad It's All Over!"

One hundred years ago it was a four-way race for U.S. President. Democrat Woodrow Wilson triumphed over Republican William Howard Taft, Progressive Theodore Roosevelt and Socialist Eugene V. Debs. Wilson won a large majority of the Electoral College with 42 percent of the popular vote. He carried the four-county Sacramento region with approximately 49 percent of the vote.

Glad Its All Over.jpgIMAGE CREDIT: Arthur V. Buel's political cartoon appeared in The Sacramento Bee the day of the presidential election of 1912.

November 7, 2012
Native authors to speak, sign books at State Indian Museum

LC BILLY MILLS.JPGThe State Indian Museum continues its local observance of Native American Heritage Month with a full day devoted to Indian literature.

Many notable native writers will be on hand for mini-lectures and book signings. The lineup includes: Beverly Ortiz, (After the First Full Moon in April), Beverly Ogle (Whisper of the Maidu), Albert Hurtado (Indian Survival on the California Frontier), Alicia Funk (Living Wild - Gardening, Cooking, and Healing With Native Plants), Brendan Lindsay (Murder State: California's Native American Genocide, 1846-1873), William Bauer (We Were All Like Migrant Workers Here), Alison Owings (Indian Voices - Listening to Native Americans), James Sandos (Converting California - Indians and Franciscans in the Missions), Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills (Lessons of a Lakota) and Justin Farmer (Basketry Plants Used by Western American Indians).

What: Meet the Authors! Native Literature Showcase
Where: California State Indian Museum, 2618 K St., Sacramento
When: Nov. 10, 10 to 3 p.m. Author mini-lectures scheduled every half hour.
Cost: adults $3; youths (6-17) $2
For more info: 916-324-8112, 916-324-0971 or website

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Author and Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills in his Fair Oaks home. 2000 Sacramento Bee photograph by Laura Chun

November 6, 2012
Local museums offer special Veteran's Day programs

AOC_aces_025a.JPGTwo Sacramento historical museums will observe this Veteran's Day weekend with special programs.

The Aerospace Museum, home to a large collection of military aircraft on display, will honor vets Memorial Plaza with a ceremony that includes a tribute to the flag, followed by the National Anthem, a wreath laying and speeches.

The State Military Museum, which exhibits California-related Army and National Guard artifacts (flags, weapons, equipment, etc.), will offer free admission for everyone on Sunday and be open Monday, Veteran's Day.

What: Veteran's Day Tribute
Where: Aerospace Museum of California, 3200 Freedom Park Dr., McClellan
When: Nov. 11 museum hours 10 to 5 p.m.(special ceremony at 11 a.m.). Veterans Day hours: 9 to 5 p.m.
Cost: museum admission -- adults $8; seniors (65+) $6; youths (13-17) $6; children (6-12) $5; children 5 & under free; active military w ID free; museum members free.
For more info: 916-643-3192 or website

What: Veteran's Day Celebration
Where: California State Military Museum, 1119 2nd St., Old Sacramento
When: Nov. 11, 10 to 5 p.m; Nov. 12, 10 to 4 p.m.
Cost: Sunday free admission for all. Monday regular admission: adults $5; children (6-17) and seniors (55+) $3; children under five and under free; patrons with a current membership card free.
For more info: (916) 854-1900 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Casa Roble High School AFROTC. students James Rozak, 16, left, and Derric Caporaso, 18, present colors before a program at the Aerospace Museum of California. 2008 Sacramento Bee photograph by Autumn Payne

November 5, 2012
1912 presidential election "In the Hands of the Jury"

One hundred years ago it was a four-way race for U.S. President. Democrat Woodrow Wilson triumphed over Republican William Howard Taft, Progressive Theodore Roosevelt and Socialist Eugene V. Debs. Wilson won a large majority of the Electoral College with 42 percent of the popular vote. He carried the four-county Sacramento region with approximately 49 percent of the vote.

In the Hands of the Jury.jpgIMAGE CREDIT: Arthur V. Buel's political cartoon appeared in The Sacramento Bee the day before the presidential election of 1912.

November 5, 2012
Historic Cemetery honors Civil War vets

Civil War cemetery.JPGThis Veteran's Day weekend the Historic City Cemetery remembers those Sacramentans who served in the Civil War. This tour focuses on the Union soldiers who migrated to California after the war ended. Their stories, courage and sacrifice will be told by knowledgeable docents in period attire.

Incidentally, this is the last cemetery tour of 2012.

What: Civil War Tour
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: Nov. 10, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations appreciated
For more info: 916-264-7839, 916-448-0811 or website

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Clad in Civil War regalia, Graylan Carson takes part in the "Sacramento's Civil War Heroes" tour of the Historic City Cemetery. 2008 Sacramento Bee photograph by Carl Costas

November 4, 2012
In History's Spotlight: Pete Wilson

Pete Wilson.JPGBorn: Aug. 23, 1933

Known for: Wilson served two terms (1991-99) as California's governor.

Background: An Illinois native, Wilson attended Yale University and served in the Marine Corps. He earned his law degree at the University of California. He began his political career in 1960 when he served as an advance man for Richard Nixon during the 1960 presidential campaign. The Republican Wilson served as state assemblyman, mayor of San Diego and a U.S. senator before defeating Dianne Feinstein in the 1990 gubernatorial election. Wilson grappled with the state's economic recession in the early '90s. He also battled with the Legislature during a record 64-day budget deadlock in 1992. He rebounded to easily win re-election over Democrat Kathleen Brown in 1994. Wilson, who now works for the law firm Bingham McCutchen, last month [2007] was tapped to help negotiate a deal with the NBA for a new Kings arena at Cal Expo.

A highlight: Bee political columnist Dan Walters wrote in 1998, "It's difficult to summarize Wilson's governorship in a few words, simply because so much has happened. He's had his successes and failures, but he's always been engaged in the battle, easily the most activist governor of recent vintage."

-- Anthony Sorci

November 1, 2012
What's New at the California State Library

California History Room at the State Library, in honor of Veterans' Day, has selected California Military History as the theme for its November book display. The theme this month is California's military history.  Books covering all aspects of life in the service are displayed for your reading pleasure in Room 200 on the shelves by the lockers, among them the U.S. Navy's strong 4.bmppresence in San Diego, the Golden Gate's artillery batteries, California's own Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, and the U.S. Army's ill-fated attempt to employ camels in the state's deserts. Also on display is an authentic World War II U.S. Marine Corps woman's corporal uniform.

Featured this month in the library's first floor rotunda is a new exhibit on California food. The delights of the palate have always been a part of California life, but the 1840s and 1850s influx of gold seekers from all over the world brought a full range of cuisines to this state. Accordingly, this exhibit showcases nineteenth-century menus relating to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company and the Southern Pacific Railroad along with later restaurant menus which reflect California's fine graphic art tradition (including some from San Francisco's fabled Poodle Dog), and calendars from Sacramento's now defunct Tientsin Cafe. Among the books on display are What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking, the first cookbook by an African-American in the U.S. (printed by San Francisco women in 1881), and a manuscript cookbook from the Gold Rush by Kezia Curtis written in 1851. The subject of drink is not ignored either, with Cocktail Boothby's American Bartender, published in 1891 in San Francisco, on display along with a bottle of "Recall Red" and a plaque, made from an old distillery vat, honoring San Francisco Chronicle columnist Stanton Delaplane for introducing Irish Coffee to the United States.

3.bmpIn keeping with the above theme of food and drink, this month's "A Night at the State Library" program is called Culinary California and will feature guest speaker Kotaro "Taro" Arai. Taro, owner of Mikuni Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Sacramento, is one of the top sushi chefs in California. Twenty-five years ago his parents, who had recently emigrated from Japan, opened their first Mikuni restaurant in Fair Oaks. Today there are eight Mikuni restaurants in Northern California, and one of the reasons for their success is the culinary genius of Taro. His inspired creations include both the traditional Japanese style sushi as well as his eclectic, creative variations that appeal to the American palate.

In addition, the library's Principal Librarian Emeritus for Special Collections, Gary Kurutz, will speak on our great collection of culinary treasures here at the State Library, and specifically about our November exhibit described above.

"A Night at the State Library" will take place on Wednesday, November 14. The doors open at 5PM and the program will begin at 6. Light refreshments will be served. Admission is free with RSVP to or 916-653-9942. The California State Library is located at 900 N Street in Sacramento.

November 1, 2012
Congratulations to the 1954 World Series champion Giants

In 1954 the Giants (still in New York) scored a previous four-game sweep in a World Series when they beat the Cleveland Indians in the fourth game played on Oct. 2. With the help of relief pitcher Johnny Antonelli, the Giants squashed a late surge by the Indians to win 7 to 4.

It was the first time in 40 years that a National League team achieved that kind of post-season victory.


IMAGE CREDIT: The Bee's Oct. 2 front page account of the fourth game of the 1954 World Series. (Click on the image to get a larger view.)

November 1, 2012
Become an Old Sacramento Living History guide

LS MUSIC FESTIVAL12.JPGHave a hankering to help teach local history by portraying an early California character?

Learn what it takes to become a living history volunteer at one of the orientation sessions offered by the Old Sacramento Living History Program this month.

OSLHP was formed in 1995 "to teach, while entertaining, the history of Old Sacramento and to create a living street museum with authentically costumed characters, performing re-enactments, giving tours, participating in events and promoting Old Sacramento."

What: Old Sacramento Living History Training
Where: 101 I St., Sacramento
When: Nov. 3 & 4, 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
For more info: Janessa West at (916) 808-4980 or

FAQ about becoming a OSLHP volunteer

PHOTO CREDIT: Participants of the Old Sacramento Living History Museum make their way down the streets of Old Sacramento during the Sacramento Music Festival. 2012 Sacramento Bee photograph by Lezlie Sterling

November 1, 2012
More opportunities to tour Underground Sacramento

Thumbnail image for SAC UNDERGROUND.JPGTo those who've missed Old Sacramento's popular underground tours this season: fear not. The chance to see these important historic sites extends through mid-December.

The hour-long, docent-led excursions celebrate the 19th century street-raising effort that protected the old city from floods and produced the excavated foundations and enclosed pathways we have today.

Guests should be ready to walk in spaces with uneven surfaces and low ceilings. The tours are popular, so advanced ticket purchases are recommended.

What: Old Sacramento Underground Tours continue through mid-December
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street in Old Sacramento
When: Thursdays and Fridays at 11 a.m., 12:30 and 2 p.m. November Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m., 12, 12:30, 1:30, 2 and 3 p.m. Extended schedule will also be offered Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 23, 24 & 25 from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. departing every half hour. Dec. 8-9 and 15-16 at 11 a.m., 12:30 and 2 p.m.
Cost: $15 for adults; $12 for HOSF members; $10 for children
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Benjamin Ismail as William "Mac" Gwin gives a tour of the B.F. Hastings building basement, a historically significant building in Old Sacramento. 2010 Sacramento Bee photograph by Michael Allen Jones

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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