Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

September 3, 2013
Check out your treasures at Folsom's Antique Evaluation Day

FL EA MAGNIFYING.JPGWant to know more about an antique or collectible you own? Here's a chance to get advice from 13 knowledgeable appraisers with expertise in a variety of specialties: quilts, furniture, jewelry, paintings, coins, baskets, weapons and much more. It's all happening this Saturday in Folsom's historic district.

Antique Evaluation Day is sponsored by the Folsom History Museum with support by Folsom Lake Bank, Folsom Rotary Annes and Andy, The Folsom Chamber of Commerce, The Rotary Club of Folsom, The Rotary Club of Folsom Lake, The Rotary Club of Historic Folsom and Karen's Bakery Café. Proceeds from the event go to support Museum programs.

What: 16th Annual Antique Evaluation Day
Where: Sutter Street, Folsom
When: Sept. 7
Cost: Evaluations -- $8 per item or $35 for five items. Parking is free.
For more info: 916-985-2707 or website

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Lee Kavaljian evaluates a painting on cotton cloth with a magnifying glass at the Antique Evaluation Day held in front of the Folsom History Museum. 2000 Sacramento Bee photograph by Florence Low

August 26, 2013
Gold Rush Days showcase Old Sacramento

Gold Rush Days Fire Brigade.jpgGold Rush Days, Old Sacramento's premier historical fest, thunders into town Labor Day weekend for four days of vintage fun.

There will be music, skits, re-enactments, demonstrations, arts and crafts, including Old West plays and family-friendly melodramas, historical re-enactments, horse-drawn carriages, cowboys and ladies on horseback, wagon rides, gold panning, Artisan Alley, hands-on children's craft activities and watermelon eating contests. Local restaurants will make available old-fashioned food and beverages for purchase.

And special this year: baseball-related skits featuring players in period uniforms who'll invite visitors to help celebrate Sacramento's early infatuation with the sport.

What: Gold Rush Days 2013
Where: Old Sacramento
When: Aug 30 to Sept. 2. Friday from 9 to 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 11 to 7 p.m.; Monday from 11 to 5 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-808-7777 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Fire Brigade to the rescue at Gold Rush Days. Courtesy Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau

August 14, 2013
Next tour explores early tools and jobs at Sutter's Fort

SF HOH Tools and Wood.jpgIn building up a vibrant commercial hub at his fort in Sacramento, John Sutter attracted skilled people of various types: rappers, sawyers, blacksmiths, gunsmiths, rope makers, wagon wrights, carpenters, coopers, weavers, bakers, distillers, cooks and clerks." These individuals brought new techniques, technology and jobs to the community. Their contributions will be celebrated in the next "Hands on History" program at historic Sutter's Fort

Visitors next Saturday will be treated to demonstrations of and hands on experience with early California tools. In addition they'll see weapon displays and gun and cannon firings.

What: Hands on History -- Tools, Talent and Technology; Jobs at Sutter's Fort
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: Aug. 17. Fort hours 10 to 5 p.m. (open daily). Cannon firing demonstrations: 11, 1 and 3 p.m. Musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day.
Cost: $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children (5 and under).;
For more info: 916-445-4422 or visit website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Wood and tool demonstration at Sutter's Fort. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park.

August 12, 2013
Conference to explore Josiah Royce and California

royce.bmpThe life and work of philosopher, teacher and historian Josiah Royce (1855-1916) will be examined during a three-day conference held this weekend at the historic Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley.

Royce grew up in Grass Valley, studied and taught at UC Berkeley, later earned four doctorates and eventually spent the last 34 years of his life as a professor at Harvard University. Although he taught many different subjects, Royce is best known for his philosophic writings and historical studies of California and the West, including California: A Study of American Character: From the Conquest in 1846 to the Second Vigilance Committee in San Francisco.

The sponsoring organization, Josiah Royce Society, will host speakers and paper panels at the conference. In addition there will be tours of the Royce Avon property and a reading of the play "Beyond These Mountains" by Robin Wallace.

Participants may register online.

What: Royce, California and the World
Where: Holbrooke Hotel, 212 W. Main, Grass Valley
When: Aug. 16-18,
Cost: students $100, public and faculty $125. Friday buffet with John McDermott $26. Saturday banquet with Kevin Starr $30.
For more info: website

August 1, 2013
Truckee celebrates its 150th anniversary

RP TRUCKEE OVERALL.JPGHistorians fix the establishment of Truckee with the 1863 opening of Gray's Toll Station, a two-story cabin used to collect fees for a nearby bridge. It was built by Joseph Henry Gray in the 1850s to house his family and to later sell provisions to passing freight haulers.

This year Truckee celebrates its 150th anniversary as a town (and its 20th year as an incorporated city) with a series of special events which continues this Sunday when the Truckee Donner Historical Society hosts an educational program featuring talks and demonstrations by guest experts. The program includes local author Mark McLaughlin, a demonstration by the Washoe Cultural Council, a talk on the Truckee ice industry by historian Tom Macaulay, a presentation on old Highway 40 by the Donner Summit Historical Society, plus participation by the Truckee Donner Railroad Society and North Lake Tahoe Historical Society. Bring the kids -- hot dogs will be provided.

Then on August10 the focus shifts to Sierra train history when visitors of all ages can learn about the arrival of the Central Pacific, local logging railroads and that passenger train that was snowbound at Donner Pass in 1952. In addition there will be model train rides courtesy of the Sacramento Valley Live Steamer Railroad Museum. The festivities are co-sponsored by the Truckee Donner Railroad Society, Truckee Donner Historical Society and Town of Truckee.

What: Truckee Donner Historical Society Celebration
Where: Joseph Research Society, 10115 Donner Trail Rd., Truckee
When: Aug. 4, 10 to 4 p.m.
Cost: free, but donations welcome
For more info: 530-559-2378 or event flyer

What: Truckee Railroad History Day
Where: Truckee Regional Park, 10050 Brockway Road, Truckee
When: Aug. 10, 10 to 4 p.m.
Cost: free, but donations welcome
For more info: 530-559-2378 or event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Old Truckee is crowded with cars as visitors enjoy the historic district. 2004 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randy Pench

July 29, 2013
Automobile museum car cruise Saturday
JV_CRUISE 228.JPG

Whether you like lowriders, muscle cars, vintage coupes or European sports cars, there will be eye candy for everyone Saturday at the fifth annual California Automobile Museum Car Cruise.

About 350 gleaming automotive specimens are scheduled to leave Lot 1 of California State University, Sacramento, at 4 p.m.

They will head east on Fair Oaks Boulevard and turn left onto Fulton Avenue, Sacramento's car dealership row.

By 5 p.m., the cruisers will park in a closed-off section of Fulton Avenue between Marconi and El Camino avenues.

The car show will last until 8:30 p.m. and will include food trucks, a beer garden and live music by Sacramento-area band Todd Morgan & the Emblems.

More than 20 car show awards will be handed out around 7:30 p.m. A sampling of the winners, listed on the museum website: a 1929 Ford Tudor, a 1930 Ford Model A Coupe, a 1967 Chevy Caprice lowrider, a 1956 Nash Ambassador, a 1958 Chevy Corvette and a 1950 Jaguar Mark V.

There is no charge for spectators.

The cruise is a partnership of the museum and the Fulton Avenue Association. Proceeds benefit the museum.

- Mary Lynne Vellinga

PHOTO CREDIT: Ron Happe waves to cars as they cruise J St. during the 2nd Annual CAM Car Cruise. 2010 Sacramento Bee photograph by Jose Luis Villegas

July 16, 2013
Get your family treasures evaluated at Folsom fundraiser

P1000402.JPGHere's an opportunity to get your vintage quilt, jewelry or clothing evaluated and support the Folsom History Museum at the same time.

Bring your family treasure to Folsom's historic Sutter St. this Saturday. Expert appraisers will be on hand to examine items and estimate their current market value for a small donation. They are also able to gauge the date of old (full-body) photographs.

There's no limit on the number of evaluations. Proceeds will benefit the Museum's programs.

What: Out of Grandma's Trunk -- Mini Evaluation Day
Where: Folsom History Museum, 823 Sutter Street, Folsom
When: July 20, 11 to 1 p.m.
Cost: $8 per item evaluated or $35 for five items. Photo dating $8 for up to three.
For more info: 916-985-2707 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Dress and quilts on display at the Folsom History Museum. 2007 photograph courtesy Folsom History Museum

June 27, 2013
Time Travel Weekends return to Old Sacramento

TTW Golden Melodeon_1A.jpgMake a trip to the Gold Rush when Time Travel Weekends return to Old Sacramento for the fourth summer.

A treat for the whole family, these performances include historic personages and reenactments, period music, dancing and plays, parades, magic acts, comedy skits and more. The Victorian Academy across from the Eagle Theatre offers demonstrations of 19th century tools, toys, and crafts.

There's a different performance theme each weekend. See schedule for details.

What: Time Travel Weekends!
Where: throughout Old Sacramento
When: 11 to 5 p.m., weekends from June 29 thru Aug. 25.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Golden Melodeon variety show performers at the Eagle Theatre. Courtesy Howard Gold

June 25, 2013
Welcome the Pony Express "Re-Ride" back to Sacramento

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

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

The 2013 "re-ride" is on schedule. The first rider left St. Joseph on June. 17 and the last rider is expected to gallop into Pony Express Plaza in Old Sacramento on June 27 around 10:30 a.m. (give or take a few hours).

You can follow the progress of the ride with these links to current news stories. There's also a detailed schedule of arrivals and departures along the route. And check out the 2013 photo album.

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

June 24, 2013
Family History Expo returns to Sacramento

Thumbnail image for ExhibitHall.JPGFamily History Expos provide an opportunity for amateur genealogists to immerse themselves in the tools and techniques of researching and preparing a family tree.

The two-day conference this Saturday in Sacramento includes speeches and classes by knowledgeable experts, as well as an exhibit hall showcasing many related products. The program covers such topics as online research, software, print resources, and tips for writing and sharing your findings.

The keynote address will be given by genealogist James L. Tanner, speaking on "Top 10 Techniques: Fishing for Ancestors & Other Persons of Interest."

You can register for the conference online, by phone or at the door.

What: Northern California Family History Expo 2013
Where: Crowne Plaza Sacramento Northeast, 5321 Date Ave., Sacramento
When: June 28 & 29. Starts Friday 12 p.m. and ends Saturday 4 p.m.
Cost: Registration, $69. Friday Only, $59. Saturday Only, $59. At the Door, $99
For more info: 801-829-3295 or website

Event flyer
Schedule of classes

PHOTO CREDIT: Expo exhibits. Courtesy Family History Expos

June 20, 2013
Take a trip back to 1850s Grass Valley during Gold Rush Days

EK HOLBROOK EXT.JPGGrass Valley will relive its 19th century past during this weekend's Gold Rush Days, a festival of music, shows, exhibits, demonstrations and reenactments in historic downtown.

Among the offerings visitors will enjoy are blacksmithing and gold mining demos by docents of the Empire Mine, a reenactment by the Rough and Ready Chamber and live music by the "Humbugs" and "Past Due and Payable" bands.

What: Gold Rush Days
Where: Downtown Grass Valley
When: June 22-23. Saturday, 12 to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 to 5 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 530-272-8315 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Holbrooke Hotel on Main St. in Grass Valley. 2002 Sacramento Bee photograph by Erhardt Krause

June 18, 2013
Yolo County celebrates Juneteenth
Juneteenth horse.JPG

Juneteenth (June 19) commemorates the day in 1865 when the end of slavery was announced in Galveston, Tex. by a Union army general. Although originally a celebration of the liberation of American slaves, the annual observance has evolved to honor freedom and justice for all peoples.

This Saturday Yolo County will observe Juneteenth with a festival of jazz music, educational exhibits, speeches, food, and arts and crafts vendors. There will also be tributes to local leaders and a special "Hats Off to the Ancestors" headwear fashion show.

The family-friendly event is co-sponsored by the Yolo County Library, its Friends group and the City of Davis Human Relations Commission. DCTV interviewed Jay Johnstone, Davis Library Branch Manger, about the the history of Juneteeth and the weekend's festivities. See the video here.

What: Juneteenth Celebration
Where: Veteran's Memorial Center, 203 East 14th St., Davis
When: June 22, 1 p.m.
Cost: free, but donations appreciated
For more info: newsletter or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Horse drawn wagon ride at the 2003 Juneteenth Festival at Negro Bar in Folsom.

June 14, 2013
Library launches vintage cooking challenge

Cookbooks.jpgSummer Reading is underway at Sacramento Public Library with the theme of "Reading is So Delicious," and this year a local history activity has been added to the mix: the Sacramento Vintage Cooking Challenge.

Over the next three months, participants are challenged to try their hand at recipes from Sacramento-area cookbooks dating from 1890 to 1970 and send in reviews of the finished products. Challenge details, recipes and reviews are all posted on the library's Facebook page.

Vintage Cooking Challenge cookbooks have been drawn from the Sacramento Room collection and issue from a variety of local clubs and organizations from the Eastern Star of Sacramento to the Sacramento Symphony League. They include such vintage staples as molded salads, Jell-O, casseroles, and dishes featuring SPAM and chicken livers. Rich mid-century entrees are balanced by dessert recipes dating from 1890 and 1920, and cooks of all skill levels should be able to find a doable dish among the 25 currently posted.

The Sacramento Vintage Cooking Challenge ends with Summer Reading on Friday, August 30, 2013.

June 3, 2013
Native American elders honored as tradition keepers

SIM Gathering of Honored Elders.jpgNative elders from around the state will gather Saturday at the California State Indian Museum to be honored for their efforts to preserve and share tribal traditions and culture.

The event will include Native American dancers, guest speakers, community service organizations, arts and crafts vendors and door prizes of unique, native-made gifts. A special lunch will be provided to the honorees and visitors may purchase food at the gathering.

Gathering of Honored Elders is co-sponsored by the California State Parks, California Indian Heritage Center Foundation, Buena Vista Rancheria, Hutuanape Foundation, Jackson Rancheria, Native American Health Center, Shingle Springs TANF, Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk, the United Auburn Indian Community and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.

What: 36th Annual "Gathering of Honored Elders" Event
Where: State Indian Museum State Historic Park, 2618 K Street in Sacramento
When: June 8. Event hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Museum hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-324-0971 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy California State Indian Museum

May 30, 2013
Experience the Old West for a night in historic Folsom
IMG_1607front.jpg

Take a trip back in time to 1862 Folsom during "A Night in History" at Pioneer Village this Saturday evening.

Hosted by the Folsom Historical Society, the event features Old West entertainment and barbeque dinner. Old-timey music will be performed by Fiddle Flash & Friends and Legends 'n Liars. There will also be a western wear contest, "gold" panning for the kids, blacksmithing demonstrations and an ice cream sundae social provided by Snooks' Candies. Jason Maloney of KMAX Good Day Sacramento will be guest emcee.

Procceds will be used for improvement and upkeep of Pioneer Village.

What: A Night in History
Where: Pioneer Village, 196 Wool St., Folsom
When: June 1, 5 to 8 p.m.
Cost: General, $40; children 12 and under, $15.
For more info: (916) 985-2707 or website

Event description

PHOTO CREDIT: Folsom History Museum.

May 21, 2013
Veterans to be honored at Historic City Cemetery

CC MEMORIAL DAY FLAGS.JPGVeterans will be honored this Saturday at Sacramento's Historic City Cemetery.

First off will be a ceremony featuring a guest speaker, flag raising, patriotic readings and music, plus a Rifle Squad with Bugler. Meet at the Veterans Area in the center of the Cemetery.

A tour follows led by local historian Rick Roberts who will point out the grave markers of veterans who fought in the Spanish American War up through the Vietnam conflict. The tour group will gather near the brick building at the south end of the Cemetery.

What: Memorial Day Veterans Tour
Where: Old City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento.
When: May 25. Ceremony begins at 11 a.m., Tour at 12 p.m.
Cost: free, donations appreciated.
For more info: 916-448-0811 or website

Event flyer
News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Flags mark the grave sites of veterans of war in the old city cemetery. 2001 Sacramento Bee photograph by Chris Crewell

May 20, 2013
Railroad museums offer special Memorial weekend activities
jazzfestivalDance_05_16_11.jpg

Memorial Day is coming up, and that means big doings at the rail museums in Old Sacramento and Jamestown in Tuolumne County.

To help celebrate the Sacramento Music Festival, the California State Railroad Museum will offer musical performances inside the museum and on the Sacramento Southern excursion trains that will operate all during the extended weekend. In addition, festival badge holders will enjoy free admission to the museum. Several musical venues will be close by.

Down at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, the excursion trains will run all three weekend days. Sierra No. 3, the "movie star" steam locomotive, will operate Saturday and Sunday and the vintage diesel engine on Monday. Singer Jim Nelson of the Black Irish Band will entertain passengers on every ride. Visitors can also enjoy tours of the famous Caboose No. 7, special equipment demonstrations and picnicking on the Roundhouse lawn.

What: Jazz Festival Activities at the California State Railroad Museum
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento State Historic Park. Excursion trains depart from the Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot (on Front Street between J and K Streets)
When: May 24-27 - special activities inside the Museum. May 25-27 - excursion trains running. Museum open 10 to 5 p.m. Excursion trains depart hourly from 11 to 5 p.m. (Saturday through Monday)
Cost: Museum admission -- $10 adults, $5 youths ages 6-17, free for children ages 5 and under. Excursion train rides -- $10 adults; $5 youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under ($15 for first class tickets aboard the El Dorado; free for children 5 and under).
For more info: 916-445-6645 or website

What: Excursion Train Rides Over Memorial Day Weekend
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: May 25-27. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (trains depart on the hour)
Cost: General train ride tickets - $15 adults, $8 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under
For more info: 209-984-3953 or website

News releases

PHOTO CREDIT: Dancers enjoy the music inside the Railroad Museum during the 2011 Sacramento Music Festival. Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

May 15, 2013
Celebrate Spring at the Governor's Mansion

RB Mansion Gardens 10.JPGThe Governor's Mansion will celebrate its upgraded gardens with a special evening event to raise funds for operation and further restoration of the grounds.

"A Garden Affair" will feature a self-guided tour of the gardens and historic buildings. Knowledgeable docents in period attire will share anecdotes about the families who made the Mansion their home. Light refreshments and a raffle for floral arrangements will also be offered.

Advance tickets can be purchased at online or you can make reservations to buy tickets at the door by calling 916-445-3727.

What: The Magic of Spring, A Garden Affair
Where: Governor's Mansion State Historic Park; 1526 H St., Sacramento
When: May 18, 4 to 6 p.m.
Cost: $30 per person
For more info: 916-445-3727

PHOTO CREDIT: Geraniums add color to the front of the historic Governor's Mansion. 2012 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randall Benton 

May 13, 2013
Sutter's Fort celebrates its multicultural past

RPMEXICAN FLAG DAY HATME.JPGThe Sutter's Fort "Hands on History" series will present a new program honoring the diverse cultures represented at the fort before and after statehood.

Visitors can sample special presentations on the people of African descent in California, 19th century Hawaiians, Sacramento Valley natives, as well as demonstrations of traditional Mexican dance and French and British fur trapping. For the kids there will be history-themed scavenger hunts and corn-husk doll making, plus the ever-popular cannon firing.

What: Hands on History -- Sutter's Fort in 1846, A Community of Many Faces
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: May 18. Fort hours: 10 to 5 p.m. (open daily). Cannon firing demonstrations: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. Musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day.
Cost: $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 and under.
For more info: Call 916-445-4422 or visit website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Jesus Solis, 32, in hat, of Stockton, dressed as a charro (a Mexican cowboy) and Lizeth Valenzuela, 17, of Stockton salute the Mexican flag during the Mexican Flag Day celebration at Sutter's Fort. 1998 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randy Pench

May 9, 2013
Rio Linda's Farm & Tractor Days

MAJ ROGER LUBIENS TRACTOR.JPGThe Rio Linda Historical Society will again host Annual Farm & Tractor Days this weekend.

For history buffs there will be dozens of antique steam engines, tractors, and fire trucks on display. And visitors can also tour the Ranch House Museum and historic homes in the vicinity. The morning Tractor Parade leaves Saturday at 7:30 a.m. from Dry Creek Ranch. Western style BBQ served 11:30 to 1:30 p.m.

What: 19th Annual Farm & Tractor Days
Where: Historic Dry Creek Ranch House, 6852 Dry Creek Rd., Rio Linda
When: May 10 & 11, 9 to 3 p.m. Friday is School & Youth Day; Saturday is Family & Community Day.
Cost: $2 donation at the gate; free parking.
For more info: (916) 838-3506

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Roger Lubiens of Folsom participates in Farm & Tractor Days on his 1948 McCormick Farmall Cub tractor. 2006 Sacramento Bee photograph by Michael A. Jones

May 7, 2013
Special National Train Day events at Railtown and Rail Museum

CALIFORNIA RAILROAD MUSEUM.JPGThis Saturday the 6th Annual National Train Day will be celebrated at over 200 cities around the country.

Locally, the State Railroad Museum will offer free admission, tours of contemporary Amtrak cars and other special activities including Interpretative Handcar rides and children's "Chuggington Station." As a special bonus nearby Sacramento History Museum will also offer free admission for this day only.

Over in Jamestown (Tuolumne County) Railtown 1897 will observe Train Day with excursion rides featuring the "movie star" steam locomotive Sierra No. 3 and Caboose No. 7. In addition visitors can enjoy tours of the historic Roundhouse and Shops and special displays of rarely-seen historic locomotives, equipment and vehicles, including the No. 28 & 2 locomotives and vintage track maintenance vehicles.

What: National Train Day
Where: California State Railroad Museum, 2nd and I Sts., Old Sacramento
When: May 11, 10 to 5 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-445-6645 or website

What: National Train Day
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: May 11, 11 to 3 p.m.
Cost: Park admission, $5 adults, $3 for youths ages 6-17, free for children 5  and under. Train rides: $15 adults, $8 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under.
For more info: 209-984-3953 or website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Southern Pacific No. 1 CP Huntington. Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

May 5, 2013
Valley to Vietnam interviews local veterans

v2v.JPGThis spring, Sacramento Public Library began sitting down with local Vietnam veterans for Valley to Vietnama new storytelling project that is capturing, preserving, and sharing the stories of those who grew up in the Sacramento area and served in Vietnam. The project has produced ten interviews thus far, and continues to seek participants interested in discussing their experiences at home and overseas.

Valley to Vietnam digital stories are available through the library's YouTube channel and on DVD. Access Sacramento has provided recording equipment through a partnership with Sacramento Public Library, and episodes of Valley to Vietnam air on the first Monday of each month, at 8:30 pm, on Access Sacramento's Channel 17.

To learn more about Valley to Vietnam or to suggest an interview, contact project coordinator James C. Scott, jscott@saclibrary.org, (916) 264-2795.

May 2, 2013
Central Library to showcase 1940s Sacramento

K Street 1945.jpgRation Book.jpgThe Capital Decades series returns to Central Library this May with special programs and displays showcasing 1940s Sacramento:

City Life (Tuesday, May 14, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.)
Amanda Graham, Tom Tolley and James Scott will discuss what everyday life was like for Sacramentans during the 1940s.They will cover a wide range of topics, including social life and entertainment, the Sacramento homefront and contribution to the war effort, businesses, schools, transportation and post-war changes.

Fashions & Styles (Tuesday, May 21, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.)
The Sacramento Art Deco Society will direct a fashion show featuring vintage clothes and accessories of the 1940s.

Motion Pictures (Tuesday, May 28, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.)
Local film historian Matias Bombal will share film clips and discuss the movie-going experience of the 1940s .

All programs will be held in the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria at 828 I Street.

Visitors to Central Library are also invited to view displays of 1940s material from the Sacramento Public Library and Sacramento Art Deco Society throughout the month of May. Subjects will include fashion, defense work, rationing, and Japanese internment.

For more info: http://www.saclibrary.org; (916) 264-2920

April 30, 2013
Congratulations to the California History Day winners

RB History Day 2.JPGNational History Day is a year-long competition in the area of historical research, writing and analysis (sort of history's equivalent of a science fair for primary and secondary school students around the country). Contestants who qualified at the regional level went on to compete at this past weekend's state gathering in Sacramento where winners were chosen for the national competition coming up in Maryland June 9-13.

This year's NHD theme is Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events. Students chose a related event from local, state, national or world history and presented their research in one of six formats: 2-D display, documentary video, exhibit, paper, performance or website.

Special kudos go to students in the Sacramento region who earned awards at the state meet:

Savannah Hill, a student at Spring View Middle School in Rocklin, runner up in the Junior Individual Documentary category for her entry Cesar Chavez and the UFW: The Harvest for Change.

Aishwarya Nadgauda, a student at Sacramento Country Day School, runner up in the Senior Individual Documentary category for her entry Setting off a Reaction that Changed the World Forever.

Evan Shen, a student at Winston Churchill Middle School, California History Junior Historical Paper Award for his entry, The Economic Impacts of the Transcontinental Railroad on the US.

Sara Warady, a student at St. Francis  High School, California History Senior Historical Paper Award for her entry, Art Saves: How Dorothea Lange Used Photography to Ameliorate the Lives of Okie Migrants During the Great Depression.

Jacqueline Holben, a student at St. Francis High School, Nikirk Memorial Art Award for her entry, The Funk Art Movement.

Congratulations to all the students who participated in California History Day!

PHOTO CREDIT: Bishop Union High School student Lara Stickells explains her two dimensional display to judges E. J. Renner, Anne Everton, and Dave Kahl during the National History Day state finals at the Red Lion Hotel in Sacramento. 2013 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randall Benton

April 19, 2013
Remembering 1963 at the Crocker Art Museum

Civil Rights march 1963.jpgReaders will share personal stories on the theme of Remembering 1963 & Civil Rights at the Crocker Art Museum on April 25 as part of TrueStory, a new local non-fiction reading series from the literary micro-magazine Under the Gum Tree.  Three featured readers will share their stories and attendees will have the opportunity to sign up for 5-minutes of open mic. This is the kick-off event for the reading series, and is held in conjunction with a new exhibition at the Crocker Art Museum, Rebirth of a Nation: Thomas Somerville's 1963, which will be on display through May 5.

What: Truestory: Remembering 1963 & Civil Rights
When: Thursday, April 25, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Where: Crocker Art Museum, 216 O Street, Sacramento
Cost: $5 for museum members; $8 for nonmembers
For more info: http://tellatruestory.com; tellatruestory@gmail.com

IMAGE CREDIT: Civil rights march on Wash[ington], D.C., Aug. 28, 1963; Warren K. Leffler, photographer; Library of Congress.

April 16, 2013
Capitol Museum revisits the great 1906 quake and fire

Earthquake Group .jpgThe Living History program at the State Capitol Museum will reenact the local response to the great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906. This Sunday docents in period attire will portray officials and regular folk helping with recovery efforts and assisting refugees who fled to Sacramento. A high point will be the dramatic moment when Gov. George receives a telegram from President Theodore Roosevelt pledging a $1 million for disaster aid.

In addition to the reenactments, visitors can watch a special 3-D film on the quake that will play all day in the Capitol's basement theater.

What: 1906 Earthquake Living History Day
Where: California State Capitol Museum, 10th St. between L & N Sts., Sacramento
When: April 21. Tours available every 15 minutes from 10:30 to 3 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-324-0333 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Living history docents reenact the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. Courtesy California State Capitol Museum

April 15, 2013
Artisan sales at Sutter's Fort/Indian Museum

SF trader's faire 2008 015.jpgIt's two artisan sales in one! Sutter's Fort and the State Indian Museum are again hosting the Trader's Faire and Indian Arts & Crafts Market this weekend.

Shoppers will discover unique hand-crafted wares at each location. You'll see clothing, housewares, toys, beads and knives, dipped candles, rag rugs and corn husk dolls at the Fort. At the Museum you'll find beaded jewelry, beautiful Native American artwork, woven baskets, gourds, carved soapstone and elk horn and ceremonial drums.

In addition visitors will be entertained with live bands playing traditional instruments, plus cooking, musket and cannon demonstrations and hands-on craft making.

What: Two Artisan Shopping Events -- Trader's Faire and Indian Arts & Crafts Market
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park (2701 L Street) & State Indian Museum (2618 K Street), both in Sacramento
When: April 20 & 21, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Combo price - $8 for adults; $6 for youth ages 6-17 which includes entrance into both the Fort and Museum. Sutter's Fort stand-alone price: $7 for adults; $5 for youths ages 6-17. Indian Museum stand-alone price: $4 for adults; $3 for youths ages 6-17. Admission for children ages five and under are free to both the Fort and Museum
For more info: 916-445-4422 or 916-324-0971 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

April 8, 2013
Fundraiser to support Folsom historic landmarks
DS JAZZ IGOR.JPG

It will be an evening of great music and the opportunity to support two projects in Folsom's Historic District. This Friday's concert event will benefit the Folsom Railroad Museum (scheduled to reopen this spring) and the renovation of the bell tower on Landmark Baptist Church.

Musical entertainment will be provided by local favorites Igor Glenn & Friends, plus the Old West Trio. The evening will also feature fine refreshments, beverages and a raffle with prize winners announced at the end.

What: Folsom Historic District Benefit Concert
Where: Landmark Baptist Church, 609 Figueroa St., Folsom
When: April 12. Doors open 6:30 p.m. for mix mingle. Program begins 7 p.m.
Cost: $30 per person. Tickets must be purchased in advance: call Kathryn Corbett, (916) 353-0556.
For more info: email

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Igor Glenn, leader of Igor's Jazz Cowboys, strikes a theatrical pose at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee. 1999 Sacramento Bee photograph by Dick Schmidt

April 2, 2013
Shop tours and resumption of train rides at Railtown 1897

Railtown Opening Day.jpgExcursion rides resume this Saturday at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown (Tuolumne County). Visitors will enjoy 45-minute, six-mile rides through the Sierra foothills pulled by vintage steam and diesel locomotives. The star of Railtown is Sierra No. 3, featured in numerous movies and television shows. Seating is limited so you're encouraged to arrive early to get tickets, which are sold on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 10 a.m.

Just on April 6 Railtown will open at 7 a.m. with a special program in the Roundhouse where you can watch skilled volunteers fire up Sierra No. 3's steam engine for the day. Opening day ceremonies will include the national anthem (sung by Vietnam veteran Jim Sutherland), a flag raising, followed by a grand entrance and ceremonial whistle blowing. Mark Twain (portrayed by Pat Kaunert) will be on hand to call out the first "All Aboard!" Throughout the weekend there will be live music on the excursion trains by the Dave Rainwater, Roundhouse tours and demonstrations at the belt-driven machine shop.

What: Weekend Steam-Powered Excursion Train Rides
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: Weekends beginning April 6 through September. Train rides: 11 to 3 p.m. Park is open 9:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Cost: Free on April 6-7 for Calaveras, Mariposa and Tuolumne residents only (with proof of residency). General: $15 adults, $8 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under.
For more info: 209-984-3953 or visit website

RT Shop Tours 2.jpgStarting this year Railtown will offer weekly tours of the train shops where visitors can observe closeup the specialized maintenance, repair and reconstruction of vintage locomotives and cars. These two-hour tours begin with a brief slide-show presentation explaining the current projects underway in the Roundhouse and Tri-Dam Shop.

What: Behind-the-Scenes Shop Tours
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: Tuesdays beginning March 26, 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 visit website

News releases

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

April 1, 2013
Annual SCHS dinner to honor local history activists

NNO_P0214_NOPPLBURNS.jpgAt its next annual dinner the Sacramento County Historical Society will honor recipients for their contributions to local history writing, education and preservation. Awards will be presented to Annette Kassis, author of Weinstock's, Sacramento's Finest Department Store, to Mike Munson and Shawn Peter, Downtown Sacramento Partnership tour guides, to Carina Lampkin, Blackbird Kitchen co-owner, for her restoration of the People's Acceptance Building (1013-1015 9th St.), and to Maryellen Burns who will receive a special President's Award for her local history projects.

Musical entertainment for the evening will be provided by the Harley White Jr. Orchestra jazz band. The dinner's emcee will be Matias Bombal, film historian and former host of "Classic Jazz and Swing" on KXJZ. Bombal will speak briefly about the Sacramento jazz scene in the period 1920-50.

What: Sacramento County Historical Society 2013 Awards Dinner
Where: Dante Club, 2330 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Sacramento
When: April 9, 6 to 10 p.m.
Cost: $40 for SCHS/SOCA members and families; $50 for non-members; $100 contributor level. Tickets must be purchased in advance by noon, April 5.
For more info: (916) 443-6265 or email.

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Maryellen Burns at the Matrix Arts Gallery in Del Paso Heights. 2002.Sacramento Bee photograph by Randall Benton

March 29, 2013
Judges needed for California County History Day

SCHD 2013.jpgNational History Day is a year-long competition in the area of historical research, writing and analysis (sort of history's equivalent of a science fair for primary and secondary school students around the country). Contestants who qualify at the regional level go on to compete at state gatherings where winners are chosen for the national competition.

Over 300 students participated at the 2013 Sacramento County History Day held at Inderkum High School. See pictures of the competition posted on the SCHD Flickr page and the student video documentaries on YouTube.

This year's NHD theme is Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events. Students choose a related issue from local, state, national or world history and present their research in one of six formats: 2-D display, documentary video, exhibit, paper, performance or website.

Judges are needed for the California History Day event which will be held in Sacramento this year. You don't have to be a history expert to judge -- just have an interest in the subject and the willingness to evaluate student entries with positive feedback and constructive criticism. If interested, fill out the online registration form.

What: California History Day
Where: Red Lion Woodlake Hotel, 500 Leisure Lane, Sacramento
When: April 26-28
Cost: free
For more info: contact Sergio Silva at email

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Judges evaluate a 2-D exhibit at the 2013 Sacramento County History Day. Photograph by Dylan McDonald. Courtesy Center for Sacramento History

March 26, 2013
Strut your stuff this Easter in Old Sacramento

Easter Bonnet Promenade.jpgFor the 18th year history buffs are invited to parade in their best 19th century finery in Old Sacramento this Saturday. Onlookers will likely see women in fanciful dresses, lovely parasols or colorful hats, and men in top hats, frock coats, vests, trousers, walking stick and watch fob.

This "Living History" fashion show will be followed by a Spring Ball featuring period music and dance (ballroom and contra styles). Dance instructors will be on hand to demonstrate the steps.

What: "Living History" Easter Bonnet Promenade & Spring Ball
Where: Old Sacramento
When: March 30. 10:45 a.m.: Easter Bonnet Promenade participants gather in front of the Sacramento History Museum (101 I St.). 11 a.m.: Easter Bonnet Promenade begins. 2 p.m.: Spring Ball begins in Stanford Gallery (111 I St.).
Cost: free
For more info: 916-808-7059 or www.HistoricOldSac.org

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Historic Old Sacramento Foundation

March 21, 2013
Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair

I would just like to remind all of our loyal blog readers that the Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair will be taking place this Saturday, March 23 from 9:45 a.m to 5 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Temple, 6151 H Street in Sacramento. 2003.JPGThe dealers at this event tend to bring out their best California items, many having to do with Sacramento. If you're interested in other topics you will find much to your liking as well. Admission to this event is $5.00, but free passes are available at numerous Sacramento bookstores and libraries.

For more information contact 916-849-9248, bookbomb@att.net or sacbookfair.com

March 19, 2013
Califoria Museum opens 7th Annual Hall of Fame Exhibit

Joe Montana.jpgEstablished in 2006, the California Hall of Fame honors "legendary people who embody California's innovative spirit and have made their mark on history." Inductees are chosen from all fields of endeavor, including the arts, business, sports, academia and government.

The California Museum will open its new Hall of Fame Exhibit to the public this Thursday. The displays showcase personal items and ephemera that reflect the achievements and careers of each honoree.

The 7th gala ceremony inducting this year's class will be held Wednesday evening from 7 to 8 p.m. at the California Museum. Public television stations in the state will broadcast the proceedings live. Watch for The Bee's news coverage the next day.

The 2013 Hall of Fame Class

Gregory Bateson, anthropologist and social scientist
Warren Beatty, actor, director and producer
Charles and Ray Eames, groundbreaking designers
Dolores Huerta, farmworker labor organizer
Ishi, celebrated Native American
Joe Montana, football great
Warner Brothers, movie makers

What: 7th Annual California Hall of Fame Exhibit
Where: California Museum of History, 1020 O St., Sacramento
When: opens March 21. Museum hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m.; Monday, closed.
Cost: Adults (18+), $8.50; college students & seniors (65+), $7; youth (6-17), $6; children (under 6), free.
For more info: 916-653-7524 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Former San Francisco 49ers great Joe Montana poses after his enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000. AP Photo/Mark Duncan

March 14, 2013
Congratulations to the Sacramento County History Day qualifiers

AOC_History_108a.JPGNational History Day is a year-long competition in the area of historical research, writing and analysis (sort of history's equivalent of a science fair for primary and secondary school students around the country). Contestants who qualify at the regional level go on to compete at state gatherings where winners are chosen for the national competition.

This year's NHD theme is "Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events." Students choose a related event from local, state, national or world history and present their research in one of six formats: 2-D display, documentary video, exhibit, paper, performance or website.

The first leg of the 2013 competition, Sacramento County History Day, was completed last Saturday at Inderkum High School. Regional entries ranged from Joan of Arc to Rosie the Riveter, from the Renaissance to Sputnik. Students who qualified at this level earned the opportunity to attend California History Day, scheduled for April 26-28 at Sacramento's Red Lion/Woodlake Hotel.

Congratulations to all the students who participated in Sacramento History Day.

Complete list of the 2013 Sacramento County History Day Qualifiers

PHOTO CREDIT: Forrest Jensen of Toby Johnson Middle School plays President Harry Truman in a skit called "The Tragedy and Triumph of the Atomic Bomb" at the 25th Annual Sacramento County History Day. 2007 Sacramento Bee photograph by Autumn Payne

March 8, 2013
The California State Library celebrates Women's History Month, along with bridges and ferries.

In honor of Women's History Month, the California State Library and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls have created a colorful online weekly calendar of women from California history who achieved success in science, technology, engineering or math - the STEM fields. These images and biographical materials are drawn from the California History Section's own collection with an emphasis on women in science and math professions, echoing the National Women's History Month effort to commemorate women in STEM professions who strode past barriers in pursuit of their dreams. For the third week in March, the calendar highlights a woman veteran for Women's Military History Week. Maggie Gee was a training pilot in World War II, serving as a Women's Air Force Service Pilot, known as the WASPs. Gee also spent 30 years as a research physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The online calendar can be viewed at http://www.library.ca.gov/calhist/calendar1.html

v1p265b.jpgAlso celebrating Women's History Month is a new exhibit in the State Library's first floor rotunda. "California Women in the War Effort" documents the role of California Women in the military during wartime, and also highlights women's efforts on the home front. Included in this exhibit are fascinating and often visually attractive magazine articles from the library's general collection as well as photographs, letters home, and assorted realia from the California History Section's special collections. Likewise on display are uniforms and posters on loan from the California State Military Museum.

Taking a different tack, the California History Section's featured book display for March is titled "Ferries and Bridges in California," and showcases books on bridges from the mighty steel triumphs crossing the Golden gate and San Francisco to the smaller drawbridges and covered wooden structures prevalent in California's rural areas. But before the construction of bridges, California's residents depended on ferries to cross the state's bodies of water. Larger boats were used on San Francisco Bay and San Diego Bay, but much simpler ferries served the Sacramento and San Joaquin Delta where bridges did not exist. Also on display are books on the river steamers Delta King and Delta Queen, which were technically not ferries but plied the bay and rivers nonetheless.2008-2619.jpg

March 7, 2013
Struggle for women's vote is subject of B Street Theatre play

Susan_B._Web_Graphic_final.pngSusan B. Anthony (1820-1906) didn't live long enough to see passage of the constitutional amendment that gave all American women the right to vote. But her decades-long advocacy of female suffrage was critical to its eventual achievement.

Just in time for Women's History Month, Sacramento's B Street Theatre will premiere a new play honoring the life and work of this remarkable abolitionist, civil rights activist and feminist. Finding Our Voice "explores the impassioned crusade for the 19th Amendment from the uniquely poignant perspective of one young woman torn between freedom and family."

The play is the seventh penned by actor-author David Pierini and is the third production in B Street Theatre's 2012-2013 Family Series.

What: Finding Our Voice: Susan B. & the Women's Suffrage Movement by David Pierini
Where: B Street Theatre B3 Stage, 2727 B St., Sacramento
When: March 9 thru April 14, 1 p.m. & 4 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays
Cost: $18 and $12 (recommended for children 8 and older).
For more info: 916-443-5300 or website

March 5, 2013
Living History program celebrates Women's History Month

Women's History Day.jpgMarch is Women's History Month and the Old Sacramento Living History Program will celebrate the occasion with historical re-enactments and vignettes performed by volunteers in early California attire. Visitors to Old Sacramento will see passionate debates about women's suffrage or run into ladies strolling the streets advocating for the right to vote.

Women's History Day is sponsored by the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation (HOSF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about the history of the city through interpretative programming and other events.

What: Living History: Women's History Day
Where: Sacramento History Museum and Old Sacramento State Historic Park  
When: March 9, 12 to 3 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Historic Old Sacramento Foundation

February 26, 2013
Placer County opens new archives and collections facility

Thumbnail image for Placer logo.JPGAfter much preparation, Placer County will unveil its new archives this week. The facility, which is actually two resources in one, should prove of great value to researchers and genealogists. It consists of the:

Archives: a repository of public records, some dating to the beginning of the county in 1851. These include court case, probate, school, property, voting, naturalization and other documents. There are also 15,000-plus photographs and bound copies of The Placer Herald.

Collections: thousands of carefully preserved artifacts that document centuries of Placer County history. These include baskets, textiles, artwork and many other items.

What: Placer County Archives & Collections Facility Grand Opening
Where: Placer County Government Center, 11526 C Ave., Auburn
When: Feb. 28, 3 to 4:30 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 530-889-6500 or website

February 12, 2013
Dinner to benefit Folsom Chinese museum

Chan House rendering.jpgChan House was once home to Oak Chan, considered the first mayor of Folsom's Chinatown, the second largest Chinese community in California in the 1880s. The Chan family lived in the residence until 1971. Preservationists want to restore the building and transform it into a museum to display local Chinese artifacts and commemorate the role Asian immigrants played in the development of the region and state.

Friends of Chan House are hosting a New Year's dinner to raise funds for the project. Seating for this 9-course, family-style banquet is limited, so make your reservation soon.

What: Chinese New Year Banquet
Where: Yummy Kitchen, 199 Blue Ravine Rd. Suite 100, Folsom
When: Feb. 20, 6 p.m.
Cost: $35 per person
For more info and reservations: Email Nancy Percy or call the Folsom History Museum, 916-985-2707

Event flyer

IMAGE CREDIT: Artist rendering of the proposed Howard Sr. and Mabel Chan House Museum. Courtesy Folsom Historical Society

February 8, 2013
Benefit dinner for Auburn's Chinese Museum

In the 1880s Chinese immigrants built a flourishing community along Sacramento St. in Auburn. Their buildings included laundries, card rooms, opium dens and a joss house (religious temple). Today, this latter structure serves as the town's Chinese Museum and History Center.

This year's benefit dinner for Joss House Museum will be held at the Happy Wok Restaurant. The featured speaker is artist and writer Rene Yung. Yung is Project Director of Chinese Whispers, an organization dedicated to the collection and sharing of contemporary folk memories of the Chinese who came to California and the West to help build frontier railroads and settlements.

What: Auburn Joss House Annual Fundraising Dinner
Where: Happy Wok Restaurant, Elm Center, 352 Elm Ave., Auburn
When: Feb. 13: 5:30 p.m. social seating, 6:30 p.m. dinner, program follows.
Cost: $28 per person. Make your reservation by sending a check to: Joss House Museum, P.O. Box 9126, Auburn, CA 95604.
For more info: 530-346-7121.

Event poster

January 31, 2013
African American History Month events in Sacramento

WHITEW1.JPGFebruary is African American History Month (aka Black History Month). This year's theme is "Black Women in American Culture and History," honoring the many roles they've played in the development of the nation.

Sacramento will celebrate the month with a variety of cultural events.

At the Sacramento Public Library:

Ladies of Lincoln's Era Exhibit. Twelve women who made a difference, including Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and Clara Barton. Feb. 1 thru March 11.

Celebrate Black History Month with Ebo Okokan. Explore Afro-Cuban culture through music, dance and drumming. Feb. 10, 2 p.m.

Here's to the Ladies with the Vivian Lee Quartet. Sacramento vocalist Vivian Lee will share stories and music of the great jazz singers of the past, Carmen McRea, Billie Holiday, Nancy Wilson and Dinah Washington. Feb. 20, 6:30 p.m. (for adults).

March on Washington, Fifty Years Later. CSUS Professor Joseph Palermo will discuss the 1963 March on Washington during which Martin Luther King gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Feb. 26, 6 p.m. (for adults).

At the Crocker Art Museum:

Black History Month Family Festival. African American history celebrated in a program of music, dance, dramatic performance, gallery experiences, hands-on art and arts/crafts market. Feb. 18, 11 to 3 p.m.

At the Sojourner Truth Multicultural Art Museum:

Greatness: A Celebration And Legacy Of Black History. Six art exhibits: "Family: Those We Love," Sacramento Africa American Art Collective; "Mudcloth Madness," Kuumba Collective Art Gallery; "The Slave Experience," Joe Pollakoff; "Past, Lessons Learned" and "Black History is World History," Roshumba Clarke; "Through My Eyes," James House; and the Phoenix Park Magic Johnson Community Empowerment Youth Exhibit. Special Museum Day activities include Magician Forrest Barnes, The Youth Aviation Academy, pianist Ras-Nico, the Kucheza Ngoma II Dance Company. Also there will be a marketplace, museum guided tours, food, entertainment, storytelling and children's art activities. Feb. 2, 10 to 4 p.m.

PHOTO CREDIT: "Woman Worker" by Charles White. The painting is oil on canvas from 1951. It was displayed at the Crocker Art Museum in 2000.

January 28, 2013
15th Annual Sacramento Museum Day

RB Sculpture 4.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.

Many of the venues are within walking distance of each other. Event planners suggest that guest visit no more than three museums so as to have enough time to experience each one fully and to travel between them.

Please note that shuttle buses will not operate this time.

What: Sacramento Museum Day 2013
Where: 28 museums located throughout the Sacramento region (complete list and map)
When: Feb. 2, 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 $5.75 for adults, $3.75 for children ages 2-11 and free for children under two; Fairytale Town is $2.50 for everyone and free for children under two years of age).
For more info: 916-808-7777 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: "Folded Circle Cube and Disc," a 14-foot, 3,000-pound sculpture by artist Fletcher Benton sits in front of the Crocker Art Museum. 2011 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randall Benton

January 22, 2013
Judges needed for Sacramento County History Day

History_075a.JPGNational History Day is a year-long competition in the area of historical research, writing and analysis (sort of history's equivalent of a science fair for primary and secondary school students around the country). Contestants who qualify at the regional level go on to compete at state gatherings where winners are chosen for the national competition.

This year's NHD theme is Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events. Students choose a related issue from local, state, national or world history and present their research in one of six formats: 2-D display, documentary video, exhibit, paper, performance or website.

Judges are needed for the local 2013 History Day event. You don't have to be a history expert to judge -- just have an interest in the subject and the willingness to evaluate student entries with positive feedback and constructive criticism. If interested, fill out the online registration form.

What: Sacramento County History Day
Where: Inderkum High School, 2500 New Market Drive, Sacramento
When: March 9, 7:30 to 2:00 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: call 916-808-7072, email or view website

Event flyer
News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Joshua Fender from Toby Johnson Middle School in Elk Grove performs a monologue called "The Triumph and Tragedy of the Battle of Lexington" at the 25th Annual  Sacramento County History Day. 2007 Sacramento Bee photograph by Autumn Cruz

January 17, 2013
Dinner will benefit firefighting museum
FIRE HISTORY.JPG

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.

The Jan. 26 crab dinner is the Society's biggest fundraising event of the year.

What: Pioneer Mutual Hook & Ladder Society's 22nd Annual Crab Feed
Where: St. Mary's Parish Hall, 58th & M Sts., Sacramento
When: Jan. 26, 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

Event flyer

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 4, 2013
Western construction of the transcontinental railroad began 150 years ago

LS TRAIN DEPOT MURAL.JPGSacramento has the distinction of being the western terminus of the transcontinental railroad. 150 years ago the Central Pacific began its race with the Union Pacific to link this nation by rail.

To commemorate the start of that monumental effort, the State Railroad Museum will debut a new sign at Front and K Sts next Tuesday. An afternoon program will follow that features three speakers discussing the significance of Sacramento as CP's starting point:

1:30 p.m.
William Burg, local author and historian: "Sacramento's Victory," will explain how and why Sacramento became the western terminus.

2:30 p.m.
Dr. Richard Orsi, author and professor emeritus of history at California State University, Hayward: "Rising Above" includes a film and discussion on how the Central Pacific Railroad's construction helped hold back the flood waters of the Sacramento River.

4 p.m.
Kyle K. Wyatt, curator of history and technology at the California State Railroad Museum: "Dreamers Wanted" will address how the U.S. grappled with locating a suitable route and why Sacramento was ultimately chosen.

The speakers program is free and open to the public with museum admission. However space in the hall is limited to the first 135 attendees.

What: Sesquicentennial Celebration of the Western Starting Point of the Transcontinental Railroad
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Front and K Sts., Old Sacramento
When: Jan. 8, 12:30 p.m. (new sign debut)
Cost: Regular museum admission: $10 adults; $5 youths ages 6-17; children ages 5 and under free.
For more info: (916) 445-6645 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: A mural depicts the celebration of Jan. 8, 1863 when California Governor Leland Stanford turned a ceremonial shovelful of earth to mark the starting point for the Central Pacific Railroad. 2000 Sacramento Bee photograph by Lezlie Sterling

December 31, 2012
East Sac Appraisal Day to support Clunie Community Center

McKinley Branch.jpgThe Clunie Community Center will play host to the first annual East Sacramento Appraisal Day on January 5.  Appraisals will be conducted by Bill Witherell of Witherell's Art and Antiques, who has more than 25 years experience as an auctioneer and appraiser, including guest appearances on the PBS television program, Antiques Roadshow. He will appraise up to three items per person, with proceeds going to support the restoration of the historic Clunie Community Center.  At 3 p.m., the archivist for the Sacramento Public Library will present an illustrated history of the early days of McKinley Park, the Clunie Community Center and the McKinley Library.

What: East Sac Appraisal Day for Antiques and Fine Art
When: Saturday, January 5, 2013, 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Where: Clunie Community Center at McKinley Park, 601 Alhambra Blvd.
Cost: Appraisals are $10 for one item and $25 for three items
For more info: To learn more and reserve a time slot, contact (916) 452-8011 or friendsofeastsac@aol.com

December 27, 2012
Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation

Lincoln Emancipation.jpgAlthough the Jan. 1, 1863 Emancipation Proclamation freed few slaves (the presidential order applied only to slaves in the Confederacy), it was an important milestone in the eventual freeing of all slaves and their achievement of full citizenship by later constitutional amendments.

California Black Farmers and Agricuturalists Association, along with local officials, groups and businesses, will celebrate the anniversary with an interfaith, multicultural discussion about the political and moral realities surrounding the Civil War, Emancipation and the Thirteenth Amendment. It will also cover the existence of slavery in California.

What: Freedom's Eve, 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
Where: California State Capitol Room 126
When: Dec. 31, 12 to 4 p.m.
Cost: free, but tickets required
For more info: email and website

IMAGE CREDIT: "Abraham Lincoln's First Recitation of the Emancipation Proclamation to his Cabinet," painting by Francis Bicknell Carpenter.

December 10, 2012
Capitol Museum hosts holiday music

BB CAPITOL SINGERS 1.JPGEvery year since 1996 the Capitol Museum, in conjunction with the Legislature Joint Rules Committee, the Governor's Office and the Department of General Services, has sponsored holiday music during December.

These lunch-time performances feature a wide range of musical styles and instruments, including jazz and classical choirs, harpists, violinists, brass ensembles, bell-ringers, etc.

The program continues today with the Franklin High School Choir (11 to 12 p.m.) and the Roseville Sun City Singers (12 to 1 p.m.).

What: Holiday Music Program
Where: California Sate Capitol Museum, 10th & L Sts., Sacramento
When: continues thru Dec. 23
Cost: free
For more info: 916-324-0333 or program schedule

PHOTO CREDIT: The Cosumnes River College Chamber Singers perform in the rotunda of the State Capitol. 2005 Sacramento Bee photograph by Brian Baer

December 6, 2012
Sacramento ceremony planned for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

RP WREATH.JPGA Pearl Harbor remembrance and wreath-laying ceremony is scheduled at 9 a.m. Friday at Discovery Park, at the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers.

The event is presented by the USS Holland SS-1 Gold Country Base, United States Submarine Veterans, to honor and remember those who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto will speak at the remembrance. Sacramento and Yolo counties marine division patrol boats will assist in the wreath- laying.

In addition, honor guards from the Civil Air Patrol Squadron 14 and the Naval ROTC Unit from Soledad High School in Monterey County will participate in the ceremony.

In 1994, Congress designated Dec. 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

- Bee staff

PHOTO CREDIT: Two veterans place a wreath into the Sacramento River while aboard a Yolo County Sheriff's boat. 2011 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randy Pench

December 4, 2012
A Victorian Christmas in Nevada City

NC xmas.JPGThe former Gold Rush town of Nevada City transforms into 19th century London for the 35th annual Victorian Christmas festival.

Visitors will amble down gaslamp-lit streets passing minstrels and carolers in period dress. They can enjoy childrens' pony rides, carriage rides, live entertainment, savory yuletide food and beverages, and of course, St. Nick.

What: Victorian Christmas
Where: Historic Nevada City
When: Dec. 5, 12, 19 from 5-9 p.m. and Dec. 16, 23 from 1:30-6 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: (530) 265-2692 or toll-free (800) 655-NJOY or website.

Event flyer
Entertainment schedule
YouTube video

PHOTO CREDIT: Victorian singers are part of the festivities at the Nevada City's Victorian Christmas celebration. Courtesy Nevada City Chamber of Commerce

December 3, 2012
Christmas memories at the Governor's Mansion

GM Christmas Memories (1).jpgOn the first two Saturdays in December, the Governor's Mansion will welcome visitors of all ages to celebrate the holidays as the First Families did long ago. The mansion will be decked in recreated period decor. Entertainment will include costumed storytellers, a visit by Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and live music throughout the day.

What: Christmas Memories
Where: Governor's Mansion State Historic Park, 1526 H Street, Sacramento
When: Dec. 8 & 15, 10 to 4 p.m.
Cost: $6 for adults, $4 for youth (ages 6-17), children five and under are free
For more info: 916-323-5916 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Christmas Memories celebrated at the Governor's Mansion. Courtesy Governor's mansion State Historic Park

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 rfontaine@library.ca.gov or 916-653-9942. The California State Library is located at 900 N Street in Sacramento.

October 29, 2012
See California Indian basket weaving

SIM Basket Weaving.JPGThis Saturday the State Indian Museum will host a day-long set of basket-weaving demonstrations reflecting a variety of traditional materials, techniques and designs. Guest weavers include Bertha Mitchel, Wintun, Dixie Rogers, Karuk, Jennifer Bates, Miwok, Ardith Read, Yosemite Tuolumne MeWuk, Diana Almandariz, Wintun/Maidu, and others to be announced.

What: California Indian Basket Weaving Demonstrations
Where: California State Indian Museum, 2618 K St., Sacramento
When: 11 to 4 p.m.
Cost: adults $3, children (ages 6-17) $2, children (ages 0-5) free
For more info: (916) 324-8112 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Basket weaving demonstration at the State Indian Museum. Courtesy California State Indian Museum

October 24, 2012
The creepier side of the Governor's Mansion

Governor's Mansion.JPGHalloween continues to haunt Sacramento's museums and historic sites. This weekend dark decor and scary music will set the holiday mood at the Governor's Mansion during its "After Dark" tours.

Storytellers will share tales of past governors and fortune tellers will predict your fate. Costumed guides will lead guests through the creepier parts of the building -- including darkened rooms and "coffin corners."

Proceeds go to help support of the Governor's Mansion State Historic Park.

What: The Mansion After Dark
Where: Governor's Mansion State Historic Park, 1526 H Street in Sacramento
When: Oct. 26 & 27, 6 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $6 for adults, $4 for youth ages 6-17 and free for children 5 and under
For more info: 916-323-5916 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: California Governor's Mansion. 2012 Sacramento bee photograph by Hector Amezcua

October 23, 2012
Do ghosts haunt Sutter's Fort?

SF Haunted Fort Doctor.jpgSutter's Fort gets in the Halloween spirit next weekend with evening programs designed to reveal the eerier side of Sacramento's oldest structure.

Docents in period costumes will lead visitors on 45-minute walking tours of various darkened rooms (which some believe are still haunted by past inhabitants). They'll also tell stories of how some early pioneers perished in creepy and melancholy ways.

What: 3rd Annual Haunted Fort
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L Street, Midtown, Sacramento
When: Oct. 26 & 27, 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $8 per adult, $6 for youth ages 6-17 and free for children 5 years and under
For more info: 916-323-7626 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

October 19, 2012
Library's haunted history tour returns

Haunted Stacks.jpgHaunted Stacks, the Central Library's annual spooky movie screening and haunted library tour, will be returning for its third year on Friday, October 26.  The library will screen a classic scary flick in the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria from 7-9 p.m., and take participants on "haunted" tours of the Sacramento Room in the old Carnegie library while the film is playing.  Decorations and undead characters will transport tour-goers back to 1900.  Among the ghosts haunting the old library will be the first Sacramento City Librarian, Caroline G. Hancock, and Adelbert B. C. Devendorf, a Civil War veteran who was a victim of accidental poisoning by strychnine, taken legitimately for chills.  The program will contain some thrills and chills and is recommended for ages 10 and up.

What: Haunted Stacks
When: Friday, October 26, 7-9 p.m.
Where: Central Library, 828 I Street, Sacramento
Cost: Free; No advance registration is required, but tour space is limited - guests are encouraged to arrive by 7 p.m. to sign up.
For more info: www.saclibrary.org; (916) 264-2920

October 15, 2012
New Capitol exhibit features Depression-era public art

WPA mural.jpgDebuting today at the State Capitol is an exhibit of artwork commissioned by the California State Parks during the Depression (1934-1942). Funded by state and federal work relief programs, these commissions helped keep talented artists employed during the economic slump.

"California Treasures" features art from a 450-item collection that encompasses mural paintings, easel paintings, watercolors, pastels, and ink and pencil drawings. Included in the exhibit are: color drawings of plants and birds of Mount Diablo; watercolors of the redwood trees of Big Basin; and Clarkson Dye's oil painting impressions of California landscapes.

What: "California Treasures: Artwork of the Great Depression" Exhibit
Where: State Capitol Museum, Historic Archives Room, 10th & L Sts., Sacramento   
When: Oct. 15 through May 17, 2013. Hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Complimentary.
For more info: 916-324-0333 or visit website

News Release

IMAGE CREDIT: Mural by James Fitzgerald. Courtesy California State Capitol Museum

October 11, 2012
Capitol Living History event recreates 1906 election

CM 1906 Election Votes for Women.jpgAs the current election season comes to a conclusion, the State Capitol Museum honors the politics and politicians of the past with a "Living History" recreation of the gubernatorial election of 1906.

Played by docents in period clothing, four candidates -- Democrat Theodore Bell, Republican James Gillett, Independence League nominee William Langdon and Socialist Austin Lewis -- will explain their positions in speeches (given during 15 minute plays repeated throughout the day). Suffragettes will also be present to campaign for their right to vote.

Visitors at the event can attend a 1906 press conference and rally and vote for one of candidates.

What: 1906 Election Day Living History Event
Where: State Capitol, 10th St. between L and N Sts., Sacramento
When: Oct. 14, 10:30 to 3:45 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-324-2088 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Docents portray turn-of-the-century suffragettes. Courtesy California State Capitol Museum

October 10, 2012
Acorn Day honors local native traditions

acorn day.jpgGuests of all ages are invited to this year's Acorn Day, the State Indian Museum's educational program honoring the acorn, a staple of Native American diet in the region.

Diana Almandariz, a Wintun/Maidu, will demonstrate the art of processing acorns for food. Visitors will have the opportunity to sample traditional acorn mush and flatbread. And kids will get the chance to play traditional native games and try traditional arts & craft activities.

What: Acorn Day 2012
Where: State Indian Museum, 2618 K St., Sacramento
When: Oct. 13, 10 to 2 p.m.
Cost: $5 per adult (18 and older), $4 per youth (ages 6 to 17), free for children 5 and under. Includes Museum admission.
For more info: 916-324-0971 or website

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Vince LePena of the Effie Yeaw Nature Center shows third graders how to separate acorn meat from shell pieces with a winnowing basket. 1995 Sacramento Bee photograph by Anne Chadwick Williams

October 10, 2012
Coloma's premier historical event returns

coloma.JPGThis weekend Coloma brings the Gold Rush back to life with its premier interpretative event.

Visitors will enjoy live music demonstrations of gold panning, rope making, blacksmithing, spinning, weaving, basket making and more. Volunteers in period dress will sell wares, tell miners' stories and portray historic figures, such as John Marshall whose gold discovery sparked the migration of thousands to California.

Children will be treated to games, hands-on activities and period music and songs.

What: Coloma Gold Rush Live
Where: Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park (directions)
When: Oct. 12-14, 10 to 4 p.m.
Cost: Parking is $10 per vehicle
For more info: call (530) 622-3470 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Ed Allen portrays James W. Marshall, who discovered gold in Coloma in 1848. 2009 Sacramento Bee photograph by Michael Allen Jones

October 8, 2012
Hone your genealogy skills at Family History Day

FHD gallery view.JPGAre you interested in researching your family's history, but don't know how to begin? Well Family History Day is just the place to learn about the tools and techniques of genealogy. Choose from 20 novice-level classes covering a wide range of topics, including census and vital records, cemeteries, maps, ethnic research, use of archives and libraries, and the Internet.

There will also be behind-the-scenes tours of the State Archive collections, exhibits by over 25 local and national organizations, and the opportunity to browse the Root Cellar Genealogical Library there at the Archives. As in past years, some of the FHD volunteers and exhibitors will be dress in period attire.

For the first time a class syllabus containing teacher handouts and exhibitor list will be available. The cost is $5 and you can reserve a copy now.

What: 14th Annual Family History Day
Where: California State Archives, 1020 O St., Sacramento
When: Oct. 13, 8:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: (916) 653-7715 or FHD Blog

Class Schedule
News release
Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Previous Family History Day as seen from the Gallery at the California State Archives. Courtesy Root Cellar

October 4, 2012
Elk Grove commemorates California statehood with weekend festival

EG MUSUEM 3.JPGThe 1850 announcement of California's entry into the Union will be commemorated this weekend in the first annual "living history" event jointly sponsored by the Elk Grove Historical Society and local branch of the Native Sons of the Golden West.

Docents in period garb will portray C.W. Coote, Sacramento Gambler "Clany" the Honest Gambler, Dr. Moore, Fire Lady, and Saddle Sore reacting to the news of statehood. In addition, there will be tours of the historic Stage Shop Hotel and Jail, cannon firings, antique firearms display, gamblers tent and sarsaparilla saloon, performances by the Sacramento Committee of Vigilance and old-timey music by the Faulkner Family Band.

What: First Annual Living History Celebration of the News of California's Statehood
Where: Elk Grove Heritage Park, 9941 East Stockton Blvd., Elk Grove
When: Oct. 6 and 7, 10 to 5 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: (916) 685-8115

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: President of the Elk Grove Historical Society, Tom Russell, looks over the exterior of the Elk Grove Hotel and Stage Stop Museum. 2003 Sacramento Bee photograph by Lezlie Sterling

October 1, 2012
Sacramento Archives Crawl back for second year

DPSAC2011-03-01edit.JPGOn October 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., special collections and archives from throughout the region will showcase their rarely-seen treasures for the 2nd annual Sacramento Archives Crawl.  Participants will tour among four host locations (California State Archives, California State Library, Center for Sacramento History, and the Sacramento Public Library's Sacramento Room), viewing displays from more than twenty archives, talking with archivists, and going on behind-the-scenes tours (State Archives and Center for Sacramento History). 

This year's crawl theme is Building Sacramento, Building Communities. Items on display will include drawings and early photos of the State Capitol (California State Archives), watercolors from Gladding McBean ceramics company (California State Library), Tower Records memorabilia (Center for Sacramento History) and historic maps showing the growth of Sacramento from pre-Gold Rush days to the 1970s (Sacramento Room).

Guests can visit the locations in any order and will be issued a crawl passport at their first stop. Those who visit at least three host locations will take home a set of limited-edition commemorative coasters with images of Sacramento landmarks.

What: Sacramento Archives Crawl
When: October 6, 2012, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: California State Archives (1020 O Street), California State Library (900 N Street), Center for Sacramento History (551 Sequoia Pacific Blvd.), and Sacramento Room, Central Library (828 I Street)
For more info: http://sacarchivescrawl.blogspot.com/

Press release

2012 Archives Crawl Passport

PHOTO CREDIT: Sacramento Archives Crawl at the Sacramento Room, Central Library (828 I Street), October 1, 2011. Photograph by Amanda Graham

September 26, 2012
Old cars, trucks and motorcycles on display at Galt fest
Galt Old Car Fest.JPG

Connoisseurs of very vintage autos will want to check out the next Old Car Festival in Galt this Sunday. Working cars -- as well as trucks and motorcycles -- built before 1943 will be on display at the McFarland Living Historical Ranch. Awards will be given in two categories: "Peoples Choice," judged by spectators, and "Best of Show," judged by exhibitors.

Organized by the Galt Area Historical Society, this annual event is a fundraiser for the Rae House Museum.

What: 25th Annual Galt Old Car Festival
Where: McFarland Living Historical Ranch, 8899 Orr Rd., Galt (map)
When: Sept. 30, 11 to 3 p.m.
Cost: free for spectators. Vehicle registration: early $20; day of event $25.
For more info: 209-745-0951 or website

Event flyer
Vehicle registration form
Photos of past award winners

PHOTO CREDIT: 1930 Chevrolet Roadster Deluxe, owned by Richard Bertolucci of Sacramento, on display at the 2005 Galt Old Car Festival. Courtesy Galt Area Historical Society

September 25, 2012
Women leaders to be honored at Native American Day

2012nadltrflyer120822_08_28_12.jpgNative American Day honors those who are instrumental in the preservation of tribal cultures and languages. This year's event focuses on the contributions of native women. Visitors to the Capitol will enjoy family-friendly cultural demonstrations, traditional drumming, dancing, music, games and art. Plus there will be exhibits, speeches and a performance by the Tule River Color Guard.

What: 45th Annual Native American Day
Where: State Capitol, 11th and N Sts., Sacramento
When: Sept. 28, 10 to 2 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: (916) 445-9480 or website

Event flyer

September 24, 2012
Transcontinental railroad turns 150

LincDodgeLR.jpgIn celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 that authorized the transcontinental railroad, the California State Railroad Museum will unveil a new exhibit documenting the history of the Union Pacific, beginning with Abraham Lincoln's initial support of the national project and its construction, through wars, disasters and expansion up to the present.

On display will be photos, maps, artifacts and memorabilia, including: a souvenir gold album locket containing a picture of Lincoln during his presidential campaign; railroad advertising, posters and marketing materials; large "drum-head" signs that once "brought up the rear" of famous passenger trains; photos of railroad workers building the Transcontinental Railroad; and the iconic Union Pacific logo as it changed over time.

In addition to the debut of the exhibit Union Pacific is hosting a two-day celebration this weekend in Old Sacramento. Visitors will be treated to a tour of the "Living Legend" No. 844 steam locomotive and a chance to see the vintage 1960s Promontory baggage car and other historic passenger cars and equipment. Plus there will be free rides on the Sacramento Southern excursion train and UP's 956 miniature train. And for just this weekend, the Railroad Museum and Sacramento History Museum will offer free admission.

Also check out the UP 150 Anniversary website which includes an extensive timeline, employee stories and historic advertisements.

What: "Building America: Abraham Lincoln, California and the Union Pacific Railroad" Exhibit
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento State Historic Park
When: Sept. 29 through Aug. 2013
Cost: $10 adults; $5 youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under. Free museum admission on Sept. 29 & 30.
For more info: 916-445-6645 or website

News release for the CSRM exhibit
News release for the Union Pacific celebration

PHOTO CREDIT: C. Everett Johnson's painting of Gen. Grenville Dodge and Abraham Lincoln considering routes for the transcontinental railroad, Aug. 1859.

September 17, 2012
Memorial marks 40th anniversary of the Farrell's tragedy

LN FARRELLS FIREMAN.JPGThe public is invited to a memorial ceremony Sunday marking the 40th anniversary of the 1972 plane crash into a Farrell's ice cream parlor on Freeport Boulevard in Sacramento that killed 22 people. A jet from nearby Sacramento Executive Airport crashed into the ice cream shop shortly after takeoff. Sunday's ceremony takes place at 1 p.m. at the city's Public Safety Center, 5770 Freeport Blvd.

Info: Firefighters Burn Institute at (916) 739-8525 or email staff@ffburn.org.

-- Bee Staff

Also, see The Bee's anniversary resources on Sacbee.com:

Gallery of historic photos taken of the crash
Archive of The Bee's 1972 stories
Readers remember the disaster
NTSB report on the causes of the accident

PHOTO CREDIT: Firefighters and police officers rescue survivors of the Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor air accident on Sept. 24, 1972. Sacramento Bee photograph by Leo Neibaur

September 14, 2012
One Book celebrates Constitution

book covers.jpgThe Sacramento Public Library has chosen two books for this fall's Big Read/One Book program to celebrate our nation's founding documents: The Penguin Guide to the U.S. Constitution, edited by Richard Beeman, Ph.D; and Constitution Café by Christopher Phillips, Ph.D.

One Book begins on September 18, the day after the 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. Free events including author presentations, special exhibitions, craft programs, performances, book discussions and film screenings will explore the history and enduring legacy of the U.S. Constitution through the end of October at a number of library locations. In addition, two displays will go up in the lobby of the Central Library: a panel display on our nation's constitution and an exhibit case featuring Sacramento Room treasures on the history of the U.S. and California constitutions.

Copies of both books will be on sale at the authors' presentations and free copies of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights will be available at all Sacramento Public Library locations during Constitution Week (September 17-21). 

All One Book events are listed in the Sacramento Public Library's online events calendar. For more information, visit www.saclibrary.org or call (916) 264-2920.

September 12, 2012
Harvest time at Sutter's Fort

HA  SUTTERS FORT.JPGBefore gold was discovered at his mill in Coloma, Sacramento pioneer John Sutter aimed to create a farming empire in the Sacramento Valley. In 1848 he amassed thousands of sheep, cows, horses and mules and grew wheat, grapes and melons -- much of it lost when the hordes of gold seekers flooded into the region.

The next Hands on History program honors the state's agricultural past with docent demonstrations of corn shucking, threshing, winnowing and grinding wheat, as well as goat milking, spinning, wool weaving and property branding.

What: Hands on History - Harvest Time: The Real Gold in California
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: Sept. 15. Fort hours: 10 to 5 p.m. Cannon firing demonstrations:  11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day
Cost: $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under
For more info: call 916-445-4422 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Aerial of Sutter's Fort taken from the Goodyear blimp Spirit of America. 2003 Sacramento Bee photograph by Hector Amezcua

September 10, 2012
HOSF holds fundraising river cruise

Empress_Above_4c.jpg"Rollin' on the River" is this year's Historic Old Sacramento Foundation fundraiser honoring both restauranteur Lina Fat and the 100-year-old I St. Bridge.

The evening cruise aboard the Empress Hornblower features an elegant dinner, 19th century gambling, a champagne toast for the I Street Bridge and a silent auction. Proceeds will go to support ongoing programs provided by the Foundation.

Advanced tickets are available for purchase online, at the Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street or by calling 916-808-7059.

What: Rollin' on the River! Honoring Lina Fat and a 100th Birthday Salute to the I Street Bridge!
Where: Aboard the Empress Hornblower. Old Sacramento waterfront, 1206 Front St.
When: Sept.14, 5-6 p.m. -- VIP Reception at Sacramento History Museum. 6-8:30 p.m. -- Cruise down the Sacramento River. Note: this rescheduled event was originally set for June 14.
Cost: $75 for River Cruise only; $125 for VIP Reception & River Cruise
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Empress Hornblower. Courtesy Hornblower Cruises & Events

September 5, 2012
Celebrate statehood at the Capitol

admission_ grand_celebration.jpgThis Sunday marks the 162nd anniversary of the the admission of California into the United States.

Celebrate this milestone at the State Capitol. Visitors will be treated with live music, cake and ice cream provided by California State Parks, the State Capitol Museum with financial support from the California State Capitol Museum Volunteer Association. And while your there, check out the Capitol Museum itself.

What: Admission Day Celebration
Where: California State Capitol (north steps)
When: Sept. 9, 11:30 to 1 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-324-0333 or website

News release

IMAGE CREDIT: Grand Admission Celebration, California Department of Parks and Recreation

September 2, 2012
Antique Evaluation Day in Folsom

On September 8, the Folsom History Museum will bring in volunteer appraisers to identify and evaluate antiques for the 16th Annual Antique Evaluation Day.  The event will be held on historic Sutter Street in Folsom from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.  Participants are invited to bring in family heirlooms, garage sale treasures and other collectibles.  Twenty appraisers will be on hand to evaluate pieces from all categories and provide an estimate of current market value. Proceeds will benefit the Folsom History Museum, and registration opens at 10:00 a.m. on the morning of the event.

What: Antique Evaluation Day
When: Sept. 8, 10 to 1:00 p.m.
Where: 823 Sutter Street, Folsom
Cost: $8 per evaluation or 5 for $35; Registration at event
For more info: (916) 985-2707; http://www.folsomhistorymuseum.org

August 24, 2012
Gold Rush Days return to Old Sacramento

GRD Gunfighter.jpgFor the 13th consecutive year, Old Sacramento will transform itself into an 1850s Gold Rush town this Labor Day weekend.

Festivities include historical reenactments and impersonations, shootouts, firefighting, dancing, street dramas, pony, carriage, wagon and train rides, gold panning and vintage clothing demos, kids games and a Tent City depicting various businesses as practiced 160 years ago.

There will be plenty of free old-timey music and other period entertainment at stages throughout the district. The popular Johnny Cash Tribute Band will play Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Save Mart Stage.

Gold Rush Days is organized by the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation, the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, the City of Sacramento and California State Parks.

What: Gold Rush Days 2012
Where: Old Sacramento
When: Aug. 31 to Sept. 2: Friday from 9 to 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 11 to 7 p.m.; Monday from 11 to 6 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-808-7777 or website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Gunfighter at Gold Rush Days in Old Sacramento. Courtesy Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau

August 13, 2012
How they had fun at Sutter's Fort
SF ELP 2.JPG

Life was hard for California's early pioneers. But when the work was done, there was time for a little recreation.

The next Sutter's Fort "Hands on History" program will give visitors a taste of 19th century fun and games. There will be games of skill, like barrel hoop races, the game of Graces, tug-o'-war, jump rope, marbles and parlor games. And there will be games of luck, like Three-card Monte, Shut the Box, and the Faro Game.

As usual knowledgeable docents in period attire will be on site for the demonstrations. Toys and games will also be on sale at the trade store.

What: Hands-on-History: Planting is Done and Harvest hasn't Started -- It's time for Fun on the Frontier
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L Street, Midtown, Sacramento
When: Aug. 18, 10 to 5 p.m.
Cost: $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under.
For more info: Call (916) 445-4422or see website

PHOTO CREDIT: Children participate in the Sutter's Fort Environmental Living Program. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

August 9, 2012
The State Library celebrates the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War

The California State Library's monthly cultural series, "A Night at the State Library," resumes on Wednesday, August 15 and will feature Dr. Robert J. Chandler, a widely recognized authority on the American West, who will discuss California during the Civil War years. Even though the state was remote from the war's battlefields, many of its citizens actively fought in the hostilities, and Californians gave great financial support mainly to the Union. And even though California had been a free state since 1850, a fair amount of its population came from the South and supported slavery: the war once and for all settled the issue of which way California would turn.

Gettysburg.jpgIn conjunction with this presentation, some of the best Civil War materials in the library's collection are on display in its first floor rotunda. Among them are letters from Californians serving in the United States Army, some of whom did not come anywhere close to the Eastern battlefields and spent the war protecting Western facilities from local Native American tribes. Also on exhibit are pro-Union speeches by Reverend Thomas Starr King, the famous "wallpaper" edition of the Vicksburg, Mississippi Daily Citizen, an engraving of the bombardment of Fort Sumter, and seldom seen textbooks and other volumes from the Confederate States, who found themselves cut off from the big Northern publishers and had to print these works themselves. In addition, the California History Section is showcasing books on the Civil War as it affected California and the Southwest for the August book display in its second floor reading room.

Monitor.jpgThe California State Library is located at 900 N Street in Sacramento. The "A Night at the State Library" event will, as mentioned above, take place on August 15. The doors open at 5PM and the presentation begins at 6PM. Light refreshments will be served. Admission is free: please RSVP to rfontaine@library.ca.gov or 916-653-9942 if you plan to attend.

August 6, 2012
Placer County history museums ready for Heritage Trail Tour

Jason and Milo Bernhard.jpgEighteen history museums from Roseville to Tahoe will open their doors free of charge on August 11th and 12th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for the 5th annual Heritage Trail Museums Tour. In addition to free admission, participants can expect special demonstrations and summertime treats and beverages at many locations. Hands-on activities will include gold panning, biscuit making and 19th-century games.

The Heritage Trail follows Interstate 80 through Placer County and museums are broken down into Valley, Auburn and Mountain regions. Participants who have their Get Up & Go card (available at any location) stamped at four different museums will be entered in a grand prize drawing for one of three gift baskets.

Woodworking 2.JPGThe Heritage Trail blog offers a detailed trail guide, previews of tour activities and information on purchasing Heritage Trail swag.

What: Heritage Trail Museums Tour
When: August 11-12, 2012, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Where: Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, Penryn, Foresthill, Colfax, Dutch Flat, Auburn, Norden, Boreal Mt. Resort, Tahoe City
For more info: http://theheritagetrail.blogspot.com/ and Heritage Trail Guide; 1-530-889-6500

PHOTO CREDIT: A sack race at the Bernhard Museum Complex (top) and a young girl hammers a nail at a woodworking station (bottom); Images courtesy Placer County Museums.

August 1, 2012
Fourth Annual CAM Car Cruise

JV_CRUISE 145.JPGCalling all classic car fans. It's time again for the California Automobile Museum's Annual Car Cruise. Come see a caravan of hundreds of great cars from all eras and manufacturers. The cruise ends with a big car show and awards ceremony. Plus a beer garden, vendors and live music by Todd Morgan & the Emblems.

Awards will be given in 22 categories ranging from Favorite Muscle Car to Favorite Model T/A.

What: Fourth Annual California Automobile Museum Car Cruise
Where: Starting at 3000 J St. (CSUS Lot 1) and ending at Fulton between Camino and Marconi for the car show. See route map.
When: Aug. 4. Cruise starts at 4 p.m. Vehicles park for show at 5 p.m. Awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $50 for participants; free for spectators.
For more info: Cruise brochure, Participant Registration Form and CAM web site.

PHOTO CREDIT: 1934 Ford Coupe on display at the 2nd Annual CAM Car Cruise. 2010 Sacramento Bee photograph by Jose Luis Villegas

July 31, 2012
Third Annual Music Fest at Railtown 1897

Railtown singing rails 2010.JPGThroughout American history trains and songs have been inexorably linked. In honor of this happy connection, Railtown 1897 (home of those movie-star steam locomotives) invites the public to its 3rd annual Singing Rails Music Festival.

Headlining the evening is influential folksinger Mary McCaslin who sings traditional ballads and her own contemporary songs of the West. Opening for McCaslin are the Sierra Mountain Band (traditional western and bluegrass) and Faux Renwah (old-timey).

The performances will be held outside on the Roundhouse lawn. Though food and beverages will available for purchase, guests are encouraged to their own lawn chairs, blankets and picnic fixings.

What: "Singing Rails" Railroad Music Festival
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: Aug. 4. 5 p.m., Sierra Mountain Band; 6 p.m., Faux Renwah; 7 p.m., Mary McCaslin.
Cost: Advance online tickets -- $10 for adults; free for children 12 and under. At the gate (if still available) -- $12 for adults; free for children 12 and under.
For more info: 209-984-3953 or visit website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Chris and Bob of Faux Renwah at 2010 Singing Rails. Courtesy Railtown 1897 SHP

July 26, 2012
Living History Day is a look back to Sacramento's early days

Old Sac Living History Day.jpgEver wonder what life was like in Sacramento 160 years ago when the city was young?

Join the Old Sacramento docents this Saturday for a look at life in the 1850s. Appearing in period garb, they'll give you an up-close demonstration of vintage handicrafts, games of chance and blacksmithing. You can also quench your thirst the old-fashioned way with sarsaparilla and root beer.

What: Summer Living History Day
Where: Waterfront Park in Old Sacramento
When: July 28, 11 to 3 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

PHOTO CAPTION: Docent in period garb greets a young visitor at Living History Day in Old Sacramento. Courtesy Sacramento History Museum

July 25, 2012
Russians in early California celebrated in book and festival
So Far From Home.jpg

For thirty years between 1812 and 1841, Russian explorers maintained an outpost on the northern California coast which flourished for a time as a farming, manufacturing and fur-trade center. These early entrepreneurs established the first windmills, brickyards and shipbuilding in the state. They also systematically mapped the region and studied the local plants and animals.

Using government documents, personal journals and letters, cartoons and excerpts of novels, retired archaeologist Glenn J. Farris has compiled a lively anthology that chronicles the history of Fort Ross and its diverse residents: Kashaya, Coast Miwok and Alaskan Natives, Spanish, Mexicans, Americans, as well as Russians. So Far From Home: Russians in Early Calfornia, published recently by Heyday Books ($21.95, 352 pages), is intended for both general readers and historians.

Fort Ross Historic State Park was created in 1909 to preserve the site and educate the public about the contributions of the Russian pioneers to California's economic and cultural development. To celebrate the bicentennial of its founding, Fort Ross staff and volunteers have organized an extensive two-day festival filled with traditional food, crafts, music, dance, and theatrical performances. A highlight is the special appearance by the Pyatnitsky Russian Folk Choir, the world-renowned folkloric ensemble from Moscow.

What: Fort Ross Bicentennial Weekend
Where: Fort Ross Conservancy, 19005 Coast Highway One, Jenner
When: July 28 (10 to 7 p.m.) and July 29 (10 to 4:30 p.m.)
Cost: $35 per car
For more info: 707-847-3437 or website

Event poster
Event schedule

July 18, 2012
Sutter's Fort before the Gold Rush

Folklorico Aztlan de Sacramento.JPGEven before the Gold Rush Sutter's Fort was a lively community with a diverse populace. The next "Hands on History" day makes that pre-1848 era come alive with reenactments, demonstrations and performance.

Saturday the Fort and the Indian Museum will partner to give visitors the opportunity to experience the games, crafts, clothing and food of various early peoples. They'll see demonstrations of period weapons, soapstone carving, basket-making and acorn preparation, and have a chance to try out bead stringing and doll making.

In addition, the cultural group Folklorico Aztlan de Sacramento will perform traditional Mexican dances.

What: Hands on History: They Came From All Over the World - Before the Gold Rush
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park & State Indian Museum, 2701 L Street & 2618 K Street, Sacramento
When: July 21, 10 to 5 p.m. Fort cannon firing demonstrations: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. Fort musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day
Cost: Combo ticket prices - $7 for adults and $5 for youths ages 6-17
(children 5 and under are free).
For more info: 916-445-4422 or visit Sutter's Fort website or 916-324-0971 or visit State Indian Museum website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Folklorico Aztlan de Sacramento. Courtesy of Fairytale Town

July 17, 2012
An evening at the Governor's Mansion

GMANSION0193.JPGWith the generosity of Raley's customers, the Governor's Mansion will continue to be open to the public. You can help insure its continued operation by attending a special evening fundraiser sponsored by the Sacramento Old City Association in support of the California State Historic Governor's Mansion Foundation.

Guests at the event will be treated to edibles by Plates Catering, entertainment by the Doug Pauly Trio and a tours led by knowledgeable docent (including a peek at the third floor restoration). Historian Paul Ivazes will also speak on "How Gas Lighting Changed America."

The Governor's Mansion was originally built as a private residence for the Albert Gallatin family in 1877. Take a virtual tour of the building and its furnishings here.

What: An Evening with the Governors
Where: Governor's Mansion State Historic Park, 1526 H St., Sacramento
When: July 28, 6 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $80 (includes food, beverages, music and tour). Buy tickets online.
For more info: website

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Dining Room in the Governor's Mansion. 2012 Sacramento Bee photograph by Hector Amezcua

July 16, 2012
Art, food and fun -- 1960s style

KONDOS AIRPORT NOV.JPGAs a benefit for the Center for Contemporary Art Sacramento, SacMod (Sacramento Modern) is hosting Art-a-Go-Go, a 1960s-themed art sale and silent auction, featuring music, food and cocktails. Guests will have the opportunity to purchase works by 20 regional artists, including Gregory Kondos. They can also bid on a "Blast-from the Past" goody bag filled with a SacMod membership, Silly Putty, Etch-a-Sketch keychain, X-Ray Spex and other retro stuff.

The venue is a stately Mid-Century Modern home built in 1963 that boasts a classic pool, floating staircase, slate floors and concrete masonry.

Guests are encouraged to come dressed in your coolest 60s outfits.

What: Art-a-Go-Go: Art, Eats & Fun by the Pool!
Where: 1891 11th Ave., Sacramento (valet parking)
When: July 21, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $65 per person or $95 per couple (includes food and beverages). Advance tickets available online.
For more info: 916-498-9822 or website

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Painter Gregory Kondos works on a commission painting for the new Sacramento International Airport at his Clarksburg studio. 2010 Sacramento Bee photograph by Andy Alfaro

July 9, 2012
Beers, Brawls and Babes at the City Cemetery

DSCF4406.JPGThe Historic City Cemetery will host "Beers, Brawls and Babes," an evening of storytelling and swilling, on Friday, July 13. In addition to being regaled with stories from some of Sacramento's more colorful departed, guests will be issued two beverage vouchers for drinks in the saloon. Proceeds from tickets sales will benefit preservation work at the cemetery.

Tickets may be purchased in advance online.

What: Beers, Brawls and Babes fundraiser
Where: Old City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: Friday, July 13, 2012, at 7:45, 8:30 and 9:15 p.m.
Cost: $25; Participants must be over 21 and bring photo ID
For more info: (916) 264-7839 or (916) 448-0811

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: The Buffalo Brewery at 21st and Q Sts. circa 1920-1930. Courtesy John Thomas

July 5, 2012
Ride the rails with Mark Twain

CSRRM Twain.jpgIt's going to be a very special ride on the Sacramento Southern excursion train this Saturday evening when Mark Twain will be on hand to reminisce about his railroad experiences in the Golden State. He'll share stories at the Eagle Theater first, and then it's "All Abroad" with the author on the six mile jaunt along the Sacramento River pulled by a vintage locomotive.

Twain (aka local actor Paul Kaunert) will be accompanied by fiddler Dave Rainwater who'll entertain passengers with old-time folk music.

This is a one-time-only event, so advance ticket purchases (which include both the train ride and the Eagle performance) are highly recommended.

What: "Riding the Rails with Mark Twain"
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento. Train departs from the Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot, Front St. between J and K Sts.
When: July 7. 6:30 p.m. performance inside the Eagle Theatre. 7:30 p.m. excursion train departs
Cost: $24 adults; $12 youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under
For more info: 916-445-5995 or website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Mother Lode fiddler Dave Rainwater and Mark Twain actor Pat Kaunert at the State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento. Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

July 3, 2012
Journey to the Gold Rush during Time Travel Weekends in Old Sac

TTW DTS.jpgTake a trip to the Gold Rush when Time Travel Weekends return to Old Sacramento for the third summer.

A treat for the whole family, these performances include historic personages and reenactments, period music, dancing and plays, parades, magic acts, comedy skits and more. The Victorian Academy across from the Eagle Theatre offers demonstrations of 19th century tools, toys, and crafts.

There's a different performance theme each weekend. See schedule for details.

What: Time Travel Weekends!
Where: Throughout Old Sacramento with scheduled performances on four stages: Eagle Theatre, Victorian Academy, Pioneer Park, Waterfront Park.
When: Weekends beginning July 7 through Aug. 26. 11 to 5 p.m. Highlights: Noon & 3:30 p.m. - Villain's Revenge: A Rousing Melodrama or Uncle Sam's Chatauqua; 2 p.m. - Golden Melodeon Revue in Eagle Theatre.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Time Travel Weekends House Band aka the Dog Town Serenaders. Courtesy Mylar Productions

July 2, 2012
Family History Expo comes to town

ExhibitHall.JPGFamily History Expos provide an opportunity for amateur genealogists to immerse themselves in the tools and techniques of researching and preparing a family tree.

The two-day conference this Saturday in Sacramento includes speeches and classes by knowledgeable experts, as well as an exhibit hall showcasing many related products. The program covers such topics as online research, software, print resources, and tips for writing and sharing your findings.

The keynote address will be given by Dean L. McLeod, a long-time professional genealogist specializing in English and Scottish ancestry.

You can register online, by phone or at the door.

What: Northern California Family History Expo 2012
Where: Crowne Plaza Sacramento Northeast, 5321 Date Ave., Sacramento
When: July 6-7. Starts Friday 1 p.m. and ends Saturday 4 p.m.
Cost: Registration, $69. Friday Only, $59. Saturday Only, $59. At the Door, $99
For more info: 801-829-3295 or website

Event flyer
News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Expo exhibits. Courtesy Family History Expos

June 20, 2012
Headstone dedication for Civil War dead at Truckee cemetery

California is a long way from the battlegrounds of the U.S. Civil War. So it may surprise you that 22 known veterans of that 19th century conflict are buried at the Sierra Mountain Cemetery in Truckee. Ten of the soldiers' graves are marked with headstones; six are not. And six others recently got new headstones.

To dedicate those new grave markers and honor all the Civil War vets, local historical groups have organized a special ceremony at the cemetery next Saturday. Participating in the dedication will be U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Battle Born Civil War Reenactors, the Fort Point Garrison Civil War Band, Patriot Guard Riders, the Truckee Civil Air Patrol and the Mountain Belles.

The military call Taps (celebrating its 150th anniversary this year) will be played on an authentic Civil War bugle.

What: Civil War Veteran Headstone Dedication Ceremony
Where: Sierra Mountain Cemetery, East Jibboom Street, Truckee. Parking available in the field to the east of the cemetery, but space is limited, so try to car pool.
When: June 23, 10 a.m.
Cost: free
For more info: website

Event brochure

June 18, 2012
Folsom History Museum invites families to relive a night in history

Folsom Pioneer VillageOn Saturday, June 23, the Folsom Historical Society and Folsom History Museum invite families to RELIVING! A Night in History: June 23, 1862. In celebration of 150 years of the Folsom's history, participants will gather at Folsom Pioneer Village for a BBQ dinner and activities that include gold panning, doll making, a blacksmithing demonstration, storytelling, and Bluegrass music.

This is the first annual Night in History program at Pioneer Village and proceeds will benefit the volunteer-run operation. Period and western attire is encouraged.

What: RELIVING! A Night in History: June 23, 1862
When: Saturday, June 23, 5:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Where: Folsom History Museum Pioneer Village (200 Wool St., Folsom)
Cost: $35 for adults; $15 for children 12 and under
For more info: (916) 985-2707

PHOTO CREDIT: A docent demonstrates the use of a water pump to children at Folsom Pioneer Village. Courtesy Folsom History Museum.

June 13, 2012
Sutter's Fort evokes time before statehood

FLAG AT SUTTERS FORT.JPGBefore California became a state in 1850, three national forces -- Mexican, American and independent -- struggled for control over the territory. Sutter Fort's "Hands on History" series continues with a program describing the tension and uncertainty of that period.

Visitors will witness cannon firings and musket demonstrations, listen to mock public debates and examine period weapons. Younger folks will get to re-create colorful period flags of their own.

What: Hands on History: Three Flags, One Fort
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: June 16. Fort hours: 10 to 5 p.m. Cannon firing demonstrations: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. Musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day
Cost: $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under.
For more info: 916-445-4422 or visit website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Early on the morning of July 11, 1846. The flag was sent from Sonoma by Lieutenant Joseph Warren Revere, USN, carried by courier William Scott, sent by order of Commodore John Drake Sloat, USN, commanding the Pacific Squadron. The flag was raised by Captain John A. Sutter. This picture is from a book on Sloat's life. Reproduced from the original in the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery.

June 12, 2012
Pony Express Re-Ride begins in Sacramento this year

PONY EXPRESS.JPGUPDATE (6/13/12): See The Bee's coverage of today's launch of the Pony Express re-enactment.

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

Last year's "Re-Ride" started in St. Joseph, Mo. and ended in Sacramento. But this year's 1,966-mile gallop begins in Sacramento and ends ten days later in Missouri. Some 600 riders, each taking a leg of the journey, are expected to participate. You can help send off the first rider tomorrow in Old Sacramento. Just stop by the Pony Express Monument at 10 a.m.

What: Pony Express Re-Ride
Where: Pony Express Plaza, 2nd and J Sts., Old Sacramento
When: June 13, 10 a.m.
Cost: free
For more info: NPEA website

PHOTO CREDIT: Pony Express monument in Old Sacramento. 2010 Sacramento Bee photograph by Andy Alfaro

June 7, 2012
HOSF holds fundraising river cruise

Empress_Above_4c.jpg"Rollin' on the River" is this year's The Historic Old Sacramento Foundation fundraiser honoring both restauranteur Lina Fat and the 100-year-old I St. Bridge.

The evening cruise aboard the Empress Hornblower features an elegant dinner, 19th century gambling, a champagne toast for the I Street Bridge and a silent auction. Proceeds will go to support ongoing programs provided by the Foundation.

Advanced tickets are available for purchase online, at the Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street or by calling 916-808-7059.

What: Rollin' on the River! Honoring Lina Fat and a 100th Birthday Salute to the I Street Bridge!
Where: Aboard the Empress Hornblower. Old Sacramento waterfront, 1206 Front St.
When: June 14. 5-6 p.m. -- VIP Reception at Sacramento History Museum. 6-8:30 p.m. -- Cruise down the Sacramento River
Cost: $75 for River Cruise only; $125 for VIP Reception & River Cruise
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Empress Hornblower. Courtesy Hornblower Cruises & Events

June 6, 2012
Capitol Concours d'Elegance shows off a variety of vehicles

Chevy police car.jpgSacramento will host its own "concours d'elegance" (a competition in which vehicles are judged by their appearance, condition and authenticity) this Sunday on the Capitol Mall.

A wide variety of classic cars will be on display, such as a very rare 1948 Tucker Torpedo, a 1954 Kaiser Darrin, a 1965 Sunbeam Tiger and a 1929 Rolls Royce. This year's show also features three special categories: Streamliners (including Lincoln Zephyrs, Chrysler Airflows, and Packards), Hollywood Cars (such as the Fiat 500, model for "Luigi" in the animated movie Cars) and Vintage Emergency (like the Chevy squad car pictured above).

If that weren't enough, Capitol Concours also boasts a Food Truck competition to determine the best vehicle design and the best food among a field of ten local trucks.

Since this program is staffed completely by volunteers, all proceeds will be donated to the Shriners Hospital for Children and the California Automobile Museum.

What: Capitol Concours d'Elegance
Where: Capitol Mall
When: June 10, 10 to 3:30 p.m. See schedule of events.
Cost: $20 for spectators. Order tickets online
For more info: email, call 916-442-6802 or see website

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Vintage 1963 Chevrolet police car. Courtesy California Automobile Museum

June 5, 2012
New tractor exhibit at the Heidrick Ag History Center
Heidrick.JPG

The Heidrick Ag History Center will kick off its new interactive exhibit with a special reception next week. The museum will showcase ten antique tractors which visitors can learn about using their cell phones to hear prerecorded historical information on each item.

Ed and Sue Claessen, authors of Making Tracks: C.L Best & The Caterpillar Tractor Co., and collectors Doug and Matt Veerkamp will be on hand to provide historical insights on the Caterpiller company and the Caterpiller equipment housed at the museum.

Reception guests will also be treated to appetizers and tastings from Berryessa Gap, Capay Valley Vineyards, Copper Hill Olive Oil, Lucero Oil, Putah Creek Winery, Simas Family Vineyard, and Seka Hills Wine & Olive Oil.

The Heidrick Ag History Center, comprised of the Fred C. Heidrick Antique Ag Collection and the Hays Antique Truck Collection, is the largest assemblage of antique truck and tractors in North America.

What: Reception to open a new interactive exhibit
Where: Heidrick Ag History Center, 1962 Hays Lane, Woodland
When: June 13, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $20. Free to annual museum members.
For more info/RSVP by June 8: 530-666-9700 or email

News release
Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Heidrick Ag History Center

June 4, 2012
Gold Rush Day at Angel's Camp

Teaching Prospecting 1.jpgAngel's Camp (home of that celebrated jumping frog) holds its annual Gold Rush Day this Saturday.

Docents in period garb will be on hand to demonstrate mid-19th century gold prospecting, fashions, food, children's games and military weapons. In addition, visitors will see gold panning, a frog jump competition and a stamp mill operation.

This is one day of the year admission to the Angel's Camp Museum is free.

What: Gold Rush Day
Where: Angel's Camp Museum, 753 S. Main St. on Hwy 49, Angels Camp
When: June 9, 9 to 5 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: (209) 736-2963 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Living historians demonstrate gold prospecting during the 2011 Gold Rush Day at Angel's Camp. Courtesy Angel's Camp Museum

May 31, 2012
Native American elders honored as tradition keepers

elder drum.JPGNative elders from around the state will gather at the California State Indian Museum to be honored for their efforts to preserve and share tribal traditions and culture.

This special "Community Day" will feature free admission to the Indian Museum, as well as a sponsored lunch, dancers, speakers, door prizes, arts and crafts vendors and community service organizations.

"Gathering of Honored Elders" is co-sponsored by California State Parks, California Indian Heritage Center Foundation, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Buena Vista Rancheria, Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk, Hutuanape Foundation and Trinidad Rancheria.

What: 35th Annual "Gathering of Honored Elders" & Special "Community Day"
Where: State Indian Museum (on grounds of Sutter's Fort State Historic Park), 2618 K St., Sacramento
When: June 2. Event hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Museum hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: free
For info: 916-324-0971 or website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Awende's Native Women drummers and singers perform during the birthday party for "Grandma" Bertha Norton at the California State Indian Museum. Norton is the oldest living Indian in California. 1999 Sacramento Bee photograph by Jay Mather

May 29, 2012
Vintage WWII aircraft visit Sacramento
WWIIplanes.jpg

This weekend McClellan Field will host Wings of Freedom, a national tour of vintage World War II aircraft. The event features a B-17, B-24, P-51 and a special unannounced appearance by a German Messerschmit. Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the fighters and bombers on the ground. Rides on the bombers are also available by reservation.

One special guest taking a ride on one of the bombers is Land Park resident John Kanelos, 88, who served as a B-24 radio operator during the war. Kanelos was recently profiled in a Valley Community Newspapers article by Lance Armstrong.

What: 2012 Wings of Freedom Tour
Where: McClellan Airfield near Coast Guard Hangar, Sacramento (map)
When: June 1-4. Walk-thru tour times (no reservations required): Friday 2-5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 9-5 p.m.; Sunday 9-12 p.m. Flight Experiences take place before and after tours.
Cost: Aircraft tours: $12 for adults; $6 for children 12 and under; free for WWII vets. B-17/B-24 rides: $425 per person. Call 978-562-9182 for flight reservations.
For more info: website

PHOTO CREDIT: B-17, B-24 and P-51 in formation. Courtesy The Collings Foundation

May 21, 2012
'Vettes for Vets' car show is cruising for Corvette owners

Corvettes.JPGThe Corvette has been America's sportscar since General Motors introduced the first model in 1953. The fiberglass convertible was meant to compete with the likes of British-made Triumph and Jaguar, and cost around $2,000. The Beach Boys' song "Shut Down," about a drag race involving a 1963 Stingray, helped put the official stamp on the Corvette as an icon.

That's the kind of lore that you'll hear when Corvette owners and fans gather at the "Vettes for Vets" car show at the California Automobile Museum, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 27. It's in honor of "the hard work and dedication that military veterans have committed to our country."

The Corvette showing is free to everyone; military veterans will be admitted free to two special exhibits inside the museum, opening the same day. "No Job Too Big" will display commercial vehicles such as buses, tow trucks and police cars. The second show will feature the French Citron DS.

If you're a Corvette owner, you can display your car at the "Vettes for Vets" show. Advance registration is $10, or $15 the day of the event. To register: (916) 442-6802, www.calautomuseum.org.

General admission to the museum is $8, $7 seniors, $4 students, free for age 4 and younger. The museum is at 2200 Front St., Sacramento.

-- Allen Pierleoni

PHOTO CREDIT: 1959 and 1963 Chevrolet Corvettes on display at the Towe Auto Museum. 2004 photograph by Ken Jordan

May 15, 2012
Frog Jumping Jubilee hops again

AngelsCampFrog.JPGSacramentans got a taste of amphibian fun at the recent 38th Annual Capitol Jumping Frog Contest, won by Jumping by Intoxicated, who leaped 12'5" at the urging of Anya Lawler with the office of Assembly Member Norma Torres.

But the main competition happens this weekend at the Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee. This four-day extravaganza is a full-blown agricultural fair featuring craft, food and livestock exhibits, entertainment, rodeo and carnival, in addition to frog jumping.

The practice of prodding frogs for sport goes back decades and is inspired by "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," a 1865 short story that brought early fame to Sam Clemens, aka Mark Twain. Clemens visited Angels Camp during his sojourn in California and Nevada as described in the semi-autobiographical Roughing It.

What: Calaveras County Fair & Frog Jumping Jubilee
Where: 101 Frogtown Rd., Angels Camp
When: May 17-20 (schedules)
Cost: Adults $10; children, 6-12, $6; family pass, $25. Purchase discounted tickets online.
For more info: website

PHOTO CREDIT: A fiberglass frog painted by a local artist commemorates the Mark Twain short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." This and other frog statues planted around town help celebrate the town's heritage and draw attention to the annual Jumping Frog Jubilee. 2008 Sacramento Bee photograph by Janet Fullwood

May 15, 2012
Money the next topic of Sutter's Fort's Hands-on-History

Sutter's Fort General Store postcardThe business of Sutter's Fort will be the topic of the next interactive Hands-on-History day at Sutter's Fort State Historic Park. In addition to learning about the many financial ventures that supported John Sutter's fort, visitors will get to try their hand at writing in a ledger with a quill pen, view a demonstration of gold scales, and ask questions of a guest "Connoisseur of Coins." 

What: Hands-on-History: How Did John Sutter Expect to Make Money?
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park (2701 L Street, Sacramento)
When: Saturday, May 19, 2012, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Cost: $7 for adults, $5 for youths (ages 6-17), and free for children under 5
For more info: (916) 445-4422 or www.suttersfort.org

IMAGE CREDIT: General Store, Sutter's Fort - Sacramento, Calif. (McCurry Foto Co.); From the Special Collections of the Sacramento Public Library.

May 14, 2012
The Civil War comes alive at Gibson Ranch
CIVIL WAR REBEL GUNS.JPG

The Civil War comes alive at Gibson Ranch this weekend. Visitors will have the opportunity to tour civilian, Union and Confederate camps, witness battle re-enactments, and enjoy period music, food and crafts. You can also hear historic speeches and chat with living history enactors.

Plus there will be a horseman demonstration, cannon firings, fashion show, May Day celebration and a "Searching for the Dead" scenario.

A great event for families, but not recommended for pets and young children.

What: Civil War Re-enactment at Gibson Ranch
Where: Gibson Ranch, 8556 Gibson Ranch Rd., Elverta (directions).
When:
May 19-20. Living History Camps Open: 9 to 3:30 p.m. Sat.; 9 to 1:30 p.m, Sun. Battle Re-enactments: 1 to 1:30 p.m. and 4 to 4:30 p.m. Sat.; 11 to 11:30 a.m. and 2 to 2:30 p.m. Sun.
Cost: $7 general admission. Children 10 and under free. Parking is included.
For more info: 916-991-7592 or website

Event schedule

PHOTO CREDIT: Southern Rebels forces overrun a Union camp in a re-enactment of the battle of Big Bethel at Gibson Ranch Park in Elverta. 2006 Sacramento Bee photograph by Andy Alfaro

May 10, 2012
Rail Daze honors trains and moms

speeder.JPGIn celebration of National Train Day and Mother's Day, visitors to Folsom's Rail Daze will have a unique opportunity take a ride on a vintage 1914 streetcar or a "speeder" (railroad maintenance car).

In addition to the excursion rides, there will be exhibits, booths, model trains and music provided by the Sacramento Banjo Band and Riverbend Folk Band.

Rail Daze is hosted by the Recreational Coalition Railroad Historical Society.

What: Rail Daze Weekend Folsom
Where: Hampton Inn, 155 Placerville Rd., Folsom
When: May 12 & 13, 9 to 5 p.m.
Cost: Mothers and grandmothers ride free. All others $5.
For more info: Kathryn Corbett at 916-353-0556

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Former state assemblyman Larry Bowler sits in his speeder, a small gas-powered vehicle formerly used by railroad maintenance crews. 2007 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randy Pench

May 8, 2012
Outdoor artists at State Indian Museum

Plein Air Day.jpgThe State Indian Museum invites artists of all ages and skill levels to participate in a special outdoor painting/sketching opportunity at Sutter's Fort.  Here's a chance to capture in art one of the state's oldest historic buildings and its beautiful natural setting.

Non-artists are invited to come watch the artists work their magic and to browse the Museum which will be open that day.

What: 3rd Annual Plein Air Day!
Where: State Indian Museum (outdoors on grounds of Sutter's Fort State Historic Park), 2618 K St., Sacramento
When: May 12, 2012, 10 to 5 p.m.
Cost: Museum admission $3 for adults (18 years & older); $2 for youths (ages 6 to 17)
and free for children five and under
For more info: 916-324-0971 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Artist paints outside Sutter's Fort. Courtesy Capital District State Museums & Historic Parks

May 4, 2012
Governor's Mansion remembered at Elk Grove Historical Society event

Mansion.JPGThe annual Elk Grove Historical Society tea and fashion show will recall the gubernatorial families that occupied the old Governor's Mansion from 1903 to 1967.

The affair features a display of formal dresses Governors' wives worn to inaugural balls. In addition docents from the Mansion will appear in period attire to perform a short vignette honoring the 13 governors and two private families who resided at the 1877 residence.

Proceeds from the event will be used to help restore historic buildings.

What: The Governors' Wives Tea and Fashion Show
Where: Elk Grove Hotel & State Shop Museum, 9941 East Stockton Blvd.
When: May 12. Seating at 11 a.m.
Cost: $25 for members and guests. To purchase tickets call Annaclare Entrican, 686-8238, or use the online mail-order form.
For more info: EGHS website

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: California Governor's Mansion. Date and photographer unknown.

May 3, 2012
The California State Library Celebrates the Golden Gate Bridge

For the month of May, the California State Library will celebrate the 75th birthday of San Francisco's fabled Golden Gate Bridge. The library's California History Room has changed its featured display to showcase many fascinating books about the bridge. Particularly noteworthy are the 1938 official report on the bridge's construction, a more recent report on the Doyle Drive approach to the span (timely since that inadequate and dangerous stretch of highway was torn down this past weekend), and a 1921 volume titled Bridging the Golden Gate, showing the ungainly original design for the bridge which fortunately did not come to pass.

2012-0228.jpg

And on Wednesday, May 16, the monthly "A Night at the State Library" program will present the 1968 film Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen as a San Francisco police lieutenant and showcasing an almost 11-minute car chase in which the Golden Gate Bridge is visible (permission to actually film part of this chase on the bridge was denied by authorities). A post-film discussion will feature historic photos and archival material on San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge from the State Library's collection. The library is located at 900 N Street in Sacramento. The doors open at 5PM, the presentation starts at 6PM, and light refreshments will be served. If you wish to attend please RSVP to rfontaine@library.ca.gov or call 916-215-9280.

GG Bridge Construction.bmp

Speaking of historic images from the State Library, seen here is a photo of a workman high up alongside the cables during the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, and another of classic aircraft flying over the bridge, likewise during its construction. I have also included a photo from my own collection taken by Debra Wilensky of San Francisco, early in the morning of May 24, 1987, showing people crowding onto the bridge during its 50th anniversary celebration. I was standing close by as the photo was taken and, believe me, we did not advance a whole lot further than this.GG Bridge 50.jpg

May 1, 2012
Jimmy Doolittle Tribute honors 70th anniversary of famous WWII raid

Doolittles Raiders 70 Years.JPGSeventy years ago a squadron of B-25 bombers staged a daring raid on Japan in the early months of World War II following Pearl Harbor. To commemorate that amazing operation, a tribute will be held this Saturday for its commander, James Doolittle, one of California's best-known pioneer aviators and war heroes.

The USS Hornet Museum in partnership with the Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum will host the day-long celebration. Festivities include appearances by three of the five surviving Raiders, veterans of the USS Hornet (CV-8) and others involved in the rescue of the airmen in China. There will also be a presentation by Doolittle's granddaughter and biographer Jonna Doolittle Hoppes.

Rich Nowatzki.jpgAmong the honored guests attending the tribute is Lincoln resident Richard Nowatzki who served on the Hornet from before it was commissioned in October 1941 until it was sunk in October 1942 during the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands.

What: A Tribute to Jimmy Doolittle
Where: USS Hornet Museum, 707 W Hornet Ave, Pier 3, Alameda
When: May 5, 10 to 4 p.m. Special presentation at 1 p.m. Fundraising dinner, 5 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $15 adults; $12 seniors, military and students; $6 youth 5-17; children under 5 free with paying adult. $100 per person dinner (reservations required).
For more info: (510) 521-8448 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Four survivors of the April 17, 1942 bombing raid on Tokyo, Japan, led by Jimmy Doolittle, pose for photographs in front of a B-25 bomber at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. 2010 Dayton Daily News photograph by Mike Ullery. (Bottom) Lincoln resident Richard Nowatzki who served on the USS Hornet during World War II. Courtesy USS Hornet Museum.

April 30, 2012
Congratulations to the California History Day Finalists

DS HISTORY JUDGING.JPGNational History Day is a year-long competition in the area of historical research, writing and analysis (sort of history's equivalent of a science fair for primary and secondary school students around the country). Contestants who qualified at the regional level went on to compete at this past weekend's state gathering in Riverside where winners were chosen for the national competition coming up in Maryland June 10-14.

This year's NHD theme is Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History. Students chose a related event from local, state, national or world history and presented their research in one of six formats: 2-D display, documentary video, exhibit, paper, performance or website.

Valarie Okamoto, a student at Spring View Middle School in Rocklin, earned co-champion honors in the Junior Individual Exhibit category. Her entry was entitled There's No Crying in Baseball: The History of the All‐American Girls Professional Baseball League. Andrew Kambe, also of Spring View Middle School, was runner-up in that same category for his exhibit, The Berlin Wall: A Wall Dividing a Country. Both students were coached by Spring View teacher Lynne Meiers.

Congratulations to all the students from the region who participated in California History Day!

PHOTO CREDIT: Tien Pham and Lisa Mayorga, 10th graders at Florin High School, listen to judges' questions, appraisal and commentary about their exhibit, Medical Miracles and the Heart, during Sacramento History Day. 1999 Sacramento Bee photograph by Dick Schmidt.

April 27, 2012
South Yuba River covered bridge is 150 years old

SOUTH YUBA BRIDGEPORT.JPGThe longest single-span covered bridge still in existence in the United States is nearby on the South Yuba River. And it's turning 150 years old.

You can help celebrate this historic birthday at Sunday's festivities. It's a family-friendly event where visitors will be treated to music, games, wagon rides, tours of the vintage barn and gas station and historical reenactments.

The iconic Bridgeport Bridge was built at the height of 19th century mining activity by turnpike patriarch David Ingerfield Wood. A remarkable feat of engineering, the 243-long structure rests on two huge Douglas fir pieces secured in massive granite abutments at either end. The bridge's history and design, plus profiles of its founders are covered in an extensive article and timeline posted on the Grass Valley Union's web site.

What:  Birthday Celebration for the Bridgeport Covered Bridge and Barn
Where: South Yuba River State Park (directions and map)
When: April 29, 11 to 4 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 530-432-2546 or website

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: The historic wooden bridge, built in 1862 to span the south fork of the Yuba River, is located at South Yuba River State Park. 2001 Sacramento Bee photograph by Chris Crewell

April 25, 2012
Dancing Tractors? Only in Oregon House

Vintage tractor lovers -- and we know you're out there plowing away -- can travel a bumpy road over to Oregon House, in Yuba County, on May 5-6 for the eighth annual Vintage Tractor Days.

The event takes place at the aptly-named Eventful Acres farm at 9594 Yuba Ranch Way and is free (though a $5 donation is requested).

Among the events: tractor games, parades and driving competitions.

Then there's tractor dancing. We'll let the event organizer, Janet Marchant, describe this activity:

Dancing tractors? That's right, a team of expert drivers, calling themselves the Exhibitionists, will perform choreographed moves and patterns to square dance and quadrille tunes including John Deere Green, Grandpa, and International Harvester. This not-to-be-missed event is scheduled for 4:00 pm on Saturday, right before the drawing of the winning ticket for the now famous Pink Tractor which has raised some $20,000 to be shared 50-50 between the American Cancer Society and the Community Center.

More information here.

-- Sam McManis

April 20, 2012
Fundraiser planned for historic Eastern Star Hall

Eastern Star Hall.jpgOn Saturday, April 28, the Eastern Star Hall Committee, in conjunction with the Midtown Neighborhood Association, Capital City Preservation Trust and Sacramento Old City Association, will host an evening of music and dancing to raise money for the preservation of Eastern Star Hall at 2719 K Street.  Master of Ceremonies Matias Bombal will introduce the evening, and music will be provided by Mumbo Gumbo and the Freebadge Serenaders. In addition to drinks and appetizers, guests will have the opportunity to take part in a prize raffle. 

The three-story Order of the Eastern Star Hall was constructed in 1928 by the local firm of Coffman Sahlberg Stafford Architects & Engineering, and is considered a fine example of the Romanesque Revival style.  The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993 both for its architectural qualities and its role in the social history of the community.

What: Eastern Star Hall Fundraiser
Where: Eastern Star Hall, 2719 K Street, Sacramento
When: Saturday, April 28, 7:00 p.m. to Midnight
Cost: $25 tickets in advance (http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/233520) or $30 at the door
For more info: http://sacoldcity.org/

IMAGE CREDIT: Eastern Star Building, Sacramento, Calif. From the Special Collections of the Sacramento Public Library.

April 18, 2012
Yolo County seeks vets for honorary diplomas

INTERNEES.JPGThe Yolo County Office of Education is again seeking Japanese-American veterans whose high school education was interrupted by internment during World War II. As allowed by state SB 1517, YCOE grants honorary diplomas to WII, Korea and Vietnam vets who resided in the county during these wars and who would have graduated had it not been for the evacuation.

The application for the diploma must be received by May 17 to participate in the May 24 diploma ceremony. To request an application, please contact Patti Robles, 530-668-3755, patti.robles@ycoe.org or Gayle McLevich, 530-668-3710, gayle.mclevich@ycoe.org.

Families may apply for diplomas posthumously.

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: 78-year-old Akira Iwatsuru holds the high school diploma he received in 2002 from Sacramento County Office of Education's Operation Recognition program. Iwatsuru was a student at Elk Grove High School when he was removed from school and interred at the Jerome Relocation Center in Arkansas. He later joined the army as an internee and was a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in World War II. 2003 Sacramento Bee photograph by John Decker

April 17, 2012
Artisan sales at Sutter's Fort/Indian Museum

SF trader's faire 2008 010.jpgIt's two artisan sales in one! Sutter's Fort and the State Indian Museum are again hosting the Trader's Faire and Indian Arts & Crafts Market this weekend.

Shoppers will discover unique hand-crafted wares at each location. You'll see clothing, housewares, toys, beads and knives, dipped candles, rag rugs and corn husk dolls at the Fort. At the Museum you'll find beaded jewelry, beautiful Native American artwork, woven baskets, gourds, carved soapstone and elk horn and ceremonial drums.

In addition visitors will be entertained with live bands playing traditional instruments, plus demonstrations and hands-on craft making.

What: Two Artisan Shopping Events -- Trader's Faire and Indian Arts & Crafts Market
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park (2701 L Street) & State Indian Museum (2618 K Street), both in Sacramento
When: April 21 & 22, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Combo price - $8 for adults; $6 for youth ages 6-17 which includes entrance into both the Fort and Museum. Sutter's Fort stand-alone price: $7 for adults; $5 for youths ages 6-17. Indian Museum stand-alone price: $4 for adults; $3 for youths ages 6-17. Admission for children ages five and under are free to both the Fort and Museum
For more info: 916-445-4422 or 916-324-0971 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: 2008 Trader's Faire. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

April 16, 2012
Registration opens for 1930s series at Central Library

K Street, Sacramento, 1938The popular Capital Decades program series is returning to the Central Library for four weeks in May, this year showcasing city life, fashion, motion pictures and dance from the 1930s. Registration is now open for the following programs:

City Life (Tuesday, May 8, 6-8 p.m.)
Introduction to life in 1930s Sacramento including industry and labor, Hoovervilles, recreation and amusements, and schools. Presented by William Burg, James Scott, Tom Tolley and Amanda Graham.

Fashions and Styles (Tuesday, May 15, 6-7:30 p.m.)
A fashion show featuring dresses and accessories of the 1930s presented by Sacramento Art Deco Society president Doreen Sinclair.

Motion Pictures (Tuesday, May 22, 6-8 p.m.)
Movie expert Matias Bombal will present clips from 1930s films and discuss the development of the Broadway entertainment district in Sacramento.

Jitterbug! (Tuesday, May 29, 7-9 p.m.)
Dance instruction from Midtown Stomp from 7-8 p.m. and a dance to follow with period music and a silent showing of a classic 1930s dance flick.

In addition to a special program each Tuesday evening, there will be exhibits on display at the Central Library through the month of May featuring vintage objects and images from the collections of the Sacramento Art Deco Society and Sacramento Public Library.

For more information and to register for any of the programs, visit http://www.saclibrary.org/?pageId=1346.

PHOTO CREDIT: K Street, 1938. From the Special Collections of the Sacramento Public Library.

April 12, 2012
Woodland Museum Day
Fordson Track 1.JPG

Woodland Museum Day offers a rare opportunity to sample a lot of the town's historic legacy when eleven unique venues are open this Saturday:

* The Christian Church Museum, 509 College St.
* The Gibson House Yolo County Historical Museum, 512 Gibson Road.
* The Hays Antique Truck Museum and the Heidrick Ag History Center both at 1962 Hays Lane
* Reiff's Gas Station on Jefferson Street.
* The Historic Woodland Railroad Dept at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Sixth Street.
* The Spring Lake School House at the Yolo County Fair Grounds.
* The Spring Lake/Woodland Fire Museum at the Yolo County Fair Grounds.
* The Woodland Fire Museum, 532 Court St.
* The Woodland Museum of Biblical Archeology, 240 West St.
* The Woodland Opera House, 320 Second St.

Maps and brochures will be available at each location. And knowledgeable docents will be on hand to explain the exhibits.

What: Woodland Museum Day
Where: Woodland museums
When: April 14, 10 to 4 p.m.
Cost: some venues free; some have donation boxes; half price at Hayes and Hedrick.
For more info: BJ Ford, 304-7521, or event brochure

PHOTO CREDIT: Fordson Track Hadfield-Cahl Tracks 1923. Courtesy Heidrick Ag History Center

April 3, 2012
Strut your stuff this Easter in Old Sacramento

BONNET PROMENADE 2.JPGFor the 17th year, history buffs are invited to parade in their best 19th century finery in Old Sacramento this Saturday. Onlookers will likely see women in fanciful dresses, lovely parasols or colorful hats, and men in top hats, frock coats, vests, trousers, walking stick and watch fob.

This "Living History" fashion show will be followed by a Spring Ball featuring period music by Claudia's Kitchen Band. Dance instructors will also be on hand to demonstrate period dances like the polka, mazurka, waltz and quadrille.

What: "Living History" Easter Bonnet Promenade & Spring Ball
Where: Old Sacramento
When: April 7. 10:45 a.m. -- Easter Bonnet Promenade participants gather in front of the Sacramento History Museum (101 I St.). 11 a.m. -- Easter Bonnet Promenade begins. 2 p.m. -- Spring Ball begins in Stanford Gallery (111 I St.).
Cost: free
For more info: 916-808-7059 or www.HistoricOldSac.org

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Joanne Hall, left, and Jennifer Barnhart, both are with the Old Sacramento Living History program are dressed in their 1850-1860s period dresses as they and others had their annual Easter bonnet promenade through the streets of Old Sacramento. 2001 Sacramento Bee photograph by Jose M. Osorio

March 21, 2012
Sacramento Spring Antiquarian Book Fair

2001.JPGSpring is upon us, which means that once again we can enjoy the Sacramento Spring Antiquarian Book Fair taking place on Saturday, March 24, from 9:45 AM to 5PM at the Scottish Rite Temple located at 6151 H Street. Numerous book dealers will be on hand, many of whom will feature books on Sacramento, California, and Western Americana. You will also find volumes on art, natural history, science fiction, aviation, and photographs as well as cookbooks, children's books, and varied ephemera. In addition, you can get appraisals on the rare books you already have. General admission is $5.00, but there are plenty of free admission coupons floating around if you know where to look.

 

 

For further information contact 916-849-9248, bookbomb@att.net, or sacbookfair.com.2002.JPG 2003.JPG

Enhanced by Zemanta
March 19, 2012
Sacramento's venerable Zanzibar Club revisited

ZANZIBAR MUSIC.JPGFrom 1941 to 1949 Sacramento's Zanzibar Club hosted some of the top jazz and blues musicians in the country. Its history would have been lost had not Keith Burns found a collection of memorabilia from the venerable West End night spot.

At the next Sacramento County Historical Society Awards Dinner, Burns, along with historian Clarence Caesar, will share photos and artifacts and explain the role the Zanzibar played in the local African American community.

The event includes dinner and music provided by the Sacramento swing band The Harley White Jr. Orchestra.

What: A Night at the Zanzibar
Where: Dante Club, 2330 Fair Oaks Blvd., Sacramento
When: March 27, 6 p.m.
Cost: $40, members of the Sacramento County Historical Society or Sacramento Old City Association. $50, general public. Reserve a spot by March 22 at Brown Bay Tickets.
For more info: William Burg, 443-6265 or website

Event flyer
2005 Bee story about the Zanzibar

PHOTO CREDIT: Zanzibar club at 6th and Capitol in Sacramento, was one of several black jazz clubs that attracted both black and white patrons in the '30s  '40s and '50s.

March 16, 2012
Illuminated Manuscripts at the State Library

1005.JPGIlluminated manuscripts are hand-written manuscripts whose texts are embellished with elaborate decoration. The purest definition of this term involves illustration done in gold or silver, but it has expanded to include other handwritten texts accompanied by decorative design. This is a primarily Western tradition (although similar styles existed in the Far Eastern and Islamic worlds and are usually referred to by different names) and dates back to late Antiquity, when illuminated manuscripts were responsible for preserving much Greek and Roman literature that might otherwise have been lost. The majority of the surviving illuminated manuscripts date from the middle ages and are primarily religious in nature. This tradition lasted into the Renaissance as well.    

 

During the mid 19th century, artists became interested in imitating the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages. Now on display in a new exhibit-Illumination and Color Printing During the Victorian Era-in the State Library's first floor gallery are several rare examples from this Gothic Revival era in which artists decorated manuscripts with gold, silver, and other bright colors produced from semi-precious stones. With the introduction of chromolithography or printing in color, publishers could produce in quantity spectacular reproductions of this attractive form of page decoration made to look like the page leaves created by the monks and scribes of the 10th - 14th centuries.  In addition, Illumination and Color Printing During the Victorian Era includes books ranging from a late Middle Ages Horae or Book of Hours to the spectacular Arion Press 2000 Millennium Bible with original illuminated initials created by noted calligrapher Thomas Ingmire of San Francisco, as well as examples of books actually bound in papier mâché and made to look like carved wooden bindings from the Middle Ages. Illumination and Color Printing During the Victorian Era will be on exhibit until April 30.

1006.JPG 

In conjunction with this exhibit, this month's A Night at the California State Library program will feature "Illuminated Manuscripts" with internationally known antiquarian bookseller John Windle. Windle specializes in illuminated manuscripts, early and fine printings, and illustrated books. He will be discussing the history and making of illuminated manuscripts, and the State Library's History Librarian Emeritus, Gary F. Kurutz, will present rare pieces from the California State Library's collection and the stories behind them. A Night at the California State Library will take place Wednesday, March 21. The doors open at 5PM, and the presentation begins at 6PM. The State Library is located at 900 N Street in Sacramento. If you wish to attend, please RSVP to Rebecca Ann Fontaine at rfontaine@library.ca.gov or 916-653-9942. Light refreshments are generously sponsored by the California State Library Foundation.1007.JPG
March 14, 2012
Dinner celebrates the Fiddletown Schoolhouse Sesquicentennial

The 150th anniversary of the construction of the old Fiddletown School will be celebrated in Amador City with a festive dinner and silent auction.

The 1862 schoolhouse replaced an earlier building destroyed by fire. It served Fiddletown's children until 1955 when it closed and the classes were moved to Plymouth. Historic restoration began in 1964 and since then several major repairs have been accomplished by the Fiddletown Preservation Society. Currently the schoolhouse's entire foundation will have to be renovated.

The dinner next Thursday will benefit the ongoing effort to restore the Fiddletown School. If you can't attend but want to help out, you can send a tax-deductible donation to the Fiddletown Schoolhouse Restoration Fund, PO Box 53, Fiddletown, CA 95629.

What: Fiddletown Schoolhouse Sesquicentennial Celebration
Where: Imperial Hotel, 14202 Old Highway 49, Amador City
When: March 22, 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $50 per person. Proceeds benefit the restoration of the original Fiddletown/Oleta Schoolhouse. Reservations for the dinner are required by March 17. RSVP with an entree selection to treasurer@fiddletown.info or by calling (209) 245-6999.
For more info: Elizabeth Squire, (209) 245-6999

News release

March 13, 2012
Pioneer women's role celebrated at Sutter's Fort

Sutter's Fort woman.JPGSutter's Fort observes Women's History Month with a "Hands on History" program giving visitors are real taste of frontier life with stories, demonstrations and do-it-yourself activities.

You'll learn some of the many tasks frontier women did in the mid-1800s: baking, churning butter, preparing large meals and cooking with ironware. Kids will have the chance to write on a slate, have penmanship lessons, read from a 19th century primer and participate in a fun "History Hunt."

What: Hands on History: The Role of Women on the Frontier
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: Saturday, March 17. 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: $7.00 per adult (18 and older), $5.00 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under.
For more info: Call 916-445-4422 or visit the web site

News release

Speaking of Sutter's Fort, Sacramento's Hometown Tourist Blog recently visited the historic site and wrote up the experience in a detailed posting accompanied by some nice photos. The Blog is written by three local women who explore the city as "local tourists."

PHOTO CREDIT: Wendy Rosell demonstrates "women's work" at Sutter's Fort State Historic Park during Women of the Fort Living History Day in 2007. Courtesy Benjamin Fenkell

March 8, 2012
Enter your family's story in the Root Cellar writing contest

family tree.JPGRoot Cellar, the Sacramento Genealogical Society is seeking entries for this year's Family History Writing Contest.

The group is looking for "factual articles about family or local history, character sketches, or memoirs," relating "the experiences of a family or individuals, revealing their character and personality." Entries should be between 500 and 2,000 words in length.

Contest prizes include a "six month membership to Ancestry.com's World Edition, Family Tree Maker 2012 software, year's membership to Fold3, admissions to Root Cellar's seminar and society memberships."

You don't have to be a member of the Society to participate.

What: 2012 Family History Writing Contest
Who: Root Cellar, the Sacramento Genealogical Society
When: Aug. 1, deadline for submissions; Oct. 1, winners notified.
Cost: free
For more info: Contact the Preserves Editor or see web site.

Contest brochure

PHOTO CREDIT: Library volunteer Bernard Marks shows the family tree of his wife, Eleanor J. Marks to patrons at the Sacramento Public Library. 2010 Sacramento Bee photograph by Autumn Cruz

March 7, 2012
Congratulations to the Sacramento County History Day qualifiers
Thumbnail image for FLU PROJECT.JPG

National History Day is a year-long competition in the area of historical research, writing and analysis (sort of history's equivalent of a science fair for primary and secondary school students