Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

August 13, 2013
Authors to speak on Nisei WWII Veterans

Twice Heroes.jpgTwo authors will speak on the experiences and legacy of Japanese-American World War II veterans at the California State Military Museum on Saturday, August 17. Tom Graves will lead off the program at 1:00 p.m. with a discussion of Twice Heroes: America's Nisei Veterans of WWII and Korea, a book which uses portraits and interviews to share the experiences of Japanese American veterans before, during and after the wars

Award-winning local author Kiyo Sato will follow at 2:00 p.m., presenting Kiyo's Story: A Japanese-American Family's Quest for the American Dream, a recent printing of Dandelion through the Crack, which tells "the compelling story of starting a family in California, coping during the Depression, being swept off to concentration camps, and ultimately surviving and succeeding despite terrible odds and oppressive prejudice." Kiyo will discuss her wartime internment and later service in the U.S. Air Force.

Books will be available for sale at the program, and both authors will be on hand to sign copies and answer questions.

What: Author talk and signing on Nisei World War II veterans
When: August 17, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Where: California State Military Museum, 1119 2nd Street
Cost: Free
For more info: http://www.militarymuseum.org/ or (916) 854-1900

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 5, 2013
Historian to speak on early Yolo, Solano County farmers

after gold.JPGSome of the many prospectors who failed to strike it rich during California's Gold Rush settled along Putah Creek in Yolo and Solano Counties to try their luck at farming and ranching. Their struggle to overcome drought, flooding and other challenges will be described in a talk this Thursday by historian David Vaught.

Vaught is professor of history at Texas A&M University and author of Cultivating California: Growers, Specialty Crops, and Labor, 1875-1920 and After The Gold Rush: Tarnished Dreams in the Sacramento Valley. He earned his doctorate from UC Davis in 1997.

The event is co-sponsored by the Putah Creek Council, Winters Friends of the Library, Yolo County Historical Society, Friends of the Yolo County Archives and Winters Visitors Center.

What: Settling Putah Creek after the Gold Rush
Where: Palms Playhouse, 13 Main St., Winters
When: Aug. 8, 7 to 9 p.m.
Cost: free, but donations welcome at the door
For more info: (530) 795-2329 or website

Event flyer

July 25, 2013
Art in August at Central Library
Art in August.JPG

There will be plenty of local art history featured this summer as Central Library hosts its first annual Art in August program series.

On August 13, Dr. Elaine O'Brien, professor of art history at Sacramento State University, will visit Central Library to deliver a fascinating free lecture on art of the Sacramento area during the tumultuous 60s and 70s. In her talk entitled "Glory Days: The Sacramento-Region Art World of the 1960s and 1970s," O'Brien will discuss regional art galleries; alternative spaces and art departments that accommodated a range of avant-garde practices like Funk; the politicized art of the Royal Chicano Air Force; and Native Northern California artists who radically redefined their traditions.

Art displays will also be on view in the Central Library lobby and Sacramento Room throughout the month. While the lobby will be a showcase for local artists, the Sacramento Room will be exhibiting rare books, historical bookplates, copper printing plates and other printing tools, striking botanical books and plates, early lithographs and art with the city of Sacramento as subject, and conceptual art of the library itself.

What: Glory Days: The Sacramento-Region Art World of the 1960s and 1970s
When: Tuesday, August 13, 6:15 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library, 828 I Street, Sacramento
Cost: Free
For more info: Visit www.saclibrary.org or call (916) 264-2920

July 17, 2013
Author to speak on secret WWII Japanese submarine program

operation_storm_cover.jpgA secret Japanese submarine program during World War II is the subject of the next "Meet the Author" lecture at the California State Military Museum.

This Sunday John Geoghegan will speak about his new book, Operation Storm: Japan's Top Secret Submarines and Its Plan to Change the Course of World War II, that tells the story of the last-ditch plan to bomb U.S. cities with bombers launched from huge underwater aircraft carriers -- the I-400 class "supersubs."

Geogheggan is a journalist who has written numerous aricles about the history unusual technologies for the Huffington Post and other publications. Operation Storm grew from a 2008 article in Aviation History entitled "Japan's Panama Canal Buster."

What: Meet the Author, John Geoghegan
Where: California State Military Museum, 1119 2nd St., Sacramento
When: 1:00 pm, Sunday, July 21, 1 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: (916) 854-1900 or website

Publisher's book website

July 2, 2013
Maidu Museum offers kids archaeology camp

IMG_6087small.jpgThe Maidu Museum is offering a week-long archaeology camp for children ages 8-11. Participants will learn the techniques of the discipline while getting hands-on experience uncovering artifacts from Roseville's ranching period. Recovered items will be displayed in the Museum.

Maidu Museum Cultural Anthropologist and docent Heidi Frantz will lead the camp.

For registration forms and information about the city's other recreational programs, see the Roseville Recreation Guide.

What: Hands On Archaeology Camp
Where: Maidu Museum & Historic Site, 1970 Johnson Ranch Dr., Roseville
When: July 8-12, 9:30 to 12:30 p.m.
Cost: $119 per child ($109 Resident Discount)
For more info: (916) 772-7529 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy City of Roseville

June 29, 2013
Old Sacramento invites kids to History Camp

logo.gifThe Sacramento History Museum and the Living History Center invites kids, aged 8-12, to three one-week day camps that explore state and city history through tours and hands-on experiences. Participants will visit local museums and historic sites, make their own old-time toys, learn to pan for gold, ride a steam train, perform in a history-themed play and many other fun and educational activities.

Space is limited in the camps and is first-come, first served. Parents can learn more about the program and register their children with this online registration form.

July 8-12: Gold Fever
An introduction to California and Sacramento's history.
July 15-19: History Live!
Work on a historical theme for a play that campers will perform.
July 22-July 26: Dig It
A look at preservation, archaeology and anthropology of local sites.

What: Old Sacramento History Camp 2013
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I St., Sacramento
When: July 8 to 26, 9 to 4 p.m.
Cost: $155 per week per camper. Discounted rates are available for HOSF members at $140 per week per camper. Extended Care: Morning and afternoon extended care is available for an additional fee.
For more info: website

Registration Packet

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 19, 2013
Kids hands-on history workshops offered at the California Museum

Kids_HandsOn_Craft.jpgYoung kids, 3 and up, will get the chance to learn about California history while having fun at a series of free hands-on workshops offered at the California Museum. The four programs feature California-themed crafts, activities and games to engage and teach participants a little about the state's culture and heritage.

In addition to the workshops, the Museum is offering (through July 31) a special family discount on regular admission prices. See details.

What: Hands-on Learning Workshops
Where: California Museum, 1020 O St., Sacramento
When: Fourth Saturday of the month -- June 22, July 27, Aug. 24 and Sept. 28 -- from 11 to 1 p.m.
Cost: free with paid admission.
For more info: 916-653-7524 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy California Museum

June 13, 2013
Tuskegee Airmen remembered in book talk

Tuskegee book.jpgThe Tuskegee Airmen were the first African Americans to serve as aviators during World War II. They not only fought heroically in Europe, they also overcame prejudice and discrimination in the Army Air Forces. Their success helped prepare the way for desegregation of the U.S. armed forces in 1948.

Dr. David G. Styles will speak on the Airmen next Saturday at the State Military Museum. Styles is author of the newly released The Tuskegee Airmen and Beyond: The Road to Equality, which surveys the history of African Americans participation in the U.S. military leading up to the formation of the all-black fighter squadron in 1941.

A frequent speaker, Styles has written 18 books, including another book on WWII aviation history, Two Flights to Victory: From the Doolittle Raid to the Enola Gay, a detailed account of two of the war's most important air missions.

What: The Tuskegee Airmen and Beyond: The Road to Equality
Where: California State Military Museum, 1119 2nd St., Sacramento
When: June 15, 1 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: (916) 854-1904 or website

May 14, 2013
Night Out at the Maidu Museum

Maidu Museum interior.jpgAs part of Roseville's 3rd Saturday Art Walk, the Maidu Museum will offer free admission to a special evening program.

The featured speaker is Nisenan Maidu educator April Moore discussing misconceptions about California native traditions. There will also be a reception to kick off two new art exhibits: "Traditions Learned Through Time" by Billy Hawk Enos and "Artwork by Winema Marie Suehead."

Light refreshments will be available.

What: Night Out at the Museum
Where: Maidu Museum & Historic Site, 311 Vernon St., Roseville
When: may 18, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Program starts at 7 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-774-5200

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Maidu Museum and Hisoric Site

May 8, 2013
Expert to speak on model trucks and toy tractors

toy truck.JPGAs part of its Second Saturday Educational Series, Heidrick Ag Center will present Hubert Bryant speaking on the collecting of vintage model trucks and toy tractors.

Bryant will discuss the evolution of the toy vehicle craft, from wood, metal to plastic. Visitors will get to examine items from his personal collection, as well as those from the museum's holdings.

Each month the Center focuses on a different aspect of California agricultural and transportation history. Its permanent collection consists of two main galleries: the Fred C. Heidrick Antique Ag Collection and the Hays Antique Truck Museum.

What: Second Saturday Educational Series: Collectable Trucks and Toy Tractors
Where: Heidrick Ag History Center, 1962 Hays Lane, Woodland
When: May 11, 12 to 2 p.m.
Cost: $10 non-members; $7 members; $5 kids 5-18; kids under 5 free.
For more info: (530) 666-9700 or email

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Heidrick Ag History Center

May 3, 2013
Rail musueum offers photography workshop

Trains & Tripods1.jpgWith the usual crowds it's normally difficult to photograph the amazing exhibits at the California State Railroad Museum. But amateur shooters will have a chance to snap the trains before the facility opens next Saturday.

It's all part of a weekend photography event, which includes an optional lighting class on Friday conducted by former Sacramento Bee photographer Dave Henry.

Space is limited to 50 participants and advance registration is required.

What: Trains & Tripods Photo Opportunity & Lighting Seminar
Where: California State Railroad Museum, 125 I St. in Old Sacramento
When: May 10 & 11. Friday - 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Photography Seminar); Saturday - 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (Shooting Workshop)
Cost: $35.00 per person Friday night seminar, $35.00 per person shooting workshop or $60.00 per person for both
For more info: 916-445-7373 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

April 18, 2013
Rail historian/photographer to speak at Sacramento City College

burman.JPGRailroad historian and photographer Shirley Burman will speak at Sacramento City College this Saturday. Burman, who photographed trains with her late husband Richard Steinheimer, became interested in the subject in 1978 when the State Railroad Museum hired her to document train restoration.

For many years Burman has documented and championed the contributions of women who have worked in the rail industry. That interest resulted in various exhibits, journal articles and a children's book She's Been Working on the Railroad (written with Nancy Smiler Levinson). Her company Burman Enterprises, which sells T-shirts, postcards, mugs and tote bags with the theme "Women and the American Railroad," was profiled by The Sacramento Bee in 1996.

What: Shirley Burman
Where: Sacramento City College Student Center
When: April 20, 1 p.m.
Cost: lecture is free and parking free on Saturdays
For more info: website

PHOTO CREDIT: At Southern Pacific Railroad's Sacramento Shops, Pat Taylor cleans traction motor parts in 1986. Photograph by Shirley Burman

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 7, 2013
Historian to relate "Tales of the Sierra Nevada"

gary noy.JPGHistorian Gary Noy will relate "little-known and unusual stories about the fascinating people and events in Sierra Nevada history" in a lecture based on his upcoming book Untangled Shadows: Tales of the Sierra Nevada. Among the people celebrated in the collection are writer Mark Twain, railroad visionary Theodore Judah, opera singer Kate Hayes and others.

Noy is Director Emeritus of the Sierra College Center for Sierra Nevada Studies, who taught history at the college for more than 20 years.

Proceeds from the event go to the Sierra College Friends of the Library, an group dedicated to assisting and improving all campus libraries in the Sierra Community College District

What: Gary Noy author of Untangled Shadows: Tales of the Sierra Nevada
Where: Room 133A, Rocklin Campus Library, Sierra College, 5000 Rocklin Rd., Rocklin
When: April 10, 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.).
Cost: $5 donation (seniors $2 and students free). $3 campus parking.
For more info: (916) 660-7202

PHOTO CREDIT: Gary Noy. Courtesy Sierra College

April 3, 2013
Sacramento Chronicles author at Central Library

sacramento-chronicles-cover.jpgLocal author Cheryl Anne Stapp will be visiting the Central Library on Tuesday, April 9, to discuss her new book, Sacramento Chronicles: A Golden Past (History Press, 2013): 

Sacramento boomed when forty-niners flocked to California, but the road from riverfront trading post to cosmopolitan capital was bumpy and winding. In this collection, historian and local author Cheryl Anne Stapp reveals the setbacks and successes that shaped the city, including a devastating cholera outbreak, the 1850s squatter riots, two major fires, the glamorous Pony Express and the first transcontinental railroad built by Sacramento merchants. Even bursting levees and swollen riverbanks couldn't keep the fledgling city down, as Sacramento hoisted its downtown buildings and streets above flood level. Come discover the diversity of Sacramento's heritage from agriculture and state fairs to war efforts, Prohibition and historic preservation, and explore the historic sites that mark the city's development.

Cherly Anne Stapp is the author of numerous magazine articles, along with the recently published Disaster & Triumph: Sacramento Women, Gold Rush through the Civil War (2012), and is a member of the Board of Directors of the California Writers Club, Sacramento Branch.  She maintains a history blog at www.cherylannestapp.com.

What: Sacramento Chronicles book discussion
Where: Central Library, 828 I Street, Sacramento
When: Tuesday, April 9, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free
For more info: www.saclibrary.org; (916) 264-2920

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 27, 2013
April Fools' Sacramento History returns to Central Library

Twain April Fools.JPGPranksters and history enthusiasts alike are invited to celebrate April Fools' Day at Central Library by attending "Incredible Occurrences in Sacramento History," an illustrated lecture featuring a series of increasingly hard-to-believe stories about the capital city. Attendees can invite trusting, unwitting friends in the spirit of the holiday. Subjects will include Tomato Time, Nigel and the Swordfish, Jee Mei Si, and Bajo Sacramento, and the lecture will be followed by a true or false trivia round.

"Incredible Occurrences" is presented for the second year by Sacramento Room staff James Scott and Amanda Graham, who will be portraying professorly versions of themselves. As with the previous year, real Sacramento history will pervade the lecture and those in the know will be challenged to separate fact from fiction.

What: April Fools' Sacramento History
Where: Central Library, 828 I Street, Sacramento (I Street entrance)
When: Monday, April 1st, 6:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.
Cost: Free
For more info: www.saclibrary.org; (916) 264-2920

March 21, 2013
Sacramento radio history explored at recent lecture

KFBK-NO DATE.JPGThe origin of Sacramento commercial radio stretches back to February 1922 when the city's first station, KVQ (later KFBK), began broadcasting at 833 kilocycles on the AM band. It would be another 15 years before a second station, KROY, would arrive on the scene. But by 1960 there would be several AM stations with sister operations broadcasting on the new FM band.

The evolution of Sacramento radio was discussed in a recent talk by local radio veteran Alex Cosper at Midtown Village Cafe. Cosper -- who founded the video site SacTV in 2011 -- covered the rise of rock-in-roll, the emergence of Top 40, soul, free-form and alternative formats, plus later domination of AM by national chains. He also touched on his work as Program Director at KWOD in the 1990s.

Cosper's lecture was recorded and is available in a three-part video series on SacTV which also produced other videos on Sacramento media history, including interviews with local broadcasting figures.

PHOTO CREDIT: Undated photograph of the KFBK building in Sacramento.

March 11, 2013
Pioneer women celebrated at Sutter's Fort
SF HOH Women Frontier.jpg

Sacramento's observance of Women's History Month continues at Sutter's Fort with a special "Hands on History" program dedicated to California's pioneer women. Visitors this Saturday will hear tales of the hardships and challenges these emigrants faced in the early days of the state. They also see demonstrations and hands on experience with dutch-oven cooking, covered wagon loading, water bucket carrying and rope making. Plus there will be the ever-popular cannon firings and black powder and musket demonstrations.

And special guest Cheryl Stapp will give speak on the important roles frontier women played in the development of California. Stapp is a local writer, historian and author of Disaster & Triumph: Sacramento Women, Gold Rush Through the Civil War and Sacramento Chronicles: A Golden Past. In the former book, she profiles six remarkable, but very different, 19th century women. After her presentations, Stapp will be available to answer questions and sign books.

What: Hands on History: Hard Working Women of the Frontier
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: March 16, 10 to 5 p.m. Cannon firing demonstrations: 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Stapp presentations: 11:30 a.m., 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day.
Cost: $7 adult (18 and older), $5 youth (ages 6-17), free children 5 years and under
For more info: 916-445-4422 or website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Women on the Frontier reenactment. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

February 28, 2013
African American genealogy seminar

Thumbnail image for Family History.JPGBeginning, intermediate and advanced classes on African American family genealogy will be offered at a day-long seminar next Saturday. Under the theme "Celebrating 150 Years of Emancipation," workshops will cover everything from using basic research tools to writing your family's history.

Keynote speaker is Regina E. Mason, author of  Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave, a book about her formerly enslaved ancestor turned fugitive slave.

Preregistration is encouraged to insure a spot in desired classes, but it is possible to to register on the day of the conference.

What: Eighth Annual African American Family History Seminar
Where: LDS Family History Center, 2745 Eastern Ave., Sacramento
When: March 9, 8 to 4 p.m. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.
Cost: $20 (includes materials and workshop; optional lunch is $6.50).
For more info: 916-487-2090 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Elizabeth W. Stephens, left, 73, of Elk Grove and Hester McCoy Snider, 82, of Rocklin attends the 4th Annual Family History Seminar at the Sacramento Family History Center. 2009 Sacramento Bee photography by Michael Allen Jones

February 25, 2013
Author to speak on a new history of Sacramento

sac-chronicles.jpgSacramento's evolution from Gold Rush trading post to sprawling state capital was a tortuous road marked by fires, floods, disease, wars and riots. (No wonder its motto is Urbs Indomita -- Indomitable City.) But Sacramento also enjoyed success and growth as an agricultural, transportation, governmental (and later) military hub.

The story of the city's triumphs and tragedies is told in a new general history penned by local writer and historian Cheryl Anne Stapp. In addition to the historical high points Sacramento Chronicles: A Golden Past covers the creation and preservation of key historic sites, such as Sutter's Fort, Governor's Mansion, Folsom Powerhouse, etc.

Stapp is also author of Disaster and Triumph: Sacramento Women, Gold Rush through the Civil War. She will read and sign her new book this Thursday at Time Tested Books. Stapp was interviewed about Sacramento Chronicles in a recent episode of Capital Public Radio's Insight program.

What: Sacramento Chronicles with Cheryl Anne Stapp
Where: Time Tested Books, 1114 21st St., Sacramento
When: Feb. 28, 7 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-447-5696 or website

February 21, 2013
Ski pioneer to share memories of Donner Summit

Ski resort pioneer and historian Norm Sayler will share his memories of life in the Sierra at the next meeting of the Sacramento County Historical Society.

SAYLER DONNER 3.JPGBorn in 1933, Sayler left Sacramento for the mountains in 1954 to serve as manager (and later president) of Donner Ski Ranch. In addition to his 46 years with the ski area, he devoted himself to preserving the history of Donner Summit. Sayler helped to designate old Highway 40 as a historic byway and helped to found the Donner Summit Historical Society.

The Bee published an article about Norm Sayler in 2001 when he sold Donner Ski Ranch to a Las Vegas development company.

What: "From Sacramento to Donner Summit" with Norm Sayler
Where: Sacramento Valley Medical Society Building, 5380 Elvas Blvd., Sacramento
When: Feb. 26, social time: 6:30 p.m., presentation: 7 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: (916) 443-6265 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Norm Sayler shown on the slopes of Donner Ski Ranch. 2001 photograph by Robin Scarton

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 30, 2013
Weinstock's history talk at Pocket-Greenhaven Library

Thumbnail image for 444-5-weinstocks-cover-blog.jpgLocal author Annette Kassis will visit the Pocket-Greenhaven Branch Library on Saturday for a discussion and signing of her new book on the former Sacramento retailer Weinstock's: Sacramento's Finest Department Store. Her book traces the origins, growth, innovations, decline and closure of one of Sacramento's most famous downtown landmarks.

Kassis provided a preview of the book in an interview posted on the History Press website.

Annette Kassis studied history at CSU Sacramento and UC Santa Barbara. She is a historian specializing in media, advertising, consumerism and popular culture.

What: Weinstock's book discussion and signing
When: Feb. 2, 11 to 12 noon.
Where: Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven branch library, 7335 Gloria Drive, Sacramento
Cost: Free
For more info: (916) 264-2920 or website

January 24, 2013
Celebrate Gold Discovery Day in Coloma
MAJ MARSHALL STATE PARK.JPG

In a real sense, California was born 165 years ago today when John W. Marshall found gold in the tail race of the sawmill he was building for John Sutter in Coloma.

As Steve Wiegand wrote in The Bee's 1998 Gold Rush edition, that monumental discovery would attract some 90,000 fortune hunters to the state during the next two years. The prospectors (who numbered 300,000 by 1854) came from all parts of the world, many making the 15,000-mile sea voyage around the tip of South America or overland, 2,200 miles from Missouri or Iowa.

This vast influx of people propelled the territory into statehood in 1850. And it helped transform Sacramento into a major commercial, transportation and agricultural hub -- and eventually the state capital.

Every year, the history-minded folks in Coloma celebrate Gold Discovery Day with a day-long program of activities for the whole family, including the Sutter's Mill reenactment, carpentry demonstrations, tour of a Miwok Village, wagon rides, gold panning and Gold Rush period entertainment. Gold Rush writers will be on hand at the Museum Store to sign books, and guests can visit the Museum and Visitor Center which opens at 10 a.m.

What: Gold Discovery Day
Where: Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Highway 49, Coloma
When: Jan 26, 10 to 3 p.m.
Cost: All activities are free. Parking is $7 per car.
For more info: call 530-295-2162, 530-622-3470 or see website

PHOTO CREDIT: Carol Timmerman, left, of Cool portrays a pioneer woman and Ed Allen of El Dorado portrays 1848 gold discoverer James W. Marshall at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. 2009 Sacramento Bee photograph by Michael Allen Jones


January 23, 2013
Railroad Museum honks the horn for volunteers

RR Volunteers.jpgYou don't have to be a history expert to become a volunteer at the State Railroad Museum, just a willingness to help educate the public on the essential role trains have played in the development of Sacramento and California.

The Museum and Old Sacramento State Historic Park (SHP) are now recruiting adults to join a new class of volunteers. Volunteers serve as docents and tour guides, help with steam train operations, track construction, restoration and maintenance, and perform clerical work. Training is free, but participants must commit to at least 84 hours of service during the year. (The schedule is flexible.) Perks include free parking while on duty, invitation to an annual Volunteer Recognition Banquet and complimentary Museum membership.

If interested, download a volunteer application or call 916-324-7593 or email the Museum's Volunteer Training Coordinator for more information.

What: Volunteer Applications Accepted Now
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento State Historic Park
When: Volunteer applications are due Feb. 4. Orientation and volunteer training begins on Feb. 11.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-324-7593 or visit website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of the California State Railroad Museum

January 21, 2013
Genealogy class focuses on female ancestors
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For family historians, finding information about female ancestors can be particularly challenging. The next meeting of the Placer County Genealogical Society will focus just on the problem of discovering a maiden name so you can further your research about a relative.

The lecture will be given by Pam Dallas, a professional genealogist who has been affiliated with several societies, including the Genealogical and Historical Council of Sacramento Valley and the California State Genealogical Alliance. She has also appeared on local TV and radio programs and has spoken at local, regional and national conferences.

What: "Remember the Ladies: Find Your Female Ancestors"
Where: Beecher Room, Auburn-Placer County Library, 350 Nevada Street, Auburn
When: Jan. 24, 7 to 9 p.m.
Cost: Free and visitors are welcome.
For more info: (866) 894-2076 or website.

January 18, 2013
Classes offered for beginning genealogists

Thumbnail image for CC CENSUS MICROFILM.JPGInterested in researching your family's history, but don't know the first thing about it?

Glenda Gardner Lloyd of Root Cellar (Sacramento Genealogical Society) will offer a series of four classes to jump start your research. Topics include: How to Get Started, Vital Records, Census Records and Getting Organized. The program will be held at the Sacramento FamilySearch Library.

Classes are limited to 12 participants. So reserve a spot by calling 916-487-2090.

What: Beginning Genealogy Classes with Glenda Gardner Lloyd
Where: Sacramento FamilySearch Library, 2745 Eastern Ave., Sacramento
When: Feb. 5, 13, 20 and 28. 10 to 11 a.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-487-2090 or Sacramento FamilySearch Library

PHOTO CREDIT: Harold Nash of Sacramento uses microfilm to explore his family's roots at the Family History Center on Eastern Ave. 2001 Sacramento Bee photograph by Chris Crewell

January 17, 2013
'Simeon's Story' author will tell the tragedy of Emmett Till

ASAP NEWS EMMETT TILL.jpgSimeon Wright, civil-rights activist and author of "Simeon's Story: An Eyewitness Account of the Kidnapping of Emmett Till," will give a free presentation at 4 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Capitol City Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 6701 Lemon Hill Ave., Sacramento; (916) 381-5353.

In the coming-of-age memoir, Wright recalls the horrific scenario surrounding the 1955 kidnap and murder of his teenage cousin, Emmett Till, and the sensational trial that followed. The case had a major impact on advancing the nation's civil-rights movement.

-- Allen Pierleoni

PHOTO CREDIT: Emmett Louis Till, who was 14 when he was killed. AP Photo

January 8, 2013
Using wikis for genealogy

RootCellarLogo.gifThe next meeting of the Sacramento Genealogical Society (Root Cellar) will feature a webinar on using wikis in genealogy.

What's a wiki? Generally speaking it's a online, collaborative encyclopedia that can be added to and edited by its users. But according to professional genealogist Thomas MacEntee, wikis can be used specifically by family historians to document their research and share it with other family members.

In this webinar (recorded in August), MacEntee will survey the various types of wikis and explain the basics for setting one up. Handouts accompanying the webinar will be available at the meeting.

What: Root Cellar Membership Meeting, "Wikis for Genealogists"
Where: Christ Community Church, 5025 Manzanita Ave., Carmichael
When: Jan. 10, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Cost: free, visitors welcome
For more info: email or website

January 7, 2013
California and the Civil War subject of multimedia presentation

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

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

Space is limited, so please call 916-726-4432 to reserve a seat.

What: "California and the Civil War" at the Sacramento Civil War Roundtable
Where: Sam's Hofbrau, 2500 Watt Ave., Sacramento
When: Jan. 9, 7 p.m.
Cost: free and open to the public
For more info: contact Dennis at 916-726-4432 or email

PHOTO CREDIT: The Reverend Thomas Starr King, a San Francisco Unitarian minister who spoke out eloquently in support of the Union during the Civil War.

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 17, 2012
Free webinar classes for family historians

SCGS-logo.jpgAmateur genealogists take note: The Southern California Genealogical Society is offered a year-long series of online classes taught by knowledgeable experts on all phases of family research. The first session this Wednesday covers "Jewish Genealogy 101."

To participate you'll you need is a Windows or Macintosh computer with speakers and a fast internet connection. (See technical information.) Pre-registration is required to reserve a spot in each class you want to take. Go to the list of classes and follow the link to the class signups. Supply your name and email address and you'll receive confirmation and a few reminders for the upcoming class.

What: Jamboree 2013 Extension Series
Where: Southern California Genealogical Society (online)
When: Dec. 19 thru Dec. 18, 2013. Saturdays 10 a.m.; Wednesdays 6 p.m.
Cost: free, but registration is required
For more info: 818-843-7247 or website

Class schedule and FAQ

December 6, 2012
WWII historians to speak at Military Museum

Two Flights.jpgThe next Meet the Author event at the California State Military Museum features two historians speaking on their latest WWII-related volumes.

Dr. David Stles, author of Two Flights to Victory: From the Doolittle Raid to the Enola Gay, will discuss his new biography of the famed aviator. Doolittle Tales covers both Jimmy Doolittle's achievements in early civilian aviation, as well as his extraordinary contributions as a military commander.

Following Styles is Col. Ken Nielsen who will speak on Pressed Steel!, a book recounting the wartime activities of the Pressed Steel Car Company which produced large numbers of armored vehicles during WWII.

What: Meet the Authors -- Dr. David Styles and Col. Ken Nielsen
Where: California State Military Museum, 1119 2nd St., Sacramento
When: Dec. 8, 1 to 3 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: (916) 854-1904 or website

December 4, 2012
Preservation meeting features panel on Sacramento's "urban pioneers"

Real Food.jpgThe next Preservation Roundtable will focus on the "urban pioneers" who revitalized Sacramento's central city in the 1970s with their own brand of art, craft, local business and home restoration. Susan Ballew, former Sacramento County Historical Society president, will present a photos of the period, followed by a panel discussion with stained glass artist Mickey Abbey, Suttertown News publisher Tim Holt, and home restorers Bob and Roberta Rakela.

Two new local history books will also be featured: Friends of the McClatchy Library's Memories of McClatchy Library and SCHS's Daisy's Legacy, A Tale of the Progressive era in Sacramento.

Lastly, Roberta Deering, City of Sacramento Preservation Director, will update the group on current preservation projects.

Sacramento's Preservation Roundtable is "a quarterly gathering of local history and historic preservation organizations, intended to share current information on local preservation topics, public policy, events, and plans in progress."

What: Preservation Roundtable: Sacramento's Urban Pioneers, New People in Old Homes
Where: Midtown Village Cafe, 1827 I St., Sacramento
When: Dec. 8, 9 to 12 noon
Cost: free and open to the public
For more info: (916) 202-4815 or Sacramento Old City Association

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Sacramento Real Food Company, 1500 Q Street, circa 1970. Photograph by Mickey Abbey

November 26, 2012
Early Sacramento women featured in talk
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Local author Cheryl Anne Sapp will discuss her book, Disaster and Triumph: Sacramento Women, Gold Rush through the Civil War, tomorrow at the next Sacramento County Historical Society meeting.

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

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

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

November 25, 2012
Archiving basics for beginners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Event flyer
News release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Event flyer

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

October 29, 2012
Learn the tools and techniques of genealogy at the Family History Seminar

MAJ AFRICAN HISTORY.JPGGenealogical novices, experts and everybody in between will find useful training at the next Family History Seminar this Saturday. Participants will be able to attend five of 35 classes covering a range of tools and techniques, including DNA testing, document preservation, newspaper research, vital records, maiden names, German and Eastern European ancestry, military records and much more.

On-site registration is available, but space is limited so pre-registration is encouraged.

What: 7th Annual Family History Seminar
Where: Sacramento Regional Family History Center, 2745 Eastern Ave., Sacramento
When: Nov. 3, 8:30 to 3:30 p.m. On-site registration starts at 7:45 a.m.
Cost: pre-registration and electronic syllabus $10; paper syllabus $10; lunch $ 6.50
For more info: (916) 487-2090 or website

Class schedule
Registration form

PHOTO CREDIT: Elizabeth W. Stephens, left, 73, of Elk Grove and Hester McCoy Snider, 82, of Rocklin attend the 4th Annual Family History Seminar at the Sacramento Regional Family History Center. 2009 Sacramento Bee photograph by Michael Allen Jones

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 22, 2012
K Street's evolution discussed at book talk

Thumbnail image for K St book.jpgLocal historian and preservationist William Burg will discuss his new book Sacramento's K Street: Where Our City Was Born tomorrow evening at the California State Archives.

From the very beginning, Burg has written, K Street has mirrored Sacramento's commercial development. In this volume he traces the street's evolution from Gold Rush storefront, through its Golden Age as a retail and entertainment powerhouse, up to current efforts to revive downtown's prominence.

Copies of Sacramento's K Street will be available for purchase and signing at this meeting.

What: William Burg -- K Street: Where Our City Was Born
Where: California State Archives, 1020 O St., Sacramento
When: Oct. 24, 7 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: SCHS website

October 16, 2012
Lecture celebrates contributions of Jews in the West
Levi Strauss.JPG

As part of its 50th anniversary celebration Congregation Bet Haverim in Davis will present a lecture on the Jewish experience in the West by Marc Dollinger, professor of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University.

Prof. Dollinger is author of Quest for Inclusion, Religion as a Public Good: Jews and Other Americans on Religion in the Public Square and Jewish San Francisco as well as co-editor of California Jews.

What: Jews of the West, with Marc Dollinger, Ph.D.
Where: Congregation Bet Haverim, 1715 Anderson Rd., Davis
When: Oct. 21, 3 to 5 p.m.
Cost: free and open to the public
For more info: email Steve Cohen or call 530-753-2197

PHOTO CREDIT: Levi Strauss, who founded the first company to manufacture blue jeans in San Francisco in 1853. Courtesy Levi Strauss & Co.

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 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

September 17, 2012
Historian to discuss challenges facing the state parks

Catherine Millard.JPGThis Saturday the Governor's Mansion will host a talk and book signing by Catherine Millard, a historian and author of 14 books, including her latest The Dismantling of America's History, in which she warns about the threat to essential historic landmarks such as the Governor's Mansion.

Millard argues that to lose any of these precious artifacts is to lose "their immeasurable contribution to the social, natural, cultural, educational and economic development of the entire country."

What: Author Appearance & Book Signing Opportunity
Where: Visitor's Center at the Governor's Mansion State Historic Park, 1526 H Street in Sacramento
When: Sept. 22, Noon to 2 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-323-5916 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Historian Catherine Millard. Courtesy Governor's Mansion State Historic Park

September 6, 2012
September genealogy classes
CC CENSUS MICROFILM.JPG

September not only ushers in the school year, it also brings a wealth of genealogy classes designed to help family historians learn the tricks and tools of research.

The Sacramento Public Library (828 I St.) is offering three Sunday afternoon seminars in the West Meeting Room. Register for these classes by calling (916) 264-2920 or visiting www.saclibrary.org.

Sept. 9 (1:30 p.m.): Genealogy On the Go with the iPad or Tablet with Lisa Louise Cooke
Sept. 16 (1:30 p.m.): Build Your Own Genealogy Blog with Craig Siulinski
Sept. 23 (1:30 p.m.): The WPA, Resources for Your Genealogy with Gena Philibert Ortega

The Family History Center (2745 Eastern Ave., Sacramento) has announced these classes. To register call 487-2090.

Sept. 12 (2 p.m.): Newspaper Research with Kathryn Moore
Sept. 12 (7 p.m.): Social Security with Pam Dallas
Sept. 19 (2 p.m.): Italian Research with Jerry Googiel
Sept. 19 (7 p.m.): Using Dropbox for Genealogy and More with Marian Kile
Sept. 26 (2 p.m.): City Directories, A Problem Solving Approach with Glenda Lloyd
Sept. 26 (7 p.m.): Family History Center Portal with Gordon Orchard

PHOTO CREDIT: Harold Nash uses microfilm to explore his family's roots at the Family History Center. 2001 Sacramento Bee photograph by Chris Crewell

August 29, 2012
Beer tasting and lore at Center for Sacramento History

Buffalo Brewing.jpgBeer making in Sacramento has a long, distinguished history. The Center for Sacramento History will honor that tradition at an upcoming program where visitors can sample contemporary artisan beers, view rare brewery artifacts and speak with an expert on local breweries of the past.

Some of the vintage memorabilia that will be displayed are a weather vane and glass chandelier from Buffalo Brewing, a still-filled beer bottle form 1910, bottles from the 1850s, bottle caps, kegs, spigots, 19th century advertising and other objects from the CSH "vault."

Three local breweries -- Ruhstaller, Track 7 and Two Rivers Cider -- will provide the beers for tasting.

Ed Carroll, a contributor to Midtown Monthly, and author of Sacramento's Breweries, a history of the industry from the Gold Rush to Prohibition, will be on hand to answer questions.

What: Untapped Sacramento History
Where: Center for Sacramento History, 551 Sequoia Pacific Blvd., Sacramento
When: Sept. 5, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Cost: $35 per adult (includes two pints in a complimentary pint glass, additional pints may be purchased for $5)
For more info: purchase tickets at 916-247-1234 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Memorabilia from the Buffalo Brewing Company. Courtesy the Center for Sacramento History

August 16, 2012
How to find living people for family research

Thumbnail image for JewsofSingSing.JPGFor the family historian living people are an important source of information on one's ancestors. And finding living people is a research challenge in and of itself. Monday evening the Jewish Genealogical Society will present Bay Area genealogist Ron Arons who'll explain the many sources on the Internet that can help you locate people -- even if you don't have their correct surnames.

Arons got started in genealogy researching his own ancestors, one of whom served time in New York's Sing Sing Prison. That led to a grant for historical study of Jewish criminals and the resulting publication of The Jews of Sing Sing.

What: "Searching for Living People," Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento Meeting
Where: Albert Einstein Residence Center, 1935 Wright St., Sacramento
When: Aug.20, 7 p.m.
Cost: free, open to all
For more info: email or website

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.

July 12, 2012
California and the Civil War lecture returns

Civil War Nevada City.JPGIf you've missed prior presentations of California and the Civil War, you'll can catch it in Nevada City next week.

Using art, maps and photos, Grass Valley historians Richard Hurley and T.J. Meekins will describe the political and military role the Golden State played in the war. They'll explain just how close California came to siding with the Confederacy and how the simmering conflict between Unionists and Secessionists in Nevada County almost erupted in violence.

Hurley and Meekins are authors of Queen of the Northern Mines, a novel set in Nevada City during the 1860s.

What: California and the Civil War, sponsored by the Nevada County Historical Society
Where: Madelyn Helling Library, 980 Helling Way, Nevada City
When: July 17, 7 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: Dan, 477-8056 or email NCHS

Event poster

PHOTO CREDIT: Reenactment by the American Civil War Association at Pioneer Park in Nevada City. 2008 photograph by Penny Meyer

July 11, 2012
Traditional basket weaving demonstration

SIM Basket Weaving Dixie.jpgDixie Rogers of the Karuk Tribe will demonstrate traditional Native American basket weaving at the State Indian Museum this Saturday. She employs a technique known as "Closed Half Twist-Twined With Overlay" with several varieties of native California plants to create her intricate designs.

What: Basket Weaving Demonstration
Where: State Indian Museum, 2618 K Street, Sacramento (on the grounds of Sutter's Fort)
When: July 14, 2012, 11 to 1 p.m.
Cost: Demonstration is free with price of admission. Museum admission: $3 for adults; $2 for youths ages 6 to 17 and free for children five and under
For More: 916-324-0971 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Dixie Rogers demonstrates traditional Native American basket weaving. Courtesy California State Indian Museum

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 25, 2012
1861-62 Sacramento floods provide insight into current risk

1862_FLOOD.JPGThis year's Extreme Precipitation Symposium at UC Davis will look back 150 years to the devastating winter floods of 1861-62 to try to glean lessons for understanding the climate risks this region faces today.

Among the speakers will be Sacramento City Historian Marcia Eymann who will survey the past floods starting in 1850. Geomorphologist Rene Leclerc will describe the hydrology of the Sacramento River Valley before the construction of dams and levees. And meteorologist Larry Schick will consider the implications of the 1861-62 deluge for assessing the current flood potential.

The conference relies in part on the historic work of Leon Hunsaker and Claude Curran, whose 2005 study Lake Sacramento -- Can It Happen Again? is an authoritative estimate of the extreme temperature, rainfall and snowfall conditions that produced the worst floods in recorded history.

Hunsaker, who worked as a local TV weatherman in the 1960s and 70s, now lives near Grants Pass, Ore. According to a recent profile by Cosmo Garvin in the Sacramento News & Review, the 89-year-old retired meteorologist still watches California's climate and still worries the Central Valley won't be prepared for the next Big One.

What: California Extreme Precipitation Symposium: The 1861-1862 Floods: Informing Decisions 150 Years Later
Where: Freeborn Hall, University of California, Davis
When: June 26, 7:45 am - 4:15 p.m.
Cost: $90 registration (students $45). Walk-in registrations will be accepted -- check or cash preferred.
For more info: website

PHOTO CREDIT: A scene from Jan. 10, 1862 shows flooded K St., looking east from 4th St. Center for Sacramento History

June 21, 2012
Lecture explains Russian influence in early California history

Fort Ross.JPGAmong the nations that settled California before it became a state were Russians who came to hunt seal and whale along the northern coast. The focus of this trade was Fort Ross, a long-gone settlement in Sonoma County which flourished between 1812 and 1842. In addition to the Russians, many other groups lived and worked in Fort Ross: Siberians, Alaskan and California Indians, African-Americans, Hawaiians and Japanese.

Fort Ross and Russia's role in the development of early California will be explored in an illustrated lecture sponsored by the Sacramento County Historical Society.

The featured speaker is John Allen, an adjunct history professor at Los Rios Community College, who is a former board member of the Fort Ross Interpretive Association and has served as a consulting historian on Fort Ross State Park projects. He's also been a costumed interpreter for many of the park's Living History Day events.

What: The Russians Are Coming: The Unknown Story of Russian California
Where: Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society, 5380 Elvas Ave., Sacramento
When: June 26, 7 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: website

PHOTO CREDIT: Fort Ross, built by the Russians when they hunted the Pacific for whales and seals. At one time this was the easternmost extension of czarist Russia. 1997 Scripps Howard News Service photograph by Thomas R. McDonough

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 11, 2012
Author to speak on WWII armored vehicle maker

Pressed Steel.jpgThe State Military Museum's next "Meet the Author" lecture features Kenneth Nielsen speaking on Pressed Steel!, a book recounting the wartime activities of the Pressed Steel Car Company.

Founded in 1899 to manufacture freight, passenger and street railway cars, Pressed Steel would become one of major producers of armored vehicles for the U.S. Army. The firm made large numbers of essential M4 Sherman tanks during WWII and later produced the M7, M12 and M40 self-propelled guns and the T-29 Heavy Tank.

Nielsen is a retired Lieutenant Colonel who served in the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps. He currently is Commander of the California Center for Military History.

What: Pressed Steel!: An American Company's Contribution to Victory in World War II
Where: California State Military Museum, 1119 2nd St.
When: June 12, 1 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-854-1900 or website

June 5, 2012
Alhambra Theatre remembered at preservation meeting

AlhambraDemo126.jpgThis quarter's Sacramento Preservation Roundtable features a photo presentation recalling efforts to save the Alhambra Theatre in 1972 through rock and vaudeville benefit shows. These concert photos, plus images of the movie palace's ultimate demolition in 1973, were shot by CSUS Hornet reporter Doug Taggart. Dennis Newhall, former KZAP music director and curator of Sacramento's Rock & Radio Museum, and SOCA President William Burg will provide historical commentary on the "Save the Alhambra" music and campaign.

In addition, the Roundtable will include an update on citywide historic preservation projects, a look at Old Sacramento's newly revised general plan, and a special presentation about the closure of many California historic post offices, including Sacramento's old post office and federal building.

What: Sacramento Preservation Roundtable: Images of the Alhambra
Where: The Urban Hive, 1931 H St., Sacramento
When: June 9, 9 to 12 p.m.
Cost: $5 donation, includes continental breakfast
For more info: email Sacramento Old City Association or call 916-202-4815

News release
Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Demolition of the Alhambra Theatre in 1973. Photograph by Doug Taggart

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 16, 2012
Local WWII POW to appear at Aerospace Museum

Kovar.jpgLocal author Len Kovar will appear during the Armed Forces Day celebration at the Aerospace Museum of California this Saturday. He'll be on hand to sign books and share his his war experiences as depicted in the memoir WWII Prisoner of War: How I Survived.

Kovar served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a bombardier-navigator based in Italy. On his 11th mission his B-24 was shot down and he parachuted into Hungary. Eventually the Germans captured him and he suffered as a POW for nine months surviving various camps and forced marches.

Saturday is also Open Cockpit Day at the Museum. it's a special opportunity for kids to explore the inside of many of the aircraft on display. In addition, there will be radio controlled flights by the Mather Aerospace Modelers and other activities throughout the day.

What: Meet the Author: Len Kovar
Where: California Aerospace Museum, 3200 Freedom Park Dr., North Highland
When: May 19, 9 a.m.
Cost: $5 museum admission. Free for active military and their families.
For more info: (916) 643-3192

News release

May 16, 2012
Author discusses women in mid-1800s Sacramento

Disaster and Triumph.jpgLocal author Cheryl Anne Sapp will discuss her new book, Disaster and Triumph: Sacramento Women, Gold Rush through the Civil War, this Saturday at the State Military Museum.

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

Autographed copies will be on sale at the lecture. or you can purchase a copy from Amazon.

What: Meet the Author: Cheryl Anne Sapp
Where: California State Military Museum, 1119 2nd St., Sacramento
When: May 19, 1 p.m.
Cost: Lecture is free. Museum admission is free for Armed Forces Day.
For more info: 916-854-1900

Event flyer

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 9, 2012
Sutter's Fort launches interactive youth program
SF ELP Program.jpg

"Scouts at the Fort" provides a special opportunity for young people to learn what life was like in the 1840s by getting "hands on" experience with some of the crafts and chores practiced by Sacramento pioneers. Through such activities as toy making, open fire cooking and period games, students expand their understanding of the history of the region and state.

Initially designed to help Girl Scouts earn skill badges, the program is now open to any group of children, age eight and up. Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance. Call Friends of Sutter's Fort at 916-323-7626 to tailor a session for your particular youth group's needs and interests.

What: "Scouts at the Fort"
Where: Sutter's Fort Historic State Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: 10 to 12:30 p.m. second Saturdays starting May 12
Cost: $15 per scout, which includes admission to the Fort and admission for one adult per scout.
For more info: 916-323-7626 or website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Students learn carpentry skills in the Fort's Environmental Living Program. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

April 30, 2012
Rail museum hosts photography seminar and workshop

Trains & Tripods4.jpgWith the usual crowds it's normally difficult to photograph the amazing exhibits at the California State Railroad Museum. But amateur shooters will have a chance to snap the trains before the facility opens this Saturday.

It's all part of a weekend photography event, which includes an optional lighting class on Friday conducted by former Sacramento Bee photographer Dave Henry.

What: Trains & Tripods Photo Workshop & Lighting Seminar
Where: California State Railroad Museum, corner of 2nd and I Sts. in Old Sacramento
When: May 4 and 5. Friday Photography Seminar - 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday Shooting Workshop - 7 to 9:30 a.m.
Cost: $35.00 per person Friday night seminar, $35.00 per person Saturday shooting workshop or $60.00 for both. Space is limited to 50 participants and advance registration is required.
For more info: 916-445-7373 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Photographers line up their shots at a previous Trains & Tripod weekend. Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

April 19, 2012
Panelists to explore the history of theater in Sacramento

Michael Kermoyan.JPGNext Tuesday, the Sacramento County Historical Society will present a panel discussion exploring the history of theater in the region.

SCHS Board member Maryellen Burns will introduce the panelists: Ray Tatar of The California Stage, Larry Shumate, CSUS professor emeritus of theater, James Wheatley of Celebration Arts and Melanie Smith, former Theater Arts instructor at American River College and longtime theater director and choreographer. They'll be joined by Dick Baldwin, formerly with JayRob Theatre and Larry Shumate, CSUS theatre alumnus.

What: From Burlesque to B Street: the History of Sacramento Theater
Where: Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society, 5380 Elvas Ave., Sacramento
When: April 24, 7 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-443-6265 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Kermoyan, who started in the Music Circus as a member of the chorus in the 1950s, returned in 1968 as a star in the leading role of Emile De Becque in South Pacific.

April 16, 2012
Folsom author to speak on Japanese Internment

Kiyo Sato.JPGAward-winning author Kiyo Sato will speak at Sacramento State on her family's experiences in an internment camp during World War II.

Prior to the war, Sato and her eight siblings grew up on a thriving family farm near Sacramento. The 1942 Executive Order 9066 forced them to relocate to the Poston Internment Camp in Arizona. The trauma of moving and giving up everything is recounted in Sato's book Kiyo's Story: a Japanese-American family's quest for the American Dream.

This lecture program also features Mas Hatano, a docent for the California State Railroad Museum and the California State Museum, who was interned at the Tule Lake camp during the war.

What: Kiyo Sato speaking on the Japanese Internment
Where: Foothill Suite, University Union, California State University Sacramento
When: April 18, 12 to 1:15 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: website

PHOTO CREDIT: Kiyo Sato of Folsom stands at Sacramento City College with her book entitled Kiyo's Story. 2009 Sacramento Bee photograph by Hector Amezcua

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 13, 2012
Watch traditional Native American basket weaving

POMO INDIAN BASKETS.JPGThis Saturday, the California State Indian Museum will present basket weaving demonstrations by Dixie Rogers, a traditional artisan of the Karuk Tribe.

Rogers uses the "Closed Half Twist-Twined With Overlay" technique utilizing several native California plants in her designs.

What: Basket Weaving Demonstrations
Where: State Indian Museum, 2618 K Street, Sacramento (on the grounds of Sutter's Fort)
When: April 14, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Cost: Demonstrations are free with price of admission: $3 for adults; $2 for youths ages 6 to 17 and free for children five and under.
For more info: 916-324-0971 or website

News release
Facebook photos of previous demonstrations

PHOTO CREDIT: Pomo Indian baskets are among many artifacts on display at the State Indian Museum in Sacramento. 2007 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randy Pench

April 11, 2012
Indigenous peoples of Sacramento explored in lecture
Maidu Headman with Commissioners.jpg

Special guest lecturer April Farnham, former collections manager of the Maidu Indian Museum, will speak at the Sacramento History Museum about indigenous people in Sacramento's early history. Although their names are largely forgotten, individual members of the local Nisenan Maidu, Miwok and Southern Wintun (or Patwin) tribes played a significant role in the region from the early 1800s to the turn of the century.

Farnham's presentation will include a slideshow of rare photographs and illustrations.

What: "An Indigenous History of Sacramento" Special Lecture
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street in Old Sacramento
When: April 14, 1 p.m.
Cost: Museum admission applies: $6 for adults; $4 for youth ages 6-17; free for children five and under.
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Wapumnes Nisenan Headman with Treaty Commissioners Wozencraft, Reddick, and McKee, 1851. Courtesy Sacramento History Museum

April 5, 2012
A beginning genealogy class

Karen Burney.JPGThe recent release of 1940 U.S. Census records has put a big spotlight on genealogy. If you're inspired to research your family tree but don't know how to start, the Sacramento Public Library has a class for you.

Next Saturday genealogist Karen Burney will explain what records and resources are available, how to find them, as well as how to organize your findings.

Advance registration for the workshop is preferred by calling 916-264-2920, but walk-ins are welcome. The sequel to this class, "How to Use Records to Tell Your Ancestors' Stories," will be given July 7.

What: Beginning Genealogy: How to Trace Your Family History, with Karen Burney
Where: Sacramento Public Library, Central Branch West Meeting Room, 828 I St., Sacramento
When: April 7, 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: email Beth Daugherty or see web site

PHOTO CREDIT: At the Carmichael Library Karen Burney shows off a picture of her great great great grandfather Stephen Presley while recounting some of the genealogy research she has done. 2011 Sacramento Bee photograph by Renee C. Byer

March 26, 2012
April Fools' Sacramento history at Central Library

April Fools.JPGApril Fools' Day celebration events are generally few and far between, but this year the Sacramento Public Library will bring together local history and the upcoming holiday in an exciting new program:

The Royal Sacramento Lyceum and Hall of Antiquities, Curiosities, Rare Tomes and Manuscripts invites you to attend an historical lecture to be given by renowned resident historians James Scott and Amanda Graham, who will speak with vivid manner upon incredible occurrences in Sacramento history. As all subjects shall contain wild fabrications, guests are encouraged to attend with friends of a trusting disposition. The lecture will be held at the Central Library at 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon of April 1st.

What: April Fool's Sacramento History
When: April 1, 2012, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: Central Library (828 I Street), East Meeting Room
Cost: Free
For more info: (916) 264-2920; www.saclibrary.org

March 17, 2012
UC Davis professor to lecture on epidemiology of Donner Party disaster

JamesMargaretReed.jpgUC Davis Director and Professor Stephen A. McCurdy, MD, MPH, will present his research on the epidemiology of the Donner Party disaster at the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society on March 21. Dr. McCurdy previously explored this topic in an article for the Western Journal of Medicine, and continues to use the Donner Party experience in discussions with medical students about statistics and epidemiology,

The Donner Party remains an indelible part of California's history. The party, eventually comprised of 90 individuals, approximately half of whom died by journey's end. Yet the force of mortality did not act equally on all in the group. Dr. McCurdy will address risk factors and lessons that are still relevant today.

What: Epidemiology of Disaster: The Donner Party
When: Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society (5380 Elvas Ave., Sacramento)
Cost: Free
For more info: (916) 452-2671

IMAGE CREDIT: [James F. and Margaret Reed, Donner Party survivors], undated; Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

March 15, 2012
Women Win the Vote! presentation at Arden-Dimick Library

Suffrage Campaigns in Calif.JPGIn honor of Women's History Month, local historian Carolyn Martin will visit the Arden-Dimick Library on March 21 and discuss the story of women's suffrage through stories and pictures. Dressed in period costume, Ms. Martin will share how a daring campaign in California ignited a national movement, resulting in full voting rights for American women in 1920.

What: Women Win the Vote!
When: March 21, 2012, 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Where: Arden-Dimick Library (891 Watt Ave., Sacramento)
Cost: Free
For more info: (916) 264-2920; www.saclibrary.org

IMAGE CREDIT: San Francisco Call, July 4, 1909, pg. 5.

March 13, 2012
Aviation history talks at the Military Museum

forgotten_aviator_medium.jpg150219652_medium.jpgThe next Meet the Author lecture at the California State Military Museum is a doubleheader featuring two aviation history experts.

Barry S. Martin, author Forgotten Aviator, will speak on Royal Leonard, the pioneering airman whose career spanned early racing, barnstorming and mail delivery through World War II when he fought with the "Flying Tigers" in China. James Franklin Grey, author of Vanishing Contrails, a memoir of his 22 years in the Air Force which included flying missions over war-torn Europe and piloting the B-29.

What: Meet the Authors: Barry S. Martin and James Franklin Grey
Where: California State Military Museum, 1119 2nd St., Old Sacramento
When: March 17, 1 p.m. (Martin) and 3 p.m. (Grey)
Cost: free
For more info: (916) 854-1904 or email

March 12, 2012
Social media as a genealogy tool
facebook.jpg

In this Internet age genealogists have begun using social media to find information they can't get from the usual print and online sources.

At the next Root Cellar membership meeting guest speaker Lorenzo Cuesta will share tips on using sites like Facebook and Twitter for family history research. He'll site examples of valuable information found on social media and explain how to get started with these tools.

What: "Expand Your Genealogical Findings with a Facebook Group" with Lorenzo Cuesta
Where: Citrus Heights Community Clubhouse 6921 Sylvan Rd.
When: March 14, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Cost: free, non-members welcome
For more info: contact Sandi Benward, 916-412-351.

March 9, 2012
Pearl Harbor survivor to speak at Sierra College

Arizona.jpgNevada City resident Louis Conter was a 20-year-old quartermaster on the USS Arizona when Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. He was one of only 334 of 1,511 crew members who survived that day. Later he became a Navy pilot serving with a PBY Catalina flying boat squadron during the war.

A renowned keynote speaker, veteran's advocate and education philanthropist, Conter will discuss his WWII experiences next Wednesday at Sierra College.

What: Louis Conter, Pearl Harbor Survivor
Where: Sierra College NCC Campus N12 Multi Purpose Center (Multipurpose Center), 250 Sierra College Dr., Grass Valley
When: March 14, 7 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $5 general, $3 seniors and students - suggested donation
For more info: 916-660-7202 or web site

PHOTO CREDIT: Smoke and flames rise from the USS Arizona during the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, shown in this AP/U.S. Navy photo.

March 6, 2012
African American genealogy seminar

Family History.JPGBeginning, intermediate and advanced classes on African American family genealogy will be offered at a day-long seminar this Saturday. The workshops cover everything from using basic research tools to writing your family's history.

Keynote speaker is writer-reseacher Antoinette Broussard, author of books and articles on black history, biography and culture. Her topic is "The Militant Matron: Dr. Nettie J. Craig Asberry," an early civil rights leader in Washington State.

What: Seventh Annual African American Family History Seminar
Where: LDS Family History Center, 2745 Eastern Ave., Sacramento
When: March 10, 8:30 to 3:30 p.m. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.
Cost: $20 (includes materials and workshop; optional lunch is $6.50).
For more info: 916-487-2090

Event flyer and workshop schedule

PHOTO CREDIT: Elizabeth W. Stephens, left, 73, of Elk Grove and Hester McCoy Snider, 82, of Rocklin attends the 4th Annual Family History Seminar at the Sacramento Family History Center. 2009 Sacramento Bee photography by Michael Allen Jones

February 24, 2012
California and the Civil War
1856_us_map.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

Event flyer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 22, 2012
Tracing your African American roots

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

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

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

February 17, 2012
History of Sacramento's breweries discussed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Event flyer
News release

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

February 15, 2012
Emigrants invade Sutter's Fort

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

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

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

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

News release

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

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

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

1862 flood.bmp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News Release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 1, 2012
Black History Month events in Sacramento

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 17, 2012
Forgotten WWII aviator subject of talk

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

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

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

Book Facebook Page

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

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

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

January 6, 2012
Newspapers and genealogy reasearch

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

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

Check the Root Cellar website for information on future workshops.

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

January 5, 2012
Oakland genealogy classes focus on web research

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

Co-sponsored by the California Genealogical Society and the Oakland California Family History Center, this 8-session series covers essential online tools: Google, Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, FamilySearch, Rootsweb.com, USGenWeb, WorldGenWeb, NewspaperArchive and Genealogy Bank.

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

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

Series flier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 12, 2011
Two authors to speak at the Military Museum

There'll be a doubleheader this Saturday when the California State Military Museum presents two lectures in its "Meet the Authors" series.

battlefield_angels_medium.jpgScott McGaugh, author of Battlefield Angels: Saving Lives Under Enemy Fire from Valley Forge to Afghanistan, will survey the heroic work of medics, corpsmen, nurses, doctors, surgeons and medical technicians who served in the Armed Forces during America's wars.

len_kovar_medium.jpgKen Kovar, author of WWII Prisoner of War: How I Survived, will recount how his plane was shot down over enemy territory, how he avoided capture for a time and how he survived in a POW camp near the end of the war.

What: Meet the Author
Where: California State Military Museum, 1119 2nd St., Old Sacramento
When: Dec. 17, 1 p.m. (McGaugh) and 3 p.m. (Kovar)
Cost: free
For more info: (916) 854-1904 or email

November 23, 2011
Sacramento saloon ware is subject of lecture

Saloons flourished in the early years of Sacramento history. Out of that tavern culture came a variety of collectibles: signage, advertising, bottles, openers, trays, tip trays, and other exotic items. You can learn about and see some of these wares at the next Sacramento County Historical Society meeting. Long-time collector Steve Abbott will be on hand to show pieces  manufactured in the later 19th century up to Prohibition.

Abbott has written on Sacramento whiskey dealers George Wissemann and Michael Cronan, as well as Sacramento shot glasses and pre-Prohibition California whiskey registrations. He also produced a directory of early Sacramento whiskey dealers.

What: Sacramento Saloon Ware: A Rare & Varied Collection
Where: Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society Bldg, 5380 Elvas Ave., Sacramento
When: Nov. 29, 7 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: (916) 443-6265 or SCHS web site

November 16, 2011
The complicated history of the excavation of native remains
Platt.jpg

Former CSUS professor Tony Platt will lecture this Saturday on the mistreatment of Native American graves by scientists in the 19th and early 20th centuries. He will explore the complicated history of excavation and subsequent repatriation of ancient Indian remains.

Dr. Platt is author of more than 150 essays and articles on race, inequality, and social justice, as well as ten books, including Grave Matters: Excavation California's Buried Past, a study focusing on the Yurok people and their struggle for cultural rights.

What: Lecture & Book Signing: Grave Matters: Excavating California's Buried Past
Where: State Indian Museum, 2618 K Street, Sacramento (on the grounds of Sutter's Fort)
When: Nov. 19, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cost: Museum admission: $3 for adults; $2 for youths ages 6 to 17 and free for children five and under
For More: 916-324-0971 or www.parks.ca.gov/indianmuseum

News release
Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Former CSUS professor Tony Platt. Courtesy State Indian Museum

November 10, 2011
Holocaust author to speak at two El Dorado County schools

pebble.jpgFor 30 years Marion Blumenthal Lazan has been speaking publicly about her and her family's experiences in the Holocaust. She comes to El Dorado County next week to give a first-person account of their arrest, imprisonment and liberation from Nazi concentration camps. Her two public talks (appropriate for people over 10) emphasize "tolerance towards others and the importance of positive thinking and inner strength to overcome adversity."

Lazan is co-author of Four Perfect Pebbles, the Blumenthal family's story of surviving the Holocaust.

The lectures are sponsored by the El Dorado County Library, El Dorado Adventist School, Rolling Hills Middle School, the Mountain Democrat, and other local organizations.

What: Marion Blumenthal Lazan, author, international speaker, and Holocaust survivor
When & Where: Nov. 14, 7 p.m., El Dorado Adventist School, 1900 Broadway, Placerville.
Nov. 15, 6:30 p.m., Rolling Hills Middle School, 7141 Silva Valley, El Dorado Hills.
Cost:
$2 suggested donation
For more info: (530) 621‐5540 and eldoradolibrary.org

Event flyer

November 7, 2011
A lecture on storytelling in the modern age

McHughJPG.JPGJoe McHugh -- author, audiographer, radio producer, musician, and conference speaker -- is a champion of storytelling. He has traveled across American collecting family yarns that have been featured on National Public Radio and Voice of America. (You can hear samples on his web site.)

McHugh will lecture in Sacramento this Wednesday on the importance of storytelling throughout the ages and how modern technology has both transformed and undermined the practice.

The program is sponsored by the Sacramento County Historical Society, SacArea History Network, SSVMS Museum of Medical History and MATRIXarts.

What: "Slaying the Gorgon," A Program on Storytelling in the Modern Age
Where: SSVMS Museum of Medical History, 5380 Elvas Ave., Sacramento (1/2 mile north of H Street on 56th Street, which becomes Elvas).
When: Nov. 9, 7 to 9 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-570-3804 or American Family Stories

News release

October 27, 2011
Delta pear crate label art at Central Library

DeltaPearCrateLabel.gifOn Tuesday, November 1 (6 p.m. - 8 p.m.), Jim Dahlberg, a former resident of the Delta since 1943 and founder of the annual Courtland Pear Fair, will visit the Central Library (828 I Street) to present a history of Sacramento Delta pear crate labels. 

Many colorful stories about the pear growers and packers that once thrived in the Delta region are all but forgotten except in the memories of a few long time Delta residents--and the vividly colored crate labels left behind for today's collectors. In this special program, Mr. Dahlberg will present his extensive Delta pear crate label collection along with the fascinating histories of many of the Delta pear growers and packers.

What: A History of Delta Pear Crate Labels
When: November 1, 2011, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Where: Central Library, West Meeting Room (828 I Street)
Cost: Free
For more info: www.saclibrary.org or (916) 264-2976

October 26, 2011
ANCHR annual meeting and luncheon

Lillibridge.jpgThe Association for Northern California Historical Research, based at CSU Chico, is a non-profit organization whose mission "is to increase the understanding and appreciation of Northeastern California History through activities encouraging and promoting historical research and publications." It serves Siskiyou, Modoc, Trinity, Shasta, Lassen, Tehama, Glenn, Colusa, Plumas, Yuba, Sutter and Butte Counties.

ANCHR will hold its annual meeting on Nov. 5. The featured speaker will be G. D. "Don" Lillibridge, Professor and Chairman Emeritus of the CSU Chico History Department. He is author of five books, including the two-volume Images of American Society, as well as essays in American Heritage, The American Scholar and other journals. Lillibridge, who is 90, will speak on his latest book Images From A Long Life, a memoir.

What: ANCHR Annual Meeting and Luncheon
Where: Shelley Anderson's Creative Catering, 2565 Zanella Way, Chico
When: Nov. 5, 11:30 to 2 p.m.
Cost: $18 per person. RSVP no later than October 28, 2011.
For more info: email and web site

Event flyer

October 18, 2011
Chief Justice to speak on Filipino heritage

Cantil.jpgIn celebration of Filipino History Month, the Sacramento/Delta Chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society will host a brunch featuring Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. She will speak about growing up as a Filipina in Sacramento, as well as the historical significance of Magellan Hall, home of American Legion Post 604 founded by Filipino veterans of WWII.

There will also be historical displays and artwork by Justin Delacuesta, James Lane and Ernest Maningding.

What: Continental brunch with Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye
Where: American Legion Veteran's Post 604 (The Historic Magellan Hall), 8831 Gerber Rd., Sacramento
When: Oct. 22, 10 to 1 p.m.
Cost: $15 per person
For more info: email Frances, fte9000@gmail.com; Linda, lindarevilla@aol.com; or Pam, pamelamultimedia@aol.com

Event flyer

October 18, 2011
Clunie Community Center to celebrate 75 years

McKinley Exterior.jpgThe Friends of the McKinley Library and the McKinley East Sacramento Neighborhood Association (MENA) have organized a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Florence Turton Clunie Memorial Community Center (601 Alhambra Blvd.) to take place from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, October 23rd.  The program includes a juried exhibit and auction of plein air art by regional artists, talks on the history of the center and the community, and historical photographs, plans and more tracing the history of the McKinley Library. Refreshments will be provided, and all ages are welcome.

The Clunie Community Center was named for Florence Turton Clunie, wife of pioneer and state congressman Thomas J. Clunie, and a notable Sacramento businesswoman in her own right.  Upon her death in 1934, Mrs. Clunie donated $150,000 for the building of a community center and pool in McKinley Park, and the City of Sacramento pitched in an additional $20,000 to establish the McKinley Library at the north end of the new building. Both opened to the public in late 1936.

What: Clunie Community Center 75th anniversary celebration
Where: Clunie Community Center, McKinley Park, 601 Alhambra Blvd.
When: October 23, 1-4 p.m.
Cost: Free
For more info: http://www.valcomnews.com/?p=6051

PHOTO CREDIT: Front exterior of the Florence T. Clunie Memorial Clubhouse, Sacramento, Calif., ca. 1951. From the Sacramento Public Library Archives.

October 13, 2011
California's role in the Civil War focus of presentation

Queen of the Northern Mines.jpgHistorians across the country are observing the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. You don't think of California has having much to do with the conflict, but what the state lacked in battles it contributed in gold, volunteers and intrigue. The California State Military Museum web site provides a lot of information on the subject.

The Museum is also sponsoring a multimedia lecture on the Golden State and its role in the war to preserve the Union. Local authors Richard Hurley and T.J. Meekins will display historic images to illustrate Californians' conflicting loyalties.

After the talk, Hurley and Meekins will discuss and sign their recently-published Queen of the Northern Mines, A Novel of the Civil War in California. Set in the 1860s Nevada County, the book chronicles how the war impacted the lives of several characters who represent a variety of cultures and perspectives.

What: California and the Civil War multimedia lecture and book signing
Where: California State Military Museum, 1119 Second Street, Sacramento
When: Oct. 15, 1:00 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: (916) 854-1900

October 11, 2011
Learn genealogy at Family History Day

caarchives.JPGWould you like to delve into your family's history, but don't know where to begin? Root Cellar (the Sacramento Genealogical Society) offers a day-long event to acquaint amateur researchers with the tools and resources to get you started. Choose from 19 different classes ranging from basic genealogy 101 to evaluating documents.

Participants can also learn archival preservation techniques and take mini-tours of the rarely-shown State Archives stacks and vault. They will also have the chance to browse the Root Cellar Genealogical Library and visit with representatives of various genealogical, historical and lineage societies, research libraries and archives.

What: 12th Annual Family History Day
Where: California State Archives, 1020 O St., Sacramento
When: Oct. 15, 8:30 to 4 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: email fhdmailbox@gmail.com or Family History Day blog

Event flyer
Event news release
Class descriptions
Class schedule

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

October 7, 2011
Genealogy programs at the Davis Public Library

Conlan.JPGThis month the Yolo County Library presents a series of practical and informative lectures for amateur genealogists and historians:

October 12, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. - Caring for Your Family Treasures - Learn how to properly store important family documents and photographs with Yolo County Archivist Moira Conlan.

October 16, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. - Techniques for Researching Your Family History - Local researcher/family historian Jeannette L. Molson will speak about her 'grass roots' level research methods and tools.

October 19, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. - Who Do You Think You Are? And How Do You Find Out? - Learn how you can begin your own family research at home, on the Internet and in repositories throughout the United States. For beginning family researchers.

October 26, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. - Yolo County History Founding Families - Yolo County historian Shipley Walters will share her knowledge about Yolo County and its early denizens.

What: Genealogy and History Programs
Where: Blanchard Room, Davis Public Library, 315 14th St., Davis
When: Oct. 12, 16, 19 and 26
Cost: free
For more info: Victoria Klein (530) 757-5593 x1139 or victoria.klein@yolocounty.org

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Yolo County Archivist Moira Conlan shows off the first County Board of Supervisors minutes from 1850. 2007 Sacramento Bee photograph by Renee C. Byer

September 16, 2011
Lecture will focus on Sacramento's old streetcars, trolleys

Thumbnail image for streetcar.jpgLocal historian and preservationist William Burg will speak at the next Sacramento River Delta Historical Society general meeting on Sacramento's old street cars, trolleys, horse cars and other urban transit systems of the past.

Burg is a historian with the California State Parks Office of Historical Preservation and is author of the Arcadia volumes Sacramento Streetcars, Sacramento, and Sacramento's Southside Park, as well as other writings on the region's history.

What: Sacramento's Streetcars, Sacramento River Delta Historical Society General Meeting
Where: Jean Harvie Center 14273 River Road, Walnut Grove
When: Sept. 20, 7 p.m.
For more info: Tom at (916) 871-4060 or e-mail: srdhs@riverwireless.com

Program flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: View of two street cars abreast on J Street, intersection of 7th Street. McCurry Foto Co. (ca. 1924). Courtesy California History Room, California State Library.

September 13, 2011
Sutter's Fort celebrates Sacramento's agricultural bounty

Suters Fort peas.jpgBefore gold was discovered, John Sutter was building an agricultural empire with many cows, sheep, horses, mules and a huge wheat harvest on his land holdings. The invasion of prospectors ended that dream. But in the long run, Sutter's vision prevailed.

At the next Sutter's Fort "Hands on History" program visitors will engage in corn shucking contests, threshing, winnowing and grinding wheat and watch goat milking, spinning and weaving wool, lassoing and property branding.

What: Hands on History -- Harvest Time: The Real Gold in California
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L Street, Midtown, Sacramento
When: Sept. 17. Fort hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cannon firing demonstrations: 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.
Cost: Special event pricing -- $6.00 per adult (18 and older), $4.00 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under
For more info: Call 916-445-4422 or visit www.parks.ca.gov/suttersfort

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Shelling peas at Sutter's Fort. Courtesy of Capital District State Museums and Historic Parks

September 12, 2011
Photo shoot and class at the Railroad Museum

csrm.jpgThis Saturday amateur photographers of all skill levels have a unique opportunity to shoot pictures inside the California State Railroad Museum before the facility opens. 

It's part of a two-part program that includes an optional existing light seminar on Friday that's led by former Bee photographer and Canon USA consultant Dave Henry.

Space is limited and advance registration is required.

What: Trains & Tripods Photo Opportunity & Lighting Seminar
Where: California State Railroad Museum, corner of 2nd and I Sts. in Old Sacramento
When: Sept. 16 & 17. Friday - 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. (Photography Seminar). Saturday - 7 to 9:30 a.m. (Shooting Workshop)
Cost: $35.00 per person Friday night seminar, $35.00 per person shooting workshop or $60.00 per person for both.
For more info: www.csrmf.org or call 916-445-7373

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: California State Railroad Museum. 2003 Los Angeles Times photograph by Myung J. Chun

July 7, 2011
Explore the Maidu Indians at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center

Come explore the history and culture of the Maidu people who lived in this region long before Europeans arrived in California. A naturalist will be on hand at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center to explain artifacts and lead a tour of a replica Maidu Village.

Located in Ancil Hoffman Park, the Nature Center is an environmental and cultural educational resource that offers a variety of exhibits and workshops for children and adults of all ages. In addition to the gift shop and replica Indian village, the Center boasts a 77-acre riparian woodlands nature preserve with interpretative trails.

What: Maidu Summer Village Tour
Where: Effie Yeaw Nature Center, 2850 San Lorenzo Way, Carmichael
When: July 9, 10:30 a.m.
Cost: Tour is free. Park entrance fee is $5 per car.
For more info: (916) 489-4918 or email.

June 27, 2011
Interview explores the myth of the transcontinental railroads

Gold Spike.JPGThe Commonwealth Club of California posted a video recording of a recent interview with historian Richard White, author of Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America.

In this provocative book White debunks the myth of the cross-country railroads as well-managed, financially successful ventures that united a nation and "civilized" the West. Rather, he concludes these were huge, poorly-run boondoggles, heavily subsidized by the federal government (in loans, grants and military protection) and prone to repeated financial failure. Further, they were built decades before the market for shipping and passenger transport was large enough to justify the great investment, and so did little to benefit the country in the short term. In fact White argues the railroads disrupted the rational, humane and ecologically-sound settlement of the West.

In this interview, White, a professor of history at Stanford, draws parallels between the "gilded age" greed and corruption that undergird the development of the transcontinentals with the dysfunctional financial and political conditions that gave rise to our current economic recession.

Founded in 1903, the Commonwealth Club is the oldest and largest public affairs forum in the country. Clubs events are broadcast as a weekly radio series and are available on demand via Internet podcast. Two past programs also touch on California history:

* Scandal, Intrigue and Drama in California History, Oct. 9, 2009. Four authors discuss the risk-taking, entrepreneurism and class conflict that define the state's past.

* Kevin Starr: California's Golden Dreams, Sept. 24, 2009. The state's preeminent historian considers the political, social and cultural forces that transformed California in the 1950s.

PHOTO CREDIT: May 10, 1869 at Promontory, Utah, the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Photograph by Alfred A. Hart.

June 16, 2011
Suttertown News founder Tim Holt to speak at Time Tested Books

Before there was the News and Review, Midtown Monthly, or Sacramento Press, local readers flipped through pages of a neighborhood publication called Suttertown News. Founded by Tim Holt in 1977, the small paper, which ran until 1994, focused on issues of community, activism, politics, and the city's arts and cultural scene.

Blog1995-026-0362.jpgThis Sunday, Holt makes a return to Sacramento as guest speaker for the Sacramento Living Library. He'll chat about his time in our community, the Suttertown publication, and his current life as a writer in Dunsmuir, California.

In addition to Holt's talk, guests can view a small exhibition of images from the Center for Sacramento History's Suttertown News Collection. The display will run through the night of Holt's talk and is currently on window display at Time Tested Books.

The Sacramento Living Library takes place on the third Sunday of every month at Time Tested Books. Doors open at 6:30 pm and talks begin at 7pm. Time Tested is located at 1114 21st Street, Sacramento. The event is free and all are invited.

PHOTO CREDIT: Suttertown News Staff, c. 1986, Center for Sacramento History, Suttertown News Collection, 1995/026/0362

June 6, 2011
Was merchant ship the first casualty of the Pacific war?

oblivion.jpgThe California State Military Museum continues its "Meet the Author" series with a talk by Stephen Harding. Harding's book, Voyage to Oblivion, delves into the mystery of the cargo ship Cynthia Olson, which was sunk by a Japanese submarine the same day as the attack on Pearl Harbor. The writer attempts to answer some intriguing questions. Did the sinking of the merchant ship precede Pearl Harbor? And could have her SOS have alerted the American command to the massive attack to come?

Stephen Harding is a defense journalist who has covered conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Middle East and, most recently, Iraq. He is the author of seven books and many magazine articles focusing on military, maritime and aviation subjects.

What: Meet the Author: Stephen Harding
Where: California State Military Museum, 1119 2nd St., Sacramento
When: June 8, 7 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: (916) 854-1904 or www.militarymuseum.org

Event notice

May 23, 2011
Public art in Sacramento's Alkali Flat and Washington neighborhoods
mural.JPG

Chicano art is the featured topic of the next general membership meeting of the Sacramento County Historical Society.

In the 1950s a vibrant Mexican American community developed in the Alkali Flat and Washington neighborhoods. Public murals created in the 1960s and 70s document the urban change and the close connection between art and the greater civil rights movement. Art historian Ella Diaz will discuss the historical significance of particular artworks housed at the Washington Neighborhood Center and other sites in the area.

Dr. Diaz is a Visiting Lecturer in The School of Interdisciplinary Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute. Her research focuses on Hispanic/Chicano identity and history as expressed in visual and literary art.

What: Dr. Ella Diaz: Public Art and Urban Change in the Alkali Flats & Washington Neighborhoods
Where: Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society Building, 5380 Elvas Ave., Sacramento. Directions.
When: May 24, 7-9 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public
Information: 916-443- 6265 or email

PHOTO CREDIT: Artist Esteban Villa restores a a mural he and his students painted in the Washington Neighborhood Center in 1971. 1997 Sacramento Bee photograph by Jose Luis Villegas.

May 19, 2011
Experience the Civil War at Gibson Ranch

What: Civil War Experience
When: 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Gibson Ranch Regional Park, 8556 Gibson Ranch Road, Elverta
How to get there: From Sacramento, take Interstate 5 north toward Woodland. Merge onto highway 99 toward Yuba City/ Marysville. Turn right onto West Elverta Road, then onto Gibson Ranch Road.
Cost: $7 for those 11 and older (parking included)
Information: http://gibson-ranch.com
The organizers say: Lois Meidinger looked toward the rolling hills at Gibson Ranch and marveled at the flickering lamp inside a tent in a camp of "Confederate combatants."

On another day, battle-ready horses galloped through the ranch. Then poor citizens followed other soldiers, offering to do their laundry for money.

No detail is overlooked at the annual Civil War Experience. Hundreds of war buffs dressed in full garb - many of them with encyclopedic knowledge of the time - will convene at Gibson Ranch this weekend for three days of interactive history.

"We have to look back and be reminded of what we can't remember," said Meidinger, founder of the Civil War event at Gibson Ranch.

The event begins Friday for area schoolchildren, then opens to the public over the weekend with music, camp demonstrations, lessons on medical treatments of the time and seminars on guns and canons.

Meidinger said the ranch is ideal for the re-enactments because it reminds her of mid-Southern parts of the United States. The setting is a 150-acre ranch with horses and cattle and about 70 acres of rolling hills. The area also has a 9-acre lake and a creek. Native oaks are abundant as well. Participants can lounge on the grassy hills of the ranch during battles.

About 500 men and women and 40 horses will be part of the show. They stay in character - even when the battles are not ongoing - and answer visitors' questions.

"They don't leave out any detail," Meidinger said. "They are well schooled on the aspects of the war. It's all about entertainment and education."

-- Gamaliel Ortiz

May 13, 2011
Sacramento Public Library offers free genealogy help
Central Library.jpg

Throughout the year, the Sacramento Public Library offers a variety of free programs to assist family history enthusiasts with their research.  Supported by a strong genealogy research collection located on the 4th floor at the Central Library, these workshops and lectures are useful for directing genealogists toward a wealth of online and print resources.  Programs include Book a Genealogist workshops with one-on-one help to resolve roadblocks in family history research, lectures on a variety of topics given by genealogy specialists from Northern California, and computer classes covering online research.  

The next program in the lecture series is taking place this Sunday, May 15, and will cover the research of property records, including land grants, land claims, deeds, and homestead and patent records. 

What: Land Ahoy! Locating Property Records, a presentation by Genealogist Cath Madden Trindle
Where: West Meeting Room, Central Library (828 I Street, Sacramento, CA, 95814)
When: Sunday, May 15, 2011, 1:30-3:00 p.m.
Cost: Free
For more info: http://www.saclibrary.org/ or (916) 264-2920

May 10, 2011
Fun and games at Sutter's Fort
SF Games.jpg

Sutter's Fort State Historical Park continues its Hands on History demonstration series with "Spring Has Sprung! Fun on the Frontier." This one will appeal to the kid in all of us, when the Fort's docents present the games and contests played by pioneers to lift morale during difficult times. Visitors will get to experience such activities as barrel hoop races, the game of Graces, tug-o'-war, jump rope, even marbles and parlor games. Vintage games and toys will also be on sale in the trade store.

What: Hands on History: Spring Has Sprung! Fun on the Frontier
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L Street, Sacramento
When: Saturday, May 14
Time: Fort hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cannon firing demonstrations: 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.
Cost: $6.00 per adult (18 and older), $4.00 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under
For more information: call 916-445-4422 or visit www.parks.ca.gov/suttersfort

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Children playing "pioneer" games at Sutter's Fort. Photo courtesy of Sutter's Fort State Historic Park.

April 27, 2011
Little-known native people are focus of lecture

Kawaiisu.JPGDr. Alan P. Garfinkel, a UC Davis graduate, is an archaeologist who studies the prehistoric record of native people who lived in the far Southern Sierra Nevada, Tehachapi Mountains, western Mojave Desert, and southwestern Great Basin. He will be speaking in Sacramento about his new book, Handbook of the Kawaiisu, a comprehensive sourcebook on this little-known group whose descendents still live in the Tehachapi region. The lecture will describe their remarkable culture which has survived for centuries.

What: Native Peoples Lecture & Book Signing with Dr. Alan P. Garfinkel
Where: State Indian Museum -- 2618 K Street, Sacramento
When: April 30, 2011, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cost: Museum admission: $3 for adults; $2 for youths ages 6 to 17 and free for children five and under
Reservations:
Due to space limitations, advance reservations are recommended by calling 916-324-0971
For more information: 916-324-0971 or www.parks.ca.gov/indianmuseum

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Kawaiisu coiled woven basket. Central California. c. 1870. Courtesy of Brant Mackley.

April 20, 2011
Sacramento's SP shops featured at next SCHS meeting

SactoB.gifThe Southern Pacific shops at Sacramento, the oldest and largest of the railroad, are the focus of this month's general membership meeting of the Sacramento County Historical Society.

Historian Bob Pecotich, author of Southern Pacific's Sacramento Shops: Incubator of Innovation, will lecture on the enormously productive facility which "built or rebuilt hundreds of steam and diesel locomotives, and thousands of freight and passenger cars, along with extensive work on passenger and official cars, in its history from 1868 to 1990."

Pecotich is also co-author of Southern Pacific Steam Pictorial, Vols. 1 & 2, which are heavily illustrated with photographs and statistics on dozens of vintage steam locomotives.

What: Sacramento's SP Railroad Shops
When: Tuesday, April 26, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society Building, 5380 Elvas Ave., Sacramento.
Cost: Free for SCHS members and the general public.
For more information: 916-443-6265 or www.sachistoricalsociety.org

April 14, 2011
Remembering KZAP 1968-1992: Former DJs to speak at Time Tested Books

On Sunday, April 17 at 7pm, Peter Keat of Time Tested Books and Tim Foster of Midtown Monthly will host another one of their successful Sacramento Living Library speaker's events. This time around, the discussion will include "well-known radio personalities Jeff Hughson, Bob Keller, Dennis Newhall, and Robert Williams for a loo2009-014KZAP Chesire Cat logo.jpgk back at the Valley's much beloved rock station, 98.5, KZAP."

According to Foster, the series' official host and sometimes-moderator, the KZAP-related event offers community members the opportunity to "get a look at the behind-the-scenes history of the region's best-loved rock station. For an entire generation, KZAP was the sound of Sacramento. "

KZAP certainly left its mark on the city, as did the station's infamous grinning cat.

Seats for Remembering KZAP 1968-1992 are sure to fill up quickly and guests should plan an early arrival. Doors open at 6:30pm and the discussion kicks off at 7pm. Time Tested Books is located at 1114 21st Street, Sacramento. The event is free and all are invited.

 IMAGE CREDIT: Center for Sacramento History, Jeffrey Hughson Collection, 2009/014/XX 

April 12, 2011
Civil War Sesquicentennial begins

civil war.JPGToday is the 150th anniversary of the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, the opening salvo of the U.S. Civil War. Although California saw little military action during the conflict, the state played a significant part in the war by supplying volunteers and gold in the service of the Union. It also provided future historians with a goodly share of political and military intrigue.

There may be few battlefields in California, but as described in the San Francisco Chronicle, there are at least five sites in the state of interest to Civil War buffs.

Locally, interested people can connect with the Sacramento Civil War Round Table, a forum established in 1961 to share and discuss knowledge about this important period in U.S. history. The group meets monthly, the second Wednesday of each month (public welcome). Tomorrow's meeting features a lecture by Sacramento City College instructor Sherri Patton, speaking on "Women in the South."

Next month, May 20-22, the Civil War Experience returns to Gibson Ranch Park, recently reopened after a five month closure due to budget cuts. Events include a day-long program for school children, battle reenactments, living history demonstrations, period music and dancing, lectures and speeches.

Down the road, Nov. 11-13, the Sacramento and Elk Grove Civil War Round Tables will host the West Coast Civil War Conference at the Sacramento Doubletree Hotel. Speakers will address "1861: The First Year."

PHOTO CREDIT: Confederate troops fire on Union soldiers during a Civil War reenactment at Gibson Ranch in 2004. Sacramento Bee photo by Brian Baer

April 8, 2011
"Frozen Airman" author to speak at Military Museum

stekel.jpgOn Nov. 18, 1942 an Army AT-7 aircraft flying from Mather Field to Corning with a four-man crew went missing. Five years later a hiker found its wreckage in the mountains of Kings Canyon National Park. Although a dog tag was found at that time, it took another 58 years to recover any of the bodies.

The discovery of the first "Frozen Airman," Leo Mustonen, made big news in 2005. The remains of a second crewman, Ernest Munn, were recovered in 2007, found by Peter Stekel, a writer who was researching the crash. His findings were documented in a blog and later in a book, Final Flight.

Stekel will discuss the story of the airmen and their ill-fated training mission this Sunday at the California State Military Museum.

What: Meet the Author, Peter Stekel
Where: California State Military Museum, 1119 2nd St., Sacramento
When: Aug. 10, 1 to 3 p.m.
Cost: The event is free with museum admission. Adults, $5; children (Age 6-17) & seniors (55+), $3; children (Age 0-5), veterans, military members (with ID) and museum members, free.
For more info: phone (916) 854-1904 or email the museum

PHOTO CREDIT: Peter Stekel with wreckage of the AT-7 aircraft that crashed on Mount Mendel in 1942. August 2007 photo by Michele Hinatsu.

April 6, 2011
Registration opens for series on 1920s Sacramento

1920s logo.JPGThe Sacramento Room at the Central Library has opened registration for an upcoming program series, Capital Decades: 1920s.  Throughout the month of May, the library will host free programs that explore life in Sacramento during the Roaring 20s:

City Life (Tuesday, May 3, 6-8 p.m., Sacramento Room): Local historians and researchers James Scott, Tom Tolley, Mike Munson, and Shawn Peter will discuss 1920s life in the city, including Sacramento's architecture, transportation, popular culture, entertainment venues, the Prohibition Era, and local speakeasies.

Fashions and Styles (Tuesday, May 10, 6-8 p.m., Sacramento Room): The Sacramento Art Deco Society will present a fashion show featuring vintage styles of the 1920s.

Motion Pictures (Tuesday, May 17, 6-8 p.m., Sacramento Room): Participate in a screening and discussion of short films and movie clips that were shown in Sacramento's early motion picture palaces during the 1920s, led by film historian Matías Bombal.

Charleston! (Thursday, May 26, 7-10 p.m., Tsakopoulos Galleria): Midtown Stomp will provide free dance instruction from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., followed by Charleston dance music from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.  Attendees are encouraged to wear 1920s-era attire.  Single dancers are welcomed, too.

For more information and to register, visit the Capital Decades webpage or call (916) 264-2920.

April 5, 2011
Sacramento Modern Architecture, movie night at the Crocker

Modern Architecture enthusiasts won't want to miss the special screening of "Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman," which plays this Thursday night at the Crocker Art Museum. The film "celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman, whose photographs brought modern architecture and progressive architects into the American mainstream."

Presented in collaboration with the Crocker, SacMod (the group that brought you last summer's incredibly successful Sacramento Mid-Century Home Tour), and the American Institute of Architects Central Valley, the film has some local significance, as Shulman photographed at least one building in town-- The National Youth Admistration building designed by Richard Neutra.

Gretchen Steinberg, a founding member of the SacMod group explains additional significance that the film has to our community, "I think the film highlights the importance of great design and underscores the need for further celebration, education and preservation of our excellent mid-20th century architecture. The architects that Shulman worked with believed they could change the world through better design. That spirit and excitement is alive and well here in Sacramento's design community; I would like to see it ecouraged and nurtured." Those who are interested in discovering more about Shulman's photographic work, Mid-Century architecture, and Modern designers should plan on seeing the one-night screening of "Visual Acoustics." For those interested in local Modern architecture, Steinberg's "Sacramento Mid-Century Modern" blog is certainly worth checking out.

"Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman" plays at the Crocker Art Museum on Thursday, April 7 ("Thursdays 'til 9") and has a run time of about 80 minutes. Director Eric Bricker will introduce the film and lead a post-screening discussion. Admission is $6 for Crocker Members, $12 for Non-members.

April 4, 2011
The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad

narrow.JPGRunning on slimmer tracks, narrow gauge trains are smaller, cheaper to build and cheaper to operate. Historically they were used for specific industries, such as mining, logging and construction

The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad began operating in 1876 to serve the mining areas of the county. Its 22.5-mile route started in Nevada City, ran through Grass Valley and ended in Colfax where people and freight could connect wi