Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lucky Find at a Yard Sale

On finding these rusty pieces of metal at a yard sale my heart started to race. The nails were clearly from a mill. But were they local? 

The parts all turned out to be from the Santa Cruz Lumber Co. Mill at Waterman Gap. Lovingly retrieved by their custodian and looking for a new home respectful of their historic past.

Although the Museum does not have a budget for acquiring artifacts for the collection, these items are a part of our logging history, and passing them by seemed unconscionable. 

Pictured here are two flume braces (the U-shapes) from a flume that ushered redwood chips into an incinerator, two cat-walk braces (the L-shapes) that supported a walk that the men would walk along, two nails that would secure tall log piles, another use unknown, and a railroad spike.

The next step will be to perform rust stabilization using a product called Evapo-Rust, a non-toxic rust remover.

More history can be found about the Santa Cruz Lumber Company operations here.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Swamp House

On July 4, 2013, E. Clampus Vitus, Branciforte Chapter, dedicated a plaque to the "Swamp House" on the empty lot behind the Independent Order of Odd Fellows building on Forest Street in Boulder Creek.
Image Courtesy the Author

The significance of the "Swamp House" is that it no longer exists, and that the people of Boulder Creek were grateful to the I.O.O.F. for demolishing the structure. There are stories about the "Swamp House" passed down though generations of long time residents, but what we do know is:

Boulder Creek Lodge, No. 152, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was instituted on February 10, 1900. They soon were looking for a property on which to build a meeting place. On March 17th it was reported that they had secured the purchase of the lot opposite the Fireman’s Hall, on the North West corner of Forest and Main streets. The cost just $400.

A few weeks later, Andrew Baldwin was reported to have purchased:

“the old rookery on the Odd Fellow’s lot, corner Main and Forest streets, known as the ‘Swamp House,’ and began tearing it down. The Odd Fellows deserve a vote of thanks for having this eye-sore removed from the heart of town, even if they went no farther. On the contrary, however, a fine hall, that will be an ornament to our town is soon to take its place.”
So Baldwin had purchased the “rookery.” Looking up the definition of “rookery” we find that besides “a place where rooks congregate to breed,” it is also “a crowded tenement house.” But if we refer back to the 1913 Webster’s dictionary, we will find the obsolete definition “a brothel.”

On April 28, 1900, the Mountain Echo, printed in the building now occupied by Boulder Creek Hardware, reported:

“The demolition of the old ‘Swamp House’ on the Odd Fellows lot has been completed and that corner looks better already.”

San Lorenzo Valley Museum Collection
Hubbard and Carmichael brothers of San Jose won the I.O.O.F. building contract. Their bid was $3461. By June 2nd the first load of lumber was “on the ground” and construction began under the direction of E. A. House of San Jose. An appropriate surname for a contractor! Actually it was most likely Alvin E. House.
Construction was halted so that a grand ball could be held in the building on the eve of the Fourth of July, 113 years ago. The new building was dedicated on October 20, 1900.

The “Swamp House” was now gone but not forgotten!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Egg Scale

Reliable Egg Scales
Reliable Egg Scale
San Lorenzo Valley Museum Collection

These are circa 1900 examples of egg scales made by the Reliable Manufacturing Company, Los Angeles, California. They have been tested for weighing eggs between 19 and 22 oz.
The minimum weight for a medium egg was 1-7/12 oz (19 oz per dozen) and for a large egg was 1-5/6 oz (22 oz per dozen).

Note: Modern USA egg sizes are 1-3/4 oz
for a medium egg and 2 oz for a large egg.

San Lorenzo Valley Museum Collection
"Speed, accuracy and endurance are built into every feature of this scale. The shift weight can be reversed to weight [sic] pullets or extras merely by the flip of a finger. Steel bearings, finely grounds [sic] to a knife edge, eliminate friction and insure [sic] rapid operation. Notched board base fits across top of egg case to facilitate packing."

The original cost of the scale was $2.90.
Hook Weight
Hook Weight
San Lorenzo Valley Museum Collection
The Reliable Egg Scale
San Lorenzo Valley Museum Collection


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Washingtonian Hall

R. E. Wood Collection,
Chico State University Archives
Such an exiting moment this past week when I discovered that Chico State University Archives had posted the image on the right on-line. It is from their R. [Romanzo] E. [Erastus] Wood collection, and is a photograph of a building I thought I would never see.
R. E. Wood, photographer, inventor, newspaper columnist, and much more, lived at Troutdale Farm on Bear Creek Road. In 1875, Wood photographed the San Lorenzo Valley and surrounding areas for the 1876 Centennial Exposition. He photographed the construction of the San Lorenzo Valley Flume. This photograph is of the Washingtonian Hall.

San Lorenzo Valley Museum
The Washingtonian Society was the first fraternal organization in Boulder Creek. They met in the schoolhouse until funds could be raised to build a hall. The society was formed to promote temperance, improve literary knowledge, to generally qualify themselves for the varied duties of life, and to provide amusements which are so necessary to the “relaxation of mind or exercise of body”. The hall was built in 1876 near the location of the library today, next to the Boulder Creek House hotel. 

San Lorenzo Valley Museum Collection
For many years school graduation exercises were held at the hall. In 1898, a skating rink opened in the hall, but just two years later, in 1900, it was razed.
For more information on the R. E. Wood collection at the CSU Archives visit: R. E. Wood Collection

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Flowers for all Mothers on Mother's Day

This beautiful painting on silk with a red velvet mount, and a copper leaf frame is part of the Johnson Collection. Since it is not signed we do not know for sure who is the artist.

Grace Bonebrake Johnson, a daughter of the Bonebrakes who moved to Boulder Creek in the early 1900s, was an artist. She never signed her work; sometimes she would "sign" a date. 

This work may be attributed to her. She died in 1915 in the garden of her parents home in Boulder Creek.

Grace's daughters inherited, and lived in, the home on West Park Avenue until they died.

The property was bequeathed to the local Historical Society and to the Local Recreation and Parks district.

Unfortunately, it was not possible to turn the home into a House Museum, and the house was sold to fund the purchase of the San Lorenzo Valley Museum building, now a National Register Building.

The plot of land next to the Bonebrake-Johnson home on West Park Avenue is now home to a Hereford cow.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Blickensderfer Typewriter

San Lorenzo Valley Museum
We are very fortunate to have in our collection a Blickensderfer Typewriter No. 5. Invented in 1892 by George Blickensderfer from Stamford, Connecticut, the Blickensderfer typewriter was far ahead of its time. The No. 5, introduced in 1893 at the Columbian Exposition, was the first truly portable typewriter.

The keyboard only has three rows of keys and is based on the layout devised by James Hammond. The home keys are the bottom row and contain the most commonly used letters, DHIATENSOR. Instead of type on the end of a rod that hits a ribbon, the type on a Blickensderfer is set on a cylinder. By changing the cylinder you could change the font.
By changing the ink roll you could change the color of the type.

San Lorenzo Valley Museum Collection
Blickensderfer machines were adapted for Chinese and Hebrew characters, and also to type musical notes. The Japanese government was so impressed with the typewriter that it revised the written language so that the machines could be used in Japan.
The typewriter in the Museum collection belonged to Hallie Hyde Irwin. Hallie was the wife of renowned journalist and author William Irwin. When Willian, Hallie and their son William Junior came to Brookdale to visit William's father David and his brother Herman, Hallie so loved the Valley that she, and their son, never left.

Curio Factory by William Irwin
San Lorenzo Valley Museum Collection
Harriet (Hallie) Hyde, a Stanford University graduate, was a miniature oil painter, stained glass artist, and craftsperson. Her son William Hyde Irwin also became a locally renowned artist. Following his education at Stanford University, he pursued art studies at the CCAC, Académies Moderne and Colarossi in Paris, and at UC Berkeley.  He later taught art at Santa Cruz High School in the 1930s and at San Francisco State University (1950-51). We are fortunate to have some of  his work in the Museum collection.


Rivercroft, Brookdale, California
San Lorenzo Valley Museum Collection

Hallie also designed Rivercroft, their home in Brookdale. It was built over a period of ten years by Herman, Hallie and David Irwin (until his death). The timbers, flooring and doors were from the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco and were shipped to Brookdale via the Southern Pacific railroad. The home was completed in 1926.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter, or Ēostre.

Easter, or Ēostre in Saxon English, was formerly a pagan celebration held during the month of Ēastermōnaþ or April, to celebrate the coming of spring. Its namesake is the Germanic goddess Ēostre or Ostara.

Pictured here are four Easter cards from the Museum collection.

Each card delivered a piece of candy to the recipient either attached to the front of the card as on the top two cards, or hidden in a pocket behind a decorative flap.

On the cards to the left, the candy was hidden in the Easter bonnet and the Easter basket.

The back of the card on the left, is pictured below, showing the enclosure for the candy.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Scenes from a lost movie.

Anne Shirley Wikipedia Page
The photograph on the right, from the Museum's Martha Fritch Pilger collection, depicts the young actress best known as Anne Shirley, a name she took from the "Anne of Green Gables" movies in which she later starred.

Her real name was Dawn Evelyeen Paris, though in this movie, "The Man Who Fights Alone", she was billed as Dawn O'Day.

This silent movie, which is now lost, was shot here in the San Lorenzo Valley, around Ben Lomond.

Pictured to the left, with leading actor William Farnum's chair, is Boulder Creek resident Amedro Piccioni. Piccioni had opened an Italian boarding house in 1914, on Big Basin Way.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Perhaps give a stick for Valentine's Day.

This month's artifact of the month is a dogwood stick. This stick was given to Annie Bennett in October 1878 by her then boyfriend Will Clark. Will is identified on the envelope as "Uncle Sam Clark's boy".

Also in the envelope containing the stick were four reflections:
Where'er I go I think on you - 
None else can love you half so true.

Oft, as I rove by silver Luna's beam
Thy image stamps imagination's dream.
If e'er I am challeng'd I will not indict,
But quickly make friends, and strive to unite.
The bands of love can give no pain
If Mary clasps the silken chain.
Eleanor Fraser Collection 2012-027-0103
In 1882, on her eighteenth birthday, Nancy Ann (Annie) Bennett, married Joseph A. Peery, son of close family friend, and pioneer lumberman, Joseph W. Peery. Her husband died just ten years later, leaving her to raise four children alone. She never re-married, but lived in Boulder Creek until her death in 1953.

Why a dogwood stick? We may never know. I tried to speculate - was it the religious significance? But when I learned another name for the tree was the Louse-berry Tree, because  the leaves and berries could be used to eradicate lice in children, and other "vermin" in dogs (not very romantic) - I gave up - (at least for now).