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.