Historic Water Rights

Hardly a week goes by that I don't hear from somebody in San Joaquin County looking for historic documentation—photographs, maps, and other documentation—to bolster their claim for water rights. I am not an attorney, and I won't presume to offer legal advice, either for myself or for the San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum. I . . . → Read More: Historic Water Rights

Why Save Old Records?

Old government records are on my mind. Yesterday, I worked in downtown Stockton with one of members of the San Joaquin County Historic Records Inventory Project. So far, the team has inventoried about fifteen hundred items, bound volumes that range in size from small to enormous. We still have a long way to go before we're . . . → Read More: Why Save Old Records?

Surprises on the Trail of Dusty Old Records

What comes to your mind when you hear the words historic county records? Darkened warehouses? Moldering paper? Dusty shelves? How about stories of tragedy, courage, and compassion?

Old records filled with surprises.

Since the middle of January, I've had the honor to work with three current or former students from the University of the Pacific taking an . . . → Read More: Surprises on the Trail of Dusty Old Records

More Help for Historic Researchers

I thrive on research. I never know what insights I might gain as I wander from book to book and document to document. But sometimes I don't want to wander. I just want an answer, and I don't want distractions: I want it now.

Government records housed at the San Joaquin County Historical Museum.

Enter the computer. . . . → Read More: More Help for Historic Researchers

Where Have All the Records Gone?

Let's say you want to find out how wide the right-of-way is for a road somewhere in San Joaquin County that was created in 1890. What historical sources would you consult? You're right if you said "the county supervisor's records." Where would you go to view them? You get bonus points if you said "the San . . . → Read More: Where Have All the Records Gone?

Stockton’s Stillborn Aircraft Industry

I like to travel on airplanes. But my attitude would change if I discovered they had a nasty habit of falling apart in midair. In-flight disintegration would surely be a public relations nightmare for any airline or airplane manufacturer and probably shatter the confidence of customers. So it was with efforts during the 1930s to build . . . → Read More: Stockton’s Stillborn Aircraft Industry

A New Windmill for the Museum

Did you know that Stockton was once called the "City of Windmills"? According to photographs taken in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, windmills were prominent features of the city's skyline at that time. But they certainly aren't anymore, nor do we see many elsewhere in San Joaquin County.

Setting the new windmill in place.

This . . . → Read More: A New Windmill for the Museum

Helen Dewar: Local Girl Makes Good

Who can resist a good biography, especially when the subject excels at her calling? It doesn't matter whether that person lived long ago or more recently. The story becomes even more compelling when the subject is homegrown and makes a positive impact on the world.

A couple weeks ago, one of the Museum's patrons introduced me to . . . → Read More: Helen Dewar: Local Girl Makes Good

Behind the Scenes

Have you ever wondered what's been happening behind the scenes at the San Joaquin County Historical Museum? It might surprise you to know that the pace has not slowed in recent months, despite hot, lazy days more conducive to napping in the shade than hard work.

The Elliott family freight wagon heads out for restoration, 2012.

Two . . . → Read More: Behind the Scenes

History All Around

Sometimes it's easy to forget that history surrounds us. Look closely, though, and you can see it in structures, bridges, roadways, rivers, and other objects. Each has a story to tell, sometimes reaching back hundreds or thousands of years.

Inside Stockton’s Fox California Theatre, 1932.

San Joaquin County is no exception. Many people don't know that the . . . → Read More: History All Around