Have you ever wondered why history has taken the course it has? Those of us who work at the San Joaquin County Historical Museum sometimes do. One of the questions that arises at times is why Stockton developed a manufacturing base in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Wagon factory (lower right) in early Stockton.
The . . . → Read More: Stockton’s Industrial Foundations
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
Last weekend, my wife and I flew to Colorado for a family reunion. The flight—over the Sierra Nevada range, Utah, and the Rocky Mountains—took all of two and one-half hours. We landed in Denver, rested and ready to drive our rental car several additional hours.
Travel hasn't always been this easy. One of the most significant landmarks . . . → Read More: Remembering the Lincoln Highway
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
In an earlier posting (Feb. 8, 2012), I addressed the importance of Benjamin Holt in the history of earthmoving equipment. Another giant of the industry, Robert G. LeTourneau, also had roots in San Joaquin County. He doesn't have a prominent street in Stockton named for him and he is lesser-known. But he was no less important.
. . . → Read More: Robert G. LeTourneau: Dean of Earthmoving
Have you ever wondered where McLeod Lake, in downtown Stockton, got its name? I did. If you look at the Museum's earliest map of the Stockton area, which dates from the middle 1840s, you can see this very Scottish name right in the middle of what was then very Hispanic territory. How did this happen?
McLeod . . . → Read More: John McLeod: Overlooked Action Figure
My poor daughter. A lover of animals, she would often ask me as a child to make drawings of them for her. "Daddy," she would say, "draw me a cat." So I would grab my pencil and paper, sit down, and go to it. I don't remember her ever complaining, but her disappointment must have been . . . → Read More: Ralph O. Yardley
It's hard to forget that Stockton is a seaport city, especially when towering oceangoing vessels regularly enter the port to load up with agricultural goods. But how many people currently remember the city's past as a major West Coast shipbuilding center? And how many can recall the influence that the U.S. Navy has had in San . . . → Read More: The Stockton Historic Maritime Museum
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
Have you ever wondered what the past sounded like? That's right, sounds from the past—before there were cars, airplanes, and radios. Human voices, animals, birds, and nonmotorized vehicles like wagons and carriages dominated the soundscape. But there were also choirs, bands, and pianos, and they sang or played music we don't hear often today.
A time . . . → Read More: Sounds from the Gold Rush Era