The Weber Family Library

Imagine yourself caught up in the excitement of California's Gold Rush. Now imagine yourself boarding a ship on the East Coast, sailing to San Francisco, and heading out to the Southern Mines after stopping in Stockton for supplies. Thousands of other gold seekers from throughout the world join you, hoping to make a quick fortune then . . . → Read More: The Weber Family Library

Remarkable Women of Stockton

I grew up among strong, capable women. Deep in the Great Depression, before I was born, one of my grandmothers set up two businesses (that's right, TWO) in the San Francisco Bay Area to put food on the table after my grandfather took ill. Grandma J, a tiny Danish immigrant, ended up doing quite well for . . . → Read More: Remarkable Women of Stockton

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 White Christmas?

Are you dreaming about a white Christmas? I'm not—not in California's Central Valley, anyway. In my view, the words "snow" and "San Joaquin County" usually don't belong in the same sentence.

Giant snowman, Stockton, California, Jan. 1, 1916.

But that doesn't mean they're totally unacquainted. The San Joaquin County Historical Museum holds more than twelve thousand photographs . . . → Read More: A White Christmas?

Stockton’s Industrial Foundations

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

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

Remembering the Lincoln Highway

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

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

Robert G. LeTourneau: Dean of Earthmoving

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

John McLeod: Overlooked Action Figure

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