Meetings 2015

The Milpitas Historical Society’s list of meetings held during 2015.

Video: South Bay Yacht Club (SBYC)
Thursday, November 12

Please note the different day and place: Thursday, November 12, Community Room, Milpitas Police Station

Due to the fact that our usual meeting day, the second Wednesday of the month, this year falls on Veteran’s Day, and Milpitas’s municipal buildings are closed to commemorate that holiday, we need to meet on a different day– in this case, the next day.

And because of the extra space required by the Smithsonian Institution’s wonderful exhibit, Exploring Human Origins, which will be on display at the Milpitas Library from November 25 to December 13, we were unable to book another time at the library. By the way, don’t miss this fascinating exhibit about our earliest ancestors!

1903 South Bay Yacht Club in Alviso
1903 South Bay Yacht Club in Alviso

Therefore we are meeting this month on Thursday, November 12 at 7 pm, our regular time, at the Community Room of the Milpitas Police Station, 1275 N. Milpitas Blvd in Milpitas. This month’s program will feature a video about the historic South Bay Yacht Club (SBYC) in Alviso, narrated by Senior Staff Commodore Russ Robinson. Our own local filmmaker Bob Burrill filmed this talk a couple of years ago when Mr. Robinson was addressing a civic organization’s meeting at the Yacht Club.

Bob Burrill, author of the Images of America book about Milpitas, also co-authored the Images of America book about Alviso, and will give a give an introduction highlighting the relevant history of our next-door neighbor town of Alviso.

The South Bay Yacht Club was incorporated in 1896 with 35 members, and included quite a good a number of yachts and launches in its fleet; its members counted local landowners and celebrities among their ranks.

The historic South Bay Yacht Club building, shown in the photo to the right, dates from 1903, and has suffered its own share of adventures. Come hear and see the story of this historic club, its history, and its headquarters, which you can still visit in neighboring Alviso.
Our meetings are free and all are welcome. Hope you can join us!

October 14 Meeting: 100th Anniversary of the 1915 Panama Pacific International
Exposition (PPIE)

PPIE
At our next meeting, our Society’s Treasurer, Joe Ehardt, will speak to us about the most exciting thing that was happening in the Bay Area 100 years ago: the Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE).

This Exposition was a world’s fair that was built on 630 acres of landfill (tidal marshland that became today’s Marina District) and was open from February 20 to December 4, 1915. Intended as a celebration of the opening of the long-awaited Panama Canal, which linked the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans for the first time, the Exposition drew attention to the spectacular recovery of San Francisco from the devastating earthquake and fire of 1906.

Panama Pacific International Exposition PosterCountries from all over the world built exhibits to show off the best of their products and culture, and a great many impressive structures, mostly meant to be temporary, were erected on the site to make a thrilling experience for the many thousands of attendees. New technologies of all kinds were displayed, sometimes for the first time.

Joe Ehardt Joe Ehardt[/caption]Joe Ehardt’s presentation will contains over 100 images of vintage posters, postcards, and photographs to recreate the extraordinary event that tourists from the entire nation attended. About 250,000 people came on opening day of the Exposition and over 400,000 people attended its closing day.

The only one of the buildings from the Exhibition still remaining at the site is San Francisco’s iconic Palace of Fine Arts.

You won’t want to miss this meeting on Wednesday, October 14 at 7 pm, in the Community Room (auditorium) of the Milpitas Library, 160 N. Main Street. Admission is free and all are welcome. Please join us.

September 9 Meeting: Mammoth Discoveries in Castroville!

mammothAt our next meeting, Foothill College Professor and State Archeologist Mark Hylkema will share with us the stories and photos of the Ice Age bones of two mammoths that were unearthed in a Castroville artichoke orchard in 2011. Over the last four years, local archeologists have been excavating the site, finding bones, teeth and even mammoth hair. Scientists from across the US, led and directed by our presenter, have come to excavate, analyze and preserve these amazing fossils.

Our speaker has over 33 years of experience teaching archaeology and Native American Culture. He has directed excavations throughout the greater San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas.

Fremont-Washington-Township-Museum-of-Local-HistoryAs an added attraction, our Society’s Treasurer, Joe Ehardt, will give a short talk about Fremont’s Washington Township Museum of Local History, located in the Mission San Jose area near Ohlone College. The Museum of Local History showcases life in the Fremont area when it was a farming and ranching community and then changed to a suburban community. We will be offering a field trip there on Saturday, September 19, which will coincide with a special Open House celebration for Fremont’s Higuera Adobe that we will visit afterwards.

June 10 Meeting: Warm Springs

Our featured speaker will be Patricia Wipfli-Schaffarczyk, who will tell us about the history of the town of Warm Springs.

Warm Springs Resort in 1860
Warm Springs Resort in 1860

Patricia Wipfli-Schaffarczyk is a historian at the Museum of Local History in Fremont and co-author of the Arcadia Press Images of America book about Warm Springs; she has many interesting tales to show and tell about the once-famous resort town of Warm Springs, one of the five communities that banded together in 1956 to form the city of Fremont.

Panama Pacific International ExhibitionAn added attraction at this meeting will be that our Society’s Treasurer, Joe Ehardt, will give a short Show and Tell presentation about the Panama Pacific International Exhibition, which took place exactly 100 years ago, as a celebration of the opening of the Panama Canal as well as a shout-out to the world that San Francisco had arisen better than ever from the great earthquake and fire of 1906.

May 13 Meeting: Preserving our History

The May meeting of the Milpitas Historical Society will feature distinguished San Jose writer and historian April Halberstadt, who will speak on “Adobe to Adobe: Downtown San Jose,” an opportunity to look at some of our favorite Santa Clara Valley structures, old and new, and consider their criteria for preservation. If not every old building is historic, what makes the difference? What does a historian consider when looking at a building? The talk covers why every community should have a “Historic Inventory,” why it is important, and how we can help save the cultural resources in our community. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 13 at 7 pm, in the Community Room (auditorium) of the Milpitas Library, 160 N. Main Street. What would you vote to save?

Spanish Style Mansion
Spanish Style Mansion
San Jose Clock Tower & Post Office, 1892
San Jose Clock Tower & Post Office, 1892

 

Time in a Bottle: April 8, 2015

Our next 2015 meeting will be held at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, April 8, in the Auditorium (Community Room) of the Milpitas Library, 160 North Main Street.

Time In a Bottle by Tobin GilmanPlease join us to hear author, historian and New Almaden Mine Museum volunteer Tobin Gilman talk about his new book “19th Century San Jose in a Bottle,” which is the story of how he became entranced by the histories of San Jose manufacturers and commercial culture after finding, as a teenager, and then researching, beautiful old glass bottles he discovered.

His interests include the 19th century San Jose druggists, located surprisingly close to each other around First and Santa Clara Streets in San Jose and San Jose’s now- forgotten older breweries, local soda manufacturers, and spring water bottlers in New Almaden and Congress Springs in Saratoga.

Donna Gatson, Artist: March 11

Our March 2015 meeting will be held at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, March 11, in the Auditorium (Community Room) of the Milpitas Library, 160 North Main Street.

Portrait of a Native AmericanThis month our featured speaker will be Donna Gatson, an artist and silversmith whose inspiration and passion for designing and making jewelry has been fueled by her connections and friendships with Native American silversmiths from reservations in New Mexico and Arizona.

Donna Gatson will be speaking about her family history through a very special aspect of Native American art called “ledger art,” which is a term for Plains Indian or slave narrative drawing or painting on paper or cloth.

Texas Rancher D.W. Wallace and an example of ledger art
Texas Rancher D.W. Wallace

Ledger art flourished primarily from the 1860s to the 1920s. The term comes from the accounting or ledger books that were a common source of paper for Plains Indians, as well as for slaves in the South before the Civil War. Ms. Gatson has composed portraits of her forebears using the ledger art medium, and she has fascinating stories to tell about them.

Please join us to see and hear the stories about these artistic renderings of family history. Meetings are free and all are welcome.

Milpitas Historical Society’s Board and Officers Installation Ceremony

At the Milpitas Historical Society’s Installation Dinner at Zahir’s Bistro, on Thursday, February 19, Mayor Jose Esteves (left) swears in the 2015 Officers and Board of Directors: (left to right) Archives and Landmarks Chair and PRCRC Representative Steve Munzel; President Roger Skuse, Secretary Lela Ehardt, Special Events Chair Harriett McGuire, Hospitality Chair Joanne Souza, Historian Mayvid Maclay, Vice President and Newsletter Editor Catherine Pelizzari, and Treasurer and Membership Chair Joe Ehardt.At the Milpitas Historical Society’s Installation Dinner at Zahir’s Bistro, on Thursday, February 19, Mayor Jose Esteves (left) swears in the 2015 Officers and Board of Directors: (left to right) Archives and Landmarks Chair and PRCRC Representative Steve Munzel; President Roger Skuse, Secretary Lela Ehardt, Special Events Chair Harriett McGuire, Hospitality Chair Joanne Souza, Historian Mayvid Maclay, Vice President and Newsletter Editor Catherine Pelizzari, and Treasurer and Membership Chair Joe Ehardt.

After the Installation ceremony, attendees enjoyed a delicious dinner and an interesting talk about Mission San Jose and its neighborhood, presented by long-time community activist and Mission San Jose docent Lila Bringhurst. She said that the beautiful old-style Mission San Jose structure that we see today in Freemont, just north on Mission Boulevard from Milpitas, is in fact a reconstruction, completed in 1985, of the original 1809 adobe structure, which was destroyed in the 1868 earthquake, and was replaced for many years by a large, traditional-looking wooden church. This church was purchased and is still in use today by an Episcopalian congregation in San Mateo, who had the building moved and reconstructed when it was decided to rebuild the adobe mission in 1982. The wooden rectory, from the same early 19th century era as the wooden church, was purchased by Lila and her late husband, Dr. Deon Bringhurst, when the 1985 reconstruction of the adobe was taking place and was moved a mile or so north to be used as Dr. Bringhurst’s dental office. Lila also mentioned that San Jose de Guadalupe, the original name of the present-day City of San Jose, had nothing to do with this Mission San Jose; the only thing they had in common was that both were named after St. Joseph.

Jo Mora, Artist of the West: January 14

Our first meeting of 2015 will be held at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, January 14, in the Auditorium (Community Room) of the Milpitas Library, 160 North Main Street.

Jo Mora
Jo Mora

Our featured speaker will be our Milpitas Historical Society President, Roger Skuse, who will show and tell the story of Jo Mora (1876-1947), the Uruguayan-born cowboy, illustrator, artist, sculptor, photographer and writer who lived with the Hopi and whose art, writing, and documentation of the American West and Native American Culture have become invaluable piece of the history of our country. Among other local examples of his work is the dramatic Sphinx at the front of the San Jose Athletic Club (formerly the Scottish Rite Temple) at 196 North Third Street in San Jose.

Roger will show several of the treasured pieces of art that Jo Mora created (and a pair of chaps that belonged to him), as well as a few beautiful historic rarities from our gold rush forward, also representing the Spanish and Mexican traditions of our area.

Please join us to hear the stories and see these treasures of Western art.

Official Website of the Milpitas Historical Society