Meetings 2014

Rick Helin Speaking on Silver Baron, Nevada Senator William Sharon: November 12, 2014

Our guest speaker this time will be Rick Helin. Rick is a fifth generation Californian whose first arriving ancestor, Patrick McLaughlin, landed in San Francisco from Ireland in 1852.

Although Rick currently enjoys the retired life, for thirty plus years he worked hard to earn his reputation for being the ‘Dean of Mortgage Banking’ in Santa Clara County. He joined the Board of Directors of The California Pioneers of Santa Clara County twelve years ago and presently holds the position of ‘Historian’ for that organization.

In 2001 Rick’s research led to the creation of a feature-length screen play entitled “The Bare Republic.” The story details the 1883 arrest of sixty-five-year-old silver baron, Nevada Senator William Sharon, who is charged with adultery after Morgan Hill’s sister, Sarah Althea Hill, produces not a marriage license but a binding contract alleging that the two were legally married.

Rick will share all the juicy details about ensuing sensational legal battles (and some illegal ones) claimed by many to be the first, front-page melodrama to capture the hearts and imaginations of newspaper readers worldwide… all as it was being played out in real time.

Winchester Mystery House: October 8, 2014

WinchesterMysteryHouseWe hope you can join us for the upcoming Historical Society meeting on Wednesday, October 8, 2014, at 7 pm, at the Milpitas Library, for the presentation about the Winchester Mystery House. Our featured speaker will be Nathan Emmett, historian and one of the guides at the Winchester Mystery House.

The Winchester Mystery House was built by Sarah Winchester, a widow from Boston who moved west to California in 1884. Who was Sarah Winchester, and why did she start building a home in San Jose that she believed she must never stop building? Were ghosts involved? The resulting structure opened in 1886 and was under construction until her death in 1922, eventually covering 60 acres, including 160 rooms and many strange architectural features. Come and find out about Sarah Winchester and her story, and hear much more about the spooky secrets of this fantastic house.

Historic Patterson House in Fremont: September 10, 2014

The next meeting of the Milpitas Historical Society will take place at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, September 10, in the Community Room (Auditorium) of the Milpitas Library, 160 North Main Street. Our featured guest will be docent Christie Dentry, who will tell us about the historic Patterson House in Fremont, a part of the Ardenwood Farm, a Regional Historic Landmark.

Patterson House
Patterson House in Fremont, CA

The first part of Patterson House was built around 1857 by George Patterson, who after working on other farms, was able to purchase his own land and build a basic farm house on it. Then in 1889 George and Clara Patterson, after 12 years of marriage, added the grand Queen Anne addition, changing the direction of the front entrance and making it the beautiful classic structure that it is today. Ms. Dentry will give us the whole story of the family and how this beautiful transfor-mation took place. You can sign up for one of the wonderful Patterson
House Christmas tours at the meeting. Our meetings are free and all are welcome. Hope to see you there!

Songs of Historical Significance with Mary Haven Thompson: June 11, 2014

Our featured guest will be Mary Haven Thompson, a long-time Milpitas resident and Historical Society member who will be treating us to songs relating to history from many times and places. Mary Haven Thompson will be presenting songs of historical significance, involving events in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, France, Russia, Germany, and Spain.

Mary Haven Thompson (left) with fellow singers Jerry Williams, then of the city public works department; Mort Levine, Post publisher, Warren Schmid, then city manager, and Jim Connolly, then community development manager (around 1960). Photo courtesy of the Milpitas Post.
Mary Haven Thompson (left) with fellow singers Jerry Williams, then of the city public works department; Mort Levine, Post publisher, Warren Schmid, then city manager, and Jim Connolly, then community development manager (around 1960). Photo courtesy of the Milpitas Post.

Ms. Thompson grew up in Connecticut and moved to California in 1944, finished high school in Mill Valley, graduated from UC Berkeley, and moved to Milpitas in 1955. She taught school for thirty years, and both as a student and a teacher, availed herself of every opportunity to sing and to share the joy of singing with students, day-campers, Girl Scouts, and with adults, such as the group shown below, who called themselves the Oleana Singers, and who got together for hootenannies at friends’ houses and at Milpitas talent program.

History-Making de Anza Expedition of 1775-76: May 14, 2014

De Anza Expeditoin 1775-76
De Anza Expedition 1775-76

Please join us if you can for the upcoming Historical Society meeting at 7 pm on Wednesday, May 14, in the Community Room (Auditorium) at the Milpitas Library, for local historians John and Patty Kieffer’s fascinating talk about the de Anza expedition (1775-76) and the Spanish/Mexican settlers who followed its path and their history in California from 1775 to 1850, including their customs and lifestyles, with an emphasis on the women settlers, as well as Charlie’s ancestors, the Castro family, who came to California in 1775.

The Saratoga Story: April 9, 2014

The next meeting of the Milpitas Historical Society will take place at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, April 9, in the cozy Children’s Activity Room of the Milpitas Library, 160 North Main Street.

Saratoga Post Office in 1894
Saratoga Post Office in 1894

The program for this meeting will be about our neighbor to the southwest, the city of Saratoga, which started out as a single sawmill on the banks of what is now Saratoga Creek, but has gone through many interesting phases to become a prosperous suburb, known for some distinguished residents and the beautiful performance venue of Villa Montalvo, originally the home of a distinguished politician. Saratoga even shares an important event in its city life with Milpitas.

Our presenter will be distinguished San Jose writer and historian April Halberstadt, who gave us such an interesting talk about General Henry Naglee last June. She is the author of books about historic architecture, farm equipment, Willow Glen, and of course, Saratoga.

Meetings are free and all are welcome.
 

History and Culture of the Muwekma group of the Ohlone People: March 12, 2014

Three Ohlone Indians in a Tule Boat in the San Francisco Bay 1822
1882 painting of Ohlone people in a tule boat in the San Francisco Bay

Please join us for the upcoming Historical Society meeting at 7pm on Wednesday, March 12 at the Milpitas Library, for a talk about the  history and culture of the Muwekma group of the Ohlone people, the first inhabitants of our area. Our presenter will be Alan Leventhal, an archeologist and who has been teaching and involved in Indian Affairs over the past 32 years at San Jose State University.

Installation Dinner: February 20, 2014

Instead of a regular meeting in February, the Society will hold its Installation Dinner at Summit Pointe Golf Course Restaurant on Thursday, February 20. Former Milpitas Mayor and honored war veteran Denny Weisgerber will be the keynote speaker, and Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves will administer the oath of office.

Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves (far left), are (left to right) Lela Ehardt, Secretary; Kraig Bunnell, Treasurer; Mayvid Maclay, Special Events Director; Joe Ehardt, Membership Director; Harriett McGuire, Historian; Catherine Pelizzari, Vice President and Newsletter Director; Roger Skuse, President; Harriett McGuire, Hospitality Director; and Steve Munzel, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Liaison.
MHS Officers and Board after the Installation Ceremony
Pictured here are, after the swearing-in ceremony by Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves (far left), are (left to right) Lela Ehardt, Secretary; Kraig Bunnell, Treasurer; Mayvid Maclay, Special Events Director; Joe Ehardt, Membership Director; Harriett McGuire, Historian; Catherine Pelizzari, Vice President and Newsletter Director; Roger Skuse, President; Harriett McGuire, Hospitality Director; and Steve Munzel, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Liaison.

After the dinner and officer installation, former Milpitas Mayor Denny Weisgerber, an active participant in the successful Milpitas struggle to fend off acquisition by San Jose, spoke about the details of that era and provided interesting answers to questions about that era, and the differences between then and now.
 

Frontier Village: January 8, 2014

From 1961 to 1980, Frontier Village was a favorite destination for kids all over the San Jose area, offering canoe trips, train, antique auto, and other amusement park rides, as well as a vintage Wild West Main Street, a General Store, trout fishing, archery,  woodsy paths, a petting zoo, and much more.

frontier_village

Please join us to reminisce or find out more about this lost treasure of years ago and why it disappeared. Meetings are free and all are welcome.

At our first 2014 meeting, at 7:00 pm in the Auditorium (Community Room) of the Milpitas Library, 160 North Main Street, park historian Bob Johnson will show a film and give a talk about San Jose’s lost amusement park, Frontier Village.