Wherever There's a Fight -- March 27 Lecture
Noted Author Elaine Elinson will give a presentation based on her book, Wherever There's a Fight on March 27 at the Joan Pisani Community Center in Saratoga.

The presentation chronicles stories of freedom and equality from the gold rush to the present that have shaped California. Come hear stories of people who fought for their constitutional rights.

Copies of the book will be on sale after the presentation. Elaine Elinson was the communications director of the ACLU of Northern California and editor of the ACLU News for more than two decades. She has written many articles for the Los Angeles daily Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation and other periodicals. The presentation will take place at 19655 Allendale Avenue in saratoga. $5.00 donation. For more information call 408-867-4311.

Woodrow Wilson and World War-I; March 30 Lecture
The Saratoga Historical Foundation history lecture series will focus on World War I and President Woodrow Wilson on March 30 at 7:00 PM. This year marks the centennial of the United State’s entry into World War I. Wilson led the nation into the war and fought to end wars by supporting the League of Nations which was developed in 1920. SHF Historian Ray Cosyn will present the talk on March 30 at 7:00 PM at the Saratoga History Museum at 20450 Saratoga Los- Gatos Road in Saratoga. The event is free.

Wilson was president from 1913 to 1921. During that time he oversaw the passage of progressive legislative policies unparalleled until the New Deal in 1933. The Federal Reserve Act, Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, and the Federal Farm Loan Act were some of these new policies. Having taken office one month after ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, Wilson called a special session of Congress, whose work culminated in the Revenue Act of 1913, introducing an incme tax and lowering tariffs. In 1918 he endorsed the Nineteenth Amendment, whose ratification in 1920 provided an equal right to vote for women across the United States. Early in 1918, he issued his principles for peace, the Fourteen Points, and in 1919, following armistice, he traveled to Paris, promoting the formation of a League of Nations, and concluding the Treaty of Versailles. For his sponsorship of the League of Nations, Wilson was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize, the second of three sitting presidents so honored.

Open Wide—Painless Parker and the History of Dentistry
A new exhibit opens March 10 and will run until July 9 entitled “Open Wide--Painless Parker and the History of Dentistry.” The exhibit will cover the history of dentistry from the 1700s to the present. Actual dentist tools and flyers will be part of the exhibit.

Painless Parker was one of the most famous dentists in the early 1900s. His fame continued when he moved from the East Coast to Saratoga in 1915. He used showmanship – including elephants, musical bands and other unique marketing tools to gain attention and to disguise the patient’s pain. He created the Parker Dental Circus, a traveling medicine show with his dental chair on a horse-drawn wagon while a band played. The band attracted large crowds and hid the moans and cries of patients who were given whiskey or a cocaine solution that he called “hydrocaine” to numb the pain.

He charged 50 cents for each extraction and promised that if it hurt, he’d pay the patient $5. At one point he claimed to have pulled 357 teeth in one day, which he strung on a necklace. Parker was also one of the first to teach the importance of good health care. When he moved to California he bought 300 acres of land next door to SF Newspaper Publisher Fremont Older.

Essay Contest for 4th and 5h Grade Schools in Saratoga
Children from grades fourth through fifth in Saratoga schools are invited to participate in the Louise and George Cooper Essay contest through their schools. Students who are home-schooled in Saratoga may also participate. The contest is sponsored by the Saratoga Historical Foundation.

The theme of this year’s contest is “Your Family Traditions.” Students are encouraged to think about traditions important to their families. They may interview a family member about traditions. The essay should be no longer than 300 words.

Three winners at each grade level will receive cash prizes: first place, $50, second, $30; and third, $20. Winners will be notified by April 17. Classes with winning essays, students, parents, teacher, principal will be invited to an ice cream social held at the Saratoga History Museum. During the ice cream social, winners will be recognized by the Saratoga City Council.

The deadline to submit is April 3 at 9:00 AM when essay envelopes will be picked up. Teachers will be notified on April 17. To volunteer to help judge the essays and for more information, call Linda Hagelin at 408-867-4311 or email Linda@saratogahistory.com.

For more information about the contest download the entry forms below. George and Louise Garrod Cooper were lifetime members of the PTA. The Garrod family has lived in Saratoga since 1893. This is the first year the essay contest has been held.

New Public Art for Saratoga Honoring Betty and Willys Peck
How does a city honor citizens who have been critical to the evolution and character of the city?? One way is by works of art. Saratoga’s well- known historian Willys Peck, now deceased, and his legendary teacher-author wife, Betty are such people.

The Saratoga Historical Foundation is sponsoring the creation of life-size bronze figures of Willys and Betty Peck sitting on their famous “Count Your Blessings” bench, with room for people to sit next to them. Noted sculptor Jerry Smith has agreed to render the statues using the “lost wax” process. Smith has created many sculptures including a bronze work for the Saratoga Foothill Club, Bellarmine College, Santa Clara University and more.

No public money is being sought for the project, instead it will be financed by private donations. Willys and Betty Peck have both contributed much to the community. Willys Peck a historian, lawyer, newspaperman, train buff and playwright died in 2013. Peck worked for the Mercury News for a total of 55 years. The lifelong resident of Saratoga documented his memories of Saratoga in several books and worked to preserve Saratoga’s rich history. Betty Peck, known as an innovative educator has spent over 55 years in early education. She created the first community garden in Saratoga. She is also an author of two books on early education.

Placement of the final work will be determined later, but two locations are currently being considered: Blaney Plaza facing Willys and Betty’s beloved town; the front area of the Saratoga History Museum. A committee, chaired by Hugh Roberts, has been formed to raise the funds. “The idea of creating the city of Saratoga originated in the Peck’s garden with a group of like-minded individuals, and the Pecks have always embodied the heart and spirit of Saratoga,” Roberts said.

The goal is to raise $70,000, half right away to get the project underway in order to have it completed within one year. Names of all contributors will be on a scroll given to Betty Peck. Contributions over $250 will receive a copy of Willys’ book, Saratoga Stereopticon, autographed by Betty Peck in appreciation. All contributions should be sent to the Saratoga Historical Foundation, PO Box 172 Saratoga CA 95071 noting ATTN Peck Bench. Tax deductible confirmation will be provided. More information can be found by e-mailing info@saratogahistory.com or contacting Hugh Roberts at: Hubert.roberts@icloud.com

The Saratoga Historical Foundation Museum
The Saratoga Historical Foundation Museum located at Saratoga Historical Park: 20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road, Saratoga, CA
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  • 2017 Upcoming Events
  • Exhibit Painless Parker and the History of Dentistry; through July
  • March 27 Wherever There's a Fight; Joan Pisani Community Center
  • March 30 Woodrow Wilson and WWI; Saratoga History Museum
  • April 3 Deadline for Essay Contest

Tell Us About Your Saratoga!
The Saratoga Historical Foundation collects memories and information about Saratoga places, people and more. Please complete the form HERE and help us add to our records! Thank you.

Some Free Things To Do!
Get in touch with local history by taking our historic landmark walking tour, bicycling the historic house tour, and walking around our historic garden with a self-guided tour.

Get out your camera and your walking shoes! The Saratoga Historical Foundation offers docent-led walking tours or you can download the tour and take a self-guided one. The docent-led tours last about 60 minutes with lots of easy walking. Meet your fellow “time travellers” and get some exercise at the same time. Make an appointment today by calling 408-867-4311 and take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the history of your community.

Forget about driving and bicycle our historic house tour. See over 30 heritage homes on this self-guided bicycle tour. Want just a little exercise? Walk the historic garden in the Saratoga Historical Park—a copy of the self-guided tour is available outside near the Museum door or by downloading. The plants look different with each season so there is reason to return again and again. Find out how Native American children used ferns.

The walking tour, historic house bicycle tour, and the garden tour maps can be downloaded from this site.

Speaker Available
If you are in need of a speaker on history and local Saratoga history—contact Saratoga Historical Foundation Historian Ray Cosyn. Cosyn has developed the following presentations—most 30-40 minutes in length with quality slides using historic images:

  • Saratoga: A Lumber Town, traces the history of Saratoga from the Ohlone’s to the present historic village. The excitement of the once rollicking lumber town to the battle for incorporation is of interest to every Saratogan.
  • The Interurban Railway, yearn for the days of a trip by rail to San Jose or Palo Alto on the sleek Interurban Railway? The mass transit train, carrying packages and people, once quietly traveled the Santa Clara Valley.
  • Prohibition—sit back and enjoy hearing about the driest town in the valley – a period of time that lasted over 40 years. Interesting stories about the effect of Prohibition on the local wineries (including Paul Masson) will make you smile.
  • Lincoln’s Funeral Train- miracles and sadness traveled with the death of Present Abraham Lincoln as his funeral train made it’s last journey.
  • Flying Tigers – find out more about these intrepid Americans who fought an air war prior to WWII for freedom in China.
The presentations are appropriate for groups of all ages. Cosyn has given presentations to those interested in the Civil War, railroads, winemakers, high schools, as well as local history and other organizations. If you are interested in having Cosyn speak before your organization, you can contact him HERE. More information on lectures HERE.

Plans for a New Blacksmith Exhibit
The recorded sounds of a blacksmith forge might ring in the hills as the Saratoga Historical Foundation raises funds to convert an existing outside area into an interactive blacksmith exhibit. The blacksmith exhibit ties into the nearby 1850’s McWilliams House because the owner, James McWilliams was Saratoga’s second blacksmith.

The blacksmith exhibit will house tools and items normally worked on by a blacksmith. Some interactivity and possibly sound effects will be available. Also planned is a nonfunctional outhouse—as part of the turn of the century theme of all the structures in the Saratoga Historical Park. All the structures—McWilliams House, one-room schoolhouse, museum, and soon the blacksmith exhibit are used to teach pioneer living as well as Saratoga’s rich history.

If you would like to contribute to this exhibit ($5000 contribution and higher will be part of a plaque on the outside of the exhibit), please send your contribution to: Blacksmith Exhibit, c/o Saratoga Historical Foundation, PO Box 172, Saratoga, CA 95071. Your donation is tax deductible.

Support the Saratoga Historical Foundation with AmazonSmile

The Saratoga Historical Foundation is now on the AmazonSmile list. Visit www.amazonsmile.com when you want to purchase an item and select the Saratoga Historical Foundation, by doing so, .5% of your purchase will be donated to the Saratoga Historical Foundation. No extra cost to you-- it is part of a program initiated by Amazon to give back to the community.

The South Skyline Story—New Book
The Saratoga History Museum gift shop has added a new book: The South Skyline Story by Janet Schwind and the Skyline Historical Society. The South Skyline region runs along Skyline Boulevard and includes parts of three counties: San Mateo, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara. The 232 page book includes historic photos, maps and stories of residents from the Ohlone Indians through the present day. According to author Janet Schwind, “Upon opening the book you will follow the paths of the native Ohlone peoples; experience the rugged life in the logging camps, mills and ranches. Learn how the crude trails, dusty ranch and private roads of the ridge properties through four different counties were connected by the building of the boulevard, in spite of the daunting impediments of politics and financial difficulties.

Moving at a lively pace the book covers the various activities of timber harvesting, the search for oil, recreation, and agriculture, followed later by the development of communes, communities and organizations. It will provide great insight into the history of the area we call “home”.

Community Service
Saratoga High School students looking to fulfill community service requirements can contact Linda Hagelin at the Saratoga History Museum. Please e-mail HERE with the date you can work. The museum is open Friday-Saturday and Sunday from 1-4PM.

Saratoga Historical Foundation  ·  20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road, Saratoga, CA 95070-5935  ·  #408.867.4311