Free Lecture on World War I on November 11 in Saratoga
The Saratoga Historical Foundation marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I in Europe with a discussion forum on November 11. The event will take place at the Saratoga History Museum (20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road) at 7:30 PM. The event is free and open to the public.

The forum will focus on the events leading up to the beginning of the war beginning in August 1914. The United States did not enter the war until April 1917. The program will be monitored by US Historian Ray Cosyn and include a film highlighting some of the issues that led to the war. After the film, the audience will be asked to participate in an open discussion.

Saratoga sent many residents to serve in World War I with six losing their life. The Memorial Arch located in Blaney Plaza recognizes those Saratogans. The forum, according to Cosyn, is in recognition of their sacrifice. Seating is limited so people are encouraged to arrive early.

Give Back to the Community
If you are looking for a way to give back to the community—support the Saratoga History Museum with a donation. We are presently raising funds for a new blacksmith exhibit and your donation can help.The current tax law requires all charitable gifts to be made by December 31 to qualify for a deduction in 2014. Even items postmarked after December 31 must be attributed to 2014, regardless of the date on the check inside. The operation of the all-volunteer museum is dependent on membership fees, donations, grants and fundraisers—please support us. Make your check to SHF Blacksmith Exhibit, PO Box 172, Saratoga, CA 95071.

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”.

Circle the Date: We're Honoring Saratogans!
On September 21, the Saratoga Historical Foundation is honoring four Saratogans for their community service, interest in history, and contributions. Come help us thank these people for their contributions to making Saratoga great:

  • George Cooper
  • Warren Heid
  • Amy June Jorgensen
  • Jackie Welch

Good Food, Music and Conversation: The event will take place from 4:30-6:30pm on the patio of the Saratoga Museum (20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road in Saratoga). A tasty meal of BBQ, vegetarian dish for those who order in advance, wine, and dessert will be served buffet style. Live music will provide ambience along with honoring these key Saratogans.

How to Reserve Your Place: There's limited seating so don't wait to reserve your place. Tickets are $35 for SHF members and $40 for non-members. Please pay by cash or check. You can secure a ticket by calling Robert Himel at (408) 867-9727; email at or sending a check to: Honoring Saratogans/SHF, PO Box 172, Saratoga, CA, 95071.

New Exhibit on The Chinese American Legacy in Santa Clara Valley
The Saratoga History Museum presents the traveling exhibit, “Pioneering the Valley: The Chinese American Legacy in Santa Clara Valley.” The free exhibit will run from July 13 through October 26 and is located at 20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road in Saratoga.

The exhibit provides the history of the Chinese American Community in the Santa Clara Valley from the 19th century to today with highlights of community achievements. Partnering with the exhibit will be local information on Saratoga people and history.

About the Exhibit: The exhibit was created by the Chinese Historical and Cultural Project and is an extension of the Chinese American Historical Museum located in History Park in San Jose. The 14-panel exhibit begins with the Chinese coming to the US during the period of 1850-1931 and settled in their own communities known as China Town. Struggle for equality ensued and in 1882, US lawmakers passed a law prohibiting the Chinese from becoming citizens. The exhibit includes information on how the Chinese went to court to fight against this inequality.

Also covered is how the Chinese shaped the Santa Clara Valley’s economy and culture. Farming, building roads, building the railroad were all areas of early contributions. The Chinese have since contributed heavily in the area of high technology, leadership –including Mayor Aileen Kao, the first Chinese female to be mayor in Saratoga—and culture, including Saratogan musician Vienna Teng. Duan Zhaonan, a famous painter of Beijing Opera characters, is included in the exhibit. A timeline in the exhibit shows the parallel histories of the San Jose, the US and China.

Four New Books in Museum Gift Shop
Four new local history books have been added to the Saratoga History Museum’s gift shop: “Gulchin’ Out” by Vince S. Garrod, Saratoga pioneer; “The Tie That Bound Us, the Women of John Brown’s Family” by Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz; “California Apricots-The Lost Orchards of Silicon Valley,” by Robin Chapman; and “The Mineral Springs of Santa Clara County,” by Ian L. Sanders. The gift shop contains a variety of children’s and adult books covering local history in addition to these titles.

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.

The Santa Clara County Fire Department has interesting information and pictures about the history of the Saratoga fire station here.
The Saratoga Historical Foundation Museum
The Saratoga Historical Foundation Museum located at Saratoga Historical Park: 20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road, Saratoga, CA
  • 2014 Upcoming Events
  • October 16 Board meeting 3-5pm at the Museum; public welcome.
  • November 28 Open House 6-8pm. Be sure to check out the Museum gift shop! Holiday exhibit debuts.

Some Free Things To Do!
Get in touch with local history by: 1) taking our historic landmark walking tour 2) bicycling the historic house tour 3) 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.

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.

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.

Wanted: Author for Book on Saratoga
For immediate release: The Saratoga Historical Foundation is seeking someone to write a book on the history of Saratoga. The historical book would cover the time period of 1950-2000.

The author would be responsible for researching and writing the material for the time period. Requirements include a demonstrated ability to research and write historical materials; knowledge of the publishing process; and prior published experience. Three samples of writing must be furnished at the time of the interview. If you are interested, write or call (408) 867-4311 for more information or to set up an interview.

New Donation Policy
The Saratoga History Museum is changing its policy regarding donations that are dropped off at the museum.

According to Archival and Collections Director Katie Alexander, "Due to space limitations and a renewed focus on our mission statement to collect items that are significant to Saratoga, we will be accepting donations by appointment only."

Items left at the museum as a donation may not be accepted and may be disposed of by the collection committee. If you have a donation, please call the museum at 408-867-4311 and someone will get back to you or you can e-mail

Saratoga Historical Foundation  ·  20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road, Saratoga, CA 95070-5935  ·  #408.867.4311
© Saratoga Historical Foundation 2014