Heritage Day in Saratoga
Heritage Day Features Music, Crafts, Historic Skit and More Blue grass music, California Youth Chinese Symphony, historic skit, crafts, children’s activities and more will be featured on Heritage Day. The free event takes place on October 4 from 12-4pm at the Saratoga History Museum located at 20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road in Saratoga. Costumed Saratoga historical figures will also be located on Big Basin Way as part of the festivities.

An Afternoon of Fun: Emcee Brian Berg will introduce the entertainment on the Saratoga Historical Park patio which includes the Wildcat Mountain Ramblers, Portraits of the Past, Lisa Robinson speaking on the timber industry, and the California Youth Chinese Symphony. Chairs and shade will be provided for the audience. The Wildcat Mountain Ramblers play a mix of bluegrass, old time folk music from America's past with toe tapping passion. This performance will include Saratoga's own Lee Anne Welch on the fiddle, Suzanne Suwanda on bass, Robert Cornelius, banjo and Topher Gayle on guitar. Portraits of the Past, a group from History San Jose, provides an irreverent but light hearted look at some of the key historic figures in Saratoga and Santa Clara Valley history and begins at 1 o’clock. Costumed in period clothing, vignettes from local history will be vividly and memorably portrayed. Lisa Robinson, noted author and President of the San Lorenzo Historical Society, gives an entertaining history of the local timber industry at 1:30. Saratoga was one of the many “lumber towns” in the 1850s. Robinson has written over four books on the San Lorenzo Valley history. Most recently she edited the book, “Redwood Logging and Conservation in the Santa Cruz Mountains—A Split History.” The California Youth Chinese Symphony performs from 2:30-3:30 playing traditional Chinese musical instruments. The all-volunteer symphony plays integrates East-West music using both Chinese and Western instruments. Traditional Chinese musical instruments such as erhu (stringed instrument similar to a fiddle); pippa (four string instrument); sheng, (reed instrument); yangqin (hammered dulcier); and paigu (set of 3-7 drums) will be played. Cindy Watkins provides music with a musical saw. The musical saw is an American folk musical instrument that got its start in the 1900s in the Appalachian Mountains. The saw is played with a fiddle bow and the musician is called a sawyer. The saw can produce up to 20 notes and the plaintive tones achieved makes it sometimes called a “singing saw.” During the 1920s and 30s, the music took hold and was very popular throughout the United States. Today there are many groups dedicated to keeping this form of folk music alive. Many Things to Do: Children’s Activities Duan’s Art Studio is sponsoring a craft table that will include demonstrations of flower arranging, calligraphy, brush painting, and other traditional Chinese art. The Girl Scouts will also have many old time children’s activities including making button whizzers.

Old Time Crafts: People will be on hand demonstrating lace making, rag rug making, wood carving, soap making and more. In keeping with the times, the Santa Clara Valley Water District will also have an information table with water saving tips. Friends of the Wineries will have an information table, also.

Book Signing: Popular local author Robin Chapman, will be on hand to sell and autograph her book, California Apricots: The Lost Orchards of Silicon Valley.

Walking Tour: Free docent-led walking tour of the historic village and its surroundings will also be available.

Tour the Park: Costumed docents will provide tours of the 1850s historic McWilliams house and the one-room schoolhouse on the premises.

Other Events: Also in celebration of Heritage day, the Saratoga Village Development Council and Chairwoman Jill Hunter will have over 20 costumed Saratoga historical characters stationed in the Village from 12 to 3 PM. A formal introduction and photos of the characters will take place at noon in Blaney Plaza. The first 75 children who ask Hunter will receive a free copy of a coloring book of Saratoga history.

The historic characters selected range from the 1850s to the early 1900s and include such notables as Martin McCarty, Charles Blaney, Paul Masson, and Senator James Phelan. Be sure to ask these costumed characters a question about history.

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 roberthimel@att.net 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.

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
  • Now-Oct. 26 Pioneering the Valley: The Chinese American Legacy in Santa Clara Valley --- new exhibit at the Museum.
  • September 7 Mid-Autumn Festival at the Museum
  • September 18 Board meeting 3-5pm at the Museum; public welcome.
  • September 21 Honoring Saratogans at the Museum - special dinner.
  • September 26 Joint mixer at the Museum for the Saratoga Rotary & Chamber of Commerce
  • October 4 Heritage Day at the Museum
  • October 11 Saratoga Library 12-4pm
  • 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 info@saratogahistory.com 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 katie-at-saratogahistory.com.

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