Helen Keller visited Sacramento a century ago

Courtesy of the Helen Keller archives in New Zealand  Black and white photograph of Helen Keller with the inscription: To the Helen Keller House Girls, with my grateful love Helen Keller, November 1947. Inscription written in pencil by Helen Keller on the photograph. Typed letter written by Helen Keller and signed by her in pencil, to Kathleen Devonshire. Dated November 4th, 1947 and sent from Arcan Ridge, Westport, Connecticut.  (Archives reference: AAAA 8279 W5318 1/) For more information visit Archway: www.archway.archives.govt.nz/ViewEntity.do?code=8279

Courtesy of the Helen Keller archives in New Zealand Black and white photograph of Helen Keller with the inscription: To the Helen Keller House Girls, with my grateful love Helen Keller, November 1947. Inscription written in pencil by Helen Keller on the photograph. Typed letter written by Helen Keller and signed by her in pencil, to Kathleen Devonshire. Dated November 4th, 1947 and sent from Arcan Ridge, Westport, Connecticut. (Archives reference: AAAA 8279 W5318 1/) For more information visit Archway: www.archway.archives.govt.nz/ViewEntity.do?code=8279

For many years, the life of Helen Keller (1880-1968), the famous deaf-blind woman who overcame great disabilities, has been one of intrigue to many people. Those people included the Tuesday Club members and guests, who attended an event featuring Helen and her notable, skillful teacher, Johanna “Anne” Mansfield Sullivan Macy (1866-1936), who was best known as Anne Sullivan.
The event was of such interest to the community that several hundred people arrived at the Tuesday Club at 2724 L St., across the street from Sutter’s Fort and just west of East Sacramento, to greet Helen and her teacher on Monday, March 16, 1914 at 8 p.m. The crowd was believed to have been the largest audience to have ever assembled at the Tuesday Club in its then 18-year history.
A report on the event in the following day’s edition of The Sacramento Bee was quick to note that Anne was of “almost equal interest” to the attendees of the gathering due to her dedication and success in working with Helen.
Prior to Anne’s involvement with Helen, she had been raised in poverty by Irish immigrants. Her father was an alcoholic and her mother died from tuberculosis when she was 9 years old.
When she was about 7 years old, Anne, who was a native of Feeding Hills, Mass., developed trachoma, which severely affected her vision.
Anne, who began attending the Perkins Institution for the Blind (now Perkins School for the Blind) in Watertown, Mass. in 1880, underwent successful eye operations in 1881 and 1882.
On March 3, 1887, about a year after she graduated as the valedictorian from the aforementioned school for the blind, Anne began her work tutoring Helen.
Helen, who was born in Tuscumbia, Ala., was the daughter of Civil War veteran and newspaper editor Arthur Keller and Kate Adams.
Although Helen was born with the ability to see and hear, when she was 1 and a half years old, she had lost those abilities due to what was then described by Helen’s doctors as an “acute congestion of the stomach and brain” or “brain fever.”
The professional medical belief today is that the mysterious illness that nearly took Helen’s life was possibly meningitis, scarlet fever, or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
With her condition, Helen often threw temper tantrums, broke items and physically attacked members of her family.
While seeking assistance for Helen, Arthur and Kate were referred to Alexander Graham Bell.
Bell, who was best known for inventing the telephone, also worked on projects to assist the deaf.
After spending time with the Kellers, Bell referred them to the aforementioned Perkins Institution for the Blind.
That school eventually recommended that Anne become Helen’s teacher and instruct her under the methods of Perkins’ first director, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe (1801-1876).
Anne’s first project was to teach Helen discipline and self-control.
And once Helen became a calmer person, Anne began to teach her words by outlining letters with her fingers in Helen’s hands and associating those words with particular things.
Helen, who once said, “I have always felt I was using the five senses within me,” would eventually learn to read, write and speak. She also became competent in a few foreign languages and mathematics, and learned to ride a horse and dance in time to a fox trot or waltz.
Helen’s studies included formal schooling at the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York City and the Cambridge (Massachusetts) School for Young Ladies.
In the fall of 1900, Helen became the first deaf-blind person to attend college, when she enrolled at Radcliffe College (now Radcliffe Institute for Advance Study) in Cambridge. She accomplished the remarkable feat of graduating cum laude from that institution four years later.
Helen also became a published writer of both magazine articles and books. Her first book, “The Story of My Life,” was published in 1902.
With the assistance of Anne as an interpreter, Helen became involved with many lecturing events, including the featured lecture of this article: the Sacramento lecture of March 16, 1914.
In a preview for that hour-long event, The Bee, in its March 14, 1914 edition, referred to Helen’s ability to rise above her adversities with the help of Anne and others as “one of the greatest educational achievements of the age.”
And in commenting about Anne’s remarkable work with Helen, The Bee noted: “Mrs. Macy has been the teacher, guide and friend of Miss Keller for twenty-seven years. She made an accomplished woman out of a sightless, voiceless, deaf little animal that at 6 years of age (when Mrs. Macy first took charge of her) had not seemingly the semblance of intelligence.”
In further publicizing the event, the article included the following words: “About two years ago, Charles White, a singing teacher of New England added his efforts to Mrs. Macy’s in an attempt to teach her to talk, the success of which will be demonstrated next Monday evening by Miss Keller herself. The young woman speaks three (languages) and reads five languages besides playing the piano and violin. She has written two successful books and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Radcliffe – a well-known women’s college.”
Despite this historic account’s reference to Helen’s piano and violin playing ability, it should be recognized that she actually did not play an instrument.
In a June 25, 1950 New York Times article, which was written in celebration of Helen’s 70th birthday, it was mentioned that “legend has guilded (sic) the lily of her achievement and by exaggeration almost belittled it. Helen Keller does not paint or play the piano. Even as a child she was too impatient to model in clay; she wanted to use her hands in reading and she read so much the tips of her fingers ached.”
Prior to the night’s lecture at the Tuesday Club, which was entitled “The Heart and the Hand,” the audience experienced some suspense as only Anne initially appeared on stage.
During that time, Anne, who married a Harvard University instructor named John Albert Macy on May 3, 1905, explained that the audience should not expect too much when listening to Helen’s speech.
Anne later demonstrated the method in which Helen learned to speak.
That method was explained in the March 16, 1914 edition of The Bee, as follows: “Even more Herculean (than reading by Braille) was the task of learning to speak through pure mechanical development of the muscles of the throat, the position of the tongue and the vibrations received by placing her hands on the throat and lips and nose of her teacher.”
In describing the moment in which Helen spoke at the Tuesday Club, The Bee noted: “Listening intently, the greater portion of what she said could be heard, and little or none of it was missed by those seated near enough to see the movement of the lips and mouth. It was really an overwhelming moment for most of her listeners.”
During a question and answer session at the event, which was free to Tuesday Club members and had a nominal cost for other attendees, Helen was asked how she was enjoying California.
With a smile, Helen replied, “Oh, I like it. It’s so full of sweet smells.”
And after being asked to name her favorite faculty, Helen spoke about “hearing” the vibrations of music through her feet.
Helen also expressed her disappointment with not being able to speak to Sacramento schoolchildren during her visit to the capital city due to her scheduled trip to San Francisco on the following day.
Anne and Helen later took on another joint activity, as they performed in vaudeville acts from 1922 to 1924.
Anne passed away at the age of 70 on Oct. 20, 1936. She was completely blind in both eyes at the time of her death.
As Anne was beginning to lose her sight completely in about 1933, Helen began teaching her to use a new form of Braille.
In commenting about that act of kindness and appreciation, The New York Times noted: “The ‘blind leading the blind’ will henceforth have a new meaning wherever the story of Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller is known.”
After the death of Anne, Polly Thomson became Helen’s aide. Thomson died in 1960, and Winifred Corbally took on the role of Helen’s assistant until Helen’s death.
Although Helen, who became an advocate for the disabled, a political activist and visited in the White House with every U.S. president from Grover Cleveland to John F. Kennedy, died 26 days shy of her 88th birthday on June 1, 1968, her legacy as one who overcame tremendous obstacles in life remains one of America’s most inspirational stories.

Lance@valcomnews.com

KCRA Channel 3 first aired nearly six decades ago

KCRA’s radio and television studios were once located at the address of 310 10th St. in the buildings shown above. The structure to left was used for television purposes, while the other building was used for radio operations. Photo courtesy of Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento Room

KCRA’s radio and television studios were once located at the address of 310 10th St. in the buildings shown above. The structure to left was used for television purposes, while the other building was used for radio operations. Photo courtesy of Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento Room

Editor’s Note: This is part seven in a series about local people connected to the early days of television.

The Sacramento area received its third television station – behind the original Channel 40 and Channel 10 – with the debut of KCRA-TV Channel 3 on Saturday, Sept. 3, 1955. The station officially began with a 2 p.m. telecast from the State Fair, which was then located at Stockton Boulevard and Broadway.
In being that television was still in its pioneering days, attendees of that year’s fair were educated by KCRA-TV as to how television worked.
Among those who visited the 1955 fair was Gov. Goodwin J. Knight, who, like other visitors, was shown his own image on television sets in KCRA’s fair booth.
KCRA had been scheduled to begin its telecasting during the evening of Sept. 2, 1955, but technical difficulties prevented that goal from being met.
The Sacramento Bee, in its Sept. 3, 1955 edition, described the broadcast delay as being caused by the failure of a hoist motor that was intended to be lifted onto a 14,500-pound antenna atop the station’s 573-foot transmitter tower at 310 10th St.
Preliminary broadcast test and tone patterns were conducted during the evening of Sept. 2, 1955, and were continued the next afternoon, with periodic pickups from the State Fair.
The station, which has been an NBC affiliate since its inception, began its second day of televising regular NBC shows on Sept. 4, 1955 at noon.
Also appearing in the Sept. 3, 1955 edition of The Bee was architect Grant D. Caywood’s sketch of KCRA’s radio and television studios, which were being completed at the 10th and C streets site.
A caption below the sketch noted that the completed television studio had formerly been a garage and was undergoing remodeling for its intended television purposes. The structure, which was more precisely an old, Crystal Cream and Butter Co. dairy truck barn, had 16,000 square feet of floor space.
Adjoining that unit would be a new two-story radio studio, which would include 7,600 square feet of floor space.
KCRA-TV was originally under the proprietorship of Ewing Cole “Gene” Kelly, who co-founded radio station KCRA-AM in 1945, and brothers, C. Vernon, Gerald and Kenneth Hansen, owners of the Crystal Cream and Butter Co., which had its plant at 1013 D St.
KCRA-TV’s desire to present news in a timely manner was apparent in the station’s early years.
This point is evident alone in the fact that Channel 3 has used the slogan, “Where the News Comes First,” since 1957.
During the previous year, ‘Five-Minute News’ briefs began to be presented four days per week at 11 p.m. Those news spots were called “Channel 3 Reports,” a name that would be used for many years to come.
In explaining why KCRA-TV’s news spots lasted for only five minutes at that time, Carmichael area resident Bob Miller, who spent a decade working as the station’s art director, said, “The wisdom at that time amongst management – and not just at Channel 3, but throughout the industry – was news did not sell. So, you had five minutes of news and that was about it. I think Channel 3 was the first to go to 15 minutes. They finally went to a half an hour and everybody said, ‘You’re nuts.’ But it turned out to be very popular and, of course, they were the first to go with an hour. And when they said, ‘the news comes first,’ they really meant it, and they still do (mean it).”
A 1957 KCRA-TV advertisement notes: “KCRA-TV is the number one station in the big Sacramento market. Its daytime and nighttime popularity is demonstrated by its steady rise in (American Research Bureau ratings) to nearly 50 percent share of audience in less than two years. A growing list of national spot programs and more features from more major producers have contributed mightily to KCRA-TV’s overwhelming dominance in Sacramento.
“At night, KCRA-TV reaches 13 more counties than the second Sacramento station (Channel 10), which reaches only 10 counties.
“In the daytime, KCRA-TV reaches 10 more counties than the second Sacramento station, which reaches only two counties.”
Additionally, the advertisement notes that KCRA-TV was then “the highest rated NBC station in the West.”
As presented in the Stan Atkinson feature in this edition of the Arden-Carmichael News, Atkinson, as a KCRA reporter, traveled abroad to cover news in various countries. The first of these assignments occurred in Vietnam during the early 1960s.
On Sunday morning, Oct. 30, 1960, The Sacramento Union reported the unfortunate news that Ewing, a native of Missouri, had died from a heart attack in his home at 1051 46th St. during the previous day.
With his Texas-born wife, Nina N. Kelly, who he had married in Oklahoma City in about 1926, Ewing moved to Oakland in 1929. And while living in Oakland, he became the national advertising director for the Oakland Tribune.
In 1936, the Kellys moved to Sacramento, where Ewing established an advertising agency at 1007 7th St. And as previously mentioned, he co-founded radio station KCRA-AM nine years later.
Following Ewing’s death, his son, Robert E. “Bob” Kelly became KCRA’s president, and his other son, Jon S. Kelly, took on the role of the station’s general manager.
Additionally, at that time, KCRA was also served by C. Vernon Hansen, vice president; Nina N. Kelly, secretary; and Gerald Hansen, treasurer.
Construction on a 1,549-foot transmission tower near Walnut Creek began in 1959, and KCRA-TV began its transmission from that tower in January 1962.
KCRA-TV entered a new era in April 1962, when the station began operating under the control of the Kelly Broadcasting Co.
In reporting on that moment in the station’s history, The Union, on April 19, 1962, noted that during the previous day, Robert E. and Jon S. Kelly and their mother, Nina N. Kelly, had purchased Gerald and C. Vernon Hansen’s 50 percent interest in the company for $2.8 million.
KCRA-TV made history in 1965, as it became Northern California’s first television station to use color film for its newscasts.
Many longtime Sacramento area residents recall Bob Wilkins (1932-2009), who began working for KCRA-TV in 1963, and hosted horror films on the Seven Arts Theater program from 1966 to 1970.
After leaving KCRA, Wilkins hosted the popular television program, “Creature Features,” which was televised on San Francisco’s KTVU Channel 2 from 1971 to 1984.
He also played the role of Captain Cosmic on a KTVU kiddie show and worked for KTXL Channel 40.
KCRA-TV’s commitment to presenting news became more apparent in 1971 with its introduction of its first hour-long news program.
And with its desire to better serve the community, KCRA-TV launched another program, Call 3 for Action (now Call 3), in 1974. The often successful program is dedicated to assisting local consumers who are struggling with problems related to businesses or products.
The station’s use of remote cameras for live news reports began in 1975.
In 1979, KCRA-TV caught the attention of its viewers, as it introduced the use of its news helicopter, LiveCopter 3.
Seven years later, the station began using satellite technology in an effort to expand its news coverage.
On March 16, 1989, Nina N. Kelly died in Sacramento at the age of 87.
In addition to her dedication to KCRA-TV, Nina was also the founding director of River City Bank, which she assisted in establishing in 1973.
Among the station’s many advancements occurred in 1992, when it commenced its use of Doppler radar technology for its weather coverage.
KCRA-TV began a marketing agreement with KSCH (now KQCA) Channel 58 in 1994. Six years later, KQCA was completely acquired by the owners of KCRA-TV.
As the 20th century was nearing its end, so was the era of KCRA-TV’s operations under the proprietorship of the Kelly family.
On Jan. 5, 1999, Kelly Broadcasting Co. sold KCRA-TV to Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc., which later became known as Hearst Television, Inc.
In addition to such aforementioned people as Stan Atkinson and Bob Miller, among the many people who contributed their talents as employees of KCRA-TV during various years were: Harry Martin (news anchor/entertainment reporter), Tom DuHain (weather forecaster, co-host of “The 7:30 Show” television newsmagazine program, etc.), Bob Whitten (news anchor), Carol Bland (anchor/reporter), Creighton Sanders (sports director), Gary Gerould (sports anchor), Walt Gray (news anchor/reporter), Harry Sweet (photographer), Gary Tomsic (photographer), Ed Sweetman (photographer) and Joan Lunden (news anchor/television special host).
Today, KCRA and KQCA share a studio and office facility at the address of 3 Television Circle, off D Street in Alkali Flat, just west of the former Crystal dairy plant site.

Lance@valcomnews.com

19th century pioneer graveyard no longer recognized as cemetery

An old pioneer cemetery was located on a two-acre parcel of land at the present northwest corner Meadowview Road and 24th Street. The photograph above shows how the site appears today. Photo by Lance Armstrong

An old pioneer cemetery was located on a two-acre parcel of land at the present northwest corner Meadowview Road and 24th Street. The photograph above shows how the site appears today. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part 12 in a series regarding Sacramento area cemeteries.

The history of cemeteries in the Sacramento area is undoubtedly an extensive topic, even from an approach of presenting a relatively short summary of each cemetery. This point can be quickly understood when considering the number of cemeteries that have been located in this area throughout the years.
According to the Sacramento County Cemetery Advisory Commission, “there appear to be more than 60 cemeteries in Sacramento County, plus more (local cemeteries that are) no longer evident.”
In concluding this series about local cemeteries, the history of one of those “no longer evident” cemeteries is presented as follows:
A vacant piece of property lies at the northwest corner of Meadowview Road and 24th Street, but most people who pass by the site today are unaware that the land’s history includes the existence of about a two-acre, pioneer cemetery.
Established one and a half miles northeast of the town of Freeport in the old Franklin Township, this “no longer evident” cemetery appears to have had interments from 1860 to 1884. However, the property may have a lengthier history as burial grounds, in that it could have had interments both prior to 1860 and after 1884.
Records show that at least eight burials occurred at the cemetery.
In 1860, John W. Martin, who was 32 years old at the time of his death, was buried in the cemetery, which was at various times identified in records as the Freeport Cemetery and the West Union Cemetery.
It was also recorded that the Franklin family had sufficient burials at the site to lead to the parcel being unofficially referred to at times as the “Franklin family cemetery.”
Members of that family to be interred in those grounds included William Franklin (1834-1869), who was born in Denmark and came to the Freeport area in 1857.
Another record of the cemetery indicates that the twin daughters of William and Louise Franklin were interred at the site on Sept. 6, 1864. The infants died only six hours after they were born.
In January 2003, members of that Franklin family, including Pocket area resident Edward Franklin and midtown Sacramento resident Florence Huebner, told The Bee that they recalled seeing grave markers that had since disappeared from the Meadowview Road and 24th Street site.
Other people to have been recognized as being interred in the old burial grounds include Thomas Ricker (died in 1865), David Crum (died in 1867), William D. Sperry (1866-1868) and Annie E. Harris (1874-1875).
This narrow strip cemetery, which was recognized on quadrangle maps in 1909 and 1939, had various owners at different times.
In March 1870, a Pennsylvania-born rancher named Lafayette Shepler declared through a deed to the old West Union School District that the “parcel of land shall be kept and used as a grave yard (sic) and for no other purposes what so ever (sic), and should the same ever be abandoned as a grave yard (sic) and used for other purposes this contemplates by this deed, then the same shall revert to and become property of the party of the first part.”
The deed, which was accepted on April 12, 1870, also noted that a fence should always surround the burial grounds.
Shepler, who came to Sacramento in the late 1850s and operated a south area cattle business, passed away from heart disease at the age of 48 on Jan. 12, 1875. He became the first member of his family to be interred in the old city cemetery in the area that would become known as Land Park.

The base of a tombstone sits on the old pioneer cemetery grounds during the 1980s. Photo courtesy of SCCO

The base of a tombstone sits on the old pioneer cemetery grounds during the 1980s. Photo courtesy of SCCO

According to an article in the Jan. 16, 1972 edition of The Sacramento Bee, the Freeport School District later acquired the cemetery, followed by the Sacramento City Unified School District, which took over the grounds when the Freeport district was annexed into the city district in 1958.
The 1972 Bee article, which had the headline, “Grave undertaking,” noted that, at that time, the district was in charge of maintaining a cemetery that had not had a burial in three quarters of a century.
In regard to the existence of any markers at the site, there was then only one shattered headstone, and the name on that stone, which was created for a deceased 4-year-old child, was no longer legible.
The old graveyard was described in the article as having been “abandoned for all practical purposes.”
In 1972, the district deeded the site to Dorothy Skelton Edwards, who acquired an interest in the property through previous deeds. The Skelton family sold the property for $85,000 in 1992.
The Bee, in its March 7, 1999 edition, noted that Hmong and Laotian immigrants from the adjacent apartment buildings cultivated vegetables on two vacant lots during the 1980s. Part of that garden was planted on the old burial grounds.
Last week, Sacramento County Cemetery Advisory Commission Co-Chair Howard Sihner spoke about the situation that led to the old burial ground being taken off the list of local cemeteries.
“The cemetery commission had been contacted because the Franklin family wanted to remove the remains of two stillborn children in that cemetery,” said Sihner, whose employment career included serving as Sacramento County deputy coroner from 1961 to 1965. “So, we started the ground penetrating radar type thing (in January 2003) to locate the graves. We originally assumed that there was something like 13 burials there. The ground penetrating radar and the cadaver dogs and things didn’t find anything. We dug up some (wooden) casket pieces and found some teeth that the anthropology people told us belonged to a 7-year-old boy. And unfortunately, we don’t have any records of a 7-year-old boy being buried there.”
Sihner explained that it is possible that the remains of those buried at the site could have completely decomposed.
“What’s going to decompose in the soil depends largely on what type of soil they were in,” Sihner said. “If it was an arid, desert-type thing, maybe that wouldn’t happen. But (in today’s) 24th (Street) and Meadowview (Road area), that was big farm country at one time in history, and assuming that moist soil and everything, everything is going to decompose.”
The Bee, in its Jan. 16, 2003 edition, reported that if human remains had been discovered on the site, they would have been “moved to the west end of the lot and marked by a memorial, per (a) Sacramento Superior Court order.”
Sihner said that because no remains were discovered in the old burial grounds at the present day, northwest corner of Meadowview Road and 24th Street, through a Superior Court order, the parcel is “no longer recognized as a cemetery.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

East Sacramento cemetery marker recognizes woman with unique Hollywood connection

Tom Tolley, a technician at the Sacramento Public Library’s Central Library, assisted in research for the book, “Deadly Illusions: Jean Harlow and the Murder of Paul Bern.” Photo by Lance Armstrong

Tom Tolley, a technician at the Sacramento Public Library’s Central Library, assisted in research for the book, “Deadly Illusions: Jean Harlow and the Murder of Paul Bern.” Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part two in a two-part series about and related to Dorothy Millette Bern.

As presented in the first part of this series, a grave marker reading, Dorothy Millette Bern, lies at East Lawn Memorial Park in East Sacramento. And although that name may mean nothing to most Sacramentans today, there was a time when locals were well aware of details pertaining to Dorothy and her association with a real-life Hollywood mystery.
The year was 1932 and headlines of newspapers across the nation were announcing the latest daily news pertaining to the sudden death of the German-born Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film producer Paul Bern. He died in his Hollywood mansion two months after marrying the notable film actress Jean Harlow, and his remains were interred at the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood (Los Angeles County).
Also mentioned in the first part of this series was an article, which appeared in the Sept. 8, 1932 edition of The Sacramento Bee.
That Associated Press article noted that Paul had been married to another woman a decade earlier and that he was never divorced from the woman, who was “a mental incompetent in a New York sanatorium (sic).”
That woman was the former Dorothy Roddy, who became Dorothy Millette through her first marriage to Indianapolis newspaperman Lowell Millett (not Millette). That marriage ended in divorce in Tacoma, Wash. in 1911, and Dorothy later worked for a theatrical company in New York, before making her way to Canada.
Following Paul’s death, George G. Clarken, a Los Angeles life insurance man, who was Paul’s insurance adviser, revealed that insurance policies that were held by Paul were handled by a New York trust company for the benefit of Dorothy.
With that fact, Clarken believed that when Paul, in his alleged suicide note, referred to making “good the frightful wrong I have done you,” he was alluding to a possible marital tangle between himself and Harlow.
In a separate article on the same page, it was reported that New York attorney Henry Uttal had drawn up Paul’s will on Aug. 3, 1920, and that the will mentioned the name Dorothy.
Uttal was quoted in the article as saying, “I was always under the impression that Dorothy was his wife. I believe there was some legal marriage ceremony performed. I heard somewhere that Mrs. Bern had died in a sanitarium. (Paul) Bern had not mentioned her for years.”
It was also reported by the Associated Press that officials of the Hotel Algonquin in New York said that Dorothy had lived at the hotel for a decade under the name “Mrs. Paul Bern” and had regularly received checks signed, “Paul Bern.”
The hotel officials also claimed that Dorothy was visited by Paul at the hotel on an annual basis, and that she had ceased residing at the New York hotel a short time prior to Paul’s marriage to Harlow.
Dorothy once again made the news on Sept. 9, 1932.
The Bee then-reported that Dorothy had been a passenger on the Delta King during one of its voyages from San Francisco to Sacramento. She had, according to River Lines officials, boarded the vessel under the name of “D. Millette” on Sept. 6, 1932 at 5:30 p.m., a day following the announcement of Paul’s death.
Earlier in the day, a woman arrived at Plaza Hotel in San Francisco and registered as “D. Millette, New York City.”
It was also reported by The Bee that Dorothy, who had checked into the King’s stateroom No. 304, appeared to have been missing when the riverboat arrived at its destination, and that police believed that she had ended her life by leaping into the Sacramento River.
A coat and a pair of shoes that were identified as belonging to Dorothy were discovered on the boat’s observation deck, and a large portion of her belongings were discovered in her stateroom after the King docked in Sacramento.
H.L. Karrick, a passenger on the same Delta King voyage, would later say, “Everybody on the boat was watching (Dorothy). She kept wringing her hands and appeared to be weeping.”
Additionally, Karrick stated that he witnessed Dorothy standing by a rail of the ship and gazing into the water at 2:30 a.m., when he departed the vessel at Rio Vista.
In an article published in the Sept. 10, 1932 edition of The Sacramento Union, it was noted that based on the theory that she had jumped to her death in the river, constables and fisherman in every river township below the capital city were keeping a lookout for a floating body.
Meanwhile, faced with the possibility that Dorothy may have swum ashore and was still alive, and possibly involved in a suicide hoax, police also searched transportation systems and rooming houses.
Aiding in support of the then-theory that Dorothy committed suicide was the fact that $38 was found in her purse that had been left in her stateroom.
In a separate article in the Sept. 10, 1932 edition of The Union, it was reported that Henry Bern, a New York businessman and brother of Paul, had shared details about Paul and Dorothy’s relationship.
Henry described Dorothy and his brother as having met in a theatrical company in Canada – “probably in Toronto” – in about 1920. And he added that they had fallen in love, and after living together in Canada and later in New York, “Dorothy fell ill with a mental ailment that necessitated her confinement in a sanitarium.”
Research for this article revealed that the sanitarium referred to by Henry was the Blythewood Sanitarium in Greenwich, Conn.
In continuing to tell his story, Henry said, “Paul paid her bills. He came to California and after Dorothy was discharged from the sanitarium, not as cured but as harmless, Paul continued to provide for her. She lived at the (aforementioned) Algonquin Hotel in New York.”
Henry added that in April 1932, Dorothy visited him in New York and asked if he believed that California’s climate would be better for her health.
Shortly after that conversation, arrangements were made from Paul’s Hollywood office for Dorothy to become a resident of San Francisco.
Although Harlow insisted that she was unaware of the existence of Dorothy until after her husband’s death, it is at least a curious point to ponder whether it was only a coincidence that, on Aug. 18, 1932, Harlow and her mother registered at a San Francisco hotel that was located only a few blocks away from the hotel where Dorothy was residing.
About an hour after checking into the hotel, Harlow and her mother headed to Los Angeles. Harlow would later claim that she had received a message calling her back for a motion picture engagement.
Various accounts describe Paul as occasionally traveling to visit Dorothy.
The Union reported that by Sept. 11, 1932, the hunt to find Dorothy’s body in the river had not been successful.
However, during the search, the body of a man was found in the river, and coincidentally, in his pocket was a key for Delta King room No. 104.
The man was later identified as Z. Sadarian, a 50-year-old Armenian who was employed as a busboy at the coffee shop of Hotel Sacramento at 1107 10th St. and resided at the Golden Eagle Hotel at 627 K St.
Sadarian’s former employers stated that he had suffered from “delusions of persecution” and had disappeared after leaving his job on Sept. 3, 1932.
In the desperate search for clues pertaining to Dorothy’s disappearance, it was found that a trunk containing some of her possessions was located at the Plaza Hotel.
After a delay in which the hotel management refused to allow the police to search the trunk until they obtained a court order, it was found that the trunk contained no more than an expensive wardrobe and toiletry items.
While the trunk was under investigation, the San Francisco Examiner announced that it had located a handbag, which was the property of Dorothy.
Inside the handbag were several letters, one of which included a money order from Paul to Dorothy in the amount of $160. Bern was reported to have regularly sent Dorothy $350 per month for many years.
In another article in the Sept. 11, 1932 edition of The Union, it was reported that police had been informed that Dona Brenner, who resided with her husband George at 1228 ½ K St., had identified a woman fitting the description of Dorothy on K Street, between 9th and 10th streets. Dona said that the woman appeared to be distraught.
Although a statewide police search for Dorothy was reinstated, that search would be short lived.
On Sept. 15, 1932, The Union ran the front page headline, “Dorothy Millette’s body found in river.”
Y. Ishino, a Japanese ranch hand and fisherman, discovered the body in Georgiana Slough, which is located about 3 miles south of Walnut Grove and 31 miles southwest of Sacramento. Ishino had been picking grapes with his son along the bank of the slough.
In an article in the Sept. 17, 1932 edition of The Union, it was reported that simple services for Dorothy would be held later that day at funeral director and county coroner James R. Garlick’s funeral chapel at 2001-2003 P St.
That service was followed by another simple ceremony at the gravesite of Dorothy.
Following the latter service, funeral attendants lowered her white casket with silver handles into her open grave.
Although both Paul and Dorothy’s deaths were determined to be suicides, details pertaining to the causes of their deaths continue to spur controversial writings.
Those writings include those found in Samuel Marx and Joyce Vanderveen’s 1990 book, “Deadly Illusions: Jean Harlow and the Murder of Paul Bern.”
Last week, Tom Tolley, a technician at the Sacramento Public Library’s Central Library at 828 I St., recalled assisting in the research for that book.
“I was working the periodicals desk at (the) Central Library in the 1980s and had occasion to assist an elegant, older lady with microfilm from the local newspapers dating back to 1932,” Tolley said. “I noticed that she seemed to focus on the death of Dorothy Millette, the mysterious woman involved in the infamous Jean Harlow-Paul Bern Hollywood scandal in 1932. She introduced herself as Joyce Vanderveen and said she was working with former MGM story editor Samuel Marx on a book on that subject. Since I seemed to know so much about the case, she asked if I would be interested in assisting them with the research. So, I came in early and worked on lunch breaks going through issues of The Sacramento Union and (The) Sacramento Bee for a week or two until I had uncovered all the stories published during that period. They were based in Los Angeles, but came up to take photographs and conduct interviews. I had an opportunity to meet Mr. Marx when he was up with Miss Vanderveen during one visit. I wish I would have taken the opportunity to ask him any of a thousand questions about Louis B. Mayer, Irving Thalberg and the legendary MGM stars, but we focused on the Millette mystery, which they unraveled in their interesting and informative book, “Deadly Illusions.” Being on that desk at just the right time is another one of those magic moments working at the Central Library for over 30 years have afforded me.”
Jean Harlow, who was the last central figure survivor of the Bern-Harlow real-life Hollywood mystery saga, died in Los Angeles County at the age of 26 from complications of uremic poisoning on June 7, 1937. She was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale (Los Angeles County).

Lance@valcomnews.com

Stan Atkinson reminisces about his award-winning career in television

Arden area resident Stan Atkinson became well-known in the Sacramento area and beyond for his work as a television anchor and reporter. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Arden area resident Stan Atkinson became well-known in the Sacramento area and beyond for his work as a television anchor and reporter. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part five in a series about local people connected to the early days of television.

When it comes to discussions about legendary figures in the history of local television, former TV anchor and reporter Stan Atkinson should always be in those conversations.
With a review of Stan’s awards alone, one can quickly gain an understanding that he was far from an average person in the field of journalism.
Stan was a three-time Emmy Award winner and a recipient of both the World Affairs Council Award of Excellence for International Reporting and the Sacramento Region Community Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. And these are just some of the awards that he has received.
Last week, Stan sat down in his Arden area home to discuss his journalism career, which spanned nearly a half-century.
But before presenting details about that time, he spoke about the pre-media portion of his life.
“I was born (in San Diego) on Nov. 11, 1932,” Stan said. “I was a peace baby, a Veterans (Day) baby.”
After being asked to speak about his parents, Stan said, “It’s a long story, because I was adopted. I was raised by the Atkinsons – Stan and Bess Atkinson.”
Although most Sacramento area residents remember Stan for his television days, the majority of those people are not familiar with his relatively brief time working in radio.
In speaking about his first experience in radio, Stan said, “I was the sports editor of my high school newspaper and they started doing a radio show on Friday afternoons. So, I would do the sports segment, and I enjoyed it so much I ended up doing most of the show. I really liked it. I hadn’t had any experience with radio other than to listen to it. I was a high school senior then and I thought, ‘Well, I really like this and maybe this is something I could do (for a living) and should do.’ So, I announced to my father (the eldest Stan Atkinson) that I didn’t want to go to college. I wanted to go to a school that would get you a first-class (Federal Communications Commission) license. My father was very disappointed, disgusted maybe, because he wanted me to go onto college and he had ideas of me becoming a lawyer. In disgust, he said, ‘Okay, I’ll give you the $300 to go to school.’ And he said, ‘And that’s it; then you’re on your own.’ I said, ‘Okay, good deal. So, I went to school (at the William Ogden Radio Operational Engineering School) in Burbank Calif.). I got the first-class license with great difficulty.”
Stan explained that after earning his first-class license in 1951, he had many employment opportunities in radio.
“Gosh, there were 200 jobs out there all over the country for the 25 of us who were in the (Ogden) class,” Stan said. “You pretty much had your pick.”
After reviewing his options, Stan decided that he would like to work for a particular, Armed Forces radio-founded radio station in Los Alamos, N. M.
To Stan’s delight, the station, after reviewing his audition disc, offered him a job.

Stan Atkinson is shown during his early years in television in the 1950s. Photo courtesy of Stan Atkinson

Stan Atkinson is shown during his early years in television in the 1950s. Photo courtesy of Stan Atkinson

Stan recalled that his work in radio was momentarily brought to a halt in November 1952.
“I was there (at the Los Alamos station for) about a year and sure enough, Korea happened,” Stan said.
In recalling part of his two years of service in the Army at Fort Ord on Monterey Bay, Stan said, “I got into leadership school and they said, ‘What did you do in your civilian life?’ I said, ‘I was a radio announcer.’ And they said, ‘Oh, you might make a good instructor.’ And I said, ‘Okay, sounds good to me.’ So, I became an instructor at Fort Ord. Actually, there were four of us that came on staff at the same time.”
Stan, who never served in Korea, because of his high marks as an instructor at Fort Ord, said that his experience as an instructor later aided him with his work in television.
“It really gave me the wherewithal to be able to stand in front of a television camera a few years later,” Stan said. “I would be able to stand on my two feet and be comfortable doing it.”
In 1954, after completing his service in the Army, Stan used his FCC license to acquire work at KREM, a Spokane radio station, which was building a TV station that would become known as KREM-TV Channel 2.
After about seven months on the air on radio, Stan was asked to switch to KREM’s television operations.
In recalling that moment, Stan said, “They came in and said, ‘You’re going to go back to TV.’ And I said, ‘I don’t want to work in TV.’ And they said, ‘Well, why?’ And I said, ‘Well, we don’t know if TV is going to last. I mean, there’s usually only one TV set in every neighborhood. It’s very expensive and the quality isn’t very good, and yada, yada, yada.’ And I said, ‘Besides, I don’t have a coat and a tie.’ And he said, ‘Well, you go on down and get a coat and tie, because you’re going back to work in a TV studio.’ So, I did, and I fell in love with it right away.”
Stan added that his experience with KREM-TV proved to be “wonderful training.”
“In those days (in TV), you did everything from editing film to announcing in the booth,” Stan said. “I did a weather show. I did a newscast, I did a kiddie show, I did a giveaway show and we did commercials. I learned how to do everything, essentially, in a television studio.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

Odd Fellows lodges established today’s Camellia Lawn Cemetery in 1968

The cemetery includes several sections, including the Vietnamese Memorial Garden. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The cemetery includes several sections, including the Vietnamese Memorial Garden. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part 11 in a series regarding Sacramento area cemeteries.

Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery, the Riverside Boulevard cemetery featured in the last article of this series, stands as the local I.O.O.F. lodges’ only cemetery. And although few people are aware of the trivial point today, those lodges (Sacramento Lodge No. 2, El Dorado Lodge No. 8, Capitol Lodge No. 87 and Occidental Encampment No. 2) were once the proprietors of an entirely different Sacramento area cemetery.
Those other burial grounds, which are presently known as Camellia Lawn Cemetery and located at 10221 Jackson Road, were established by the aforementioned Odd Fellows lodges through the Sutter Realty Co. under the name of Pioneer Memorial Lawn.
The latter name was a previously selected name for the Jackson Road cemetery, as the earlier, proposed name for the cemetery was Odd Fellows Lawn Memorial Cemetery. The certificate for that name change was filed with the county clerk on Feb. 20, 1968.
On March 14, 1963, the Sutter Realty Co. officially entered into a purchasing agreement with Alice Menke of 6006 4th Ave. for the then-future cemetery property – a 38.9-acre site on the north side of Jackson Road, between Excelsior and Bradshaw roads.
Historically, the property was listed in Book 2 of Surveys, Map No. 14 as “Plat of Tract of Land Owned by Wm. M. Russell.” That information was recorded in the office of the county recorder of Sacramento County on May 29, 1917.
And on an even earlier historical note, the cemetery grounds are located in the area of the old Rancho Rio de los Americanos, which was granted by Alta California Governor Manuel Micheltorena to William Leidesdorff in 1844.
A declaration of intent to use the property for cemetery purposes was signed by Sutter Realty Co. President Robert C. Chidester and Harold C. Louks, the company’s secretary, on April 17, 1963.
A detailed map of the planned cemetery was recorded in the office of the recorder of Sacramento County on June 13, 1963.
The map, which has the title, “Odd Fellows Memorial Lawn Cemetery, No.2, Jackson Road, Sacramento, California,” includes the following words: “The undersigned corporation (Sutter Realty Co.) consents to the preparation and recording of the map and declares the property delineated thereon is hereby dedicated exclusively to cemetery purposes.”
While managing the Odd Fellows cemetery on Riverside Boulevard, Robert E. “Bob” Uhls had his duties increased, as he also began managing Pioneer Memorial Lawn, which officially opened in 1968.
As mentioned in the previous article of this series, Uhls resided in a house that was located on the present grounds of the Odd Fellow Lawn Cemetery.
The cemetery’s first interment was that of Guido Del Bucchia, who died at the age of 62 on May 28, 1968.
Guido, a California native who last resided at 75 Taylor Way in East Sacramento with his wife, Sue Grace, was a crane operator for A. Teichert & Son, Inc. (now known simply as Teichert). That Sacramento historic institution was advertised at that time as an “engineering contractors, paving, grading and sewage” business.
The funeral services of Guido were held at the Land Park Chapel of Harry A. Nauman & Son at 4041 Freeport Blvd. on May 31, 1968 at 2:30 p.m. He was buried at the cemetery later that day.
According to Guido’s gravestone, he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and had risen to the rank of machinist’s mate first class.
The 1931 city directory is the first such directory to include a listing for Guido.
According to that directory, he was then working as a carpenter and residing at 1908 G St.
The 1940 U.S. Census lists Guido as living with his wife, Elizabeth, at 1209 55th St.
To the right of Guido’s grave is the resting place of Grace Del Bucchia Rogers (1902-1974).
Only four interments occurred at the Pioneer Memorial Lawn during its inaugural year.
There were an additional eight interments per year at the cemetery in 1969 and 1970, and 18 more interments in 1971.
The number of interments increased considerably in 1972.
During the first eight and a half months of 1972, the interment total for that year was 48.

Caption: The cemetery is home to many butterflies, squirrels and birds, including this rooster. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Caption: The cemetery is home to many butterflies, squirrels and birds, including this rooster. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Five years after its establishment, Pioneer Memorial Lawn was sold to the following 13 funeral businesses: Harry A. Nauman & Son (Land Park), George L. Klumpp (Land Park), N.G. Culjis & Son (East Sacramento), Lombard & Co. (Arden area), Sierra View Funeral Chapel (Carmichael), Miller-Skelton & Herberger, Morgan Jones Funeral Home, Thompson Funeral Home, Nightingale’s Funeral Chapel (now Sharer-Nightingale Funeral Chapel), North Sacramento Funeral Home, Price Funeral Home, Cochrane’s Chapel of the Roses (now Cochrane & Wagemann) and Davis Funeral Home.
The new ownership, which was led by its director, Robert Carnes, who owned Sierra View Cemetery in Marysville, incorporated as the Pioneer Management Co.
Under that ownership, the name of the cemetery was changed to Camellia Memorial Lawn.
The contract of sale and purchase between the Sutter Realty Co. and the Pioneer Management Co. was dated June 11, 1972.
As for the golden question of why the Odd Fellows lodges sold the old Pioneer Memorial Lawn cemetery, Tony Pruitt, Odd Fellows Lawn’s manager, explained that he could not answer that question with 100 percent certainty.
“The rumor basically is that the mortuaries here in Sacramento did not want a cemetery to own another property with a mortuary on it, so they told (the Odd Fellows Lawn trustees) if they didn’t sell the property that they would have to boycott our cemetery,” Pruitt said. “And that’s it. The story has been told down the line. Basically, it was just stuff that we were told from other older trustees here. Because I’d ask a question what happened here and they would kind of give us the story, but all the guys who gave us the story are long gone. So, now it’s just passing down word of mouth. So, do we have the proof with that situation? No, it’s just what we were told. At one time we did own (the cemetery on Jackson Road) and then we sold it. For what reason? We don’t know. It’s only what rumor tells us.”
Today, Camellia Memorial Lawn continues its daily operations in its still relatively rural location.
Its grounds are beautified with well-kept lawns and trees and are inviting to nature, as one can view the scenes of many butterflies, squirrels and birds.
The most surprising bird to appear during this publication’s recent visit to the cemetery was a colorful rooster, which made its presence known when it appeared from behind a tombstone.
The cemetery includes several sections, including the Camellia Terrace Garden, the Shrine of Rest Garden and the Vietnamese Memorial Garden.
At the center of the cemetery is a large, white cross leaning on a base within a small rose garden.
Underneath that cross is a plaque, which includes the words: “This rose garden is dedicated to the life and memory of Olyn ‘Bud’ Nightingale (1926-1977).”
Sacramento native Kenya Golston, who has seven family members and about five of his friends interred at Camellia Memorial Lawn, said that he is very fond of that cemetery.
“(Camellia Memorial Lawn is) a real, real nice cemetery,” said Kenya, who graduated from Sacramento High School in 1991. “It’s awesome, great. I love that place. They keep their grounds pretty nice. Basically where it’s at, it really gives you a lot of peace when you go up there. It’s a really nice cemetery, even when you walk inside (the main cemetery building). It’s really nice how people are always polite. When you go up there (to the main building), they’ll come and help you. If you forgot where somebody’s (burial place is located), they’ll tell you where they’re at and everything.
“Whenever I go, I want to be buried there. That’s how much it’s peaceful to me. That’s how much I appreciate my family being over there. My dad was the first one that I can remember (being) buried up over there. That was in the 1980s. The majority of my family who passed away is (interred) there. It’s a beautiful place and hopefully they’ll keep it that way.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

Sacramento area’s first television station debuted in 1953

Editor’s Note: This is part four in a series about local people connected to the early days of television.

As mentioned in the last article of this series, nearly 16 months after the Federal Communications Commission lifted its freeze on granting new television licenses, the Sacramento area received its first television station: KCCC Channel 40.
Ground was broken for that UHF station’s studios and 510-foot-tall, steel transmitter tower on the Garden Highway on August 28, 1953 at 2:30 p.m.
Among those present at the ground breaking ceremony were Mayor Leslie E. Wood (1897-1974), William Lawrence Greer (1902-1975), president of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, and other members of the city council, as well as members of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.
Frank Maloney was the general contractor for the construction of the station’s headquarters. His business’s headquarters were located at 1915 S St.
The television building project was completed in three stages, with the first of those stages being the erection of a basic operations unit, with its reception, control and projection rooms. The second stage of that project was the construction of the studio, and lastly, the third stage consisted of the erection of an office building.
KCCC made national news, as the word spread throughout the country that construction on the station’s structures were completed in only 34 days.
As for the placement of the transmission tower, that endeavor was also completed in a relatively short period of time, as the tower arrived on Sept. 22, 1953 and was installed within three days.
The completed television studios building was a single story structure, measuring about 50 feet by about 124 feet.
It was noted in the Aug. 27, 1953 edition of The Sacramento Bee that it was hoped that KCCC would make its debut on Oct. 1, 1953.
The station was introduced to the community in the Sept. 30, 1953 edition of The Bee through a full page advertisement, which featured the words, “Sacramento’s first television station, KCCC Channel 40 now on the air!”
Actually, the station was located about three miles outside of city limits, but was nonetheless most beneficial to the people of Sacramento. In that regard, it was undoubtedly a Sacramento station.
The advertisement in The Bee was presented by the new TV company’s builders, suppliers and installers, which were entirely Sacramento area businesses.
Those businesses were listed as follows: Brighton Sand and Gravel Co., Jackson Road, quarter-mile east of Perkins; Luppen & Hawley, Inc., 3126 J St.; Dolan Building Material Co., 3030 P St.; The Ellis Co., 1923 Stockton Blvd.; Thomas F. Scollan Co., 2518 B and C streets alley; John R. Reeves, 16th Street at the American River Bridge; Vacher & Brandon, 2316 Alhambra Blvd.; Lentz Construction Co., 2416 Sutterville Road; California Manufacturing Co., Inc., 1716 Alhambra Blvd.; Breuner’s, 604 K St.; Wilkins Draying Co., 601 1st Ave.; Ernest D. Francis, 1012 J St.; Vance Smith, 411 16th St.; The Palm Iron & Bridge Works, 1501 S St.; and W.P. Fuller & Co., 1725 10th St.
The aforementioned advertisement also included the following words: “The owners of TV station KCCC deserve the thanks of the great Sacramento area for bringing television to our community. Here is television at its finest…the very newest development in the field of telecasting equipment.”
The station was originally led by Harry W. McCart, president of the Capital City Television Corp., which operated the station. He was already known in Sacramento for his work as president of the wholesale liquor distributing firm, James P. Keating Co., at 1607-1609 E St.
Frank E. Hurd became the Capital City Television Corp.’s vice president and the Idaho-born Ashley L. Robison (1913-1990) was named its secretary-treasurer.
Hurd and Robison’s contributions to the station also included their acquisition of the permit for the station under the name Cal-Tel Co.
It was also in the station’s early days that Clarence P. Talbot was appointed KCCC’s director of public relations.
Furthermore, George E. Ledell, Jr., former accountant executive with Los Angeles’ KHJ-TV Channel 9, was appointed as KCCC’s special station representative for the Los Angeles and San Francisco markets.
Although KCCC was licensed to operate with 10 kilowatts of power, the station initially operated with only 1 kilowatt of power.
The station originally had affiliations with the television networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and DuMont.
KCCC made its debut with the airing of the opening game of the 1953 World Series on Sept. 30, 1953.
In that game, the New York Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers (known today as the Los Angeles Dodgers), 9-5, at Yankee Stadium before a crowd of 69,734 spectators. The Yankees would eventually win the seven-game series in six games.
Episodes of the now classic sitcom, “I Love Lucy,” featuring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, William Frawley and Vivian Vance, were also shown on KCCC. The station began its schedule of presenting the show on Oct. 9, 1953.
On Aug. 31, 1956, Lincoln Dellar, owner of radio station KXOA 107.9 FM, announced that he would be purchasing KCCC from McCart and Robison, pending FCC approval. The sale price, which included assumptions of liabilities, was $400,000.
At that time, Dellar owned the radio stations KHMO 1070 AM in Hannibal, Mo. and KXL 101.1 FM in Portland, Ore. He was also co-owner of KJR 950 AM in Seattle.
It was not until the following October that the sale of KCCC, which was then solely an ABC affiliate, was completed.
With that sale, Dellar appointed Al J. Richards, general manager, and Ralph Guild, sales manager.
Dellar also named Thomas J. MacBride, local attorney and state assemblyman, to KCCC’s board of directors.
Others associated with the station at that time were William Furnell, program director, and Harry Bartollomei, chief engineer.
The station remained licensed to the Capital City Television Corp., but it was controlled by Sacramento Broadcasters, Inc., the licensee for KXOA.
As previously mentioned in this series, in 1957, KOVR Channel 13 became an ABC affiliate, as it acquired that status from KCCC.
KCCC made its final sign-off on May 31, 1957 at 11:40 p.m.
But nine months later, plans for reviving the Channel 40 were announced.
Around that time, the FCC was asked if it would move Channel 12 in Chico to Sacramento, and establish a Channel 11 in Chico.
Nonetheless, Channel 12 would remain in Chico, where it has operated as KHSL-TV since 1953. Its call letters derived from the initials of Harry Smithson and Sidney Lewis, who established radio station KHSL-AM in 1935.
The Bee reported on Oct. 6, 1959 that plans had been made for Channel 40 to return to the air on the first day of the following month.
Additionally, the article noted that test patterns were being shown and temporary studios had been leased in the Women’s Building on the grounds of the State Fair, which was then located at Stockton Boulevard and Broadway.
The transmitter for the soon-to-be-launched station was located at the old city dump off 28th Street.
Known as KVUE, the reemerged Channel 40 was a short-lived endeavor, as it first went on the air on the aforementioned date of Nov. 1, 1959 and continued its broadcasts until March 21, 1960.
According to the Jan. 2, 1961 issue of Broadcasting, a weekly magazine dedicated to television and radio business, KVUE went off the air due to financial difficulties.
The focus of the article was to inform its readers that the station had asked its creditors not to press for payments, because its owners desired to “recapitalize and go back on the air rather than declare the station bankrupt.”
The article referred to a letter to creditors from Melvyn E. Lucas and Henry P. Deane, who held stock proxies for KVUE.
It was mentioned in the letter that KVUE’s financial difficulties were attributed to its position of competing against two other UHF stations.
The letter also claimed that the FCC was still contemplating the possibility of moving Channel 12 from Chico to Sacramento.
Although KVUE made a latter attempt to renew its license, the station never broadcast again.
The demise of KVUE caused only a temporary loss of Channel 40 in Sacramento, as the FCC would grant a license for that channel to a group known as the Camellia City Telecasters later that decade. The group was led by Jack Matranga (1925-2012), a 1943 Sacramento High School graduate, who was one of the founders of radio station KGMS 1380 AM.
The Telecasters established KTXL Channel 40, which first broadcast on Oct. 26, 1968. The station, with its affiliation with the Fox network, is commonly known today as Fox 40.

Lance@valcomnews.com

East Sacramento linked with real-life Hollywood mystery of 1930s

The grave of Dorothy Millette Bern is located at East Sacramento’s East Lawn Memorial Park. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The grave of Dorothy Millette Bern is located at East Sacramento’s East Lawn Memorial Park. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part one in a two-part series about and related to Dorothy Millette Bern.

A fairly basic, flat grave marker with the name, Dorothy Millette Bern, on the north side of East Sacramento’s East Lawn Memorial Park generally receives no attention by visitors of that cemetery.
But then again, few visitors of East Lawn Memorial Park are aware of Dorothy and her association with a real-life Hollywood mystery of the 1930s.
Although the name, Dorothy Millette Bern, might as well be the name, Jane Doe, to most people today, Dorothy made front page news in September 1932.
That news was connected with the mysterious death of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film producer Paul Bern, who had married Jean Harlow, one of Hollywood’s most notable and beautiful actresses, on July 2, 1932.
Harlow had rose to fame through her starring role in the 1930 Howard Hughes produced war film, “Hell’s Angels.”
During her career, the platinum blonde actress appeared in various other movies, including six films with Clark Gable.
Paul Bern, who was born in Germany as Paul Levy on Dec. 3, 1889, was one of the six children of Julius and Henriette Levy. The family immigrated to the United States when Paul was 8 years old.
After taking an interest in drama, and studying, performing and managing in live theater in New York, Paul Bern – which was his adopted stage name – made his way to the Hollywood area in the early 1920s.
Paul experienced much success in California, as he would eventually become a film writer and director for Paramount Pictures Corp. and United Artists. And he later acquired his aforementioned position as an MGM producer.
On Monday, Sept. 5, 1932, Paul was discovered dead in his Bavarian-style mansion at 9860 Easton Drive in Beverly Hills.
His butler, John Carmichael, who was earning $3 per day for his work in the Easton Drive mansion, found him lying naked on a floor with a bullet wound in his head at about 11:45 a.m. But for some reason, the death was not reported until the passing of more than two and a half hours.
An alleged suicide note was discovered at the scene.
The note reads: “Dearest dear, Unfortunately this is the only way to make good the frightful wrong I have done you and to wipe out my abject humiliation, I love you. Paul. You understand last night was only a comedy.”
In her statement to the police regarding the note, Harlow said, “I have no idea what it means. This ‘frightful wrong’ he apparently believed he had done me is all a mystery. I can’t imagine what it means.”
And in regard to the topic of suicide, Harlow added, “Paul often talked to me of suicide as a general topic, but never once did he intimate that he himself contemplated such an act. There was nothing between us that I can think of that would have caused him to do this.”
Harlow’s comments to the police came only after she had delayed their questioning process due to what was being referred to at that time as her “hysterical” condition.
According to an article in the Sept. 7, 1932 edition of The Bee, Harlow was under heavy supervision at her mother’s home, where she had, during the previous day, “made a rush toward a balcony,” which was located about 10 feet above the ground below.
Louis B. Mayer, the Hollywood film executive who stopped Harlow from reaching the balcony, noted that at that point, Harlow said, “Let me go to him. He needs me. Is it too late?”

This alleged suicide note was left at the death scene of Hollywood film producer Paul Bern. public domain

This alleged suicide note was left at the death scene of Hollywood film producer Paul Bern. public domain

Just prior to his death, Paul seemed to have been experiencing the type of life that many people dream about living.
Paul had a successful career in a field in which he loved, and he was residing in his two-year-old mansion with his new, young wife, Jean Harlow.
The news of Paul’s death certainly came as a shock to many people.
In supporting Harlow’s words, The Bee, on Sept. 6, 1932, reported that although it was believed that Paul had apparently committed suicide, it had not been determined why he would have killed himself.
Also supporting Harlow’s words, Marino Bello, Harlow’s stepfather, noted that Paul had often spoken about suicide.
Bello was quoted in the Sept. 6, 1932 article as saying, “I was told that as recently as three weeks ago, (Paul) Bern had said he did not expect to live out a normal span of life.”
A police investigation revealed that the last book Paul had been reading had the title, “Violence,” and that the book concluded with a sudden death.
In denying that the couple was quarrelsome, Bello said, “They were deeply in love and (Paul) was the most considerate of husbands to her.”
In the same addition of The Bee was a separate article explaining that Slavka Vorkapich, who lived a short distance from Paul’s home, had, along with his family, been awakened by “the roar of (a) car’s engine” during the early hours of the morning that Paul’s body was discovered.
Adding to the mystery of Paul’s death were conflicting stories regarding the whereabouts of Paul and Harlow during the weekend leading up to the discovery of his body.
On Sept. 8, 1932, a coroner’s jury of six men came to the conclusion that Paul was killed “by a gunshot wound in the head with suicidal intent.” But the jury declared the motive as being “undetermined.”
Due to her emotional state, Harlow was excused from presenting her testimony during the proceedings.
Another twist in the Paul Bern-Jean Harlow saga was presented in the Sept. 8, 1932 edition of The Bee.
It was noted that during that same day, George G. Clarken, a Los Angeles life insurance man, who was Paul’s insurance adviser, had revealed that Paul never divorced a woman who he had married a decade earlier.

Lance@valcomnews.com

Sacramento area played roles in television pioneering history

Grant Technical College offered a television course during the 1940s and 1950s. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

Grant Technical College offered a television course during the 1940s and 1950s. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

Editor’s Note: This is part three in a series about local people connected to the early days of television.

In addition to celebrating local people who had roles in the pioneering days of broadcast television, this series also serves as a record of the histories of early Sacramento television stations.
And in presenting those histories, it is certainly beneficial to include some of the beginnings of television in the Sacramento area.
But prior to arriving at that point, it should be of interest to many readers of this publication to learn a little about the development of television.
Various 19th century and early 20th century experiments and developments led to the invention of television, and television itself had many pioneers.
The year, 1884, is an important year in the story of the evolution of television, as it was in that year that a German university student named Paul Gottlieb Nipkow patented the concept for an electromechanical television system.
Among the earlier press reports regarding television appeared in an article in the April 3, 1924 edition of the British film industry trade newspaper, Kinematograph Weekly.
F.H. Robinson, the author of that article, mentioned that he had visited the laboratory of the Scottish electrical engineer John Logie Baird (1888-1946) in the town of Hastings, England.
In writing about his observations of Baird’s electric device, which was referred to as a “Radio Vision” machine, Baird noted the following: “I myself saw a cross, the letter ‘H,’ and the fingers of my own hand reproduced by this apparatus across the width of the laboratory. The images were quite sharp and clear, although perhaps a little unsteady. This, however, was mostly due to mechanical defects in the apparatus and not to any fault of the system.
“Moving images may be transmitted by this means and distance is no object, merely depending on the power of the wireless transmitter and the sensitivity of the receiver employed.
“Undoubtedly, wonderful possibilities are opened up by this invention, its very simplicity and reliability placing it well to the front of many of the various complicated methods which have been evolved to do the same work.”
America’s first prototype home television receiver was introduced in Schenectady, N.Y. by the Swedish-American electrical engineer, Dr. Ernst Frederick Werner Alexanderson (1878-1975) in 1927.
The first intercity transmission of scene and sound was accomplished by the Ives telephone group on April 7, 1927.
The images and voice of Herbert Hoover, then-secretary of commerce and future U.S. president, were carried over telephone wires from Washington, D.C. to New York.
In 1928, a variety show was transmitted a distance of about 200 miles, the first regular programs aired on the General Electric station, WGY, in Schenectady, and the first transoceanic broadcast – a still photograph – was sent using shortwave radio from Purley, England to Hartsdale, N.Y.
On June 28, 1929, The Sacramento Bee ran an Associated Press article that focused on the topic of color television.
It was noted that another “step of that infant science” had been presented during the previous day in the auditorium of the Bell telephone laboratories in New York.
The demonstration involved a woman who stood at one end of the auditorium and presented several objects such as a pineapple, a glass of water and a colored ball.
In a darkened area at the other end of the auditorium, images of these items were reproduced in natural colors.
It was also in the late 1920s and early 1930s that experimental television stations emerged in different U.S. cities.
Unfortunately, none of the stations’ signals were strong enough to create sharp pictures on television sets.
In 1936, the BBC made history, as it transmitted the world’s first regular high-definition (405-line resolution) television broadcast.
During the same year, the Summer Olympics in Berlin were presented to the public via cable television, as the games were broadcast live to stations in the greater Berlin area in Germany. Viewing stations were made available for those who did not own a television set.
On April 30, 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first U.S. president to appear on television, as he spoke at the opening ceremonies of the World’s Fair in New York.
Although television gained additional notoriety with the American public during the latter part of the 1930s and early part of the 1940s, the United States’ involvement in World War II interfered with its major progress.
At the end of the war, there were only six American television stations, none of which were located on the West Coast. The only networks at that time were CBS and NBC.
But by 1948, those networks were joined by ABC and DuMont, and collectively the networks broadcast daily on more than 128 stations.
In regard to local television history, in the late 1930s, long before the first commercial broadcast of television in the Sacramento area, a young man named Vincent L. Calligori, Jr. headed off to study at the American Institute of Television in Chicago.
He was one of only three students to have been selected by ATI scouts at Sacramento High School as a prospect to receive instruction toward becoming a television technician. And he was the only one of the three selected students to accept that offer.
According to a 1938 Sacramento Union article, the idea behind the ATI training was to prepare “men so that when television becomes an accepted thing, there will be no difficulty in getting technicians.”
The main purpose of the article was to announce that Calligori had returned from ATI, and built Sacramento’s first privately-owned television set.
Calligori’s set was located in a workshop behind his father’s macaroni factory at 2927 L St., and he was being assisted by Harold L. Fiedler of 1224 I St.
The Union article noted that because the range of television was short, many stations and relays would be required.
In a separate article, which appeared in the Oct. 30, 1938 edition of the Montana Standard newspaper of Butte, Mont., Calligori, who was referred to in that publication as an “electrical wizard,” was quoted as saying, “My ambition is to build a television transmitter that will entertain the city of Sacramento.”
The article in the Standard also noted that regular telecasts were being made in New York and London at that time, but equipment was then “too expensive for popular usage.”
Additionally, it was reported in the Standard article that many people in America were then unaware that television existed.

Alvin L. Gregory was head of Grant Technical College’s radio and electronics department, which offered a course in television. He was also the director of the school’s television camera project. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

Alvin L. Gregory was head of Grant Technical College’s radio and electronics department, which offered a course in television. He was also the director of the school’s television camera project. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

Television was the focus of a Jan. 7, 1946 article, which had the headline, “Sacramento television center of coast?”
The article, which was published in The Union, noted that the Westinghouse Electric Co. had planned experiments toward making Sacramento the center of broadcasting for a 400-mile radius.
From three broadcasting methods – coaxial cable, point-to-point relays and Stratovision, Westinghouse selected the latter method.
Stratovision, as was explained in the article, involved the use of planes that would fly 30,000 feet and relay signals that had originated on the ground.
In continuing, the article noted: “Planes would be sent aloft over New York; Pittsburgh; Chicago; Kansas City; Curtis, Neb.; Leadville, Colo.; Salt Lake City and Sacramento. This would give a coast to coast chain, while other planes stationed above Dallas, Memphis, Atlanta and Durham, N.C. would blanket part of the south and southwest. By adding six more planes, the company believes all but the most sparsely settled sections of the country would receive television broadcasts.”
The article concluded with the following words: “Should experiments prove successful, Sacramento (would) be the hub of the West Coast from Washington to the Mexican border with the drone of B-29s sounding over the city daily and with the best television broadcasts being received by local residents.”
In 1950, however, Stratovision, which was introduced as an idea by Westinghouse engineer Charles E. Nobles, became obsolete.
In another local television pioneering event, which was reported in The Bee on May 7, 1948, 60 students at Grant Technical College (the predecessor to today’s American River College), built the Sacramento area’s first television camera.
Alvin L. Gregory, who was head of GTC’s radio and electronics department and the director of the television camera project, told The Bee that the public should not respond to the school’s accomplishment by purchasing television receivers, since the camera had been built for training and demonstration purposes only.
In a preview to its daily television broadcast exhibit at the 1948 State Fair, GTC presented the Sacramento area’s first television broadcast at the auditorium on the Grant Union High School campus on Aug. 27, 1948 at 8:30 p.m.
The initial broadcast’s technical director was Gregory, and Lillian Allan was that broadcast’s program director.
During that evening, shots were taken from the stage and transmitted to a television screen in the auditorium.
On Feb. 5, 1952, The Bee ran an article with the headline, “Sacramento TV broadcasts may not come until ’53-’54.”
According to the article, the city had been “full of rumors indicating Sacramento television stations (would soon) flash their Westerns, epics, documentaries.”
Unfortunately, such rumors held no validity since the FCC had announced a freeze on new television licenses on Sept. 30, 1948. The purpose of the freeze was to allot the FCC time to study the new industry in an effort to lessen interference between stations and achieve the maximum use of the available channels.
The freeze, which had been intended to last less than a year, would continue for nearly 3 and a half years.
According to the aforementioned Feb. 5, 1952 Bee article, 304 applications were on file with the FCC at the time the freeze began. Among those applications was that of the McClatchy Broadcasting Co., which had its offices at 708 I St.
The article concluded that the more than 5,000 Sacramento families with television sets would have to solely rely on the not always reliable reception of San Francisco stations until the freeze was discontinued by the FCC and a Sacramento station could be built.
In another article, which was published in the Feb. 10, 1952 edition of The Union, it was noted that through the FCC, “Sacramento (had) been allocated three commercial channels on ultra high frequency, and two (channels) on very high freqnecy (sic), with the stipulation that one channel on UHF be reserved for educational purposes.”
Beyond McClatchy Broadcasting Co.’s request for a television station, Sacramento radio stations, KCRA, KFBK, KROY and KXOA, were among the applicants vying to acquire a license to operate a television station in the Sacramento area.
The FCC, by 1952, had tentatively assigned Sacramento with VHF Channels 6 and 10 and UHF Channels 40 and 46.
Furthermore, KCRA requested that VHF Channels 3 and 8 be approved, and KFBK asked permission for Channel 3 to be added to the city’s allocated television stations.
It was speculated in the 1952 Union article that Grant High could become the site of the Sacramento area’s first television station, and that the station would be dedicated to presenting educational programs, as opposed to entertainment programs.
According to the same article, Grant was then in the best position to acquire a station, considering that it owned about one-third of the equipment that would be necessary to operate a station, and if it applied for a channel, it would face no opposition and could possibly be in operation by the end of 1952. But such action did not occur.
The FCC’s freeze on granting new television licenses ended on April 14, 1952, and Sacramento’s first television station, KCCC Channel 40, went on the air 15 and a half months later.

Lance@valcomnews.com

Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery was founded more than a century ago

The Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery is located at 2720 Riverside Blvd. Its office, shown above, is located just inside the cemetery’s gates. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery is located at 2720 Riverside Blvd. Its office, shown above, is located just inside the cemetery’s gates. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part 10 in a series regarding Sacramento area cemeteries.

Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery at 2720 Riverside Blvd. is among the city’s historic cemeteries, as it dates back to the early part of the 20th century.
But that cemetery’s history links directly to earlier established burial grounds: the Odd Fellows plot at the old city cemetery, which is officially known today as the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery.
In telling the story of Odd Fellows burial sites in the capital city, it is perhaps best to present a brief introduction to the existence of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Sacramento.
General A.M. Winn, who would eventually become Sacramento’s first mayor to be elected under a state charter and the founder of the Native Sons of the Golden West, is recognized as introducing Odd Fellowship in the city as early as August 1849.
According to the 1913 book, “History of Sacramento County, California,” Winn desired to form that local, informal organization of Odd Fellows for the “purpose of affording relief to the sick members of the order, as well as to others.”
The same book praised the early work of the Odd Fellows, noting, “Their noble deeds should never be forgotten, for they spared neither time, work, nor money in relieving the distress and sickness that were prevalent at that time.”
The city’s first I.O.O.F. lodge was Sacramento Lodge No. 2, which was instituted on Jan. 28, 1851 and is recognized today as the oldest continuously operating Odd Fellows lodge in California.
The charter members of the lodge, which originally met in the Masonic Hall at 5th and J streets, were: Horatio E. Roberts, G.H. Peterson, George G. Wright, Lucins A. Booth, Samuel Deal, M. Kaliski, Robert Robinson, Noble C. Cunningham, M.C. Collins and William Childs.
In 1862, the local Odd Fellows Hall Association, which was organized on July 8, 1862 and was incorporated 17 days later, acquired the four-story St. George Hotel building, which was constructed at the southeast corner of 4th and J streets during the previous decade and was originally known as the Dawson House. The lodge quarters were located on the upper three floors, while businesses operated on the ground floor.
About eight years later, a newly constructed, four-story Odd Fellows temple opened at the northeast corner of 9th and K streets.
The aforementioned 1913 county history book notes that the 9th and K streets temple was “at that time the finest structure in the city, with the exception of the Capitol.”
Today, local Odd Fellows lodges meet at 1831 Howe Ave.
An article in the Nov. 25, 1861 edition of The Sacramento Union lists the chief duty and command of the Odd Fellows as being “to visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan.”
In a reference to that institution’s early assistance to burying the dead, the 1913 county history book noted: “Rough pine coffins had ranged from $60 to $150, and even then the supply was far from sufficient, so hundreds had been buried without being wrapped in a blanket. The Odd Fellows spent thousands of dollars for coffins and when General Winn became the executive director of the city, no man was refused a coffin burial.”
According to a marker at the old Odd Fellows plot in the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery, the initial portion of that plot was purchased in 1861, and expansions of the plot were made in 1868 and 1878.
The grounds for the Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery were bought from the city in 1900.
On Dec. 4, 1902, the cemetery’s articles of incorporation were developed under the name of Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery Association.
The articles of incorporation of the Sutter Realty Co., a full endowment nonprofit cemetery corporation, were established on Feb. 11, 1905.
The corporation adopted various rules and regulations in regard to governing the operation of the cemetery on Aug. 2, 1932, and two months later, it obtained its nonprofit status.
Anthony F. “Tony” Pruitt, Odd Fellow Lawn’s manager, spoke about the cemetery’s formation, saying, “To me, the cemetery’s existence was poorly planned. Basically, configuration wise, I don’t think they knew what they were doing at that time. They put things here, they put things there. I find nothing in the records of a plan of how it was going to be laid out.”
The 22-acre Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery includes two parcels.
The smallest of these parcels, about a 2-acre parcel, runs along the southern boundary of the property, and was purchased from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District for $4,502 on Jan. 13, 1958.
On the west end of the cemetery, running north to south, is a mausoleum.

The Fratt family mausoleum is among the cemetery’s four private mausoleums on the cemetery grounds. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The Fratt family mausoleum is among the cemetery’s four private mausoleums on the cemetery grounds. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The original, center portion of the mausoleum was constructed in 1959 and extensions of the building were added in 1978 and 1994.
The mausoleum’s original section was named Chapel of Peace, while other sections of the structure were named Court of Faith, Court of Friendship, Court of Hope and Court of Tranquility.
In addition to the public mausoleum, the cemetery also includes the private mausoleums of the Ochsner, James, Porter and Fratt families.
According to Odd Fellows Lawn records, the first interment at the cemetery occurred on Aug. 6, 1905.
It was on that date that Georgie Zimmerman was buried at the cemetery. She died at the age of 30 five days earlier.
Also interred at the cemetery are former U.S. Rep. John E. Moss (1915-1997) and Anne Noel Fazio (1973-1995), who was the daughter of former U.S. Rep. Vic Fazio.
Located within the southwest portion of the cemetery is a 19th century city potter’s field with unmarked graves. The people who were buried in that section were done so, because they were either indigents or had no known families.
In sharing additional history about the cemetery, Justin Wilkins, groundskeeper at Odd Fellows Lawn, said that a long row of hedges that once marked the northern boundary of the cemetery was removed in 1968.
“The funny thing is that after the hedges were removed, our cemetery actually expanded by 3 feet,” Wilkins said. “We don’t know why they were removed. They could have been dying, but then they could have been removed simply to gain more burial space.”
It was not the first time that such action was taken at the cemetery, Pruitt explained.
“(Beginning in 1968), service roads on the property were converted to burial plots and now are called tiers,” Pruitt said. “Also, there was once a parking lot behind our office (at the front of the cemetery) that now has graves on it, and is referred to as Section P.”
Additionally, Wilkins said, “A house was once located on the cemetery grounds, which was occupied by various people, including one of the managers (Robert E. Uhls) of the cemetery. In 1971, the board most likely decided they needed to do an expansion of the cemetery property, so they decided to tear down the (then 29-year-old) house (which had the address of 2746 Riverside Blvd.).”
In addition to Uhls, who lived in the house from about 1966 to 1971, other residents of the home were: Donald G. and Clara G. Monroe (residents from 1942 to about 1944), Marjorie G. Duncan (about 1945 to about 1947), William E. and Mildred R. La Due (about 1948 to about 1950), Benjamin F. Quigley, Jr. and Margaret Quigley (about 1951 to about 1953), Vera Abbott (about 1954 to about 1955) and Clara E. Eaton (about 1957 to about 1965).
Like the neighboring Masonic Lawn Cemetery, Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery is not limited in use to those associated with a respective fraternal order.
And in making an announcement regarding that topic, Pruitt said, “At the end of this month, hopefully there will be a sign hanging on that clock out there (in front of the cemetery, reading) ‘open to the public.’ Our statement tells you that we’re open to everybody, but they don’t understand that, so I need a sign (which reads) ‘open to the public.’”
Additionally, Pruitt assured the community that Odd Fellows Lawn has a stable future.
“We are here forever,” Pruitt said. “Basically, as a fraternal organization, which owns this property, nothing is going to happen to this property. It will stay here and stay here. There are other (Odd Fellows) organizations that will take over for us, if we’re not here (some day). We have people in Stockton and in Yuba City, Shingle Springs, Placerville. It will always be Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery.”

Lance@valcomnews.com