For some locals, it might be difficult to imagine a full-fledged brewery operating in the Land Park area. But long before there were such destination places as William Land Park and the Sacramento Zoo, this then-rural area was home to the Sutterville Brewery.
This brewery, which was established just south of today’s zoo in a two-story, brick building with a basement in 1861, was originally owned by the Prussia-born Martin P. Arenz (1826-1949).
The brewery structure, which was constructed 160 years ago in what was then the town of Sutterville, was initially occupied by a grocery store owned Robert H. Vance of San Francisco.
Arenz purchased both the building and its property from Vance for $1,500 in August 1861.
According to The Sacramento Union, in its June 15, 1872 edition, the brewery building measured 62 feet by 62 feet and stood on a 160-foot by 180-foot lot.
Among the improvements made to the premises during Arenz’s ownership of the brewery was an addition of a new roof.
On May 28, 1867, the Sutterville Brewery was among several local breweries that had their lager beer delivery wagons seized by revenue officers during their deliveries.
According to the following day’s edition of The Union, it was charged that these breweries “did not properly cancel the stamps in the manner required by the revenue law, but so contrived matters as to make one (revenue) stamp answer the purpose of many, thereby depriving Uncle Sam of his just and lawful dues.”
Arenz remained the brewery’s proprietor until September 1868, when he sold the business to Patrick H. Lyman for about $8,000.
A biography regarding Captain Frank Ruhstaller in the 1890 book, “An Illustrated History of Sacramento County, California,” recognizes Ruhstaller and Joseph Bechler as having owned interests in the brewery.
And in following the sequence of events presented in the book, Ruhstaller purchased an interest in the brewery in mid-October 1869.
The book also notes that Ruhstaller “was in a partnership there (at the Sutterville Brewery) with Bechler for seven or eight months.”
Another biography about Ruhstaller in the 1913 book, “History of Sacramento County, California,” mentions the following: “(Ruhstaller) bought an interest in the Sutterville Brewery, where he carried on a partnership with Joseph Bechler for seven months until the high water forced all work to cease.”
Both biographies mention that Ruhstaller continued working with local breweries before returning to his Swiss homeland for a short period of time in 1873.
No other historic accounts regarding Ruhstaller and Bechler holding interests in the Sutterville Brewery were discovered during research for this article, and there is no firm indication, based on research for this article, that Lyman was not involved in the ownership of the business from 1868 until the sale of the business in 1873.
A fire occurred at the brewery on Jan. 27, 1871. Flames were spotted on the roof of the drying room in the malt house.
The Union, in its Jan. 30, 1871 edition, noted: “Part of the Sutterville Brewery was discovered on fire, but which, by dint of strenuous efforts of the proprietor, Patrick Lyman, and his neighbors, was extinguished before much damage had occurred.”
In 1873, Fritz Futterer and Nicholas “Nick” Thielen became the new proprietors of the brewery.
In regard to this new ownership, The Union, on July 12, 1873, ran the following advertisement: “READ THIS! SUTTERVILLE BREWERY. This well-known brewery was purchased a few months ago by the undersigned, two experienced German brewers, and many improvements added thereto, and they are now able to supply the old customers, as well as new ones, and their friends generally, with the very best of beer in this market, in quantities to suit. THIELEN & FUTTERER.”
This partnership continued until February 1877, when Futterer sold his interest in the brewery to Thielen.
But well before this business change, half of the ownership of the brewery was offered for sale through an advertisement in editions of The Union in April and May 1876.
In part, the advertisement read: “One-half interest in the SUTTERVILLE BREWERY, finely improved and a well established business. Will be sold cheap. For full information, inquire of NICK THIELEN.”
Various non-brewery meetings were held at the brewery, including an April 25, 1878 meeting of residents of Swamp Land District No. 1. The purpose of the meeting was to make nominations for levee commissioner.
In being that a portion of Sacramento, including part of that district, experienced a major flood in 1878, several other very timely, levee-related meetings were held at the brewery around that time.
The 1880 book, History of Sacramento County, California, refers to the brewery, as follows: “This brewery is eighty-two feet long by forty-two feet wide (which are different dimensions than those given in the aforementioned 1872 Union article); employs four men, and has a capacity of fifteen barrels per day. Nicholas Thielen is the proprietor.”
The Union, in its Oct. 17, 1883 edition, reported the following: “Saturday evening (Oct. 13, 1883), a large party of ladies and gentlemen from Sacramento gave a surprise party to Nicholas Thielen, proprietor of the Sutterville Brewery. They were finely entertained. There was dancing and feasting until near morning.”
The operation of the Sutterville Brewery was only about a 22-year venture.
From Nov. 12 through Dec. 31, 1883, The Union ran the following advertisement: “FOR SALE – ON ACCOUNT OF THE removal of the brewery business of the Sutterville Brewery, the buildings and property of same are offered for sale on reasonable terms. Inquire of N. THIELEN, proprietor, or of CADWALADER & PARSONS.”
Nearly four months later, The Union, reported details regarding an auction, as follows: “REAL ESTATE AT AUCTION – Bell & Co. will sell at auction Tuesday, March 18, (1884), on the premises, at 11 a.m., the property of N. Thielen, known as the Sutterville Brewery, and about five acres of good land connected therewith. It includes the brick and frame buildings, barns, sheds, windmill, pump, tank with capacity of 4,500 gallons; underground pipes connecting with frame and brick buildings; large lot of fruit trees and shrubbery, etc. Sale positive. Terms, 10 percent on day of sale; balance when deed is made. Buildings open for inspection until the day of sale.”
The brewery auction, which The Union noted “should receive more than ordinary attention,” was postponed until the following Saturday.
However, for some reason, the auction did not occur until July 19, 1884, when Sheriff Alfred H. Estell sold at auction the brewery property and its buildings to the Germania Building and Loan Association of 1011 4th St. for $2,200. The brewery’s machinery was not included in the sale.
A grand opening for a new business, the Sutterville Garden, owned by William Emerson at the old brewery site, was held on Saturday evening, July 14, 1884. The event, which was free to the public, included music and dancing.
The property changed hands once again in 1890 and was reopened as the Mount View House. Owned by J. P. Melchior, who had previously owned a saloon at the southeast corner of 10th and S streets at the present day site of the Old Ironsides bar, the business advertised itself as featuring “the finest wines, liquors and cigars.”
In the Jan. 27, 1899 edition of The Union, it was noted that George Gray, who resided on Riverside Road (today’s Riverside Boulevard) “is now proprietor of the old Sutterville Brewery on the lane between Sutterville and Freeport Road.”
The two-story, brick Sutterville Brewery building was demolished in 1952, and occupying the site today is the Land Park Business Center at 1250 Sutterville Road.
For some locals, it might be difficult to imagine a full-fledged brewery operating in the Land Park area. But long before there were such destination places as William Land Park and the Sacramento Zoo, this then-rural area was home to the Sutterville Brewery.
A sea of students – 1,056 to be precise – recently showcased the results of their year-long involvement in preparing for the National History Day state competition at the Red Lion Hotel – Woodlake Conference Center (formerly the Radisson Hotel), off Highway 160.
This year’s edition of NHD-CA was held on April 26-28 and drew a total of about 3,000 people, including students, teachers, parents and volunteers.
One hundred and ninety schools from 21 counties participated in the state competition, and Sacramento County was represented by 94 student participants.
The annual educational program, which has most recently been sponsored by the Orange County Department of Education, is designed to encourage students to “explore local, state, national and world history.”
In discussing details about the program, NHD-CA consultant Julie Hull said, “History Day is the premier social science academic competition. The national program was recognized last year by President Obama and it received the (National Humanities Medal), so just recently it’s gained much more notoriety, because it was recognized by the White House. And it’s a year-long educational program where (4th through 12th grade) students engage in research and analysis to come up with a product.”
Every year, a new theme is selected, and this year’s theme was “Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events.”
Through the program, students analyze their resources, interpret their findings and draw conclusions regarding their topic’s significance in history.
The students worked on their projects individually or in groups of two to five students.
Fourth and 5th graders could make a poster, and 6th through 12th graders had a choice of making a documentary, a Web site, an exhibit or a historical paper, or participating in a performance.
Students generally begin working on their projects in June and participate in their school competitions, which are typically held around February, and county competitions, which are typically held around March.
Each year, more than a half a million students participate in the NHD program, which allows students to improve upon their critical thinking, problem-solving, research, reading, oral and written communication and presentation skills.
In speaking about the students’ participation in NHD, Hull said, “The exciting thing about this (program) is it really empowers them to think like a historian and view things in history from a different lens.”
Hull also noted that 60 percent of the students’ projects were evaluated on the quality of their research.
“It’s not just a showcase of pretty projects,” Hull said. “They’re really doing extensive research and they use libraries and archives and museums and do oral histories. Whether they win or lose, they’re doing college-level research, college-level writing, and they’re learning skills that are helping them in science and math and English and all across the curriculum. The national office did a study that showed that History Day students outperformed non-History Day students in all subject areas and in all standardized tests. So, it’s an exciting program that really feeds into teaching them the skills and the rigor required for college and careers.”
After the students presented their projects at this year’s NHD-CA event, they awaited their results. The top two projects in each category were selected to be entered into the national competition, which will be held June 9-13 at the University of Maryland.
Altogether, California will be represented in the national competition by 36 entries, 65 students and 37 teachers.
Although no representatives from Sacramento County were selected to make the trip to Maryland, Aishwarya Nadgauda, a 16-year-old sophomore at Sacramento Country Day School at 2636 Latham Drive, was recognized as the runner-up in the individual documentary category. There were 34 entrants in the state level in her category.
In discussing how she selected the topic for her 10-minute documentary, Nadgauda said, “The title of my project was ‘Setting off a Reaction that Changed the World Forever,’ and it was about the first controlled, sustained nuclear chain reaction (which occurred at the University of Chicago on Dec. 2, 1942, and led to the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb). I was trying to find a topic that fit (this year’s theme). So, I was reading this book called ‘Nuclear Weapons Pose a Grave Threat,’ and I came across all these instances where the world had come so close to a nuclear war, and it really interested me. So, I started going back from there, trying to see how was it that the world came to know about nuclear power, and kind of backpedaling from there, I came across the first controlled, sustained nuclear chain reaction.”
Nadgauda, who was participating in NHD for the fifth consecutive year, said that while seeking information related to her topic, she enjoyed the process of learning about many things that she would have otherwise never investigated.
And in commenting about her project-related trip to Rancho Seco, Nadgauda said, “Radioactivity is a major concern when it comes to nuclear power plants and (one of the plant’s decommissioning officers) showed me this chart of all the radioactivity in the area surrounding Rancho Seco, just in the soil. I would have expected that Rancho Seco had more radioactivity, but it was actually one of the least radioactive soils in the area even though there had been a nuclear power plant there at one point.”
While sharing details about her overall experience at the state competition, Nadgauda said, “What I really took away from it was just really being able to communicate. Communication skills are just really important and that’s one of the best things that I learned from this is how to analyze information and pick and choose what’s reliable and what you want to get across to the person who is watching your documentary.”
Several other students from different parts of the state participated in interviews with this publication.
Among these students were Emily Moreno, Robert Fernandez and Rhianne Esparza, who are each 17-year-old students at La Habra High School in La Habra, Calif.
Moreno, whose group was a runner-up in the “Group Web site” category, said, “History is not my favorite thing, but (the History Day program) actually made it interesting.”
One of the student participants who was in high spirits at the event was Olivia Ghosh. Along with her schoolmate, Soren Hansen, she was selected to compete in the national competition.
Ghosh, who attends Francis Park School in San Diego and participated in the national competition when she was in the eight grade, noted that her senior group exhibit was both a time-consuming and interesting project.
“We got up to (spending) six to 10 hours a week (on their project, ‘Fall of the Berlin Wall’),” Ghosh said. “One of the interesting things we learned is we interviewed a man who lived in West Berlin when the wall fell. Obviously, he was excited about the fact that they were reunifying and Germany was coming together again, but he also mentioned, just from a logistical standpoint – he lived near the wall – he still thought about daily needs, like traffic and pollution and lots of every day needs.”
Thirteen-year-old Elizabeth Leong of Zion Lutheran School in San Francisco was also in a joyful mood while she was speaking about an award that she had won at the state competition.
“I won a special award for county,” said Leong, who also won an excellence award for her project about the history of the Golden Gate Bridge. “The (special award recipients) are people who have done a lot and have competed in NHD for three years. So, I was lucky enough to win this award and I’m very happy about it.”
Standing alongside Leong was one of her schoolmates, 11-year-old Christie Lum, who participated in a runner-up project in the junior division.
Francis Parker students, Avi Waldman, 13, Amanda Wasserman, 12, and Ellie Hanson, 12, who were also interviewed by this publication, noted that although they did not win awards, they enjoyed their time participating in this year’s state competition.
Rob Vicario, NHD-CA state director, referred to the state competition participants as inspiring.
And while discussing the diversity and creativity of the competition’s projects, Vicario said, “We have one exhibit on the (history of) the toilet. The girls, I happened to be walking by and they were there taking questions from many folks that were visiting during the public viewing. They explained how they were inspired to look into this topic and how it became a turning point in history because of its impact on health issues, sanitation, etc. One of (the students) said, ‘I got so fascinated by the research behind this (project) that I’m now considering a career in sanitation when I get older.’”
Leslie Smith, one of the state competition judges and the history-social studies curriculum coordinator for San Bernardino County, noted that she was very impressed by those who participated in NHD competitions.
“It is amazing what these kids can accomplish,” Smith said. “(They conduct) authentic research using primary and secondary sources, personal interviews. They have no fear. They will e-mail, write, seek out congressmen, university professors to get the information that they need to improve their projects.”
Sacramento County NHA coordinator Craig Irish, who ran the state competition judging room with two other coordinators, expressed his own impressions of NHD.
“I’m amazed every year at the types of projects we see and the amount of work that is put into this competition,” Irish said. “They do a great deal of research and analyzing to put their projects together. It’s a great learning opportunity for these students.”
Next year’s NHD-CA competition will have the theme of “Rights and Responsibilities in History.”
Note: This is part 10 in a series about the history of the Sacramento River.
The topic of riverboats on the Sacramento River is undoubtedly a rich part of the river’s history.
These vessels played an important role in transporting freight and passengers.
In the January 1920 edition of the Southern Pacific Bulletin, it was noted that “long before the railroad came, the Sacramento River was the ‘roadway’ along which commerce first traveled.”
Among the earlier vessels to ply the Sacramento River was a schooner known as the “Sacramento.”
In an article in the May 27, 1858 edition of The Sacramento Union, this schooner was described as having been purchased by Capt. John A. Sutter in 1841.
A July 7, 1860 letter written to The Union by a newspaper correspondent known as St. George refers to this vessel, as follows: “The only regular packet running between the embarcadero of New Helvetia (now the beautiful city of Sacramento, capital of the state of California), and Yerba Buena (now the great city of San Francisco, the New York of the Pacific) was Captain Sutter’s launch, ‘Sacramento,’ a schooner of seventeen tons. She was built by the Russian American Company, I think, at Sitka, for the sea otter service at Bodega and Presidio Ross, and sold to Capt. Sutter in 1839. I last saw her laying (sic) at Washington (now part of West Sacramento), opposite our city, in 1858, roofed over and used as a house for salmon fishers.”
In being that the 1858 Union article and 1860 St. George letter differ as to when Sutter acquired the Sacramento, it should be recognized that this event occurred in 1841.
The 1858 Union article noted that the Sacramento remained in operation until as late as 1848-49, and “after performing a number of important offices during the (Mexican) War, was, in the spring of 1848, the first to take down to San Francisco the tidings of the gold discovery.”
It was also mentioned in the same article that the Sacramento continued to be the largest schooner on the Sacramento River “up to the period when the commerce with the mines began.”
According to St. George’s letter, Sutter also had another line, which ran from New Helvetia to his Hock Farm agricultural settlement along the Feather River. The riverboat of this line was referred to as the “‘White Pinnace’ – an open boat, rowed and poled by six nude (Indians).”
The aforementioned 1920 edition Southern Pacific Bulletin article referred to the first steamer to travel on the Sacramento River.
That vessel, which was known as the Sitka, made its way from San Francisco to today’s city of Sacramento in 1847.
Nearly four decades later, The Union received a letter, dated Feb. 6, 1885, from a Mrs. James Greyson of Sebastopol, Calif., who claimed to have been a passenger aboard the Sitka.
The letter included the following words: “In the San Francisco Call of January 24th, I see the request for the name of the first steamer that plied on the Sacramento River, and being a passenger on the occasion of the first trip, I feel myself competent to give the information desired. She was a beautiful steam yacht, bearing the name of Sitka. She was, I believe, presented by the Russian government to Captain (William Alexander) Leadsdolph (Leidesdorff, Jr.). She left San Francisco on the 15th of December 1847 and arrived at the embarcadero on the Sacramento (River) on the 24th of the same month.”
Different dates for this voyage were presented in another account of the Sitka in the St. George’s aforementioned 1860 letter.
The 1860 letter noted that the vessel left San Francisco on Nov. 28, 1847 and “arrived at New Helvetia December 4th – six days and seven hours out.”
Also included in St. George’s account were the following words: “I made the first and only trip on Captain William A. Leidesdorff’s little Russian steamer from San Francisco to New Helvetia (today’s Sacramento). She had no name, but has since been called the ‘Sitka.’
“I have the notes I took at the time to be published in (the San Francisco newspaper) The California Star. I was the Sacramento correspondent for the paper, but did not publish them, as my friend, Captain Leidesdorff, was very sensitive at that time on the subject of steamboats.
“The day after her arrival from the Sacramento (River), she was sunk by a south-easter in what is now Battery Street (in San Francisco). She was raised and hauled up with an ox team in Bush Street, above Montgomery (Street), the engine taken out, and she was made a schooner yacht, christened the ‘Rainbow,’ and ran as a packet on the Sacramento River after the discovery of gold.”
The 1890 book, “History of Sacramento County, California,” also describes the Sitka, which is referred to in some 19th century and early 20th century references as the “Little Sitka.”
It was mentioned in that book that the steamboat arrived at the Port of San Francisco aboard a Russian bark from Sitka on Oct. 14, 1847.
Leidesdorff, who had been in business with the Russians at their American settlement for seven years, purchased the steamer from the Russians for his hide and tallow commerce.
The Sitka was described in the 1890 book as being “long, low and what the sailors termed very ‘crank.’”
It was also noted in the book that the weight of a person on her guards would throw one of her wheels out of service.
Various historic accounts refer to the Sitka as having made two trips in California.
According to the 1890 county history book, on Nov. 15, 1847, the Sitka left Yerba Buena Island – in the San Francisco Bay – where she had been reassembled, and took a voyage to Santa Clara, “with indifferent success.”
The book also notes that during its second trip, the Sitka, after making its way up the Sacramento River in the latter part of 1847 and arriving safely, took a long time to return to San Francisco.
This portion of the book reads: “Nearly a month elapsed, however, before her return; and in the meantime, various were the jokes and jibes ‘launch’-ed at her and on the proprietor, who nevertheless persisted that he would yet ‘make the smoke fly on the bay,’ and hand the name of his first steamboat ‘down to dexterity,’ as he pronounced the word.”
But, as previously noted, the Sitka made two trips in California before being dismantled.
Editor’s Note: This is part 10 in a series about the rich history of and associated with East Sacramento’s award-winning East Lawn Memorial Park.
Sacramento has been known as a political city, a city of trees and many other things during a large portion of its existence. And among its greatest achievements was becoming a city of breweries, which included the Buffalo Brewing Company.
In the previous article of this series, Philip Scheld, who was interred at East Lawn Cemetery (today’s East Lawn Memorial Park), was celebrated for his proprietorship of the Sacramento Brewery, which was established a short distance from Sutter’s Fort in 1849.
Many other breweries were opened in the capital city during the 19th century.
An example of the production of local breweries during the 19th century was recorded in the county assessment books for 1872.
This source notes that in that year, Sacramento had eight breweries that produced 252,000 gallons of beer.
Furthermore, according to the 1880 book, “The History of Sacramento County, California,” the area’s eight local breweries in 1878 “made, in aggregate, 530,200 gallons of beer, and in 1879, 560,000 (gallons of beer).”
With a walk around East Lawn Memorial Park, one can find the final resting places of several men who were associated with the Buffalo Brewing Company, which was also known as the Buffalo Brewery, and was for many years under the direction of Buffalo Brewery, Inc.
Certainly the most notable of these brewery men were the German-born Herman H. Grau (1846-1915) and William E. Gerber (1852-1928), who were both interred at East Lawn Cemetery.
Herman, a former East Coast brewer who came to Sacramento from Buffalo, N.Y. in about 1886, was the man who organized the Buffalo Brewery, which would eventually become the largest brewery west of the Mississippi.
At the age of 12, Herman came to America and settled in Buffalo, N.Y.
Along with his wife, New York native J.F. Bertha (Ziegele) Grau (1848-1915), who he married in Buffalo prior to coming to Sacramento, Herman had nine children.
Herman’s association with William became an important part of the city’s brewery history, as these men laid out the plans for the Buffalo Brewery.
In addition to his involvement with the Buffalo Brewery, William, a New York native who came to Sacramento in 1860 and was eventually the secretary of the Buffalo Brewery, served, at different times during his life, as president of the California National Bank and chairman of that bank’s board.
William, who studied in Sacramento schools and the St. Louis Academy and at a business school in Buffalo, was also, at a various times, a bookkeeper and co-owner of a grocery store, state fish and game commissioner, auditor of Sacramento County and the city treasurer of Sacramento.
Also interred at the cemetery was Hattie A. Gerber (1857-1928), who was the mother of his five children.
Construction on the Buffalo Brewery, which was located on the block bounded by 21st, 22nd, Q and R streets, began in 1888.
In being that this section of Sacramento was many years away from being built out at that time, upon its completion, the large brewery structure could be seen from a considerable distance within the city.
With the opening of the Buffalo Brewery in 1890, Herman became the company’s first general manager and Adolph Heilbron (1833-1913) served as the brewery’s first president. Heilbron’s final resting place is located at the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery at 1000 Broadway.
Also interred at East Lawn were Henry Gerber (1851-1928), one of the brewery’s first stockholders, and Henry I. Seymour (1861-1913).
Seymour was among the prominent men of the brewery, as he replaced Grau as the company’s general manager in 1896 and continued to serve in that role for 17 years.
But Seymour was not new to the brewery when he became its general manager, as he had been working for the brewery since 1890.
Another well-known person in local brewery history was Sacramento native Frank J. Ruhstaller (1872-1943), whose father was Swiss native Frank Ruhstaller (1846-1907), who was an original officer of the Buffalo Brewery.
The brewery resume of Frank Ruhstaller, who was interred at today’s Sacramento Historic City Cemetery, also included serving as the proprietor of the City Brewery at the northeast corner of 12th and H streets and the superintendent of the Sacramento Brewing Co.
As for the resume of Frank J. Ruhstaller, he became the president of the Buffalo Brewery in 1913, following the death of Heilbron. He retired from that position in April 1939.
Additionally, the younger Ruhstaller served as the assistant manager of the City Brewery and superintendent of the Sacramento Brewing Co., and was a member of the city’s war rationing board during World War II.
In speaking about Frank J. Ruhstaller during his retirement dinner at the old Elks Temple at 11th and J streets, Superior Court Judge Peter J. Shields said, “Charities, kindnesses and justices have characterized his whole existence. The aroma of good deeds during his life has perfumed the entire community. He has been modest, never seeking the limelight nor the vanities of life.”
Frank J. Ruhstaller’s wife, Alice Marie (Root) Ruhstaller (1871-1969), was also interred at East Lawn. The couple, who was married in Sacramento on Nov. 22, 1899, was residents of East Sacramento, residing in the Fabulous Forties neighborhood at 1301 44th St.
Much has been said and written about the Buffalo Brewery, which created beer that was popular well beyond Sacramento.
During its pre-Prohibition days, the Buffalo Brewery distributed its beer great distances.
In addition to shipping this beverage to many parts of Northern California, including San Francisco, the brewery also sent its beer to the Hawaiian Islands, Alaska, Central America, along the Mediterranean, Russia, Japan and China.
A summary about the brewery in the Feb. 2, 1907 edition of The Union included the following words: “Sacramento boasts of many large manufacturing enterprises, but none are more in keeping with the general progress of this section than (the Buffalo Brewery). It is known by the excellence of its product. New Brew and Bohemian, its special brands, are known throughout the Pacific Coast. Ask any dealer and he will tell you there are none superior to them.”
The brewery, which experienced much physical growth at its local plant, returned to full, post-Prohibition production in December 1933 and continued its operations at its historic site until 1949.
The brewery buildings were razed in 1949 and 1950 in preparation for the construction of the newspaper, radio and television operations of McClatchy Newspapers – publishers of The Sacramento Bee – which was then headed by its president, Eleanor McClatchy.
Many Carmichael residents are undoubtedly familiar with “The Great Wall of Carmichael,” with its colorful, 100-foot-long mural, which sits near a portion of the Fair Oaks Boulevard side of Carmichael Park.
But a far greater number of these people are unaware of many details about the wall and its artwork.
In an interview with this publication last week, 71-year-old Fair Oaks resident Hugh Gorman, the artist who painted this notable mural, explained details about this wall and other highlights of his life.
In reflecting upon being hired to create the Carmichael Park mural, which was officially dedicated in 2003, Hugh said, “There was an ad in the paper, (which read): ‘Wanted: Mural design for SMAC – Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.’ I applied for it, and it was to be a retaining wall in front of Denny’s (restaurant), which is where Fair Oaks (Boulevard) T’s into Manzanita (Avenue) and Fair Oaks (Boulevard). So, I really wanted that job. I’d already done this mural here (at the Fair Oaks Veterans Memorial Amphitheater in Village Park in Fair Oaks) and I’d done some other murals. I like trying to explain a community on a wall. So, I tried really hard to get (the job), and I did. And I guess there were 13 people who applied.”
Although he was excited to begin his mural project in front of Denny’s, Hugh recalled how his work at that site was suddenly halted.
Hugh said that he received a call from the locally renowned developer George Tsakopoulos (1927-2009), who told him that he did not want a mural in front of his property, which is presently owned by Carmichael Village, LLC.
Following this phone call, Tsakopoulos, Hugh noted, took further action with the matter, and the project was eventually abandoned at that site.
In the process of attempting to relocate the project, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, according to the recollections of Hugh, agreed to keep the project moving forward at a new site.
Hugh noted that, with its delays, the project took five years to complete. But he added that he was required to finish the wall in one season.
And overall, he remembers the project as being 90 to 95 percent well received by the community.
After the mural was completed at the park in 2002, a dedication for the wall was held that year. A much better attended, second dedication was held in non-rainy weather during the following spring.
After being asked to describe the details of his mural, Hugh said, “I tried to do the period of human existence, which is probably 10,000 years, more or less. And I tried to do that from the American River, because I think Carmichael has forgotten it even has the American River as one of its boundaries.”
The largest detail of the entire mural at Carmichael Park is the word, “Carmichael,” which stretches across the upper, mid-section of this grand artwork.
This bas-relief mural, which was created with an acrylic polymer on formed concrete, is divided into five panels, with the first panel showing the flow of the river as it makes its way toward the San Francisco Bay.
In continuing his explanation of the mural, Hugh said, “It’s all about how do you paint something 100 feet long and 7 feet high and not have it look like a big old line. (Avoiding making the mural appear as a straight line) was the best part about what I did, I think, or one of the best things.”
And in speaking further about the mural, Hugh said, “This is that (pedestrian and bicycle) bridge at (River Bend) Park. And we’re going through time, and if you look at the people in the rafts, you’ll see this is earlier and this is later. And that’s me. I’m in there in an inner tube with a beer bottle tied to a string. And you’ll see that everybody (in the rafts) is white at first and then pretty soon, they start sprinkling different colors as the population changes.”
And while pointing to different areas of the mural, Hugh said, “Here’s the Indians right here, and even right here. And here’s the Gold Rush right here. Well, here’s a Jeep from 1945 that marks the end of World War II. And right here are people fishing for salmon, and the way they used to fish for salmon was they just used a pitch fork. And then here you’ll see a family sitting around and the kids playing in the water. They’ve got their little picnic out. And then you go over to the Indian times, and there they are. There are families sitting around and the kids are playing in the water. So, nothing has changed, except for the color of their skin.”
Images of animals, including fish and turtles, are also present in the mural.
Although the area’s well-known Deterding family had permission to use dredgers, they never did dredge the river.
In commenting about the image of a dredger in that area of his mural, Hugh said, “I put it in anyway, because it’s such a part of our history, but from the other side of the river.”
Another feature of the mural, which Hugh spoke about was an image of a historic river vessel.
“I was reading about all these different things and I read about this boat, called the Dixie, which ran the river from Folsom and back (during the 19th century),” Hugh said. “It would go up to the Negro Bar and bring rocks and wood back.”
A feature of the wall that often goes unnoticed is a heart-shaped rock that sits on top of the wall.
Hugh said that he found the rock in his backyard while he was building his art studio.
“Phil Evans, whose a sculptor, drilled holes (in the rock) for me and put (metal) rods in there and then I just set it in the concrete (to secure it),” Hugh said.
Because the Sacramento County Historical Society thought so highly about Hugh’s mural at Carmichael Park, the organization created a new award category, called “Heritage through Art,” and awarded him the first award in that category.
Anyone who has had the opportunity to visit Hugh’s studio can view his variety of paintings.
One of these paintings is of Ishi, who was the last surviving member of the Yahi Native American tribe. Hugh refers to this painting as “My Mona Lisa.”
During his interview for this article, Hugh also mentioned Donor Plaza, the area near the Fair Oaks Bridge that he designed in commemoration of those who contributed to the project to purchase bluffs over the American River.
“That land was being threatened to be taken over, so I had been fighting that for a long time, this way and that way,” Hugh said. “Eventually, it turned into, ‘Let’s just buy those lots and then the deal is done. And that’s what happened. I designed a thing that included three benches, and we used bricks for steps. We had 350 bricks. So, that’s an environmental art piece that’s well worth looking at, and it’s real neat.”
He also noted that he enjoys carving artistic creations, playing a keyboard, swinging on his backyard rope swing, swimming in cold water in various places in California and collecting vintage automobiles.
Hugh, who was born in St. Helena, Calif. and was one of the five children of Clyde and Grace Gorman, said that he developed a very early interest in art.
“As a little kid, they gave me clay and building blocks and I’d make little faces out of the clay,” said Hugh, who moved to Folsom in 1945 and to the area around today’s American River College in 1946. “I sort of knew how to draw real early on. Everybody always said, ‘Oh, you’re so luck, because you know what you’re going to do. You’re going to be an artist.’ And that was implanted early on, and people hired me to do portraits at 6, 7 years old. Some people are born with different things and I was born as (an artist). My dad was a writer, so he was a creative guy.”
Hugh, who attended elementary school in Carmichael, later took art classes at the old La Sierra High School before making his way to the University of California, Berkeley.
In deciding upon a career choice, Hugh initially began studying architecture in college, then he opted to become a sculptor, and lastly, he studied landscape architecture.
Despite receiving his degree at UC Berkeley in landscape architecture in 1967, Hugh said that he still always saw himself as a painter.
He began his post-college working years as a landscape architect in Santa Barbara.
Today, Hugh resides in a century-old house in Fair Oaks with his wife, Teri.
In explaining his passion for art, Hugh said, “Basically, you’ve got a story to tell. You’ve got something that you think is going to make the world a better place or at least make some understanding or describe what’s beautiful here that maybe you don’t know about. Whatever your point is, you’re telling a story. I’m self driven pretty much. My imagination works real quick.”
And in demonstrating his sense of humor at the end of the interview, Hugh, after being asked how he would like to be remembered in the future, responded, “Well, what’s the difference?”
One of the oldest and largest festivals in California, the Sacramento Valley Scottish Games & Festival, held in Woodland at the Yolo County Fairgrounds, is April 27-28.
The Sacramento Valley Scottish Games and Festival is the main yearly event the Caledonian Club of Sacramento hosts, which draws up to 20,000 people each year. This fun, family event includes Scottish clans, competitions, music, dance, live history, children’s activities, animals, vendors and more.
Blessed with talented dancers and musicians who work hard to hone their craft to bring joy to others, Welsh who sells advance tickets and mans the gates at the fairgrounds said, the festival is a showcase of a diverse and magical culture.
“I love the people, their values and the music of this diverse and magical culture that is showcased in the Scottish Games. I love that it is a family-friendly event where you’ll find something for every age to enjoy – from the children’s area and youth caber to Celtic fiddles and harps – to Celtic rock – to bagpipes – Celtic animals – to learning Ceilidh (pronounced kaylee) dancing – to historical re-enactors,” she said.
Locally Welsh belongs to the Caledonian Club of Sacramento where she serves as Vice Chief, which means she planned the Tartan Ball last year. She sells pre-sale tickets and recruits volunteers. She also belongs to the Daughters of Scotia and she makes scones for the tea-room at the Games.
To her neighbor, Gordon Scott, whose involvement with the games go back to about 1985, “taking tickets and most things in between,” he said he’s a “sucker” for the games. “Once you get roped in (as a volunteer), you stay in,” he said.
In 1973, Scott went traveled to Ireland, where he decided to buy a kilt. But it wasn’t until years later when he and his wife partook in Scottish country-dance after her coworker who was the chief of the Gaelic club said ‘you have to do this.’ “We went there and enjoyed that,” he said, meeting some fun people along the way.
Like Scott, it was through Scottish Country dancing that Welsh learned so much about Celtic music and became friends with some amazingly dancers and musicians.
“What a huge blessing,” Welsh said, adding that one of her best friends is from Dunblane, Scotland. “She generously shared so much of her culture not only with me, but with everyone,” she said.
Because Welsh loved the music so much, she published a newsletter called “Celtic is Happening” for about five years. The publication promoted Celtic Musicians who performed up and down the coast and in the Central Valley. “I never pretended to know anything…but I sure knew who to refer anyone to who wanted to know more. It was actually through my subscribers that I knew people in Sacramento before we moved here,” she said. One of those subscribers is the editor of an online Celtic Calendar found on the Caledonian Club website, www.saccallie.org.
When Welsh and her husband Rich came to Sacramento in 2006, she joined the Caledonian Club right way. Rich is a genealogist and works every year at the games in Woodland at the genealogy desk. Through genealogy, he discovered that he, too, is Scottish.
“However, I don’t expect to see him in a kilt anytime soon,” Welsh jokes.
Scott loves how the games have been shared through generations. “I am now seeing young adults with children. I saw them competing in piping and dance and their kids now are competing in those events,” he said.
“I probably get a get kick out of youngest highland dancers. They don’t have the steps down, but they’re out there doing their thing. Seeing them progress each year — it’s always a thrill,” Scott said.
Welsh loves sharing the passion and dedication of everyone involved, whether you’re a piper, highland dancer, athlete, Scottish Country Dancer, fiddler, “Clannie”, organizer, vendor, re-enactor or volunteer. “It takes every talent and skill-set to make this event .. this “Brigadoon” happen.
And everyone is a volunteer. No one is taken for granted.
“We are blessed with talented dancers and musicians who work hard to hone their craft to bring joy whatever performance venue where they appear,” said Welsh.
Working on a Scottish Games committee is a supreme learning and personal growth experience, said Welsh.
“I love working and forging relationships with people who didn’t know they could move that mountain until after it was moved. I love that we bring, in modern times, an event that has gone on for much longer that 137 years to this generation. I love when they (the youth) carry some element of it forward. Although we are ‘Brigadoon’ for three days, we bring these same values with us to our jobs and community,” said Welsh.
Welsh’s father (USAF, Ret) and mother (the Irish side) introduced Welsh to her Scottish heritage in 1986 at the Caledonian Club of San Francisco Games and Gathering, Santa Rosa. (That event currently takes place in Pleasanton, CA on Labor Day week end). Both of her dad’s parents came from Old Cumnock (Ayreshire), Scotland in the late 1880’s. They settled in Birch Run, Michigan. She was Sara Kerr; he was Robert Arthur. Welsh joined Clan MacArthur at the games in 1986.
In 1993, Welsh joined the Campbell Highland Games committee (San Jose). For that organization she did sponsorships, publicity, program advertising sales, coordinated volunteers for the entire event and wrapped her 10-year tenure on the Campbell Highland Games Committee as Chieftain (Executive Director). In 1993 Welsh also started Scottish Country Dancing and joined the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society – SF Branch. Concurrently she served as Secretary of the South Bay Scottish Society, ultimately becoming the Chief of SBSS.
This project will modify the existing interchange to reduce congestion, install dedicated transit facilities, and improve access and safety for bicyclists and pedestrians, according to a press release. O. C. Jones & Sons General Engineering Contractors was awarded contract work ($22.5 million) at the Sept. 25, 2012, Board of Supervisors meeting.
According to Mike Penrose, SACDOT Director, “When completed, this project will
be a model for other jurisdictions to use when faced with the difficult challenge of moving all modes of transportation through an interchange, which in the past have been designed with an emphasis on motor vehicles.
“This project has multi-modal design features that set it apart from any other interchange in California and includes: a continuous bicycle/pedestrian pathway separated from vehicular traffic that goes through the entire interchange; and the first dedicated Bus Rapid Transit facility of its type in the state. The added safety and congestion relief provided by the project will be appreciated by all travelers through the corridor,” Penrose said.
Major elements of this project include:
Widening the existing Watt Avenue overcrossing at U.S. 50 to add: 1) two additional through lanes and two auxiliary lanes over the freeway; 2) additional lanes for high occupancy vehicles to the freeway on-ramps; and 3) widen and realign freeway off-ramps to terminate at Watt Avenue at two signalized intersections.
Add a new dedicated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane on Watt Avenue from north of the interchange to the existing Manlove Light Rail Station.
Construct a new center structure connecting the existing northbound and southbound U.S. 50 overpasses.
Add a continuous bicycle/pedestrian pathway separated from vehicular traffic along the east side of Watt Avenue between La Riviera Drive and Manlove Road, with grade separated undercrossings at the freeway ramps.
Some of the best banjo players in the country, if not the world, will descend upon the Clarion Inn April 11-14 for Banjo-Rama 2013.
Right now, organizers Bonnie Harris and Rex Inglis are getting the word out on America’s only instrument that’s native to the U.S. – the banjo.
Proud of that fact, they are set on bringing the best to town (including The Banjo Man) not just for their lively performances, but also for them to lead workshops and jam sessions, which have been known to go really late into the night.
“Once they start playing, they don’t stop. They play for hours. It is so much fun. And it’s not one or two people. It’s 10, 15, sometimes 20 or more and they just sit around and play songs,” Harris, President of the Sacramento Banjo Band, said.
Inglis said some of the banjo stars will head up the workshops, one of them being an introduction to the instrument for someone who has never played but who wants to learn. They also might discuss how you would play banjo in a jam session and knowing proper etiquette (ie: Don’t hog the jam session and don’t call all the songs!) Plus there will be break out sessions, where leaders will practice what they learned in the workshop.
Organizers said they might have a “battle of the workshop band” with the added prize: If you win, you won’t have to listen to the other banjo players!
At one year’s Banjo-rama event, the Sacramento Banjo Band donated more than $12,400 to children’s charities, including Shriners Hospitals for Children, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, W.E.A.V.E., Sacramento Children’s Home, Red Cross, Salvation Army and other charities.
“We’re all volunteers — no one gets paid,” Harris said. “We meet because we like the banjo and like to play banjo together. It’s a culture. You don’t know it’s there until you’re in it,” she said.
According to their website, the Sacramento Banjo Band plays 4-string banjos, with clear melody supported by strummed chords, like you would expect to hear on a riverboat or in Dixieland jazz bands. In 1960, banjoists in the Sacramento area were concerned that “America’s unique instrument” and its music could be lost.
“They couldn’t allow this to happen! They put an ad in the local paper inviting banjo players to meet for a jam session. They were astonished when a very large number of banjo players showed up! This intense interest led to an active group that became the Sacramento Banjo Band, a charitable, nonprofit organization governed by a set of bylaws,” states the website.
Inglis said the Sacramento Banjo Band members come from “all walks of life” including a retired nuclear physicist who owns a banjo worth $50,000, a retired attorney from the State of California, retired teachers. We’re a bunch of retired people,” he said.
“It’s not just a guy chewing tobacco and wearing overalls,” Inglis said.
Harris’s love for the instrument came after the passing of her brother, a Dixieland musician in Germany who willed her his banjo. “I found somebody to teach me. I didn’t even know what a fret was. I had no idea—none.”
Meanwhile, Inglis learned to play the banjo from a friend in his rotary club. “I heard him one time at the rotary club and thought it was pretty cool. He said he teaches banjo and it turns out he is a pretty good banjo player,” Inglis said.
But asked how the Sacramento Banjo Band has changed over the years, Inglis said: “It’s gotten old. The average age is 75 … Here’s what happens. Young kids — they like the banjo. They get fascinated by it, but then they get into high school and say, ‘oh, I need to have a rock guitar’. Most people don’t pick it up again until their 40s or 50s.”
It’s as though young kids like the upbeat sound but teenagers can’t relate to it. It’s been said you can’t play a depressing song on the banjo.
IF YOU GO:
What: The Sacramento Banjo Band Banjo-Rama 2013
When: Monday – Thursday, April 11-14
Where: The Clarion Inn, 1401 Arden Way, Sacramento, 922-8041 (Formerly Red Lion)
Cost: 4-day registration $39; 1-day registration: $20.
Contact: Bonnie Harris 412-3020 or Rex Inglis at 209-955-2452
On the web: www.banjo-rama.com; sacramentobanjoband.com
Editor’s Note: This is part eight in a series about the rich history of and associated with East Sacramento’s award-winning East Lawn Memorial Park.
Among the most notable people to make their final resting place inside East Lawn’s two-story mausoleum was former East Sacramento resident Arthur Serviss Dudley (1883-1977).
Born in West Salem, Wis., where he attended elementary and high schools, Arthur was the son of Lewis R. Dudley, a public school principal, and Nora (Serviss) Dudley.
In 1903, three years after receiving his high school diploma, Arthur graduated from the Illinois College of Photography in Effingham, Ill.
During the same year, he married Ada Broome of Effingham and moved with her to Palo Alto, Calif., where he established his own photography studio.
His successful professional photography career also included founding the California College of Photography in Palo Alto.
After the institution was severely damaged by the 1906 earthquake, Arthur and Ada returned to the East, where Arthur spent three years editing a 10-volume publication – “The Complete Self-Instructing Work of Practical Photography” – for the American Photo Text-Book Co. of Scranton, Pa.
Arthur remained with the company promoting the publication in various parts of the country, and then served as the business’s manager until 1911.
He later worked as the editor and advertising manager of The Camera and The Bulletin of Photography for Chambers Press of Philadelphia.
In 1913, Arthur was once again residing in California, this time farming on a 10-acre piece of property that he purchased in Riverside County. But that venture ended when his farmland washed out during a major storm.
This incident caused Arthur to return to his photography endeavors during the following year, as he moved to San Jacinto (Riverside County) and opened a photography gallery.
It was also in San Jacinto, where he assisted in the organization of that city’s chamber of commerce.
As a representative of Riverside County, Arthur assisted with the famous 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, which many Sacramentans traveled to San Francisco to attend.
In April of that year, Arthur was elected to serve as the secretary of the Riverside Chamber of Commerce. And a year later, he became the assistant secretary of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.
During his time in Riverside County, Arthur assisted in the effort to have the Army establish the airfield that eventually became known as March Air Force Base.
Arthur, who had one son and three daughters, became a resident of Sacramento for the first time in August 1920 after being named as the new secretary of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce – today’s Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to his service with the local chamber of commerce, Arthur was a member of the advisory board of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, president of the Secretaries of the California Chamber of Commerce and director of the National Association of Commercial Organization Secretaries.
He also led efforts for the early 1920s construction of the $100,000 Chamber of Commerce Building at 917-21 7th St. and was a driving force behind the city’s “Days of ’49” celebration in 1922.
During his initial three-year residency in Sacramento, Arthur lived at 2162 33rd St. (1920-21) and 530 21st St. (1921-23).
In August 1923, he moved with his family to Portland, where he was instrumental in the formation of the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce. He also served as that chamber’s manager.
A year and a half later, Arthur was residing in San Joaquin County and working as the secretary of the Stockton Chamber of Commerce.
However, Arthur was not through moving, as he became the secretary-manager of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce in 1927 and a resident of East Sacramento at 1445 42nd St.
Although the Dudleys moved downtown about three years later, they would return to East Sacramento. The family lived at 1426 41st St. from 1933 to 1935, and altogether the Dudleys had at least 10 Sacramento area home addresses.
Arthur, who enjoyed camping, hunting and occasional games of tennis, belonged to various Sacramento civic organizations, including the Sacramento Trade Club and the Rotary Club of Sacramento, which then met on the mezzanine level of the Hotel Senator at 1125 L St.
Among the major highlights of Arthur’s many years with the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce was his noteworthy work with the military.
Arthur, who was the local chamber’s first paid executive, was involved with various aspects of both Mather and McClellan airbases.
Although he led efforts to halt the early 1930s closure of Mather Field – as Mather Air Force Base was then known – it was officially placed on inactive status on Nov. 1, 1932.
But after about a decade of maintaining its inactive status, Mather Field, with the assistance of Arthur, who used his chamber of commerce experience and status to his benefit, had a timely rebirth, less than a year prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
In his early 1960s writings about Arthur’s contribution to the U.S. air defense, Fenton L. Williams, who served as the historian for the Sacramento Air Materiel Area at McClellan Air Force Base, wrote: “As a result of his activity – his able, enthusiastic pushing – the country became conscious of the need to begin air defense work without delay. It is safe to say that no other one person in our whole country did so much to stir interest and get action when it was so badly needed – action that resulted in an effective air defense. Not only Sacramento, but the whole country and the free world owe a debt of gratitude to Arthur S. Dudley.”
Although McClellan Field (later known as McClellan Air Force Base) was named after Maj. Hezekiah McClellan, who died as a result of a flight test accident on May 25, 1936, Arthur is known as the “Father of McClellan.”
Arthur, who at separate times served as president and chairman of the National Air Frontier Defense Association, which was comprised of chamber of commerce secretaries, led a nationwide drive to establish more air bases.
His efforts resulted in seven new bases, one of which would become McClellan.
In his writings about Arthur, Williams noted that few people were initially informed about the plans to establish the base.
“Those who had information as to what was in the making guarded it closely to avoid a skyrocketing of prices,” Williams wrote. “Dudley confided in one person – Alden Anderson, president of the Capital National Bank. He, in turn, commissioned Carroll A. Cook of Artz and Cook real estate (and insurance) company to obtain the options (from landowners). Cook, himself did not know the purpose, so he acted naturally and did not create any wonderment.”
Arthur, who married Elizabeth Trumbo in 1946, about two years after the death of Ada, announced on May 7, 1936 that Sacramento’s new $7 million, 1,100-acre Army Air Corps repair and supply depot, which would later be known as McClellan Field, would be constructed. The base had its formal dedication nearly three years later.
Considering the economic impact that local air bases had on Sacramento, Arthur’s legacy on that point alone is grand.
His name is also preserved through Arthur S. Dudley Elementary School at 8000 Aztec Way in Antelope, and Dudley Boulevard and Dudley Way on the old grounds of McClellan Air Force Base. A small section of Dudley Boulevard was formerly known as Dudley Loop.
Arthur, who continued to serve as the local chamber’s secretary-manager until 1950, led efforts to have the Port of Sacramento constructed and witnessed McClellan’s expansion to more than 2,600 acres, passed away at the age of 94 on Feb. 16, 1977.
Services in his remembrance were held two days after his passing in the East Lawn chapel.
Fairytale Town will showcase a diverse selection of theater performances for children and families each weekend in April for the Children’s Theater Festival. Performing companies include the Fairytale Town Troupers, Shadow Puppet Theatre, Boxtales Theatre Company, Roseville Theatre Arts Academy and more.
“Fairytale Town is home to one of the oldest theaters in Sacramento built for children and used for children’s theater productions,” said Kathy Fleming, executive director of Fairytale Town. “Thousands of children have had their first experience with live theater in the Children’s Theater, and we are excited to continue that legacy for today’s children.”
Fairytale Town’s own repertory theatre arts program, the Fairytale Town Troupers, will kick off the Festival the weekend of April 6 and 7. The Troupers will present “Beauty and the Beat!,” a retelling of the classic fairytale with music, magic and some mid-century mod.
On April 13, Sacramento’s B Street Theatre will present the top five plays selected from the Fantasy Festival XXVII, the theatre’s annual playwriting festival and contest for students in third through eighth grades.
Shadow Puppet Theatre, based in Humboldt County, takes their shadow plays based on stories from around the world to schools, libraries and theatres throughout Northern California. On April 14, Shadow Puppet Theatre will present “Ichi the Spider,” an original story inspired by the trickster tales from West Africa.
On April 20 and 21, Boxtales Theatre Company will present “Prince Rama and the Monkey King,” based on “The Ramayana,” one of India’s most important epics and sacred texts. The Boxtales Theatre Company uses masks, movement, storytelling and live music to present myths and folklore from around the world. The Company is based in Santa Barbara, Calif. and presents their high energy and interactive theatrical experiences for youth and family audiences throughout the state.
Voice of the Wood, an educational performance group based in Davis, Calif., tells stories which celebrate diversity and the triumph of good in the human spirit. On April 27, they will present “How the Jackrabbit Got His Very Long Ears,” a Native American creation myth from the great Southwest desert.
The Roseville Theatre Arts Academy will wrap up the Festival on April 28 with “The Princess and the Pea” told in the commedia dell’arte form. The slapstick-humor in this retelling of the classic fairytale will have the whole audience laughing.
Performances are offered Saturdays and Sundays in April. Show times are 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. All performances take place in Fairytale Town’s indoor Children’s Theater.
Tickets are $2 for nonmembers in addition to park admission, and $1 for members. Tickets can be purchased at the Fairytale Town main gate or at the entrance to the Children’s Theater 15 minutes prior to show time.
For more information, visit www.fairytaletown.org or call 808-7462.
About the Shows
“Beauty and the Beat!”
April 6 and 7: At the corner coffee house, beautiful Beatrix is beloved by all-until her faltering father is forced to sell out to a big-time brute who is all business. With music, magic and some mid-century mod, the Fairytale Town Troupers present a new spin on the classic fairytale “Beauty and the Beast.”
“Fantasy Festival XXVII”
April 13: The top five plays selected from Fantasy Festival XXVII, B Street Theatre’s annual playwriting festival and contest for students in third through eighth grades, will be presented.
“Ichi the Spider”
April 14: In this original show inspired by the traditional West African trickster tales, Shadow Puppet Theatre presents the story of Ichi, a very hungry spider who will do anything to get what he needs.
“Prince Rama and the Monkey King”
April 20 and 21: Using masks, movement, storytelling and live music, the Boxtales Theatre Company tells the story of Rama of Ayodhya and his wife Sita who is abducted by a demon king, and Rama’s journey to win her back and defeat the powers of darkness in the world. Prince Rama is filled with examples of virtue, values and morality lived out in a challenging and complex world. The play is based on “The Ramayana,” one of India’s most important epics and sacred texts from the classical Sanskrit canon.
“How the Jackrabbit Got His Very Long Ears”
April 27: Voice of the Wood presents a Native American creation myth from the great Southwest desert. Jackrabbit’s job is to escort the new desert animals to their homes and explain to them why they were made special to fit into the desert environment. His inattention, or lack of hearing, leads to some hurt feelings and a new set of super-sized ears. The whole audience gets to join in the fun by hooting, howling, singing and snapping fingers during the performance.
April 28: The Roseville Theatre Arts Academy presents a humorous version of the classic fairytale told in the commedia dell’arte form. Arlequin is afraid he will be stuck playing the role of the pea, but he ends up getting to play the prince. The troupe romps through a series of hilarious princess tests with great slapstick humor. A fairy godmother in this story? Rosetta’s playing the role, whether the troupe likes it or not.