Rancho Day Fiesta at the Sanchez Adobe

The Sanchez Adobe in Pacifica is one of three sites that the San Mateo County Historical Association runs programs at. A state historic landmark, the Sanchez Adobe is the second- oldest building in the county.

Don Francisco Sanchez, owner of Rancho San Pedro, built the Sanchez Adobe between 1842-1846. At his Rancho San Pedro, Don Francisco Sanchez raised cattle for the hide-and-tallow trade. In 1842, he started building an adobe home for his family.

The San Mateo County Historical Association has been interpreting the history of this county park for 35 years. During the Rancho Day Fiesta, a living history event, visitors will be invited to make adobe bricks, stamp leather, dip candles, make corn husk dolls, churn butter and participate in other rancho-era activities. The Alta California Dancers will be the featured entertainment, demonstrating dance steps of the mid-nineteenth century.


Upcoming Walking Tours

In celebration of Victorian Days, we still have a few walking tours left in the month of August. Get out there and learn more about this great county!

Redwood City: Union Cemetery – Saturday, August 16 at 10 a.m.
During a docent-led tour, learn how the redwood industry helped the famous people buried in Union Cemetery build Redwood City. The 19th century cemetery is located at Woodside Road and El Camino Real. Call 650.593.1793 for more information.

San Bruno – Saturday, August 16 at 2 p.m.
Join San Mateo County Historical Association President Mitch Postel in an exploration of San Bruno’s historic business district. Starting at the intersection of San Mateo Avenue and El Camino, the walk down San Mateo Avenue includes the original EIMAC building where vacuum tubes were produced for broadcast and radar transmitters.

Pescadero – Sunday, August 24 from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Local historian and Pescadero History Society President, Greg Timm, will lead a walk through historic Pescadero, viewing historical homes, buildings, and churches, and discussing the people and changes of the Pescadero valley. We will meet at the Community Native Sons Hall. Please bring hats, sensible shoes, and water is advised. Please call 650.879.0882 or email gctimm@yahoo.com for any tour related questions. Donations to our Hall Restoration Project are appreciated.

Pacifica: Milagra Ridge – Sunday, August 31 at 1 pm.
Discover Milagra Ridge’s military history from World War II gun emplacements for coastal defense to the Nike missle launch site (1955-1974). The walk is led by Dave Bridgman, who was stationed at Milagra Ridge in the early 1970s. Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Milagra Ridge is one of the few remaining habitats for the mission blue butterfly. Walking shoes are recommended for this two-hour hike on level ground. To get to the walk, from Sharp Park Road turn north on College Drive and continue about 1/4 mile to roadside parking at the Milagra Ridge gate. Parking is limited, carpools are encouraged.

Announcing our 2014 History Maker


We are pleased to announce that our San Mateo County History Maker for 2014 will be Y.A. Tittle, the long time Atherton resident and National Football League (NFL) Hall of Fame quarterback. Each year, the Association hosts its History Maker Dinner that highlights an individual or individuals who have made significant contributions to our regional history and beyond.

Y.A. Tittle is a legendary figure in NFL history. He played (1948-1964) during what sports historians have referred to as the “Golden Era” of professional football, which included ten years with the San Francisco 49ers. He established a home with his family in Atherton and launched an important insurance business here on the Peninsula, working it while also playing ball.

In part, because of his four Most Valuable Player awards and being included in seven Pro Bowls, Tittle was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1971. His participation in the famous “Million Dollar Backfield” of 1954, his development of the “ally-oop” pass in 1957, and the iconic photo of him sitting after being stunned as a result of a play in Pittsburgh in 1964, all give him legendary status in American sports history. I hope you will agree with our History Makers Committee that Y.A. Tittle will make a terrific recipient of our History Makers Award.

Victorian Days at the Old Courthouse


ImageThe San Mateo County Historical Association will present its annual Victorian Days event on August 18, 2013 between noon and 4 p.m. at its San Mateo County History Museum, which is housed in the County’s Old Courthouse at 2200 Broadway in downtown Redwood City.  The program will take place from noon until 4 p.m.  ADMISSION to the Museum will be FREE that day.

Special children’s craft activities are featured and will include making thaumatropes (a moving picture plaything), fashioning picture frames, decorating tea cups, designing old-time hats and creating fans and toy pocket watches.  Youngsters will also learn “the code” of using calling cards, in vogue during the 19th century.

These activities are designed to assist the kids enjoy a Victorian Tea in the Museum’s historic Courtroom A.  The tea will be for adults too.  Four sessions are planned: 1:00, 1:45, 2:30 and 3:15.  Tea, finger sandwiches and scones will be served.  Reenactors will entertain the party goers by portraying well-to-do Peninsulans of the past who will gossip about their neighbors.  Learn about old-time fashion from models wearing Victorian clothes.  The tea will cost $5 for adults and $4 for children under 12.  Call 650.299.0104 to RSVP for a tea session.

Besides enjoying the Museum’s permanent and changing exhibits, visitors that day will be able to stroll “History Lane” on the Museum’s second level, which will have exhibits and representatives from many of the history groups of the Peninsula.

The Museum’s exhibits focus on use of natural resources, suburban development, ethnic experience and entrepreneurial achievement on the Peninsula from the times of the Ohlone Indian through to today.  Victorian Days at the Old Courthouse is sponsored by Cypress Lawn.

The History Museum needs acorns

The San Mateo County History Museum is in need of acorns. We use acorns in our “Providing Plenty” school programs, which serve Bay Area 3rd and 4th graders. We need a supply of at least 15,000 acorns to last us through the school year. If you have an after school program, Boy/Girl Scout Troop, church or other volunteer group – please consider helping us reach that goal! We can also sign any forms for students who need community service hour credits.

Acorns you collect can be delivered to the Museum at 2200 Broadway, Redwood City, 94063. No amount is too great or too small. Your contribution will help us bring quality, educational programs to Bay Area school children.

Child grinding acorns

Acorn grinding station for our “Providing Plenty” school tour

History Makers Dinner Honoring Willie Mays

Willie Mays with Child

On November 8, 2012, the San Mateo County Historical Association will be honoring baseball legend Willie Mays who has been a resident of the Peninsula since 1969. We honor Willie Mays for his activities as a concerned citizen of San Mateo County with charitable interests across our country.

Master of Ceremonies for the evening will be San Francisco Giants baseball announcer Jon Miller.

The event will include a cocktail reception, dinner, film presentation and Live Auction at the Hotel Sofitel in Redwood City, California.

For more information, visit http://www.historysmc.org/main.php?page=historymakers


Auction Sneak-Peek:

 A Sight to See

Private Tour of Hearst Castle with author Victoria Kastner; autographed copy of “Hearst’s San Simeon: The Gardens and the Land”; lodging for four at a Carmel beach house; dinner at Ventana. Organized by the Raiser Family and Katrina and Michael Berube



Opportunity for a teen to be a batboy at a 2013 Giants home game ~ includes front and second row tickets for up to eight. Donated by Charles and Ann Johnson, Jennifer M. Johnson, the Giants and Larry Baer


The Grape Escape

Napa Valley wine tasting tour for 14 ~ includes tastings, tours, lunch and chauffeured transportation from the Peninsula. Organized by Shawn DeLuna and Phillip Raiser


Hey Batter Batter!

Baseball bat autographed by baseball legend, Willie Mays. Donated by the Say Hey Foundation


Surf’s Up

Surf lessons with surf legend, Grant Washburn; accommodations at the Beach House Hotel; dinner at Sam’s Chowder House. Organized by Grant Washburn; Accommodations and dinner donated by Chonita Cleary


“Take Me Out to the Ball Game”

Fourteen seats in a luxury suite for a 2013 home game; dinner; transportation to AT&T Park and more. Luxury suite donated by Franklin Templeton Investments; Transportation and dinner organized by Shawn DeLuna and Phillip Raiser


Shooting with the Sheriff

Target practice session for four with Sheriff Greg Munks; a behind the scenes tour of the San Mateo County Forensic Lab; lunch at a local restaurant. Organized by Sheriff Greg Munks

Victorian Days at the old County Courhouse

Victorian Days Play

Victorian Days

On Sunday, September 23 celebrate Victorian Days at

the History Museum. Discover what Peninsula life was like

in the late 1800s through craft activities, a reenactment and

displays from local historical societies.

The Victorian era was named for Queen Victoria,

who reigned in Great Britain from 1837 to 1901. On the

Peninsula, San Francisco businessmen built lavish Great

Estates. The lifestyle on the Great Estates will be highlighted

in the reenactment Gossip Behind the Gates. Set during a

garden party in the 1890s, high-society guests talk about

how their neighbors acquired wealth, married off their

children and built the estate of their dreams. Performances

will be held at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Attending the circus was a favorite leisure time activity

during the Victorian period. From small performances

featuring a few horses and clowns to extravagant

productions with trapeze performers, riders, acrobats and a

herd of elephants, the circus was an event that attracted the

whole community. Craft activities will highlight features of

the Victorian circus from the train that brought the circus to

town to the big circus tent. The circus theme will continue

outside during Redwood City’s Target Family Day, occuring

concurrently with Victorian Days.

Victorian Days will be held from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. It is a

free event.

Victorian Days Crafts

Victorian Days Play

Victorian Days Crafts

Rancho Day Fiesta | Saturday, 9/15, Pacifica

Dancing at the Sanchez Adobe in Pacifica

On Saturday, September 15 celebrate Mexican
California during the Rancho Day Fiesta at the Sanchez
Adobe, 1000 Linda Mar Boulevard in Pacifica.

Traditional dress– Rancho Day, Sanchez Adbobe

During the event, enjoy early Californian music and
dancers, real rancho food, crafts and demonstrations.
Debuting at the festivities is a carreta built for the
Sanchez Adobe. A carreta or ox cart is a two-wheeled
vehicle used to transport goods. In the 1840s, a carreta
would have been used on the Sanchez rancho to haul
hides for the hide-and-tallow trade.


The Fiesta will occur from 12-4 p.m. Admission is a
$1 suggested donation with additional charge for food
and crafts.

Dancing at the Sanchez Adobe in Pacifica



The History of the Honeybee in San Mateo County | Join us Saturday at 1:00


This Saturday, Montara beekeeper, Catharine Fraley, will be speaking at our Courthouse Docket about the history of the honeybee in San Mateo County.

the honeybee arrived on the San Francisco Peninsula shortly after the California Gold Rush began in 1849

Fraley will discuss how the honeybee arrived on the San Francisco Peninsula shortly after the California Gold Rush began in 1849. She will also delve into recent threats to honeybee populations in the state.

Besides being a beekeeper, Fraley is administrator for a local beekeepers collective that supplies honey to communities in the Bay Area. As a member of the San Mateo Beekeepers Guild,she gives talks and writes articles to raise awareness about honeybees and their positive impact on our environment.

Following the presentation, Fraley will have a sampling of her honey that she sells at various farmers’ markets in San Mateo County.   We hope you will join us for this buzz-worthy presentation on Saturday at 1:00. For more info, please visit our website, historysmc.org.