Wednesday, February 13, 2008

History Fanatic

Besides making soap, I am a huge history buff. I'm currently interested in the 1850's gold rush era. I'm reading a really great book called "They Saw the Elephant: Women in the California Gold Rush". It's basically about adventuring men, women, and children that braved the hazards of traveling westward, all with the hope/expectation of finding GOLD! Many diary excerpts throughout the book make it really personal.

I was amazed by the story of one family who took a route, a supposed "short cut", that lead them through Death Valley. One diary spoke of the mother in a family who made the trek through the desert carrying one son on her back, a second son was carried in her arms and lead a third son by the hand. The book includes a family portrait after their journey was over. They had all made it through...not the typical scenario.

I'm currently putting together a little presentation for my docent training class on this history of Grass Valley with an emphasis on the gold rush. If you've never been to Grass Valley, then you're missing out. I've been to just about every gold rush era town in the mother lode and Grass Valley is a true gem in comparison to many.

A nicely preserved and restored historic downtown (where you can buy my soap, by the way!), surrounded by beautiful trees, gently rolling hills and beautifully restored historic homes, and amazingly unmarred by urban sprawl. The museums and state parks in Grass Valley give a very complete view of life here during the 1800's. If you're an outdoors type, there is an amazing array of nature to explore. You can still get the traditional "home town" feel here. Can you tell I love it here?!

Anyway, this is my long round about way of explaining the picture I've posted today. It's Grass Valley circa 1860, on Mill Street looking toward Main Street. This is where my summer farmers market is held. This picture doesn't look much different from what it is today...the streets are no longer planked of course, but paved. And the sidewalks look different, better now actually.

Come visit us this summer!