by Carole Taylor
“Over 150 years ago in a remote part of the mountains of Northern California, a complete society grew up. In Plumas and Sierra counties alone were numerous communities, La Porte, St. Louis, Howland Flat, Pine Grove, Poker Flat, Onion Valley, Thistle Shaft, Poverty Hill, Scales, just to name a few. .... History tells us the reason for the rise of these communities: the Discovery of Gold! However, there is less known about the communities and especially the buildings themselves.“
So begins Heidi Sheehan-Marsh’s new book about the Sugar Pine Shake industry of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Dedicated to the memory of her father, Forest Sheehan, the last of the historic shake-makers, and written with the help of her brother Ormonde Sheehan, this richly illustrated volume tells the story of the three-foot, handmade shakes that formed the roofs and sidings of the homes and buildings of the early mining communities.
We are thrilled to host Ms. Marsh on our Opening Day. She will be available to autograph her books and answer questions in the Museum along with a working model of a Shake Tree adjacent to the lumber exhibit. In addition exhibits related to mining, ranching, native Americans, and daily life of Gold Rush Era including a vast collection of 19th-century photos and documents from the local towns are on display. A genealogy area is available for those interested in researching their own ancestry or the families that settled here.
Just outside the Museum proper, visitors can relive the life of the old-timers in Gold Trader Flat, a replica village of an 1800s gold mining town. Stroll along the boardwalk from chapel to saloon with our costumed docents. At the blacksmith shop, smithy Jeb Swart will be demonstrating his remarkable craftsmanship while, in the mining area, kids will have the chance to pan for gold themselves. At the Mercantile, an assortment of old-time toys and novelties and homemade baked goods will make for fun shopping refreshed by ice cold bottles of sarsaparilla.
A highlight of the day is the Chili Cook-off held between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. Five dollars buys a complete tasting kit for this intensely competitive event where local chefs and amateur cooks vie for Judges’ and People’s Choice Awards. Want something to go with the chili? Our Pantry has hot dogs, great burgers, and snacks to fill every tummy.
A warning to visitors: You are entering the Old West, and outlaws may be lurking. Gun fights have been known to break out between the miscreants. Fortunately, Sheriff Andy Hill can be relied on to settle any disputes and the jail is always waiting to accommodate law-breakers.
Despite the rough and tumble atmosphere of the gold rush, the Liberty Hotel maintains high standards for the comfort of its guests. Check into the lobby and tiptoe upstairs to imagine yourself spending a night in one of the guest rooms.
You won’t want to leave without touring the amazing display of early gas engines in Forbestown Park adjoining the Museum. Preserved and cherished by members of the Foothill Fly wheelers, century-old technology was put to good use by our forebears in settling the west and building the early communities. Come and join us in celebrating the gold rush history of our beautiful Sierra foothills.
Admission to the Museum and Gold Trader Flat is always free. Donations and proceeds go towards the Museum and interpretive village both of which are supported entirely through private memberships and donations and maintained by volunteers for the benefit of the community. Membership and volunteer information will be available for those interested.
SATURDAY, June 3, 2017
9:00 A.M. TO 4:00 P.M.
19096 New York Flat Road, Forbestown, California