Free Walking Tours
The Saratoga Historical Foundation will conduct three free docent-led walking tours of the Saratoga Village on the following dates: May 6 at 1:00 PM, May 13 at 11:00 AM, and May 20 at 2:00 PM.

Take the tour and walk by buildings designed by famed architect Julia Morgan, see quaint Queen Anne cottages, colonial revival style, or impressive turn-of-the-century homes as well as learn about the interesting people who once lived in these homes. No reservation is needed—just meet at the time noted in front of the Saratoga History Museum which is located at 20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road in Saratoga. The tour takes about 1- 1 ½ hours. Both children and adults will enjoy the tour.

Lecture on E Clampus Vitus on Wednesday May 17
The Clampers will give a presentation on E Clampus Vitus (ECV) on May 17 at 7:30pm at the Saratoga Foothill Club.

Clamper Luis Santiago and a few friends from the Mountain Charlie Chapter 1850 will tell us about the origin of the nonprofit organization that dates back to the Gold Rush. The potluck will begin at 6:30—be sure to bring food to share, your own eating utensils and plates. SHF will provide coffee or tea.

Santiago promises a fun, informative presentation on this very special historical organization. The colorful organization is known for its tongue-in-cheek approach to history. According to their website, the organization began as a spoof on other lodges and secret societies in the 1850s. The Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus is a fraternal organization dedicated to the study and preservation of Western Heritage, especially the history of the Mother Lode and gold mining regions of the area. SHF members, free; Nonmembers, $5.00 donation.

Lecture on the History of Saratoga on Saturday May 20
The presentation by SHF Historian Ray Cosyn “Saratoga: A Lumber Town,” traces the history of Saratoga from the Ohlone Native Americans to the present historic village. The excitement of the once rollicking lumber town to the battle for incorporation is of interest to every Saratogan, young and old.

Preservation Consultant April Halberstadt’s presentation will cover the benefits of preservation and some of the financial advantages. The lecture will take place at the Saratoga Library on May 20 at 2:00 PM. Free and open to the public.

Honoring Saratogans on May 21
The Saratoga Historical Foundation will honor Nancy Anderson, Jill Hunter, Ron and Linda Hagelin with a catered dinner on May 21. “Honoring Saratogans” will take place on Sunday May 21 from 4:30-6:30 PM at the Saratoga Foothill Club. The event will honor these Saratogans for making significant contributions in the areas of community service, local history, and service. Buy your ticket today—SHF members, $50; nonmembers $55. Send your check to SHF/Honoring Saratogans, PO Box 172, Saratoga, CA 95071

Open Wide—Painless Parker and the History of Dentistry
A new exhibit opens March 10 and will run until July 9 entitled “Open Wide--Painless Parker and the History of Dentistry.” The exhibit will cover the history of dentistry from the 1700s to the present. Actual dentist tools and flyers will be part of the exhibit.

Painless Parker was one of the most famous dentists in the early 1900s. His fame continued when he moved from the East Coast to Saratoga in 1915. He used showmanship – including elephants, musical bands and other unique marketing tools to gain attention and to disguise the patient’s pain. He created the Parker Dental Circus, a traveling medicine show with his dental chair on a horse-drawn wagon while a band played. The band attracted large crowds and hid the moans and cries of patients who were given whiskey or a cocaine solution that he called “hydrocaine” to numb the pain.

He charged 50 cents for each extraction and promised that if it hurt, he’d pay the patient $5. At one point he claimed to have pulled 357 teeth in one day, which he strung on a necklace. Parker was also one of the first to teach the importance of good health care. When he moved to California he bought 300 acres of land next door to SF Newspaper Publisher Fremont Older.

New Public Art for Saratoga Honoring Betty and Willys Peck
How does a city honor citizens who have been critical to the evolution and character of the city?? One way is by works of art. Saratoga’s well- known historian Willys Peck, now deceased, and his legendary teacher-author wife, Betty are such people.

The Saratoga Historical Foundation is sponsoring the creation of life-size bronze figures of Willys and Betty Peck sitting on their famous “Count Your Blessings” bench, with room for people to sit next to them. Noted sculptor Jerry Smith has agreed to render the statues using the “lost wax” process. Smith has created many sculptures including a bronze work for the Saratoga Foothill Club, Bellarmine College, Santa Clara University and more.

No public money is being sought for the project, instead it will be financed by private donations. Willys and Betty Peck have both contributed much to the community. Willys Peck a historian, lawyer, newspaperman, train buff and playwright died in 2013. Peck worked for the Mercury News for a total of 55 years. The lifelong resident of Saratoga documented his memories of Saratoga in several books and worked to preserve Saratoga’s rich history. Betty Peck, known as an innovative educator has spent over 55 years in early education. She created the first community garden in Saratoga. She is also an author of two books on early education.

Placement of the final work will be determined later, but two locations are currently being considered: Blaney Plaza facing Willys and Betty’s beloved town; the front area of the Saratoga History Museum. A committee, chaired by Hugh Roberts, has been formed to raise the funds. “The idea of creating the city of Saratoga originated in the Peck’s garden with a group of like-minded individuals, and the Pecks have always embodied the heart and spirit of Saratoga,” Roberts said.

The goal is to raise $70,000, half right away to get the project underway in order to have it completed within one year. Names of all contributors will be on a scroll given to Betty Peck. Contributions over $250 will receive a copy of Willys’ book, Saratoga Stereopticon, autographed by Betty Peck in appreciation. All contributions should be sent to the Saratoga Historical Foundation, PO Box 172 Saratoga CA 95071 noting ATTN Peck Bench. Tax deductible confirmation will be provided. More information can be found by e-mailing or contacting Hugh Roberts at:

The Saratoga Historical Foundation Museum
The Saratoga Historical Foundation Museum located at Saratoga Historical Park: 20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road, Saratoga, CA
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  • 2017 Upcoming Events
  • Exhibit Painless Parker and the History of Dentistry; through July
  • May 6 Walking tour at 1:00PM; meet in front of the Museum (20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road)
  • May 13 Walking tour at 11:00AM; meet in front of the Museum (20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road)
  • May 17 E Clampus talk by Luis Santiago at 7:30PM at Saratoga Foothill Club (20399 Park Place)
  • May 20 Walking tour at 2:00PM; meet in front of the Museum (20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road)
  • May 20 Saratoga, A Lumber Town by Ray Cosyn and Benefits of Preservation by April Halberstadt at the Saratoga Library at 2:00PM
  • May 21 Honoring Saratogans dinner, 4:30-6:30 at Saratoga Foothill Club (20399 Park Place)

Tell Us About Your Saratoga!
The Saratoga Historical Foundation collects memories and information about Saratoga places, people and more. Please complete the form HERE and help us add to our records! Thank you.

Some Free Things To Do!
Get in touch with local history by taking our historic landmark walking tour, bicycling the historic house tour, and walking around our historic garden with a self-guided tour.

Get out your camera and your walking shoes! The Saratoga Historical Foundation offers docent-led walking tours or you can download the tour and take a self-guided one. The docent-led tours last about 60 minutes with lots of easy walking. Meet your fellow “time travellers” and get some exercise at the same time. Make an appointment today by calling 408-867-4311 and take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the history of your community.

Forget about driving and bicycle our historic house tour. See over 30 heritage homes on this self-guided bicycle tour. Want just a little exercise? Walk the historic garden in the Saratoga Historical Park—a copy of the self-guided tour is available outside near the Museum door or by downloading. The plants look different with each season so there is reason to return again and again. Find out how Native American children used ferns.

The walking tour, historic house bicycle tour, and the garden tour maps can be downloaded from this site.

Speaker Available
If you are in need of a speaker on history and local Saratoga history—contact Saratoga Historical Foundation Historian Ray Cosyn. Cosyn has developed the following presentations—most 30-40 minutes in length with quality slides using historic images:

  • Saratoga: A Lumber Town, traces the history of Saratoga from the Ohlone’s to the present historic village. The excitement of the once rollicking lumber town to the battle for incorporation is of interest to every Saratogan.
  • The Interurban Railway, yearn for the days of a trip by rail to San Jose or Palo Alto on the sleek Interurban Railway? The mass transit train, carrying packages and people, once quietly traveled the Santa Clara Valley.
  • Prohibition—sit back and enjoy hearing about the driest town in the valley – a period of time that lasted over 40 years. Interesting stories about the effect of Prohibition on the local wineries (including Paul Masson) will make you smile.
  • Lincoln’s Funeral Train- miracles and sadness traveled with the death of Present Abraham Lincoln as his funeral train made it’s last journey.
  • Flying Tigers – find out more about these intrepid Americans who fought an air war prior to WWII for freedom in China.
The presentations are appropriate for groups of all ages. Cosyn has given presentations to those interested in the Civil War, railroads, winemakers, high schools, as well as local history and other organizations. If you are interested in having Cosyn speak before your organization, you can contact him HERE. More information on lectures HERE.

Plans for a New Blacksmith Exhibit
The recorded sounds of a blacksmith forge might ring in the hills as the Saratoga Historical Foundation raises funds to convert an existing outside area into an interactive blacksmith exhibit. The blacksmith exhibit ties into the nearby 1850’s McWilliams House because the owner, James McWilliams was Saratoga’s second blacksmith.

The blacksmith exhibit will house tools and items normally worked on by a blacksmith. Some interactivity and possibly sound effects will be available. Also planned is a nonfunctional outhouse—as part of the turn of the century theme of all the structures in the Saratoga Historical Park. All the structures—McWilliams House, one-room schoolhouse, museum, and soon the blacksmith exhibit are used to teach pioneer living as well as Saratoga’s rich history.

If you would like to contribute to this exhibit ($5000 contribution and higher will be part of a plaque on the outside of the exhibit), please send your contribution to: Blacksmith Exhibit, c/o Saratoga Historical Foundation, PO Box 172, Saratoga, CA 95071. Your donation is tax deductible.

Support the Saratoga Historical Foundation with AmazonSmile

The Saratoga Historical Foundation is now on the AmazonSmile list. Visit when you want to purchase an item and select the Saratoga Historical Foundation, by doing so, .5% of your purchase will be donated to the Saratoga Historical Foundation. No extra cost to you-- it is part of a program initiated by Amazon to give back to the community.

Community Service
Saratoga High School students looking to fulfill community service requirements can contact Linda Hagelin at the Saratoga History Museum. Please e-mail HERE with the date you can work. The museum is open Friday-Saturday and Sunday from 1-4PM.

Saratoga Historical Foundation  ·  20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road, Saratoga, CA 95070-5935  ·  #408.867.4311