Lecture: "California's Historic El Camino Real Bells"
Ring in the new year with a rousing talk by John Kolstad on "California's Historic El Camino Real Bells. Part of the Saratoga History Museum's lecture series, the lecture takes place January 22 at 7:30 PM at the Saratoga Foothill Club. A potluck precedes the lecture-bring food to share and your own eating utensils.

Kolstad will discuss the history of the El Camino Real, the history of the bells, how the bells are made, and the fascinating story of how the company (originally founded in the 1900s) was brought back to life. The plan had been to place one bell along each mile of the El Camino Real Highway, in front of each Mission, and also selected historical landmarks. By 1913, a goal of 450 bells was reached. One bell was placed in front of each Mission and the balance were placed along the El Camino Real Highway. Since then over 586 bells were replaced on the 101 highway.

Kolstad, a popular speaker, owns Direct Mortgage and is the owner of the California Bell Company.

The lecture is free to members of the Saratoga Historical Foundation; nonmembers pay $5.00 at the door. The Saratoga Foothill Club is located at 20399 Park Place in Saratoga. For more information go up to www.saratogahistory.com or call 408-867-4311.

Apron Strings and Vintage Things-New Exhibit
A new exhibit, "Apron Strings and Vintage Things" will open at the Saratoga History museum on January 11 and run through April 28. The exhibit features over 60 colorful aprons dating from 1870 to the present. Aprons have been around for hundreds of years-worn by both men and women. Stop by the museum at 20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road to see the display. The museum is open from 1-4 PM Friday, 10-4 PM on Saturday and 1-4 PM on Sunday. Admission is free.

Louise and George Cooper Historical Essay Contest
Children from grades fourth through fifth in Saratoga schools (private and public) are invited to participate in the Louise and George Cooper Essay contest through their schools. Students who are home-schooled in Saratoga may also participate. This is the third year the contest has been held by the Saratoga Historical Foundation. Information packets will be delivered in January to schools.

The theme of this year's contest is "Apron Stories." Students are encouraged to research the topic at the library, Saratoga History Museum who will have an exhibit on that topic beginning January 11 or using any other resources. The essay should be no longer than 300 words. Criteria for judging the essays is included in the information packet. Information packets can also be downloaded here.

Three winners at each grade level will receive cash prizes: first place, $50, second, $30; and third, $20. Winners will be notified by February 11. Classes with winning essays, students, parents, teacher, principal will be invited to an ice cream social held at the Saratoga library. During the ice cream social, winners will be recognized by the Saratoga City Council.

The deadline to submit is February 6 at 9 AM when essay envelopes will be picked up at the schools. Teachers will be notified on February 11. Home school students can drop off the essays at the museum.

To volunteer to help judge the essays and for more information, call Linda Hagelin at 408-867-4311 or email Linda@saratogahistory.com.

More information about the contest go up to www.saratogahistory.com and download the entry forms.

George and Louise Garrod Cooper were lifetime members of the PTA. The Garrod family has lived in Saratoga since 1893. This is the first year the essay contest has been held.

The Saratoga History Museum is located at 20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road in Saratoga. The museum is open from 1-4 PM Friday and Sunday and 10-4 PM on Saturday.

For the Love of ApricotsNew Cookbook-Just in Time for the Holidays
The Museum Gift Shop has "For the Love of Apricots" a new cookbook feature recipes using fresh and dried apricots. Purchase one for yourself or for a gift. The full color cookbook by Lisa Newman is packed with recipes and reminisces about growing up in Saratoga. Stop by and buy a copy!

Walking Tours
Take a walking tour of the Saratoga Village. This docent-led tour takes about 1 to 1 and ˝ hours. Find out about the history of your community. To make a reservation, call 408-867-4311. Docent-led tours cost $3.00 per person.

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.

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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  • 2019 Upcoming Events
  • Jan 22, 7:30PM "California's Historic El Camino Real Bells"
  • Jan 11 through Apr 28 "Apron Strings and Vintage Things"

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.

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 and Sunday from 1-4PM, Saturday from 10PM to 4PM.

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 travelled 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.

Visit the Museum Gift Shop
We've just added the new, "For the Love of Apricots" cookbook to the gift shop. Perfect as a gift or for you! This locally-written cookbook combines memories of the Valley of Heart's Delight plus tasty recipes. The gift shop also has many books on local history, postcards, notecards and more. The gift shop is open Friday and Sunday from 1-4 PM and on Saturdays from 10AM-4PM.

Support the Saratoga Historical Foundation with AmazonSmile

The Saratoga Historical Foundation is now on the AmazonSmile list. Visit www.amazonsmile.com 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.

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