Poisoned Again! The Coverup and Murder of Jane Stanford
Join us on May 21 for the intriguing lecture, “Poisoned Again! The Coverup and Murder of Jane Stanford.” The free lecture will take place at 7:30 PM and will be given by John Hackmann, Palo Alto Historical Association President at the Immanuel Lutheran Reception hall at 14103 Saratoga Avenue in Saratoga.
The presentation is based on Dr. Robert WP Cutler’s book, The Mysterious Death of Jane Stanford, printed by Stanford University Press in 2006.
Jane Lathrop Stanford was the co-founder of Stanford University together with her husband, Leland Stanford. They founded the university in 1891 as a memorial to their only child, Leland Stanford Jr. Jane Stanford, took over the directorship of Stanford University after her husband’s death. With a firm hand she saved the university from bankruptcy and had teachers fired. She frequently was at odds with the President of the University, David Starr Jordan who felt she wielded too much power..
In 1905 she found rat poison in a water bottle and after drinking a sip threw it out. Nothing came of the investigation. Shaken, a few months later she took a trip to Hawaii where after eating a meal, became ill and local officials pronounced her dead from strychnine poison. Jordan flew to Hawaii and had another doctor change the cause of death to heart failure.
Relay for Life June 1-- Saratoga History Museum is participating!
Cancer strikes the young and old. Support the annual Relay for Life by sponsoring a runner or by making a donation. Simply go up to www.relayforlife.org/saratogaca and scroll down to Saratoga History Museum. All proceeds go to Relay For Life. If you would like to run, an entry fee is $10 and benefits the cause. Join us on Saturday June 1 at 10 AM-- the event will go until Sunday 10AM June 2. The museum will have a table in the St. Andrews playground (13601 Saratoga Avenue in Saratoga) with literature promoting membership and our many programs. Any questions, contact Nancy Kirk at 408-621-5922. The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a life-changing event that helps our community celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease.
Betty and Willys Peck—the Heart of Saratoga—New Exhibit Opens May 31
Take a sentimental journey as both Betty and Willys Peck are recognized for their many contributions to the community in a new exhibit. Betty and Willys Peck—the Heart of Saratoga. The exhibit opens May 31 with memorabilia and photos focusing on the Peck’s many contributions in the areas of drama, music, historical preservation, nature and community service.
A special reception is planned for June 23 from 1-3 PM at the Saratoga History Museum and is open to the public. Music and light refreshments will be enjoyed.
During the period of the exhibit and on the third Sunday of each month, some of the presentations Willys gave will be shown: July 21—Southern Pacific; August 18 – Walking Tour; September 11 – Peninsular Interurban Railway and October 20 – School Memories. These tapes will be shown at 2 PM in the museum (20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road). Free admittance.
Willys Peck—Saratoga Historian Passed Away 1923-2013
Willys Peck, well-known historian, passed away April 16. Peck was a historian, lawyer, newspaperman, train buff, playwright, disc jockey, and author during his lifetime.
Known for his passion for Saratoga, he wrote and told engaging stories about growing up in Saratoga; about walking in the orchards; about famous personalities in Saratoga, riding the Interurban railroad; and playing a duck in a play with actress Olivia de Havilland.
He was active in the community—saving the Memorial Arch (a landmark), finding a building and location for the Saratoga History Museum, and ensuring that Saratoga did not become part of San Jose. He was president of the Saratoga Historical Foundation for over 19 years and had continued to serve on the board of directors since the 1960’s. He was a museum docent for over 40 years. Some people thought of him as “Mr. Saratoga.” And one mayor even gave him the moniker of “Town Character” after an article on Saratoga in Life magazine appeared in the 1950’s and used the term “characters” in describing the locals.
Those wishing to make a donation for a memorial make send a contribution to Saratoga Historical Foundation, PO Box 172, Saratoga, CA 95071.
Blossoms, Sunshine, and Saratoga—Remembering the Blossom Festival
The Saratoga History Museum opens a new exhibit February 8: “Blossoms, Sunshine, and Saratoga—Remembering the Blossom Festival.” The exhibit will run through the end of May.
The Blossom Festival originated in 1900 as a celebration of the end of a two-year drought and the resulting beauty of the blossoming orchards. Dr. Edwin Sidney Williams, a retired minister, came up with the idea of the event. The event was so successful it was held each year for the next 40 years—growing larger and larger and reaching 20,000 attendees one year. Williams called the event a “thanksgiving jollification” and became known locally as the “Father of the Blossom Festival.” Come see photos, artifacts, and memorabilia covering this important event that brought governors, senators, and more to see the orchard blossoms of Saratoga.
The Saratoga History Museum is located on 20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road in Saratoga and open from 1-4 PM Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The Santa Clara County Fire Department has interesting information and pictures about the history of the Saratoga fire station here
|The Saratoga Historical Foundation Museum located at Saratoga Historical Park: 20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road, Saratoga, CA
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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
Survey For Saratoga, CA Citizens
The Saratoga Historical Museum wishes to survey and document the ideas, dreams, and facts about a group of Saratogans who did something quite extraordinary. They uprooted themselves, left their families and countries of origin and the "comforts of home". They took a risk not only by moving to and living in a new country, the USA, but also by changing their citizenship status. From the Museum’s standpoint, these special individuals are making and changing history and adding to the great cultural mix of Saratoga, CA and the USA. If you would like to be part of this survey, live in Saratoga, CA, immigrated here from another country and have become a citizen-- please download the survey!
Download HERE (29Kb .doc file).
Calling All Village Historians
Any one who wants to write about the historic buildings in the Saratoga Village where restaurants are located i.e. what used to be in that building; what buildings can be seen from the restaurant windows or what the buildings next to them used to be are welcome to become a "Village Historian." Send your information to Willys Peck c/o SHF, PO Box 172 Saratoga, CA 95071. The information will be sent to each restaurant so that customers can read and enjoy this historic information while they wait to be served.
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.
Some Free Things To Do!
Get in touch with local history by: 1) taking our historic landmark walking tour 2) bicycling the historic house tour 3) 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.