Second annual Santa Cruz County History Fair taking place October 8

Friends of the Cowell Lime Works hosts fair at Louden Nelson Center

July 24, 2016


View and/or print full-sized 2016 History Fair poster.

For the second year in a row, the Friends of the Cowell Lime Works will be hosting the Santa Cruz County History Fair. More than 30 local museums, historians, historical societies, and other groups will have displays and activities at this event. Anyone interested in local history will enjoy seeing the displays of old photographs, maps, books, unusual artifacts, demonstrations, and information on how to do your own research.

This year’s fair will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Santa Cruz as an incorporated city, and the City of Santa Cruz is a co-sponsor of the fair.

  • Date:  Saturday, October 8
  • Time:  Noon to 4 p.m.
  • New Location:  Louden Nelson Community Center, corner of Laurel and Center Streets, Santa Cruz
  • Admission: Free
Informal talks, each of which will be approximately 20 minutes in length, will take place at this year's fair on the following subjects:
  • 1 p.m. — "On the Trail of Ravnos," by Gordon van Zuiden, Board of Trustees, Capitola Historical Museum. Photographer Ole Ravnos lived in Santa Cruz from 1905 to 1945 and took some of the best images of Santa Cruz and Capitola during the early 1900s. For over 15 years, van Zuiden has been tracking down Ravnos photographs and trying to uncover the little-known story of the person behind the camera.  This adventure has taken him from local libraries all the way to Norway, where Ravnos was born.
  • 1:30 p.m. — "Harvesting Our Heritage: Telling a Sweet and Savory History of Santa Cruz County," by Sierra Ryan, Elizabeth Birnbaum, Jody Colclough, and Katie Hansen of the Heritage Food Project. The Santa Cruz Heritage Food Project was launched in 2012 to research and share some of the interesting stories behind the county we love and the foods we love to eat. Come hear the adventures of amateur historians as they navigate local archives, discovering fascinating histories and delicious recipes along the way.
  • 2 p.m. — "Santa Cruz in 1870," by Carey Casey, Blogger for the Santa Cruz History Blog and Chair of the Publications Committee, Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. In 1870, just four years after Santa Cruz was incorporated, artist Charles B. Gifford drew his famous "Bird’s Eye View of Santa Cruz."  Gifford walked each street, sketching buildings for his final image, which is from an imaginary vantage point in the sky. The result is amazingly detailed; but how accurate is it? Join Casey for an exploration of 1870 Santa Cruz using Gifford’s drawing.
  • 2:30 p.m. — "Lo! The Poor Indian: Myths and Realities of the state of Santa Cruz Indigenous People by 1866," by Martin Rizzo, Ph.D. in history from UCSC. In June 1866, the Santa Cruz Sentinel ran an article decrying the state of local Native Americans, declaring them "almost extinct." Drawing on his extensive research on local Indigenous people, Rizzo will discuss the actual state of the surviving community at the time of Santa Cruz incorporation, illuminating little known stories of individuals and families who persevered through this time of great disruption.

Some of the groups and individuals also scheduled to participate are:

Amah Mutsun Relearning Garden, UCSC
Archaeological Research Center
Capitola Historical Museum
Castro Adobe
Davenport Jail Museum
Evergreen Cemetery
Family History Center
Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks
Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County
Kenneth S. Norris Center for Natural History
Ross Eric Gibson
Mobile Ranger
Peter Nurkse
Otter B Books
Scott Peden (Big Basin History)
Quarry Amphitheater Project, UCSC
Researchers Anonymous (SCMAH)
San Lorenzo Valley Museum
Santa Cruz Archaeological Society
Santa Cruz County History Journal
Santa Cruz Heritage Food Project
Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park
Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History
Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Janet Schwind (Skyline History)
Scotts Valley Historical Society
JoAnn Semones (shipwrecks author)
Soquel Pioneer and Historical Association
Universal Universalist Fellowship (150th Anniversary)