Hand Fan Museum
by Emerian Rich
In Healdsburg, California, about an hour and a half northwest from Contra Costa County, is America’s only Hand Fan Museum. Opened by Pam Sher in 2002, the collection started with about one thousand fans, but now is about four thousand.
Pam was a history teacher in Oakland when she became fascinated with fans. As she collected more, she wanted to share them with the public.
Most of the fans on display are from the 1700s of French or Japanese origin. Their oldest fan is from the 1600s. Every fall they invite an American collector to show their fans in their museum for a special event.
The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday 11am to 4pm, except on rainy days, when they close to protect the fans. Director Liz Keeley is on hand to answer questions and give more information about the fans, and they have a few fan related items you can purchase so you can take… continue reading the Spring 2018 issue.
By Sumiko Saulson
Berkeley is a progressive college town, well known for its commitment to arts, culture, and the ecology. It’s the first US city to create accessible spaces and curbside cutouts for the mobility impaired back in the seventies.
Farmer’s markets, pro-cyclist events like Sunday Streets Berkeley, plentiful bicycle lanes, and automobile-free zones, community gardens, composting, recycling centers, urban farming, and parks dedicated to preserving native wildlife are part of how Berkeley works towards a greener planet.
University of California Berkeley is home to a beautifully manicured thirty-four acre botanical garden featuring foot bridges, relaxing streams, lush flora, and aromatic flowers from around the globe. It’s Student Organic Garden at the corner of Walnut and Virginia Streets, encourages urban farmers to grow healthy, earth-friendly fresh foods…continue reading in the Spring 2018 issue.
Ruth Bancroft Garden is a tranquil garden in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Walnut Creek. Nestled behind a fence line, it’s an oasis full of succulents. The garden is a place where you can view exotic and endangered plant life year around, meditate in nature, or view local artist sculptures at one of the many annual events they host each year. Most residents of Contra Costa County have never heard of Ruth Bancroft Garden or what she accomplished with her collection of exotic succulents. Bancroft is not just a street tying Concord, Walnut Creek, and Pleasant Hill together. It’s a landmark dedicated to a great woman who was fascinated by succulents.
Ruth had a passion for plants even as a child living in Berkeley. She explored the undeveloped hills of Berkeley, examining wildflowers and digging up small plants to replant in her own yard. Her early garden included a collection of irises, which she received from Sydney B. Mitchell, the founder of the American Iris Association, and Carl Salbach, an iris breeder.
Graduating from UC Berkeley with a teaching degree, she taught at a school in Merced for a few years before meeting her husband, Philip Bancroft, Jr. and moving to the family farm in Walnut Creek. Her plant enthusiasm only flourished when surrounded by the 400-acre walnut and pear farm, but she was most fascinated with water-conserving plants and collected hundreds of potted succulents, all kept in greenhouses. When Ruth was given approximately 3.5 acres of the farm to plant a new garden, she enlisted the help of Lester Hawkins, co-founder of Western Hills Nursery, to help create the pathways and beds where she transplanted her potted succulent species collection which counted…READ MORE. Get your copy today!
SCRAP, San Francisco
By Emerian Rich
SCRAP is an awesome place for crafters, teachers, and makers. Essentially an art and crafts thrift store, this nonprofit is a great place to both donate and shop.
Calling themselves “a source for the resourceful”, SCRAP is a creative re-use center, material depot, and workshop space founded in 1973. Breathing new life into old objects, SCRAP reduces waste by diverting over 200 tons of materials heading to landfill every year. For those looking for a learning opportunity, SCRAP offers classes and workshops. Some are regular drop-in events, while others require registration beforehand.
Located at 801 Toland Street, San Francisco, this is a creators dream. Supplies are inexpensive and range from fabric and home decorating items to paper, craft supplies, crayons, and books. Educators will love…continue reading in the Winter issue for 2017.
By Leslie Light
Rodeo, California was not my first choice to live in. It’s a small town on the north-western edge of the San Francisco Bay Area. It isn’t tony, or upscale, or even hipster. What it is, however, is easy. Easy to get to and out of. Easy to stay in and make a quiet home. We’ve been here five years and will probably stay five more.
Rodeo is bisected by the I-80 freeway. The built up part of town can be divided into three areas: Old, Mid-Century, and New. Most of the Rodeo town limits is open space where cows graze, and there is rumored to be an old military installation somewhere. Regardless of where you are, you can see a field of grass.
In the “old” part of town are cute three and four bedroom houses built before WWII. Sitting porches with views of rose bushes are the primary look and feel. Many have back decks have a view of San Pablo Bay. Most of the Mid-Century houses were built for…continue reading in the Winter issue for 2017.
Galindo House, Concord
By Emerian Rich
Most Concord residents never knew the Galindo house existed until a few years ago when the Concord Historical Society took charge of the estate and cleaned up the trees and greenery in front of it.
Located at 1721 Amador Avenue, Galindo House was built in 1856 for one of Concord’s founders, Don Francisco Galindo and his wife Maria Dolores Manuella Pacheco. The six-room farmhouse sat on the then seventeen-thousand acres of land granted to Galindo after the Mesoamerican War. The names Galindo and Pacheco will sound familiar to residents because many of our streets and buildings are named after the founding fathers. Don Salvio Pacheo’s Adobe at 1870 Abode Street—belonging to Maria’s father—is another notable building still standing from that time period, but Galindo House was the first wooden house built in town. …continue reading in the Winter issue for 2017.
By Emerian Rich
Rancho El Sobrante used to be the home of the Huichin, an Ohlone Tribe. Spanish missionaries took over the land around 1795, and after Mexico independence from Spain, it was deeded to Juan Jose and Victor Castro. El Sobrante is Spanish for “remaining land” and it’s fitting, given the three odd -shaped pieces of land it covers in-between Pinole, Richmond, and San Pablo.
El Sobrante used to have the reputation of being wild but in recent years has become a more family oriented with many parks in the area. Kennedy Grove, for example, is a great place to have picnics or toss around a football. They also have hiking trails and excellent bird-watching opportunities. For water sports, San Pablo Reservoir offers fishing, boat rentals, kayaking, and canoeing. Water birds abound at the reservoir including white pelicans, geese, ducks, and shorebirds. Along the trails, you can see wild turkey, quail, and dove, as well as predators such as eagles, ospreys, hawks, and owls. You might even spy a deer or a bobcat.
The annual El Sobrante Stroll is an event…continue reading in the Fall issue for 2017.
BAY AREA, Maritime Museums
By Sumiko Saulson
As a world-renowned seaport, the San Francisco Bay Area is home to several maritime museums. The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is home to two maritime history museums: the J. Porter Shaw Library of Maritime History and the Maritime Museum across from Ghirardelli Square.
Aquatic Park Cove, is an encased area with swimming between Hyde Street Pier and Aquatic Park Pier. There are several historical vessels one can visit along Hyde Street Pier. The oldest, the 1886 squarerigger Balclutha, looks like a pirate ship Vallejo’s Mare Island Strait is home to a haunting series of partially deconstructed naval vessels called the Razorblade Fleet. The Mare Island Museum gives a glimpse into the island’s history with tours of maritime vessels and officer’s quarters. The Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum showcases the city’s long history as a naval port. …continue reading in the Summer issue for 2017.
by Emerian Rich
Concord is the largest city in Contra Costa County. Founded in 1869 by Salvio Pacheco as Todo Santos, the name was changed within months to Concord. Now, the city center park, Todos Santos Plaza, is a reminder of that first name. With multiple stops on the BART system to connect it with San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland, Concord has expanded past its bedroom community status. New condos and neighborhood renovation has made this community bigger in the past few years as lack of housing has pushed the city to think of new innovative ways to build.
Residents enjoy a wide array of entertainment packed in to the thirty miles of town. The Concord Pavilion on one side of town brings in headliners and festivals. On the other side Solano Drive-in—one of the last surviving Bay Area drive-in theaters—hosts not only movies, but a year-round public swap meet Saturdays and Sundays.
In the center of town, Todos Santos Plaza hosts a weekly farmer’s market with a wide array of fruits and vegetables at reasonable rates. A handful of hot food vendors, including my favorite teriyaki-on-a-stick booth, offer ready-made goods to enjoy… Read more in the Summer issue of SEARCH Magazine.
by Emerian Rich
This summer, adventuring doesn’t have to involve expensive plane tickets or resort stays. In this article, we will bring you some amazing places to go, play, and explore right in our own backyard. If you enjoy walking, cycling, camping, or beach combing, we’ve got you covered.
Camping in Mount Diablo State Park ~ Family Fun
Bordered by Walnut Creek and Clayton, Mount Diablo State Park often goes unnoticed by locals. An excellent place to camp close to home, with the added bonus of spectacular Bay Area views. The park offers many nature trek and biking trails. Mount Diablo’s peak at 3,849 feet, is visible to most of us in the Bay Area, but few know the history of the mountain. What we call Mount Diablo (Devil Mountain) is a sacred mountain to many Californian Native Indian tribes and is fabled to be the point of creation. Known by many names, it was never considered a bad place for the tribes, who often pilgrimaged there to hold ceremonies. Legend has it that Mount Diablo’s negative connotation originated in 1805 when the Spanish soldiers had trouble tracking the Indians through the willow thicket. Today Mount Diablo is known for a place families can picnic, hike, and camp as well as an excellent workout for cyclists. The park offers many walking trails and …continue reading the Summer issue of SEARCH Magazine.