The Hidden Stories Series is one of California State Parks Foundation’s newest programs, and is aimed at telling the stories of varying groups that have contributed to California’s rich history in its 280 magnificent state parks. The Series, began in 2009, is designed to be implemented over a two year cycle: in year #1, a conference is held that focuses on a particular group’s stories, and in year #2, programmatic recommendations stemming from the conference are launched. In short, over the two-year cycle, hidden stories are discovered, told and thereby uncovered and shared with the public.
The potential for the Series is broad. We plan to hold conferences that will examine the hidden stories of a whole range of communities, including Japanese-American, Chinese-American, Latino/a, Native American, women and more. We also plan to present smaller, more narrowly focused events from time to time, such as an ”Insider Tours” of state parks and special receptions.
The programmatic initiative that came out of our first conference: “100 Years Since Allensworth: Is California Living Up To The Legacy?” is the website you are viewing right now. Participants expressed the need to have one place where they can go for resources, information, links and articles about the subjects they care about. We encourage you to comment on this site with suggestions for expansion, improvements and changes, as well as your opinion on the articles we will be posting. We look forward to hearing from you, and welcome!
Parks, Work, Play and Civic Engagement
September 22, 2011
California State Parks Foundation’s second Hidden Stories Conference, “Russian Influences in California’s History,” was a rousing success! Generously supported by grants from the Renova Fort Ross Foundation, the Russkiy Mir Foundation, Chevron, and the Consulate General of the Russian Federation, San Francisco, as well as a valuable partnership with the Fort Ross Interpretive Association, the day was attended by over 150 people from all over California.
The morning began with a panel about Russian trade along the California coast in the early 1800’s: “Sea-Otter Skins, Grain, and Warm Ports: Russia’s Maritime Frontier in Early California.” Speakers Dr. Ken Owens, Professor Emeritus of History, California State University, Sacramento, Dr. Kent G. Lightfoot, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, and Dr. Glen Farris, Historical Archeologist and Ft. Ross Interpretive Association member, gave a spirited and fascinating account of life in California at the turn of the century, and the very active role Russian sailors and traders played in that life.
Sarah Sweedler, Elizabeth Goldstein, Consul General Vladimir Vinokulov
The next panel focused on immigration: “Russian Immigration: Routes, Arrival and Assimilation.” Dr. Michael W. Tripp, Professor of Geography, Vancouver Island University, British Columbia, Ms. Maria Sakovich, MPH, MA, Historian and Author, and Ms. Eugenia Bailey, Historian and Russian Émigré, all not only told the story of Angel Island and the Russian community in San Francisco, but also shared personal family history that added perspective and depth to their presentations.
Russkiy Mir Foundation
The last panel of the day focused on recreation: “Russian Scouting in California Parks and Wildlands.” Panelists Ms. Irene Bogoslovsky, Scoutmaster, St. George Pathfinders, Dr. Anatol Shmelev, Curator, Russian/CIS Collection, Hoover Institute, Stanford University, and Archpriest Alexander Krassovsky, Rector of Sts. Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Church, not only explained the history and importance of scouting in Russian culture, but also shared personal memories and experiences.
Director Ruth Coleman,
California State Parks
The evening ended with a delightful reception at the Russian Consulate, generously hosted by Mr. Vladimir N. Vinokurov, Consul General of the Russian Federation. To the sound of live Russian folk music, guests enjoyed cocktails, hors d'oeuvre and animated conversations. CSPF presented Mr. Vinokurov and Ms. Sweedler with gifts to express our appreciation for their unstinting support. A good time was had by all.
Dr. Glenn Farris
CSPF was truly impressed by the passion and enthusiasm shown by all the conference attendees for Russian culture and history in our state parks. As we approach Fort Ross’s 200th anniversary in 2012, we are reminded of the critical role parks play in understanding and appreciating California’s history. The material presented at the conference, along with all the innovative ideas presented at the plenary session, will be gathered and analyzed by CSPF staff and partners to evaluate priorities for moving forward in the future. CSPF has established a “seed money” fund for programmatic initiatives and will be looking to encourage and develop ways to collaborate with community partners and experts to drive an acquisitions and interpretive strategy that fills significant gaps in the story told in the parks system, and beyond. Programmatic initiatives could include projects such as a lecture series, monographs, books and other publications, interpretive programs at specific parks (such as living history), and a wide range of social media innovations. Other strategies could address media, academia, libraries, schools, etc. Stay tuned for more news from Hidden Stories!
Sara Feldman, Jan Kalicki, Vladimir Vinokoruv, Vasily Istratov,
Olga Miller, Sarah Sweedler, Ruth Coleman, Elizabeth Goldstein
Explorers. Entrepreneurs. Enigmas.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
The Hidden Stories Series continued to grow with our reception in San Diego on September 23, in honor of two early African-American settlers, Allen Light and Richard Freeman. Light and Freeman co-owned the San Diego House in the 1850s, a single-level saloon and provisions store, now a part of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
The first full day of autumn brought ideal weather for the 70 park supporters and history buffs in attendance. They gathered for wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres at the newly-remodeled outdoor patio of Cosmopolitan Hotel, another historic building in Old Town San Diego. The evening began with Elizabeth Goldstein, CSPF President, who spoke passionately about Proposition 21; followed by State Parks’ Clay Phillips, who discussed the devastating effects of the budget cuts; and continued with Historian Guire John Cleary’s history presentation on Light and Freeman, closing with a tour of Old Town San Diego and the San Diego House.
The reception was an offshoot of our first Hidden Stories Series conference in May 2009 titled: “100 Years Since Allensworth: Is California Living Up to the Legacy?” The conference focused on African-Americans and their unknown stories in the foundation of the State Parks system. Allensworth—the first town established and populated by African-Americans in 1908, near Bakersfield--prompted the first conference and it resulted in this new website, Conference participants expressed the need to have one place where they can go for resources, information, links and articles about the subjects they care about. We encourage you to comment on the Hidden Stories website with suggestions for expansion, improvements and changes.
Our second Hidden Stories conference is in the planning stages, and will be in the fall of 2011. This conference will focus on Russian history and state parks, as Ft. Ross State Historic Park will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2012. Please check back soon on the website for more information!
Is California Living Up To The Legacy?
Tuesday, May 4th, 2009
The inaugural conference in the Hidden Stories series, entitled “100 Years Since Allensworth: Is California Living Up To The Legacy?” was a smashing success. The conference was generously underwritten by lead sponsor Sempra Energy/Southern California Gas Company, as well as Nestle, Northrup Grummond and The National Trust for Historic Preservation. A heartfelt thank you also goes out to Susan Anderson, curator and the conference’s moderator, for her leadership. Nearly 100 participants attended, mainly from the greater Los Angeles area, but people also came from as far away as San Diego and Oakland.
The morning began with a rousing speech from the President of CSPF, Elizabeth Goldstein. Two outstanding presentations followed: a panel of three experts discussed the fascinating history of the Gold Rush, and then a second panel talked about recreation and beach culture in Southern California.
Highlights included the fascinating story of James Beckwourth, explorer extraordinaire; an account of the Monroe-Gooch family of Coloma, from whom Sutter’s Fort and Marshall’s gold discovery site were acquired and in a more modern vein, a great presentation on Bruce’s Beach and the history (and future) of African-American surfers. The audience was extremely engaged, with many questions and comments for the panelists.
Lunch was enlivened by the presence of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who introduced the keynote speaker, the Honorable Willie L. Brown. Mayor Brown riveted the entire group with a mesmerizing account of how Allensworth SHP came into existence and his role in that process.
The afternoon also offered many absorbing stories. The last panel, focused on San Diego-Old Town and downtown - were a particular focus. Highlights of this session included the story of Allen Light, a man of many professions, including hunter, explorer, mariner, hotel owner, and holder of a commission from the Mexican government designating him as “principal arbiter of the National Armada, assigned to the branch of Otter Fishing,” and an interesting account of the ultimately successful battle to save historic African-American buildings
The conference then broke into four groups: Media, Education, Parks, and Historic and Cultural Preservation. Each group was led by an expert in the field who volunteered his or her efforts. The groups were very engaged and generated many excellent ideas for projects and programs. The ideas brainstormed in these four groups are currently being studied for future action. The afternoon ended with an excellent speech from Director Ruth Coleman.
The beautiful new visitors center at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook served as the venue for that sevening’s reception. The view was stupendous, with all of Los Angeles spread out around the park. Excellent jazz music was provided by students from Washington Preparatory High School.
Many community members attended the reception, which was very generously hosted by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who presented congratulatory scrolls to California State Parks, CSPF and several others.
A good time was had by all.
Conference generously sponsored by:
|Reception generously sponsored by:|
Photos courtesy of:
The 3rd Hidden Stories conference is set for October 2nd & 3rd, 2013 at the California Endowment in downtown Los Angeles and will feature a dinner banquet at the LA Plaza de Cultures y Artes. Mark your calendars! To be added to our mailing list for this event, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
CSPF’s Hidden Stories conference will explore Latino/a history in the context of California’s state parks. Many state parks ably include interpretation of the contributions of historical Latino/a figures and the historical context of the time and place. This conference seeks to go beyond existing interpretation to look at “the stories beneath the stories” of this important historical group.
The conference will showcase panel discussions and Q&A in three main areas: Women in historic communities and their families; development and evolution of neighborhoods surrounding parks and Latino/a historical influence; and social and class issues of ethnicity and class among California’s Latino/a population. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to participate in break-out sessions designed to encourage concrete programmatic proposals for future activities designed to disseminate these hidden stories. In addition, attendees will be offered special tours of local historic parks such as Los Angeles State Historic Park, Pio Pico State Historic Park, and others.
Tickets coming soon!