Fair Oaks Historical Society Newsletter
Volume 97 - July, 2011

Tuesday, 7/26/11, 6:00 pm
Fair Oaks Community Clubhouse
7997 California Avenue
Please remember to bring a casserole, salad, or dessert to share with others.

Website - www.fairoakshistory.org
Editor-Publisher: Jim Pearce             Circulation: Maria Brugger

President’s Message—

Our next meeting and potluck dinner is just a few weeks away, and I can’t wait to taste all those delicious salad, casserole and dessert recipes. I hope we have a big turnout because Trude and Maria have a great program planned—a history of the area’s land grants, including our very own Rancho San Juan. So, put Tuesday, July 26, 6PM on your calendar, and we’ll plan on having a great time!

Promise not to cheer… but I have only six months left as your president. Trude Vasquez, chair of the nominating committee, and her team of recruiters are looking for YOU—a few special people who are willing to lead the charge, take the microphone and direct a few meetings, jot down and send out minutes, or keep account of the funds. These jobs are typically a two-year stint. Please step up if you’d like to help run the Society, and if you’re asked to serve—abandon all caution, and say YES.

We are making progress on the new history center gallery—negotiating for professional services in developing and implementing the interpretive exhibits, and continuing to make repairs and improvements to the building itself. Thanks to Joe Dobrowolski and Blaine Lamb and their teams for continuing to work on this ambitious endeavor.

Also, madly in the works, are preparations for Soup Night. The Soup Night team, led by Claudia Thorne and Lynn Steen, needs your help. Please volunteer to help cook, serve, decorate, clean up, etc., and solicit or donate attractive items for the silent auction. This is our BIG annual fundraiser, and proceeds will help us implement the new history center gallery. AND— bring your checkbooks to the meeting so you can buy your tickets. Soup Night has always been an early sell out, so don’t miss out.

Again, I can’t thank our officers, committee chairs and volunteers enough for all the great work you do. The Society is blessed to have such great members. See you all in a couple of weeks!



  Vice-President's Message: (from the minutes - thanks Janet)
April's program:
Program chairperson Maria Brugger introduced Tom Gray, General Manager of the Fair Oaks Water District. He talked of the history of the District, which was formed in 1917. At that time the area was composed of small ranches and farms. In 1954, with the building of Folsom Dam, the San Juan Suburban Water District was formed which supplies water from the Folsom reservoir. Tom then shared with us the mission of the district and their plans for the future and how they have helped several collaborative projects in our community. Tom explained the purchase of the land that the Buddies building sits on, and why they purchased it. He shared with us the change over to meters, and answered several questions from the audience.

Our July program will feature Mark Davidson, a local historian and story teller. His topic will be: The Secrets of the Land Grants. Years ago, there was an area that was known in the early 1800’s as Rancho de San Juan. High-level dealings and backroom agreements led to the current division of land that we now know to be Fair Oaks, Carmichael, Orangevale and Citrus Heights. His presentation will no doubt educate, entertain and may surprise you with the events that led up to the formation of the area that we call home.

Docent's Report:

The Fair Oaks Spring Fest was on April 30th and May 1 this year. The History Center was open both days with very good attendance. Fifty people signed our guest book.

The 13th annual Memorial Day celebration at the Fair Oaks Cemetery was on May 28th. The theme was Operation Enduring Freedom, honoring Iraq and Afghan theater veterans. An estimated attendance was 400 plus people. Cookies and lemonade were served. Many thanks to all who brought cookies. Special Thanks to Linda Blue, Barbara Roper, Diana Lennon, and Janet McWilliams for helping out on that day. The cemetery Board of Directors has presented us with a "Certificate of Appreciation" for our participation.

The Chicken Festival will be held on Saturday, Sept. 17th. The History center will be open all day. If you would like to be a docent for two hours that day please give me a call: 967-2967. We will need at least six people. The following people have been docents this year: Fran Sargent, Lois Frazier, Larry & Meg Smart, Cheryl Welch, Ralph Carhart, Merina West, Janet & Warren McWilliams, Mickey Showers, Dorothy Elliott, Jim Pearce, Betty Benedetti, Ken & Lynn Steen.. Thank you!!!

5th Annual Soup Night Update - Claudia Thorn

Soup Night is coming so mark your calendars for Friday, November 4, 2011. Tickets will be on sale at the July meeting for $25.00 for adults and $10.00 for children 12 and under. Plan to reserve your table for nine now.

Some of the delicious soups we’ll be serving are: Lentil (new), Clam Chowder (new), Minestrone, Beef Barley and one still to be decided.

We are still looking for someone to chair the volunteers as well as volunteers to work that day and also help with clean-up after the event. Look for the sign-up sheet at the July 26th Historical Society meeting.

As always we will sell wine by the glass and bottle. Dianda’s has offered to donate a case of red and white. Do you know anyone else who’d like to make a donation? Contact Bob or Pat Vogel if you know of someone or a business that might make a contribution.

We’re asking all our members to start contacting businesses regarding raffle donations. Do you have something you’d like to donate? We’ll have donation letters, signed by Ralph, available at the meeting.

Let’s make this Soup Night another sell out event.

New Building Report - Joe Dobrowolski

We had signs, prepared and donated by Nancy White, noticing that the Historical Society is getting ready to move in soon.

The wisteria was trimmed and ivy ripped out and carted away with the effort of Hugh Gorman, Ken Steen, Dick Easterbrook and a young volunteer. A big job. The landscaping and sprinklers were repaired and the plants trimmed with the effort of Judy and Warren Blomquist, Tel LaBelle and Joe Dobrowolski. We are hoping for volunteers who would be willing to take on the duty of tending the plants and minor outside cleanup for one month at a time. It would be a little work but it would only be for a month.

Ralph Carhart continues to work with museum experts to develop a plan for the exhibits in the interior of the building. The rear of the building was made secure and a new door added with the work of Dick Easterbrook and Ken Steen. Hugh Gorman is working on plans for the front of the building, the ADA access and for the handicapped parking.

Chicken Festival Booth - Marilyn Pearce
Do you have home or garden "Chicken Decor" you would like to pass on? Bring it to our July 26th General Meeting for Marilyn Pearce (961-8415, mpearce4104@gmail.com). It will become part of the Great Chicken Yard Sale to be held on Chicken Festival Day, Saturday, Sept.17 at our "other" location next to Sunflower Drive-in. Helen and Joe Cadloni, members who are moving to Oregon, donated 8 boxes of chicken items purchased not later than 1965 as the core of our sale. All proceeds go the Fair Oaks Historical Society. Come by and visit us that day as well!

Networking Sacramento Area History - Ken Steen

Fair Oaks Historical Society is a member of the SacArea History Network, also known as the Sacramento Area Consortium. This area network, “formed in 1993 as a committee of the Sacramento County Historical Society, is a consortium of historical, ethnic, cultural and related organizations from Sacramento and adjoining areas. It was created as a forum for local organizations with interest in local history to meet and to share and exchange thoughts and ideas. Membership consists of over 30 organizations, and meetings are quarterly.”

Galt Area Historical Society hosted the last meeting on May 26th. The agenda included “Round Table Reports” from each organization. For instance:

Projects past and present include: The next meeting of the Consortium will be hosted by the Wilton History Group on August 18th.


Fair Oaks Historical Society General Meeting Minutes
General Meeting
April 26, 2011

The meeting was called to order by President Ralph Carhart following another wonderful potluck. (Some of the raffle was conducted during dinner.) Guests were introduced, new members were introduced. New Family Life members were announced: Eleanor & Barry Brown, Jeanne & Joe Maloney, Sandra & William Parrott, Hedda & Tom Smithson, Monica & Doug Crumley, and Jim & Marilyn Pearce. Ralph also recognized the passing of Lowell Sherman, Larry Huggett, and Sue Burmaster.

Ralph made the following announcements:

Program: Fair Oaks Water District - for details, see the Vice Presidents Report.

Business Meeting:

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as published in the newsletter.

Treasurer’s Report: Treasurer Joe Dobrowolski reported that we received contributions in memory of members who have recently passed away.

By-Laws Change: The By-laws change as published in the newsletter was moved by Tel LaBel, seconded by JoeDobrowolski. Motion passed.

Building Committee: Joe Dobrowolski reported on new building progress. ADA requirements will require parking and ramp adjustments. Hugh Gorman is coming up with designs for the front of the building. He will also trim the wisteria. Volunteers will be needed.

Soup Night: Claudia reported that we need to identify local potters to get bowls for the dinner. We also need a couple of chairpersons for centerpieces and other positions for the committee.

Memorial Day: Lois Frazier reported that this year’s Memorial Day celebration is expecting a larger crowd. She passed a sign-up for cookies.

The next meeting will be July 26th.

Meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Janet McWilliams, Secretary.

Memorials Received - Joe Dobrowolski

The Society received contributions in memory of Sue Burmaster from: Larry and Meg Smart, Jim and Marilyn Pearce and the Womens Thursday Club. The Society recived contributions in memory of Larry Huggett from: Lois Frazier, Larry and Meg Smart and Lucy Milligan of Arizona.

In addition to those mentioned above, members Ethyl Young and JoAn Heidt passed away recently.

Location: 10850 Fair Oaks Blvd.

Previous Owners:
1905 – 2005: Family of Dr. Walter Mangum Davis
2005 – current: UC Davis Medical School

If you drive on Fair Oaks Boulevard, north of Fair Oaks Elementary, you might miss a 75 yard long dirt road lined with palm trees. This is the entrance to what was once known as the Davis Ranch, with a citrus and olive orchard. Walter Mangum Davis and his wife Oma Bennett Davis moved to Fair Oaks from Texas in the early 1900s with their son, Walter Jefferson and daughter, Elizabeth Catherine. A third child, Oma Bennett was born in Fair Oaks. The girls never married and Walter Jefferson did not have children.

Dr. Davis. a surgeon, practiced medicine from 1890 – 1910. He also owned and managed Hotel Madrone on Pine Street in the Nob Hill area of San Francisco. He died in 1925 and the daughters managed the hotel until the 1940s when they sold it and returned to the family ranch. Son, Walter, had been managing the ranch until his death in 1940. Mrs. Davis had lived for a time with her daughters in San Francisco, but returned to live in Fair Oaks until her death in 1950. Throughout these years, 62 of the original 70 acres were sold for development.

Elizabeth and Oma, the “Davis Girls,” lived the rest of their lives on the remaining 8 acres in the original family home. Elizabeth died in 1996, Oma in 2005. The family is not related to Jerome Davis, a farmer who is the namesake for the city of Davis. However, in part due to their father’s profession, the sisters donated over $5.5 million to the UC Davis School of Medicine. They established scholarships that provide financial support for medical students. They also transferred cash, securities and real estate to UC Davis in return for income for life. Their final gift after their death was to leave their home and property to the school, ensuring scholarships for many future doctors.

Following Oma’s death the furnishings were auctioned and the home has remained empty. UCD School of Medicine has put the ranch on the market for development. The next step is an Environmental Impact Report and then a general hearing on land use issues sometime this summer.

In the October issue we will describe the house itself and hopefully have more information to report on the plans for the property.

Kay Shrudder, Old Homes Editor