Fair Oaks Historical Society Newsletter
Volume 99 - October, 2012

Tuesday, 1/24/12, 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—

One of the Society’s goals this year is to get the new “History Gallery” on Fair Oaks Boulevard up and running in time for this year’s Fiesta.

Joe Dobrowolski’s team has been working hard on demolition and planning for the new décor and features. Both interior and exterior changes are imminent. Our consultant is also busy developing concepts and content for the exhibits with guidance from the Society’s Board of Directors. Great thanks to everyone who is helping with this project and to all those who have supported our “Soup Night” fundraising.

Thus, the program for January 24 will be the History Gallery— We’ll talk about what’s been done so far and what’s coming up. Consultant Sarah Starke will present the developing story lines for the exhibits. We also want feedback from you—questions, comments and suggestions. In addition to the general meeting, a special open house will be held at the Gallery on February 28 at 6:30pm to allow members to review and comment on the project.

Our plans include a permanent exhibit, tentatively called: “Fair Oaks—Traces of the Past” that will provide an overview of our community’s rich history and highlight remnants of our past that can still be experienced and appreciated today.

Notes from the membership guy—

The New Year is here with great promise of progress for the Society. Most notable is the headway we are making in establishing a larger History Center on Fair Oaks Blvd. While the task may be daunting, the goal is achievable. There is more detailed information elsewhere in this FOHS newsletter.

Year 2011 was a good year. The membership body achieved a respectable net gain, the treasury is encouraging, and renewed enthusiasm is evident to all of us.

Those of us who are participating in the new history center development are being exercised in the arts of negotiating, creative planning, and resource management. I am proud to be a member of the group.

That having been said, please remember your membership $$ are making the vision of the history center a reality. The annual dues are modest by any means, but will pay us great dividends …………. in renewed pride for our Fair Oaks heritage, and in leaving a living monument for future Fairoakians. Thank you for your prompt membership renewal.

Vice-President's Message:

October Program: Program Chair Maria Brugger introduced our Honored guests, who have reached their Ninetieth birthday. Honorees are as follows: Lois Frazier, Betty Ann McArthur, Mickey Showers, Evelyn Heim, Florence Chapell Worley, Margaret Goddard, Dorothy Cabodi and Lucy Strom. Maria met with most of these people ahead of time, and shared with us many of their memories. Most shared walking everywhere, many attended the Federated Church. Fires were social events. They swam in the American River, grew their own foods. Maria then invited honorees and their families to speak of special memories, and the audience enjoyed their memories of Fair Oaks over the years.

The Society’s new History Gallery will be the subject for our January program. This will be the first opportunity for our Building and Exhibits Committee to update our members on the current status of the enhancements proposed for the building (e.g., ADA compliance, landscaping, interior upgrades, etc.). Members will be able to see pictures of the “Buddies Building” before work was started and also how it looks today. In addition, Sarah Starke, a Public History Graduate Student at CSUS, will present her vision for the Gallery displays and initial exhibits.We've come a long way since the acquisition of the building. The Society has worked hard to raise funds for the new History Gallery. I'm sure members will find that their monies are being well spent.

Soup Night Update

Hold November 2, 2012

Thank you to everyone who volunteered to help at Soup Night. As a result of everyone's efforts we had another successful event. Again, we brought in exactly $7,000. (See Joe's report for more information, Jim Pearce is donating 96 cents to get us there) We received very positive feedback regarding the room arrangement so we'll try for the same next year. We have a few changes coming next year. Marie Brugger will not be doing the preparation for all the soups. She will oversee the process but we'll be needing 5 volunteers to be responsible for the soups. Please let me or Maria know if you'd like to do that.

The committee will be meeting in January to review the event and will surely have some suggestions to improve the evening. Certainly having the students was a big help and hopefully, we'll use them as soup servers next year. It's not to soon to start collecting donations for November. We had some wonderful prizes last time and I hope we'll continue in that fashion. Much thanks to Jim Pearce for posting pictures on our website. Check them out. Please take a moment to personally thank the committee members for all their hard work.


Fair Oaks Historical Society General Meeting Minutes
October 25, 2011

The meeting was called to order by President Ralph Carhart following another wonderful potluck. Program: See the Vice President's report

Thanking Committees: Ralph thanked Warren and Judy Blomquist for taking care of the table set-up and kitchen. He also thanked Jim Pearce for the Newsletter, Trude and Maria for the Program and publicity, Claudia Thorn for Ways and Means and Tel for bringing the membership badges.

Soup Night, November 4
Reminded members to keep their dues current

Business Meeting:
Minutes: The minutes of the meeting were approved as published in the Newsletter.
Treasurer’s Report: Treasurer Joe Dobrowolski reported that deposits have been made for Soup Night tickets. A detailed report will be in the next newsletter.
History Gallery: Ralph reported on the progress of the Gallery. Committees are working both on the exhibits and the improvements on the building.
Election of Officers: Trude Vasquez reported that there have been no nominations for the coming year. Joe Dobrowolski will continue as Treasurer. No nominations came from the floor, the officers will stand as they are. Maria Brugger moved that we accept the officers. Motion seconded by Pat Vogel. Motion passed.
History Center: Lois Frazier reported that the Annual Open House will be December 11 at the History Center. Jim Pearce will be there to record oral histories that afternoon, from 1 - 4 p.m.
Soup NIght: Claudia Thorn reported that she has nine Soup Night tickerts. Donations are still needed for the raffle, Eleanor Brown has volunteered to chair the volunteers, there will also be a Clean-up committee this year.

Meeting adjourned followed by the final raffle prizes.
Respectfully submitted,
Janet McWilliams, Secretary

Docent's Report:

The December 11, 2011 Open House was attended by a few people. Jim Pearce recorded comments and reflections from members on the village area.

The month of November has been designated by the Fair Oaks Library for the Historical Society to have a display in The lobby window. On Nov. 1 Jim Pearce, Lois Frazier, and Ken Steen arranged photos and artifacts about the Fair Oaks Fruit Co. The Fruit Co. was located on Winding Way and Pennsylvania. Of special interest were smudge pot lighters.

The following people have been docents or participated in helping in our activities this year. Fran Sargent, Lois Frazier, Larry & Meg Smart, Cheryl Welch, Ralph Carhart, Merina West, Diana Lennon, Warren & Janet McWilliams, Mickey Showers, Dorothy Elliott, Jim Pearce, Betti Benedetti, Ken & Lynn Steen, Judy & Warren Blomquist, Barbara Roper. Many thanks!!!!!!


  - Fair Oaks History Center Update - Help needed!

Work on the old Buddy’s building, next to the Sunflower Drive-In continues . We are working toward getting ADA parking put in the rear and a walkway built along the East side of the building. Hugh Gorman is working on plans for a patio in the front. Carhart is working with a consultant to develop the historical content and displays for the building. Dick Easterbrook and Warren Blomquist have been leading the effort to improve the front room. The front room has been razed, with carpeting and two walls removed. See the picture. The room will be extended into the back room making for more display space. The wallboard is going in as this goes to press. Warren McWilliams is working to get a new fence put in between the Drive-In and our building.

NEED HELP - we are looking for 12 volunteers to work for one month each to visit the building once a week to clean up the front and check on the landscaping. Please see me at the meeting - Joe Dobrowolski

Location: 8156 Capitola       Architecture: Victorian
Previous Owners:
1901: Andrew Thomas and Helen L. Hodge
Approximately 1930: Richard Spore
Prior to 1950: Harry and Nellie Patton (continued)
1951- 1963: Fred N. and Evangeline O. Paxton
1963 – 1969: Eldon Claude and Vera Beagle
1969 – 1976: William and Jo Ann Hunting
1976 - 1983: Kenneth and Delores Ann Whitnack
1983 - ?: Fredrick and Cynthia George
? - current: John and Pamela Kunhart

In 1901 Andrew Thomas Hodge built the four story home on 70 acres of land after moving to Fair Oaks from Chicago. Mr. Hodge and his brother, Alexander, were wealthy Chicago businessmen who were investors in the Fair Oaks Sunset Colony. Alexander never lived in Fair Oaks, but Andrew became a prominent member of the community. He belonged to the Chicago-Fair Oaks Association, a group of businessmen who supported the settling of Fair Oaks and it’s fruit industry. In 1905, he became the President of the first bank founded in Fair Oaks with Charles Slocum serving as cashier. He also served as Justice of the Peace for two terms.

The Hodge family included 2 daughters, Marion and Helen G., and his two sisters, Agnes and Ida. They named their home, Glenmerle. It was a part of an article in Sunset magazine in April, 1902, written by Frank Bramhall, describing the merits of life in Fair Oaks. (Frank was related to Dr. R.N. Bramhall, the first doctor practicing in Fair Oaks.) The home was also pictured in ads selling railroad tickets by the Michigan Central Railway.

It is uncertain who occupied the home immediately after the Hodges sold it. Mr. Hodge died in 1927, and his wife in 1934. The 1930 census indicate the home was owned by Richard Spore, a lumber salesman. Other records show that the western half of the property was sold around 1915 to William Kleinsorge, a Sacramento attorney. Researching Sacramento County records produced the information on previous owners that is shown above. The Paxtons paid $1100 per lot for a total of $3300 in 1951. In 1969, the home was purchased for $51,000 by the Huntings. The George family lived in the home with their six children. Currently the home is owned by John and Pamela Kunhart and is listed for sale for $1,695,000 (www.8156capitola.com).

The Kunharts have made some changes to modernize the home, but the original and beautiful character remains. The windows are all original (except for the bay window in the media room) as are the outdoor siding, hardwood floors, door hardware, woodwork, three fireplaces and the rock lathe plaster. The basement is accessed by narrow stairs and shows the concrete floor and walls. You can see evidence of new insulation and the upgraded heating and air, as well as a chute, which was probably used for coal deliveries. Today it is used for storage and the laundry. The main floor consists of the wood paneled study, parlor and dining room all maintained as they were originally. The kitchen has been modernized, but still has a metal stamped ceiling, which probably was added in the 1930s. The Kunharts turned a storage area into a kitchen dining space and created a media room and powder room. Going up the wide staircase, there are four bedrooms, a sitting room and the only full bath in the home. All bedrooms have closets and the hallway has large storage cabinets. The walls are concrete with corner moldings. The doors to the bedrooms have transom windows, which would have helped cool the rooms before air conditioning was added in the 1990s. The fourth floor has been finished for the first time since the home was built. It now can serve as an additional family space. The house is surrounded by a wrap around porch with the front of the home facing the American River. The almost 3 acres of land include a pool, spa, carriage house, horse barn and a four car garage.

In the 111 years of the home’s history, the changes that have been made have only enhanced the beauty. The charm and feel of the early 1900s is combined with today’s design and technology to create a monument to the past that is very livable in the 21st century.

Kay Shrudder, Old Homes Editor