Fair Oaks Historical Society Newsletter
Volume 94 - October, 2010

Tuesday, 10/26/10, 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—

Spring is finally over and autumn is in the air. Thanks to the mild summer, I’m still waiting for my tomato harvest. I’m counting on our October 26 Meeting and Potluck for sustenance. So please put that date on your calendar, and we’ll have another huge, fun and delicious meeting.


Historic San Juan High

New San Juan High

Our program promises to be very interesting and exciting-- especially for those of you San Juan High School alumni. Principal Tony Oddo will fill us in on all the improvements and new directions there. Business-wise, we will also need to act on nominations for next year’s Society officers to be announced by the nominating committee.

The big action in the Society the past few months has been the investigation and preparations towards occupying the old “Buddies” building located on Fair Oaks Boulevard between Sunflower Drive-in and EJ’s Little People. Offered to the Society by the Fair Oaks Water District for only a dollar a year, the building will serve as a prominent place for us to inform and engage the community in local history as well as the role of water supplies-- past, present and future.

I thank Joe Dobrowolski and his ad hoc committee for a thorough and ongoing analysis of the building and of the various regulations, requirements and accommodations that are necessary to make this project work. The committee also developed a lease agreement that has been approved by our board and presented to the Fair Oaks Water District for their approval. I hope to have a positive report to you at the upcoming meeting.


  Also, I have asked member Blaine Lamb to chair another ad hoc committee to develop the vision for the message and media that will guide our development of this new history center and its exhibits. As chief of the California State Parks Museums and Interpretation Division, and former project manager for developing the California Golden State Museum, Blaine is an incredible resource for this task. He will be working with the historic talent among our members to present a vision for our consideration.

Finally and sadly, I must note for the record, the passing of two of our members who brought so much to the Society and were personal friends—Russ Monroe, Past-president of the Society, past Rotary Club President, former Honorary Mayor and former Fair Oaks Citizen of the Year; and Dave Cox, our home-grown State Senator, former State Assemblyman, former County Supervisor, former SMUD Director, and always a supporter of Society activities. Our sympathy and love go out to the families of these good men.

Vice-President's Message: As Ralph mentioned, Tony Oddo, principal of New San Juan High School will be giving a Powerpoint presentation on the renovation of San Juan's physical plant as well as the new programs as a magnet school focusing on school to career education. So dust off your school sweaters and bring your annuals to look at for our Memories of San Juan High School night.

We'll also have some of our historic pictures of "old" San Juan showing prior to the presentation along with three "history moments" from some of our older members (circa 40's to 50's).

 Docent's Report:

On Sept. 18, 2010, the annual Chicken Festival was held in Fair Oaks. Breakfast was served by the Fair Oaks - Orangevale Grange in the Community Club House. Our History Center in the Fireside Room of the Community Clubhouse was open from 10:00 am to 4:00 p.m. Attendance was very good. People not familiar with Fair Oaks were especially interested. The walking tour map and brochures were handed out.

The following people have been docents or participated in helping in our activities this year. Thank you! Jean Applegate, Lois Frazier, Fran Messinger, Larry & Meg Smart, Cheryl Welch, Jim & Marilyn Pearce, Fran Sargent, Maria & Bob Brugger, Diana Lennon, Ralph & Sherrie Carhart, Mike Maddox, Ken & Lynn Steen.

Keep the date: December 12, 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Christmas Open House

 Webmaster & Newsletter Editor:

About a third of our members have opted to receive the quarterly newsletter via e-mail. That will save the Society several hundred dollars a year. We hope to grow the e-mail system to over half of our membership. If you're uncertain whether you'll like it, send me a note (jpearce4104@gmail.com) and I'll send you this newsletter over the Internet.

Soup Night 2010 Update

5th Annual Soup Night
Friday, November 5, 2010
Fair Oaks Community Clubhouse

Friday, November 5th is rapidly approaching. If you haven't purchased your tickets yet I suggest you get over to Oaks Hardware very soon as we are almost 'Sold Out'. There are no more 'reserved' tables available, only single tickets. Tickets are still only $25.00 and that includes a hand made soup bowl, soups, salad, bread and cookies for desert. Wine will be sold by the glass as well as by the bottle. Wine tickets will be $3.00 per ticket. One ticket will purchase a glass of wine or 4 tickets will purchase a bottle. Do you know a wine vendor who might be willing to donate a few cases of wine for our event? We still need about 2 cases.

Have you volunteered to help at the event? If you haven't and you'd like to, please contact Sherrie Carhart and sign-up. Just a reminder that you must purchase a ticket if you wish to volunteer. Also, ALL volunteers are asked to enter the building via the handicapped entrance by the ramp facing the park. Do you have any donations for the raffle? Janet and Warren McWilliams would appreciate having those items delivered to their home at least 2-3 weeks before the event or sooner. We need lots of time to organize these items. Last minute donations will be used for the quarterly potluck raffles.

Did you want to purchase a Fair Oaks Historical Society apron last year but didn't have an opportunity to purchase one? They'll be on sale again this year.

See you soon.



(Note: Minutes were taken by Trude Vasquez in Janet's absence)

Fair Oaks Historical Society General Meeting Minutes, July 27, 2010

The meeting was called to order by President Ralph Carhart. Five guests were introduced as well as new members Fred and Alice Rowe.

Historical Moment: Jim Pearce spoke about early residents of Fair Oaks: John Holst and Steven Keefer.
Program: Trude Vasquez introduced Merina West who, with the assistance of Jim Pearce, prepared and presented an amazing, detailed, photo and oral history of the historic Straith House.

Business Meeting:
A moment of silence was held for June Melvin and Senator Cox. President Carhart introduced and thanked Dick Easterbrook for accepting the position of Parliamentarian for the FOHS. The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as published in the newsletter.
Treasurer’s Report: Treasurer Joe Dobrowolski requested that members who wanted to receive the newsletter by email need to provide their email addresses. This would save much of the $1100 spent on distribution costs.
Past President’s Report: Ken Steen and President Carhart attended the Sacramento meeting of the Consortium of Historical Societies. Several programs underway were: Woodland – the Hybrid History Center which is funded by a family trust; Rancho Cordova – one year project to record the oral history of the community; West Sacramento – attempt to save their largest butternut tree from removal; and Fair Oaks, who shared information on the Straith House.
History Center: Lois Frazier announced that they had received a certificate of appreciation from the Cemetery District for the cookies served at the Memorial Day event and from Suzi Sutton’s 6th grade class at Earl Leggett for their tour. The History Center would be open during the Chicken Festival, September 18th, from 10am to 4pm.
Soup Night: Claudia Thorn reported that Soup Night will be November 5 and that tickets were $25 per person. She reminded the members that the table price was down from last year because the round tables only seated 8 ($200 a table).

New Business: Bob Walters announced several fundraisers for the Fair Oaks Rotary and Theater.

President Carhart brought to the members the subject of acquiring the ‘Buddies’ building from the Fair Oaks Water District who offered to lease the building to the FOHS for $1 a year for the next 10 to 15 years. Much discussion was held regarding the possible future plans for the building, the cost of both renovating and upkeep of the building, etc. It was made known that the FOHS would save $1200 a year in storage fees if the building were only used for storage. The discussion was ended and a motion was raised and seconded that the FOHS would proceed with the steps required to acquire the building. These steps included a requirement that the History Center Committee secure the building (windows and doors), install a security system, have all utilities turned on, and prepare a study of all costs required to bring the building up to code. The Committee was authorized to spend no more than $5000 to accomplish these tasks. The motion was passed.

The next General Meeting will be October 24, 2010 Meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m. The remainder of the raffle was conducted.

Respectfully submitted, Trude Vasquez

Location: 7745 Sunset Avenue Architecture: Victorian

Previous Owners:

1914-1927: Dr. George Bell
1927-1945: John and Dora Haase
1945 – 1955 Earl and Margaret Ricketts
1955 – 1969 Robert and Mary Jakotich
1970 – 2003 ???
2003 – 2010 Mary Stember

This Victorian home on Sunset Avenue is currently looking for a new owner to bring it back to its former glory. Currently it is listed for sale by realtor Shale Levine from the Lyons Real Estate Fair Oaks office. He contacted Jim Pearce to see what information the Historical Society might have on the property providing us the opportunity to go through the home and write this article.

In touring the home you see evidence of original hardwood floors (some with mahogany inlays), mahogany cabinets and shelves, leaded glass, and a claw foot bathtub. The downstairs has a large living room, dining room, entryway, workroom and 1/2 bath which all show the quality workmanship that went into the original building. A kitchen expansion, den, family room, and bathroom were added sometime in the late 1950s. Upstairs there are four large bedrooms and two full baths. The house has heat and air, but the radiators remain in place. There is also a partially finished basement. In spite the passage of time, there is enough of the original décor in place to provide a new homeowner the chance to recreate the home in the 1914 vision.

The home was originally built for Dr. George Bell, a general practice physician who lived in Fair Oaks in 1911 – 1920. Dr. Bell died in Sacramento in 1928.

John and Dora Haase purchased the home from Dr. Bell in 1927. They were a young married couple at the time and worked their fruit orchards. Mr. Haase served on the boards for the Fair Oaks Irrigation District and Fair Oaks Fruit Company. Following the freeze of 1933 they switched to dairy farming. Mrs. Haase sold the property in 1945 after her husband’s death in 1943. She remained in Fair Oaks until her death in 1979.

Earl and Margaret Ricketts originally lived across the street from Raleys on San Juan where they had almond orchards. In 1945 they purchased the home from Mrs. Haase. They had six children but the older children were already out of the home when they moved in. Their daughter, Evelyn Ricketts Heim, currently lives in Folsom and is a member of the Fair Oaks Woman’s Thursday Club. Her sister Marguerite Ricketts Allott was married in the Sunset Avenue home and currently lives in Fair Oaks.

Dr. Jakotich and his family lived in this home sometime in the 1950s and 1960s. Mrs. Heim reported that her family sold the home in 1955. The Jakotich family purchased the Victorian at 7789 Sunset which was written about in the April, 2010 newsletter. He was the vet at the Sunset Pet Hospital during this time. It is unclear who lived in the home until 2003 when Mary Stember purchased it. If anyone has more information let us know and we can add to the records. While there is a lot of work to be done, a restoration will ensure that another Fair Oaks historical home will be around for future generations to enjoy.

Update on the Straith Home

First, many thanks to Merina West for her great presentation on the history of the Straith home down at the end of Earnscliff Ave., and the binder of historical materials she made up and donated to the museum.

The old victorian house was successfully moved to its new location further back from the cliffs, and just last week lowered on its new foundation. We spoke to the owner and he said they are working on upgrading the plumbing and electrical, and plan to restore the river rock facing on the foundation. They'll take care of the cosmetic needs on the outside of the house, and then find a buyer who will restore the interior. Quite a project.

Feel free to drive down Earnscliff and take a look at the old place.