This Model-T Fire Truck is part of the latest exhibit at the Folsom History Museum. Folsom's Untold Stories runs through Sept. 3. Photo by Susan Laird

Spotlight Columns

Untold stories of El Dorado Hills, Folsom revealed

By From page B2 | July 05, 2017

Once upon a time, there was a group of people that wanted to preserve the history of the tri-county area.

Some were the sons and daughters of pioneers. Others were newcomers who fell in love with this region. All were committed to preserving the stories of Folsom, Clarksville/El Dorado Hills, Orangevale, Rancho Cordova and the surrounding towns.

The Folsom Historical Society was established in 1960. To this day, the purpose of the society remains unchanged: the preservation of the stories of the people who lived — and who continue to live — in this region.

Always diverse
This mission includes telling the stories of the Native American people who resided here for thousands of years, the Chinese who built California’s railroads and mined for gold (Folsom had the second largest Chinese population in the world, outside of San Francisco and China itself), the African-Americans who mined at Negro Bar, the Italian immigrants who influenced local architecture and pioneers from the world over.

From its founding, the society built several museums in Folsom’s Historic District. The hub of these museums is the Folsom History Museum on Sutter Street.

Located in the old Wells Fargo & Company assay office and bank (the Palmer & Day Building), the Folsom History Museum is a gem. There is local lore on permanent display to the public. A huge archive of historical material is available to researchers by appointment in the research library upstairs. And there are rotating exhibits in the side gallery, which is in the old assay building itself.

Untold stories
The current exhibit at the museum is Folsom’s Untold Stories. Or, as I like to think of them, stories the local community hasn’t heard in a long, long time.

This eclectic gathering of tales is fresh, fun and fascinating — not overwhelming in the slightest. Perfect for a warm summer stroll with a friend before taking in a bit of theater or a meal on Sutter Street.

EDH connection
One of the stories is about Bugbey’s Natoma Vineyard. Located near Salmon Falls in 1866, the wine there was so good that a song was written about it.

Born in 1827, Benjamin Bugbey lived into his late 80s. The Sacramento Union poked gentle fun at him in 1906 as a somewhat antiquated relic of the past.

“B.N. Bugbey, one of the best known citizens of Sacramento, who has lived in this city for a great many years, is probably the last man in this part of the State to keep up the old-fashioned custom of wearing a shawl,” the reporter wrote. “Mr. Bugbey explains that his reason for retaining this antique article of dress, is on account of its great comfort and simplicity. He recalls that at one time it was a common thing to see many prominent citizens walking along J and K streets all wrapped in fine shawls.”

More stories
Some stories are from the long-ago past. These include the stories of Folsom’s two opera houses, old Folsom High School, and the Folsom Fire Department.

Others start in the past and come well into the 20th century. The stories of Folsom’s hardware stores is as interesting as the truly vintage tools donated to the museum by Folsom resident and Rotarian Phil Moeszinger.

Phil worked at Rumsey’s Hardware on Sutter Street from 1945 to 1967. Then he worked at Pioneer Hardware, which was also on Sutter Street. In 1970, he bought the store from Jack Kipp. He eventually sold the store in 1997 and retired two years later.

New museum
Perhaps the most exciting story in this exhibit is about Folsom’s newest, upcoming museum. The future Chinese history museum will tell the stories of Folsom’s Chinese community and its influence in California, and the Oak Chan family legacy.

Folsom’s Untold Stories runs through Sept. 3. The Folsom History Museum is located at 823 Sutter St. in Folsom. Visit folsomhistoricalsociety.org for admission fees and hours.

Send your event for consideration in Susan’s column to [email protected]

Susan Laird

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