Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Even Your Garden Whispers California History

Of the California poppy, Mary Elizabeth Parsons wrote in 1897:
"Not until the morning is well advanced does it begin to unfurl its tightly rolled petals."

I've been writing a regional history column for the local paper, and my latest one is about how even the plants in our gardens can evoke a region's history. Go to the next paragraph for the beginning of the story:

Monday, July 17, 2017

A New Series on Local (Silicon Valley) History: Robin Chapman's First Columns on "Santa Clara Valley Lives"

The house Sarah Winchester built for her sister on the San Francisco Peninsula. Located between Palo Alto and Mountain View, the acreage eventually led to the founding of the city of Los Altos. And the house still stands.

I'm writing a new series of columns for the Los Altos Town Crier, a paper that reports from the heart of what we now call Silicon Valley. It was called the Santa Clara Valley when I was growing up here (that is still its official name) and the stories are about the region before it became the center of the tech revolution. We're calling the feature "Santa Clara Valley Lives" and I wanted to share my first columns with readers who do not subscribe to the Town Crier, but are inclined instead to look for my work on this blog. 

The photo of the house above, forms the basis for of my first column. The glimpse you can see of it through the trees gives us a whisper of a reminder of the Winchester Mystery House of San Jose, for which Sarah Winchester is so famous. Perhaps it is the interesting angle on those gables.