Awards of Merit

Congratulations to Our 2019 Awards of Merit Recipients!

CCHS was proud to honor our 2019 Awards of Merit Recipients at the 65th Annual Meeting!  These awards are CCHS's way of thanking those whose contributions to California history add luster and significance to the lives around them.  They honor the outstanding accomplishments of individuals and organizations serving the interests of CCHS.  We also want to thank those who took the time to recognize their colleagues and nominate them for their service.  It's not too early to begin your 2020 Awards Nominations!


Chris Brewer

  Individual Award:

  Chris Brewer

  Exeter, CA

Nominated by: Ken Hooper, Kern County Historical Society

Chris Brewer is the great-grandson of Colonial Thomas Baker, the founder of Bakersfield.  He is considered the premier historian in Central California and is well-known for sharing his love of history to those doing research or giving talks to historical groups.  He is a member of the Council for the Preservation of History as well as a Registered Architectural Historian and has been assisting with the Kern County Historical Society’s recent Historic Route 66 signage project.  His book store, The Book Garden, specializes in local history books and he has also republished several Frank Latta books, permitting newer audiences to become acquainted with native peoples and early pioneer histories of the Central Valley of California.


Phil Brigandi

  Individual Award:

  Phillip Brigandi

  Orange, CA

Nominated by: James H. Macklin, The Westerners, Los Angeles Corral

Phil Brigandi is a well-known Orange County Historian and a current member of The Westerners, Los Angeles Corral.  He is the author of more than 25 books, primarily about local history in Orange County and Southern California.  Not only is he a joy to listen to when he shares his love of California history, but he is also a superb storyteller and actively shares his knowledge with all individuals.  His life’s work in recording local history and volunteering his time to the community has been a benefit to the citizens of Orange County and the many groups with which he is involved.  He has been a Westerner for many years, contributing to their publications and speaking at several of their monthly Roundups.


Dee Owens

  Individual Award:

  Dee Owens

  Placerville, CA

Nominated by: Kris Payne, El Dorado County Historical Society

Dee Owens was an El Dorado County teacher for over 30 years.  Before her retirement, she spent summers participating in Passport in Time projects throughout the west with the US Forest Service and discovered her interest in locating and mapping the emigrant trails to the west.  After she retired from teaching, she became a researcher at the El Dorado County Historical Museum in Placerville.  As a researcher, she helps visitors to the museum find information about their El Dorado County ancestors, responds to genealogical queries, indexes primary source materials, and researches the history of people and places to produce videos, pamphlets and articles about El Dorado County history.  Her videos are streamed on Sierra Community Access Television Channel 2 and can also be seen on YouTube.


Arthur Sommers

  Individual Award:

  Arthur Sommers

  Placer County, CA

Nominated by: Mike Lynch, Placer County Historical Foundation

Arthur Sommers exemplifies the historian who is willing to share his knowledge and information for the advancement of our larger historical record.  He is the go-to person for photos and personal knowledge of the area and his published books have proved to be a valuable research resource.  Art's literary accomplishments include authoring 3 books for Images of America: Donner Summit, Auburn, and Placer County. Art has also collaborated on the book Railroads of Placer County.


Geraldine_Knatz.jpg

  Commercial Award:

  Hangman's Tree Ice Cream Saloon

  Placerville, CA

Nominated by: Kris Payne, El Dorado County Historical Society

Through their work, Hangman’s Tree Ice Cream Saloon honors El Dorado County by displaying its rich history and sharing it with others.  This includes historical artifacts and gold rush displays, accomplished through the preservation of the Hangman’s Tree (State Historic Marker #141) building and the creation of a museum-quality business for the public to enjoy. History and Ice Cream enjoyed in historic Placerville CA (Dry Diggins, Old Hangtown). 


Channel 2

 Media Award:

 Sierra Community Access   Television Channel 2

 El Dorado County, CA

Nominated by: Kris Payne, El Dorado County Historical Society

Sierra Community Access Television Channel 2 (SCATV2) honors the local community by broadcasting El Dorado County’s rich history and sharing it with others.  They attend special historical events and activities and film new video content of El Dorado County history groups such as the Historical Society, Marshall Gold Discovery State Park, Gold Bug Park, Wakamatsu Farm, Clarksville Regional Historical Society, and many others!  They proudly film interviews of the older generation, while memorializing the past through the telling of their stories.


Josh Sides 

  Media Award:

  Josh Sides

  Northridge, CA

Nominated by: Susan Fitzpatrick Behrens, California State University, Northridge

Josh Sides has served as the editor of California History since 2013.  The most recent edition of California History introduces the breadth of archive and libraries in California.  It is a crucial resource for established historians, graduate and undergraduate students, and other California history buffs.  The focus on this edition compliments the work Dr. Sides has done as editor and historian to publish compelling research of California history that is immediately relevant to historians, but also appeals to a much broader audience.


Sacramento Area Consortium

  Organization Award:

  Sacramento Area Consortium

  Sacramento, CA

Nominated by: Kris Payne, El Dorado County Historical Society

Created 25 years ago, the Sacramento Area Consortium is a grass roots level historical network.  The Consortium meets quarterly, hosted by a member on a rotational basis.  It consists of over 40 historical societies representing nine counties throughout Northern California.  These meetings offer members an opportunity to share their stories, resources, and technical expertise.  The Consortium also hosts workshops on topics that are most challenging to its members.


John Thomson 

  Author/Scholastic Award:

  John Thomson

  El Dorado Hills, CA

Nominated by: Doug Hus, Clarksville Regional Historical Society

John Thomson is the founding member of the Clarksville Regional Historical Society, founding member of the Bass Lake Action Committee and author of Bass Lake: A Gold Rush Artifact.  This book is a wonderful collection of recorded history, antidotal recollections, personal stories, documents, and images regarding the long history of Bass Lake in El Dorado County.  This book took years of research and significant effort to discover and retrieve obscure records to present in a compelling re-telling of the Gold Rush history of the area.


Steve Baker 

  Waddingham/Doctor Award:

  Steve Baker

  Monrovia, CA

Nominated by: Jim Wigton, Monrovia Historic Preservation Group & Duarte Historical Society and Museum

Steve Baker is the founding member of the Monrovia Historic Preservation Group, which seeks to preserve Monrovia’s architectural heritage.  His knowledge of Monrovia’s history is legendary among the residents, especially his ability to recall precise details about the area’s earliest homes, residents and happenings around the town.  Since 2000, Steve has written the house histories of homes that are open for viewing on the Historic Homes Tour.  Whenever questions arise about historical facts, residents and city employees turn to him for the answer.


John Thomson 

  Waddingham/Doctor Award:

  Stan Wilson

  Shafter, CA

Nominated by: Stephanie Benito, Shafter Historical Society

In 1979 when the railroad was set to demolish the 1917 Santa Fe Depot, Stan Wilson attended the first community meeting and left as the very first president of the new historical society.  As a native of the community, Stan had invested interest in local history, combining that with his love of railroad history, and his natural instinct to collect anything and everything. The idea of the Shafter Museum Depot was the perfect project for him.  Stan has also served as the voice for the historical society giving television, newspaper, and radio interviews, speaking at community meetings, symposiums, and numerous events on the history of Shafter.  He has researched, authored, edited, and published 131 newsletters for the Shafter Historical Society and written numerous articles for other historical societies, magazines, newspapers, books and other special projects.


 


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  • Emily O'Brien
    published this page 2019-06-24 20:51:00 -0700
  • El Dorado County Historical Society
    commented 2019-05-24 15:31:45 -0700
    See our Facebook posting honoring our 2018-2019 Award of Merit recipients. https://www.facebook.com/191048350936980/posts/2989831094392011/
  • Therese Melbar
    commented 2019-05-23 11:45:25 -0700
    Congratulations to all! Thank you for making a difference through your time and contributions in preserving and sharing California history!