Friday, June 27, 2014

New Adventures in New and Old Places

I am constantly shocked when I have lived in a city for years and just learn about the history of the town or I drive down a street and see historical sites or businesses I never knew existed.  I'm also surprised in the same way when we visit other cities on a regular basis and I've obviously had my head in a paper bag driving through. (or i was napping....  Apparently I'm still a baby because cars put me to sleep)

We enjoy weekend road trips.  We are blessed to live in Northern California and have so many great destinations within 2 or 3 hours from us.  There are several places that we visit frequently such as; Napa/Sonoma, Lake Tahoe and San Jose/Santa Cruz.  We also visit my hometown in the Bay Area to see family. 

On one trip to my hometown we began discussing a street name and then realized how many parks, streets, schools and buildings named after a particular person: Anthony Chabot.  I had lived from birth until age 16 there and never once had I studied, discussed or really heard about this person other than his namesakes..  but there he was everywhere around me.  We began discussing this and finally decided on using our smartphones for something actually smart.. Sorry Social Media ...

So we started with Wikipedia.  I know that Wikipedia is not always the most accurate but we started there and investigated further historical websites and encyclopedias. 

What did we find?  

That all of these places I went to as a kid were named after a man that set up major water infrastructures, damned creeks to make reservoirs, donated to shelters, create veterans housing, created large businesses and even cultivated cranberries.  He did so much and we NEVER learned about him in school. 

So now as we travel we try to learn about cities and sites along the way. 

Here are some of the things we look up:

Which Native Groups lived here?

Who settled this area for the state?  Who originally owned it and how did they gain the land?  What/Who are the surrounding cites or county named for? What are those people known for?
What sites can be visited?  What missions are nearby? 

How has the town changed over the years?  Where is the original downtown?  What were the older buildings originally used for?

There is so much more you can look into.

So here is a cheat sheet to start with your family. It gives them some questions to work through and ideas for places to explore when they are done.  It can be used on road trips to entertain the kids or to check out your town and keep them entertained for free.  

<table style="width:194px;"><tr><td align="center" style="height:194px;background:url( no-repeat left"><a href=""><img src="" width="160" height="160" style="margin:1px 0 0 4px;"></a></td></tr><tr><td style="text-align:center;font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px"><a href="" style="color:#4D4D4D;font-weight:bold;text-decoration:none;">June 27, 2014</a></td></tr></table> 

I believe in Constantly Learning and most importantly learning from our history.  I hope you enjoy.

All of this learning can be exhausting... : P