This Saturday, the 155-year-old walls of Fort Point will again echo with the sounds of fifes and drums and tramp of boots as this San Francisco landmark celebrates Civil War Living History Day. Come watch and interact with dozens of reenactors from the American Civil War Association portraying Union soldiers and civilians from the time of the War Between the States at the only Civil War-era brick fort west of the Mississippi.
Like many other fourth graders in Marin, my son has been immersed in California history this year. One of the books that he read in class was Patty Reed's Doll, which tells the story of the ill-fated Donner Party from the point of view of one of its youngest members and her beloved doll "Dolly." When we learned that Dolly herself is on view at Sutter's Fort State Historic Park in Sacramento, we decided we had to make the trip to go see it.
Sutter's Fort was built between 1841 and 1843 by Swiss-born pioneer John Augustus Sutter, who made it the centerpiece of his settlement which he dubbed "New Helvetia." Sutter's Fort was a welcome sight for many early California immigrants who often endured arduous conditions crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Sutter was renowned for his hospitality and assistance to immigrants, but his lands were overrun by gold-seekers after 1848, destroying much of the empire that he built.
While the two-story adobe Main Building is original, the rest of the fort, including the 15-foot-high adobe walls, has been reconstructed. Step through the fort's gates, though, and you're back in the 1840s, especially if one of their special interpretive "Hands-on History" programs is taking place.
Celebrate Christmas in Victorian style this Friday at San Rafael's Falkirk Cultural Center. Join Charles Dickens, his family, and a cast of colorful 19th-century characters for a joyous evening of Victorian revelry at the elegant Falkirk Mansion.
Partake in a holiday treat as you go back in time to Victorian England and meet Dickens himself, listen to him read from his famous works like A Christmas Carol, watch his characters come alive (watch out for Scrooge), meet and greet the true Father Christmas, play Victorian parlor games, dance and sing with a Victorian family, and make traditional holiday crafts. Light food and drink will be served.
This is a family event takes place on Friday, December 2 from 6:30–9 pm. Tickets to the Dickens Family Victorian Holiday are $10 for adults and $7 for children. You can order tickets by phone at (800) 838-3006 or online at brownpapertickets.com.