A Visit to Fiesta Santa Fe 2014

Attractions in Santa Fe New Mexico includes many celebrations and cultural events throughout the year. Fiesta Santa Fe is one that you don’t want to miss.

Over 300 years old, Santa Fe’s biggest celebration is a ten-day series of bailles, processions, parades, and musical performances which is all a part of Fiesta de Santa Fe. The historic capital of Santa Fe is one of the oldest in the United States. The capital was established by Don Juan de Oñate at San Gabriel in 1598. It was relocated over 30 miles south to the foot of the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains where Santa Fe was founded in 1610.

As a side note, the site of San Gabriel is a National Historic Landmark and is located on the Río Grande in the northern region of present-day New Mexico. A cross and a memorial mark the site which is accessible to the public.

fiesta santa fe dance

Fiesta Santa Fe dance exhibitions

The Beginnings of Fiesta de Santa Fe

Fiesta de Santa Fe is one of the largest annual events in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is all about a celebration of cultures (Spanish and Native American) coming together in peace.

It commemorates the time in 1692 that Diego de Vargas reentered Santa Fe, twelve years after the Pueblo Revolt drove the Spaniards out of Nuevo Mexico.

Fiesta de Santa Fe honors and preserve the annual commemoration in the spirit and letter outlined in the 1712 Santa Fe City Council Proclamation which was formally signed twenty years after Spanish reconquest.

In 1712, the governor of the province of Nuevo México through his Captain General and spokesman, Juan Paez Hurtado, proclaimed that year and each thereafter a Fiesta would be held specifically honoring the bloodless reconquest of Santa Fe twenty years prior. It was decreed that the Fiesta should be one of religious thanksgiving and general celebration. The nine men whose signatures were affixed to the document obligated themselves and posterity to this perennial festival for all future time.

fiesta santa fe events

The Santa Fe plaza during Fiesta Santa Fe

The Actual Reconquest of Santa Fe

The fact is that ever since the Spaniards were expelled from Nuevo Mexico due to the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, the government in Mexico was planning for an eventual reconquest.

The reconquest of Santa Fe and Nuevo Mexico is often referred to as a “bloodless reconquest“. After several attempts, Diego de Vargas entered Santa Fe on September 14, 1692 and took control of the Santa Fe plaza. There was a short confrontation with Indians followed by a peaceful agreement.

This reconquest reestablished the Roman Catholic Church in Santa Fe after the churches had been destroyed and the friars slaughtered during the 1680 revolt.

It was also very important to Spain that Nuevo Mexico be retaken to solidify Spain’s presence in the region especially with the French expansion into the plains region from the Great Lakes.

De Vargas journeyed back to Mexico in 1693 for the purpose of leading colonists back north. There were a few settlers that did stay in the north after the Pueblo revolt but there were not many. There also were settlers in Mexico and around El Paso who didn’t relish going back north. Nevertheless, colonists were gathered together and the journey back to Santa Fe commenced.

During de Vargas’ second reentry into Santa Fe in 1693 the situation was a bit different. Many historians consider the reconquest to have taken place over the years 1693-1704. It took time for Spain to truly bring their rule to the greater region.

Many Pueblo Indians welcomed the Spaniards back but a good many also did not. Those who did welcome the Spanish back were hoping that the Spanish presence would help stop raids against them from Apaches and Navajos. It actually took some bloody conflicts in an assortment of pueblos before Spain truly had control of the region.

Today’s Fiesta Santa Fe

Thousands of people return every year to Fiesta Santa Fe in celebration of 300 year old customs. Enjoy legendary crafts, music, dancing, food and pageantry. Many Fiesta goers discover local cuisine and regional wines at both gourmet restaurants and food booths lining the plaza.

You may enjoy the articles from Trips Into History and our Western Trips site on the links below…

Barrio de Analco and the Country’s Oldest House

Historic Dining Cars of the Santa Fe Railroad

A Drive from Santa Fe to Taos New Mexico

santa fe fiesta plaza photo

Santa Fe’s plza at sunset during Fiesta 2014

La Fiesta de Santa Fe is a celebration created by the conquistadors who helped establish colonies here. Fiesta de Santa Fe has a special place in the hearts of Santa Feans.

Fiesta attendees can celebrate culture and history by retracing the actual steps of the city’s ancestors through the center of town, or by joining a candlelight procession on the last day of the Fiesta.

Each spring the Fiesta Council holds a contest in which local men and women compete to play the roles of General Don Diego de Vargas and La Reina de la Fiesta de Santa Fe. Reenactments of the Knighting and Coronation of Don Diego de Vargas and La Reina de Santa Fe are highlights of the annual festival.

pet parade santa fe fiesta

Fiesta Santa Fe Pet Parade

Plan Your Visit

One must visit attraction in Santa Fe is Fiesta Santa Fe. Santa Fe’s Fiesta is held the second weekend of September. Fiesta is attended by people throughout the world and hotel reservations are generally required well in advance.

The following websites will give you much more information about Fiesta Santa Fe and the events included…

santafefiesta.org

santafeselection.com

(Article and photos copyright 2014 Trips Into History)

 

Visiting the Southwest / The Roots of the Long Apache War

Fort Apache located in the foothills of the White Mountains of Arizona offers a very interesting travel stop. The fort was established in 1870 at the confluence of the east and north forks of the White River. This was a very important military outpost in the center of the White Mountain Apache homeland and today is within an Apache Arizona Indian Reservation.

One of the most interesting aspect of Fort Apache is what was established there in the latter years of the fort’s existence. This was the Theodore Roosevelt School, established in 1923 by an act of Congress.

fort apache arizona

One of the surviving structures from old Fort Apache

There were many ways to start an Indian war in 1800’s America. One way was to take land from the Native Americans and force them to live on reservations. Another way was to hunt the buffalo to near extinction thus taking away the most important source of their sustenance. Still another was to make a treaty and then break it. In the 1861 Arizona Territory a new way was found. That was to kidnap a chiefs family and hold it for ransom.

The Story Begins

This story starts in 1861 when a Tonto Apache Indian party raided a ranch in far southern Arizona Territory. The raiders stole livestock and ended up kidnapping a twelve year old boy, a stepson of the rancher’s Mexican wife.  The rancher told his story to the local military at nearby Fort Buchanan (the remains of which are pictured below right). The commander, a Colonel Morrison, ordered a Lieutenant George Bascom to take a large contingent of troops and locate the boy. It’s thought that while the army (Morrison) wanted to make a concerted effort to find the boy and have the ranchers livestock returned, his main concerns were the raging Civil War back east. He may not have been involved as much as he should have been in the unfolding drama.

fort buchanan arizona

Ruins of Fort Buchanan

Lieutenant Bascom

A bit also needs to be said regarding Bascom’s background and experience. A Kentuckian and recent graduate from West Point, he had just recently arrived in the Arizona Territory about three months prior. He was unfamiliar with the area and likewise unfamiliar with the Apaches. In other words, he was inexperienced on the ground. Likewise, the troopers assigned to accompany him were a new contingent of troops also inexperienced. Not a good combination to deal with a delicate kidnapping situation as future actions would reveal.

The Story Unfolds

Bascom was unable to locate the tribe or the boy. Bascom’s opinion however was that the raid and kidnapping was done by the Chiricahua Apaches which is what the rancher claimed.

His commander then ordered him to go after the Chiricahua’s and do anything necessary to free the boy. That’s a  fairly open order and a lot of responsibility for a relatively new Lieutenant.

apache pass arizona

Apache Pass in today’s Cochise County Arizona

Bascom along with 54 troopers traveled to a location known as Apache Pass where a Butterfield Stage station was located. In fact, the two station attendants were familiar with Cochise who had a winter camp in the nearby rugged mountains.

There Bascom sent word that he wanted to have a meeting with Cochise. Bascom and his men set up tents about a mile away from the stage station and awaited Cochise. Apparently Cochise, who had a reputation for honesty, was suspicious of the meeting and as a precaution took along several family members.

What happened next was probably not a good move by the army. When Cochise and his family arrived at the meeting site pictured to the left, Bascom arrested him. Cochise managed to escape from the troopers and in retaliation Bascom took captive five members of Cochise’s family. This appeared to be the tipping point.

The Conflict with Cochise Grows

A short time later Cochise sent a message to Bascom pleading for the release of his family members. Lt. Bascom refused the request and simply sent word back to Cochise that his family would be released when he twelve year old boy was released. When Cochise received Bascom’s reply, he went out with some braves and attacked and kidnapped three Americans. Cochise planned to trade the Americans for the release of his family. Bascom refused to negotiate with Cochise. Cochise was in a corner.

cochise stronghold in arizona

The Dragoon Mountains in southern Arizona and the Cochise Stronghold

The situation just continued to escalate. Cochise, pictured to the right, decided to flee to nearby Sonora Mexico and on the way he killed the three American captives. Not a wise thing to do. This intensified the conflict.

A short time later Cochise sent a message to Bascom pleading for the release of his family members. Lt. Bascom refused the request and simply sent word back to Cochise that his family would be released when he twelve year old boy was released. When Cochise received Bascom’s reply, he went out with some braves and attacked and kidnapped three Americans. Cochise planned to trade the Americans for the release of his family. Bascom refused to negotiate with Cochise. Cochise was in a corner.

The situation just continued to escalate. Cochise, pictured to the right, decided to flee to nearby Sonora Mexico and on the way he killed the three American captives. Not a wise thing to do. This intensified the conflict.

fort apache arizona structures

Commanding Officers residence at Fort Apache

Escalation Continues

When Bascom came upon the remains of the murdered Americans he hung all five of Cochise’s family members in retaliation. It’s not entirely clear who exactly made that decision.

The moment Cochise learned of the killing of his family is commonly recognized as the start of the 25 year long Apache War. An interesting fact is that the Apaches from Arizona looked upon the Mexicans as there enemies, not the Americans. The antagonism toward the Mexicans was an offshoot of the years of Spanish rule. It was the Spaniards who originally explored the American southwest and it was the Spaniards who first changed the Apache way of life. This was the situation in the entire southwest, all the way from Texas to California.

See the Trips Into History articles on the links below…

The Sioux War and the Army’s First Victory After Custer’s Defeat

American Frontier Doctors

A Visit to Fort Apache Historic Park

Could Be The best Hiking Trail in Sedona Arizona

A Situation Out of Control

The act of the kidnappings and the escalation that followed went out of control. The killings of the kidnapped victims turned into a catastrophe that in all respects could have been avoided. When you consider what occurred, you almost have to ask if the higher authorities were involved or was the kidnapping of Cochise’s family by Lt. Bascom a decision made by him alone. If it was a spur of the moment decision by an inexperienced young officer then the 25 year long Apache War may have been avoided.

apache chief geronimo

Apache leader Geronimo

It should also be noted that the period from 1862 to 1886 when Geronimo (pictured left) finally surrendered was not the only period of conflict with the Apaches.

Skirmishes took place as far back as the 1840’s and even after Geronimo’s surrender there were small skirmishes up to about 1900. Most of the latter skirmishes resulted from the army trying to put wayward Apaches back on their reservation land.

Small fights also resulted between Apaches and miners and ranchers over suspected theft of livestock and property.

The question really is would there have been conflicts with the Apaches regardless of the Bascom Affair? With settlers heading into the territory in large numbers there certainly would have been problems. Would the warfare go on as long as it did without the Bascom Affair? You be the judge. Nobody knows for certain.

Visit Fort Apache

For those wishing to visit Fort Apache Historic Park, the site is located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation about a 170 mile drive east/northeast of Phoenix Arizona, about a 190 mile drive north of Tucson and a 29 mile drive south of Pinetop-Lakeside Arizona.

(Article copyright Trips Into History. Photos of Fort Apache from Trips Into History collection. Remaining photos and images in the public domain)

Garryowen and George Armstrong Custer’s Seventh Cavalry

George Armstrong Custer and “Garryowen” 

Countless books have been published about George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn. At the time the battle that took place along the Little Bighorn River in Montana represented the largest single Indian War military loss. An interesting side story about Custer’s 7th Cavalry was their unofficial regimental marching song “Garryowen“. Marching tunes have been used in the military for centuries. They are used today.

garryowen montana memorial

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Peace Memorial, Garryowen Montana

All branches of the military are known to have cadence calls. The cadence call requires no musical instruments and sometimes the lyrics are composed of call outs and answers.

When you look back to the time before mechanized transportation, a marching song during a protracted hike helps build cohesion, keeps the troops in step and makes a long march a bit less weary. Essentially these tunes add rhythm to a march. A march is work and you could say these are “work songs”. In the U.S. these cadences are sometimes referred to as “jody calls”. The name Jody appears in many traditional military cadences thus the term “jody calls“.

Custer Adopts the Irish Garryowen

The story is that George Custer first heard the tune being sung among his Irish troopers. It was a old Irish tune going back to around 1860 with some believing it came directly from this neighborhood of Limerick Ireland. Some historians believe it was introduced to Colonel Custer by Captain Myles W. Keogh, one of his officers. Keogh’s father reportedly had been with the Fifth Royal Irish Lancers who had used this song. The Seventh Cavalry officially adopted the tune in 1867.

myles keogh of the seventh cavalry

Photo of the Seventh Cavalry. Myles Keogh seated furthest in front.

It originated just outside Limerick, Ireland and translates into “Owens Garden“. Custer liked it and started humming it himself. He also thought the tune matched up pretty well to a regiment of Cavalry horse soldiers on the march.

The tune actually was used by Irish regiments as a drinking song and some say it’s quick stepped  rhythm can be traced as far back as the early 1800’s. It’s first introduction among U.S. soldiers was in the early 1860’s during the Civil War.

In 1981 the Army’s First Cavalry Division made “Garryowen” it’s official song.

Original Garryowen Lyrics

“Garryowen”

[Verse 1]

Let Bacchus’s sons be not dismayed,
but join with me each jovial blade,
come booze and sing and lend your aid,
to help me with the chorus:

“Chorus”

 Instead of spa we’ll drink down ale
and pay the reckoning on the nail,
for debt no man shall go to jail;
from Garry Owen in glory

[Verse 2]

We are the boys who take delight
in smashing Limerick lamps at night,
and through the street like sportsters fight,
tearing all before us. (Chorus)

[Verse 3]

We’ll break windows, we’ll break doors,
the watch knock down by threes and fours,
then let the doctors work their cures,
and tinker up our bruises. (Chorus)

[Verse 4]

We’ll beat the bailiffs out of fun,
we’ll make the mayor and sheriffs run,
we are the boys no man dare dun,
if he regards a whole skin. (Chorus)

[Verse 5]

Our hearts so stout have got us fame,
for soon ’tis known from whence we came,
where’re we go they dread the name,
of Garry Owen in glory. (Chorus)

Visit the Custer Battlefield

The Custer Battlefield Museum is located in Garryowen, MT. The site is right along Interstate-90 a few miles south of the Custer Battlefield and about 55 miles northwest of Sheridan, Wyoming.

This museum offers a vast display of photos, weaponry, paintings, manuscripts and many many more interesting artifacts. Several events are scheduled including reenactments of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The museum also offers internships for interested students. If you are in the general area I think this would make an excellent stop.

Below are links to additional Trips Into History articles you may enjoy…

 The Buffalo Soldiers of West Texas

The Grattan Massacre in Wyoming and the Start of War

The Resting Place of the Heroes of the Alamo

little bighorn memorial

Little Bighorn Memorial on Last Stand Hill

Annual Battle of the Little Bighorn Reenactment 

This annual event is scheduled each June. Learn and experience the historic struggle for control of the West by visiting the amazing Little Bighorn Reenactment firsthand.

The Reenactment is located just south of Crow Agency, MT and between the historic points of Custer’s Last Stand Hill, Reno’s Charge / Retreat, and Reno – Benteen Battlefield. This battle has been called Custer’s Last Stand for over a century, with the National Park Service renaming of the Battlefield monument and park to Little Bighorn Battlefield.

For more information and for exact directions see website www..littlebighornreenactment.com

(Article copyright 2013 Trips Into History. Photos and images in public domain)

American Frontier / The Doctors

Frontier Medicine

American frontier medicine is one of the most interesting aspects of the westward migration during the 1800’s and there’s many unique museums and historic sites to explore regarding the subject.

Doctor's Horse Carriage

Make it a point to visit one of the many museums spread across the United States that chronicle the life and duties of frontier doctors. What was known of the art of healing during the 1800’s? How did doctors travel to tend to the sick and wounded? What types of instruments were available on the frontier? What medicines were available to the frontier doctor? All of these questions are answered in the artifacts, photos and articles exhibited at these museums. Visit one of these on your next vacation or road trip and you’ll be amazed at some of the things you’ll see and learn during your visit. Below are just a few of the museums you’ll enjoy visiting.

National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

Robert Wood Johnson Museum of Frontier Medicine located at Fort Concho in San Angelo Texas.

The Oklahoma Frontier Drugstore Museum in Guthrie Oklahoma.

Medicine’s Hall of Fame & Museum in the former Central Harley-Davidson building in Shawnee Oklahoma.

The Fort Crawford Museum of Native American Medicine, in Prairie du Chien Wisconsin.

The Indiana Medical History Museum is located in Indianapolis Indiana.

native American Medicine Man from Alaska, circa 1890

Native American Medicine

Long before doctors from the east with their medical diplomas traveled to the western frontier, Native American tribes had their medicine men or shamans. Each may have performed their tasks a bit differently but all functioned as a link between the spirit world and the earth world. All tribes believed that illness came from the spirit world and it would take a man with a direct link to that spirit world to provide a cure.

Interestingly enough, the medicine man didn’t have things too easy. If a certain amount of tribe members died, the medicine man or shaman might be put to death.

 

 

Frontier doctors bag

The Role of the Frontier Doctor

In many western frontier towns during the mid to late 1800’s, the medical doctor could very well find himself as the most educated member of the settlement. Because of this the doctor at times performed duties not pertaining to medicine. He could also act as a political leader. It was a luxury in itself during the early days to even have a medical man within the community. One of the best example of this is the case of Dr. David S. Maynard who practiced in the Washington Territory during the 1850’s. Maynard, in addition to being the town physician, also served as a druggist, superintendent of schools, a merchant, justice of the peace and a notary public.

During the latter half of the 1800’s, many of the doctors who served on the western American frontier gained their skills during the Civil War. The doctor who settled there was an adventurous person who may have also been attracted to the region for potential mining opportunities. To be sure, the frontier presented more than enough challenges considering the gunshot wounds, epidemics and other injuries that were a common part of life there. The very way people had to live on the frontier, especially during the earlier years, bred a lot of sickness.

It’s often been said that the task of traveling to reach a sick or wounded patient was often considered as difficult or more so than successfully treating the patient.

The Military Doctor on the Frontier

The military doctor was in some ways quite different than the civilian American frontier doctor. The military doctor might have been an officer himself or in some cases was a contract physician assigned to a fort. The doctor was there in theory to treat soldiers but as was often the case would render his services to the nearby settlements if necessary.

Serving as a physician on the frontier was not without it’s dangers. A good example of this was Custer’s Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. Reportedly there were three physicians attached to Custer’s column. Out of the three only one survived the massacre. This was Dr. Henry Porter who had been with Major Reno’s detachment about a mile away from the Custer fight.

Major Gen. Leonard Wood, 1903

The most noted military physician in the American west may have been Dr. Leonard Wood who served in the southwest during the campaign against Geronimo and later was a commander with the Rough Riders during the Spanish American War. Wood would later become army chief of staff and came close to running for president in the early 1900’s. Dr. Leonard Wood was an exception in that most army physicians didn’t pursue the military as a career. After their military service was completed, many doctors settled in towns that were nearby the forts they had served at.

Remedies

Doctors who practiced medicine on the American frontier, whether they were military men or not, relied on remedies they were familiar with. Botonic physicians would be partial to herb and root concoctions. Allopaths would rely on calomel and ipecac. Generally though, many frontier doctors carried a bag that contained an assortment of medicines. A few of the more highly used medicines during the latter 1800’s included laudanum, morphine, quinine, jalap and ergot. There were many more.

Links to additional Trips Into History articles you’ll enjoy are Soldier Life on the Frontier and Frontier Women in the American West.

Early pharmacy supplies

The Druggist

The drugstore was the arsenal of the frontier doctor. It was common for the physician to also be the druggist. The medicines received by the frontier druggist were not received in the ready to use form as they are today. The druggist would receive herbs, roots bark and leaves and these materials would need to be mashed and pounded. Since bleeding was a common treatment during this era, it wouldn’t be uncommon for a pharmacist to carry a supply of blood sucking leeches.

The 1800’s military also used a drug wagon that contained medicines that could be used in the field. In essence it was a mobile pharmacy.

Eventually, as the settlements grew from towns to cities, the two professions, physician and pharmacist, separated and each had more than enough to do in their own profession than to practice both.

National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

Learn More About American Frontier Medicine

As mentioned in the beginning of this article, there are many interesting museums to visit in the U.S. which chronicle the efforts to provide health care on the wild American frontier. It’s interesting to learn how the profession evolved and about the challenges and dangers that went hand in hand in trying to treat the sick and wounded when supplies were limited.

All of these medical history museums, some of which are National Landmarks, make excellent additions to your vacation or road trip planner. They represent low cost ways to turn your road trip into an educational and fun experience.

Recommended books on this subject are Frontier Medicine by author David Dary and Doctors of the Old West by author Robert F. Karolevitz.

(Photos and images of medicine man and Dr. Leonard Wood from the public domain. Remainder of photos from the author’s collection)

The Theater Washed Away By a River / The Eagle Theater of Sacramento California

In 1849, there were essentially two types of people who frequented Sacramento California. Those who worked hard all day digging or panning for gold up in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and those selling things to these prospectors. Both would make a lot of money although the majority would have been those who sold to the miners. It was more of a sure thing and the prices received by merchants in such a remote region could be astonishing.

1849 sacramento california waterfront

Location of the Eagle Theater on the banks of the Sacramento River in Sacramento California. Public domain image.

The Eagle Theater in Sacramento Old Town was the first permanent theater structure built in the state of California. The structure was simply wood frame and canvas located behind a gambling tent. To enter the Eagle Theater one would had to walk through the gambling tent where, certainly more than once, a miner lost some gold dust between the entrance of the tent and the entrance of the theater. In retrospect, it probably was one of the best marketing ideas of 1849. At every turn there was opportunity for the gold miners to spend their money.

The Eagle Theater which supposedly cost an amazing  $30,000 to build (wood and canvas), opened in September of 1849. The high cost of building such a flimsy structure was a direct result of the shortage of building materials around the gold country. Other items such as food, clothes, etc were selling at astronomical prices. Opening a theater was a fairly sure way to make money in Sacramento at that time. The miners had spent most of their non-mining hours either gambling, drinking and in most cases doing both at the same time. Even that routine can get old. Not that they ever really gave up the gambling and imbibing, but something new was needed for miners to spend their time and their gold dust. There were enough non mining people around Sacramento and the gold fields trying to answer that question. A different kind of entertainment was needed. The answer was theater, although theater at that particular time and place could be open to interpretation. Nevertheless, good or bad theater, it was entertainment.

The very informative book, Women of the Gold Rush by author Elizabeth Margo, describes what unfortunately happened to the Eagle Theater. The Eagle Theater was created by the Eagle Stock Company which was a first for California. As mentioned above, theater patrons would pass through the Round Tent gambling saloon to enter the theater. The Eagle Stock Company began in early fall with a series of plays such as The Bandit Chief.

Eagle Theater in Sacramento California

Restored historic Eagle Theater in Old Town Sacramento California, from author's collection.

California falls and winter can be quite wet. It’s the rainy season in the state and it’s also a time when gold prospectors were often idle. The theater did two things. It offered entertainment when the miners needed something to do and it also was a way to get shelter from the rain.

In 1849, it rained during the entire fall season, rained all November and December and rained even heavier during January 1850. On one rainy evening in January the Sacramento River rose so much that water came seeping through the floor. During the play’s second act the audience was standing on the benches. By the time the play concluded, the audience of miners were virtually hanging from the rafters in the gallery. What occurred was that the Eagle Theater actually became a part of the newly widened Sacramento River. What was the short lived Eagle Theater was now part of the Sacramento River. The elements did what the critics could never do. Never again would a Sacramento theater be at that location. Amazingly, the Eagle Stock Company held fast and continued to put on performances for several more nights. The audience hung from the rafters over the part of the river that was serving as the Eagle Theater. This gives you an idea of how badly entertainment was needed and accepted. Flooding in Sacramento during January 1850 damaged a wide area of the Sacramento waterfront. When all was said and done, only a portion of the theater remained intact. New owners rebuilt the theater about 200 feet inland and renamed it the Tehama Theater. Several of the flooded out performers from the Eagle Stock Company found work later in San Francisco’s growing theater scene. The Eagle Theater would be no more.

This may very well have been the only instance that a theater was literally washed away by a raging river. Certainly, it was the only instance in California. many theaters in the old California mining towns were destroyed by fire. This happened in San Francisco several times in the early 1850’s and in Nevada City California. The first mining camps and towns were built with wood. Fires swept through many of these towns and virtually destroyed everything. After each fire, the towns were rebuilt. Brick eventually became the preferred material. This is why today when you take a trip to many of these towns like Nevada City, Grass Valley and Senora, brick structures are found everywhere.

Two California gold country articles you’ll find interesting are about the gold town of Auburn California and the prosperous town of Nevada City California and it’s famous theater.

Another excellent book regarding theater during the California Gold Rush is Anybody’s Gold by author Joseph Henry Jackson. The book includes a good deal of information about the performers who worked the early California theaters.

Today, the restored Eagle Theater structure is owned by the California Parks and Recreation Dept. Fund raising for the restoration is credited to the Junior League and it’s efforts to have to California legislature to provide $75,000 for the project. The Eagle Theater today is operated by the California State Railroad Museum which is about one block away. The address is 925 Front Street in Old Town Sacramento California.