News Column

Sutter County Historical Society seeks volunteers

July 27, 2014

By Leticia Gutierrez, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.

July 27--The Sutter County Historical Society wants volunteers to help keep the county's history alive with its work to preserve and educate people about the area's rich past.

They don't have to be history experts, or speakers, or even live in Sutter County, said Phyllis Smith, the historical society's secretary-treasurer. The society's board of directors just needs people interested in history and willing to do some work.

The board, currently with eight directors, has space for 17 individuals.

"People may be afraid they don't know what to do or that more work may be involved," Smith said. "I would encourage people who have the tiniest bit of interest in history, or in helping, in attending a meeting and seeing what we do."

Information about joining the historical society's board of directors is available at or by calling Smith at 671-3261.

Society directors' duties include setting up the board's quarterly meetings, assisting with fundraisers and other events and helping plan for the group's future projects.

In addition, the historical society and the Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County in Yuba City, two separate entities, work together closely.

The society, created in 1954, exists "to preserve and educate local people about local history," Smith said. Working with the group also gives people an opportunity to learn about the area.

Smith, born in Yuba City and a board director since 2000, joined the historical society because she likes volunteering, being part of a group and enjoys all history, she said.

"A few years ago (the society) did a survey of historic properties in the county," she said. "I learned so much about buildings (and) architectural styles."

Future projects the historical society would like to do include:

--Refurbishing West Butte School, a one-room schoolhouse rebuilt in 1909 in the Sutter Buttes. The property is owned by the Sutter Buttes Regional Land Trust, formerly known as the Middle Mountain Foundation.

--Compiling a catalogue of Century Farms in Sutter County featuring property continuously owned within the same family and in agricultural production for 100 years or more. The continuing list has two farms at this time.

The society also sponsors the Judith Barr Fairbanks essay contest, with elementary school students writing letters "home" from an early settler and essays on topics related to Sutter County history.

The historical society's general membership meetings are also quarterly -- a picnic in June, lunch at Ruthy's in October and at the Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County in January and April.

The next membership luncheon meeting is at 11:30 a.m.Oct. 11 at Ruthy's in Hillcrest Plaza in Yuba City, with guest speaker Cheryl Stapp of Sacramento, author of "The Stage Coach in Northern California: Rough Rides, Gold Camps and Daring Drivers."

Historical society annual membership costs are $25 for an individual; $20 seniors and students; and $40 family. Membership in the historical society includes membership in the Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County.

Museum owes existence to Historical Society

Though the Sutter County Historical Society and the Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County in Yuba City are two separate entities, they are well connected to each other.

"They are the founding fathers" of the museum, said museum director Julie Stark.

One of the historical society's first main goals was to create a museum, she said. The museum opened at its current location on Butte House Road in 1975 after being housed in a small site in Carriage Square in Yuba City.

Since then, the historical society's projects included funding the museum's agricultural wing addition in 1999.

The historical society's past completed projects also include the Hock Farm doors where John Sutter established a farm in the 1840s; and a plaque to Charles William Whiting Wooster, a founder of the Chilean navy who was born in Connecticut and died in 1848 at Sutter's Hock Farm.


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Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)

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