Rolling through History
Grand Opening of the Historic Barn
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Part 1 of 4

Brief History

The barn was built shortly before or after the present covered bridge was built in 1862.  It served the farm needs for hay storage, animal stalls and cover for equipment.  The barn also provided temporary shelter for wagons and their teams passing through en route to the Sierra mines and the Nevada Territory.

In late 2005, Donna Jones, California State Parks Museum Curator, gave an illustrated talk and tour of the wagons being stored in the barn, to Bridgeport docents and volunteers.  After hearing Donna's vision of one day providing a suitable viewing area to showcase these wagons, a group of interested South Yuba River Park Association volunteers gathered to form an exploratory committee.  The group called themselves The Barn Stormin' Committee, and began immediately to develop a plan to clean and prepare the interior of the barn to display these important wagons and other valuable artifacts.  Work was done by park docents and volunteers, state parks maintenance staff, and additional volunteers brought together by the Penn Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Barn Restoration Project

This barn restoration project began in January 2006 and is near enough to completion that a grand opening was held to celebrate this progress and guide visitors through the barn and historic wagons for the first time.  The restoration will provide an interpretive exhibit of transportation through Bridgeport, and the public display of historic wagons, a hay press and hay fork.  The interpretive center theme is: "Bridgeport, a vital transportation link on the shortest historic trans-Sierran wagon route."  It was made possible by private donations of these items over several decades to the California State Parks Archeology, History and Museums Division, Museum Initiative Unit, and by financial grants and private contributions.  

See Historic Freight Wagons Return for the story of two such wagons, and Barn Exhibit to take the barn and wagon tour on line.  But first join the Grand Opening celebration by continuing on through this series of four page.  The above links are given again midway through and at the end of the Grand Opening pages.  A video slide show of the Grand Opening Celebration, with full-screen high-resolution pictures and zooms and pans to see details, has also been posted.

The Current Barn Stormin' Committee

Don Denton, Chairman
Diane Marten, President, SYRPA
Jean Wilson, Secretary, SYRPA

George Tilley, Treasurer, SYRPA
Caroline Lashbrook, Assistant Treasurer, SYRPA
Mike Smittle, Park Ranger

    Interpretive Panels: Dick Alexander, Barbara Brueckner, 
        Dave Macdonald, Steve Pauly and Chuck Scimeca
    Construction: Bill Haselhorst, assisted by many Bridgeport
        docents, volunteers and community members
    Community Outreach: Judy Nichols and Howard Voshell
    Grants and Institutional Donations: Betty McCown and Dennis Monax
    Historical Resource Advisor: Chuck Scimeca
    Publicity and Photography: Herb Lindberg

California State Park Liaisons

Ron Munson, Superintendent, Sierra Gold Sector
Donna Rea Jones, Regional Interpretive Specialist, Cultural Resource Division
Bill Lindemann, Interpretive Specialist, Sierra District
Judith Polanich, Museum Curator II, Sierra District
Steve Moses, Chief of State Parks Maintenance, assisted by 
    Pete Flewelling, Restoration Specialist, and
    Rob Cairns, Maintenance Supervisor

South Yuba River State Park Staff

Jeremy McReynolds, Supervising Ranger
Jeremy Alling, Park Ranger
Wayne Deese, Park Ranger
Jennifer McCallen, Park Ranger
Mike Smittle, Park Ranger, and Kahn, K9 Park Ranger
Marc Wetherbee, Park Ranger
Becky Quigley, Visitor Services Park Aide
Mike Humphrey, Park Maintenance Assistant
Brody Haymaker, Park Maintenance Aide

We also give thanks to the many volunteers who put on this wonderful day of activities:

The South Yuba River Park Association Board of Directors
The Penn Valley Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
Ranger Mike Smittle, Liaison to the Barn Committee
Gold Panning Demonstration: Doug Leach
Barn Tours: Dick Alexander and Hal Tiegs
Special Program Chairmen: Jim and Sue Vardon, assisted by
    Steve Pauly, Doug Leach, Wallace Kronland, and Ranger Wayne Deese
Decorations: Donna Brown, assisted by Carolyn and Bob Winters,
    and Kurt Chitlock of Ridge Feed and Supply
Publicity and Photography: Herb Lindberg
Invitations: Ranger Jennifer McCallan
Refreshments: Don and Linda Denton
Music: Rick Toles, Patty Pauly, and the Wildwooders Barbershop Quartet
Wagon Rides: Rock-n-Horse Ranch
Apple Pies from Arlene's Pantry of Penn Valley

A video slide show of the event was made in November, 2016 and posted on YouTube. Click on the picture below to view this entertaining show.

Photos from this event are given in four parts (Web pages) as follows.  A few key items are listed for each part to help navigation for viewing or returning to something you saw on a previous visit.

* = You are here

Part 1*.  Musicians, speakers meet, Wildwooders Barbershop Quartet, park and guest speakers.
Part 2.  Ribbon cutting by Hank Weston and park leaders, holdup by Black Bart, sing along.
Part 3.  Living History activities: barn, gas station, hot dogs and treats, gold panning, wagon rides.
Part 4.  Wagon rides (6 photos), barn tours (4 pictures), Mary Lindberg and Craig, cute kids.

Rick Toles (Alkali) Entertains as festivities begin.

Patty Pauly joins Alkali to play a duet

District Interpretive Specialist Bill Lindemann and wife relax before the program begins.

Museum Curator Donna Jones and Nevada County Supervisor Hank Weston meet as Diane Marten looks on.

Gold Rush period farm equipment on loan for the day.

Wildwooders Barbershop Quartet performs for "grandstand" of visitors.

Closer view

Don Denton, Barn Stormin' Committee Chairman, serves as Master of Ceremonies.

Ranger Mike Smittle introduces State Parks Museum Curator Donna Jones.

Donna explains importance of the barn and wagons history, supported by Bill Lindemann.

Wider view of scene as Susan George (past President of the Penn Valley Area Chamber of Commerce) speaks.

Susan George emphasizes the importance of the Historic Barn to the community.

Diane Marten, sparkplug for barn restoration as South Yuba River Park Association President.

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