Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Starting Post

Where did General Vallejo sleep?

Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo

If you have ever traveled to the east coast, you may have encountered a plaque advertising the fact that "George Washington slept here." George Washington did not sleep anywhere in California, but General Vallejo sure did and there are plenty of California Historical Landmark markers to show you where.

I am a history junkie and my wife, Alisa, cannot turn down an opportunity to read didactic text (she works for a museum after all). Whenever we see a historical marker, we want to read it and learn why this spot is important. That is why we are starting this blog as we visit every California Historical Landmark.

Isn't that obsessive?
It could be, but our goal is not really to check off all of the landmarks. The golden state is a great state with a history and culture as rich and varied as its geography and ballot propositions. We enjoy being tourists in our own state, hiking in the state parks, and sampling some of the best food and wine in the world. This project merely puts a framework around what we love to do already. Looking through the list of over 1000 landmarks, we were surprised at how many we had already seen (and will now revisit).

What do we want to get out of this?
Alisa grew up in California, so she had a solid California history education: camping in the Sierras; learning about earthquakes, fires, and water conservation; and, of course, visiting a mission. I, on the other hand, grew up in Wisconsin (state motto "Forward!"), home of the Iron Brigade, Fighting Bob La Follette, Harry Houdini, Senator Joseph McCarthy (unfortunately), Laura Ingalls Wilder (briefly), the Green Bay Packers, and cows. California is now my home and I want to know it better. While exploring California's past, we both look forward to enjoying the California of today and sharing this experience with friends and family, both through this blog and by dragging them along with us to a historical marker now and then.

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