Monday, September 15, 2014

Locals interested in local history

A few days ago I asked some of the SLV Museum's members and supporters to meet with me and have an open discussion about their community museum.   It was very heartwarming to hear how special they felt their valley was with history still alive and existing all around them.  They talked about how some communities have paved over their history with, many times, only 1 historic house being saved as an example of their history.   I hear over and over from people who live in SLV how they feel an ownership of the historic buildings and community and want to learn about their history, the ebb and flow of industries, individual businesses, and people who helped build the towns and valley into what it is today.  Lastly, the people meeting with me, and so many others who visit the museum, share that they are very interested in the history of their own homes and property - who lived there? how did those early owners use their property? how did they make a living?  how involved were they in their community?  How many people have lived there between the first and the current occupant?  So many intriguing questions and ones that the vast majority of homeowners never ask because they don't live in a community that has so much history surrounding them. 

If you are interested in the history of your property, there are some simple steps you can take to get started:
1.  Start with your property title deed.  Mine lists all the owners chronologically, any mineral rights sold to someone else, and right-a ways granted
2.  If your deed of title doesn't go back very far you can take the APN # and go to the Santa Cruz County Planning Dept and see if they have more information
3.  If you have the name(s) of early property owners you can check the archives of newspapers.  The Santa Cruz Public Library main branch downtown has copies of most of the early newspapers besides just the Santa Cruz Sentinel, such as the Santa Cruz Surf.
4.  Boulder Creek had a newspaper, The Mountain Echo, published from 1898 to 1916.  The main library has a subject index for The Mountain Echo that will give you information to save time in looking specific articles.

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