By Roz Rogoff
Crabby about HistoryUploaded: Jan 22, 2012
The San Ramon Historic Foundation is holding a Crab Feed this Saturday night at Dougherty Station Community Center. This is an annual fund raiser for the Foundation, which supports restoring and preserving the farming history of San Ramon. Board member, Donna Kerger, says the Historic Foundation is important because, "It gives our children the opportunity to see the Valley as it used to be."
I used to volunteer at Forrest Home Farms giving canning demonstrations to elementary school children on field trips to the past. The kids got to mash up persimmons and learn how to can jams and jellies before Supermarkets made mass produced foods so easily available.
Other volunteers demonstrate how the original settlers grew their own food, sewed their own clothes, and squeezed orange juice by hand. I can remember doing some of these "old fashioned" activities when I was growing up in the 1950's.
The Historic Foundation's website says it is "Dedicated to the preservation of San Ramon's early farms and homesteads." The oldest and most fragile homestead in San Ramon is the Harlan House also called El Nido.
Right now El Nido is located on a lot on San Ramon Valley Blvd. just south of Montevideo Drive. That property is on the agenda to be discussed in the Closed Session at the end of Tuesday's City Council meeting. The lot was approved for a town house development and the City agreed to move the Harlan House. The likely destination is the "wood lot" on Bollinger Canyon Road near the intersection with Norris Canyon.
Dall Barley, one of the volunteers at Forest Home Farms, told me the Harlan House would require shoring up to move it and the bottom would need rebuilding because it is full of dry rot. The City spent over $1.6M moving and restoring the Glass House and it was in was in much better condition. It is not known now how much it will cost or where the money would come from to move the Harlan House, but it must be moved soon.
I was crabby in a reply to a story on saving the Harlan House last year because the Historic Foundation didn't make the same effort to protect Mudd's. I even attacked Foundation President Jean Ohman over it. That was very unfair of me.
Jean Ohman has contributed her time and energy to many volunteer activities in San Ramon. She was San Ramon's Citizen of the Year in 2007.
Jean recently resigned as President of the Historic Foundation to take a one year leave of absence to move to Sea Ranch Bay. She owns a house on the coast there and is planning to retire there in a few years. She's taking a year off now to see how she likes living in such a remote area.
Foundation's Vice President, Paul Truschke, will take over as President and the Board hopes to appoint ex-City Councilwoman Carol Rowley as Vice President at their Board Meeting this Wednesday night.