Wednesday, May 25, 2016
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We are extremely proud of all the California's Gold shows we have produced over the past 20 years on our State's rich history, cultural diversity, natural wonders, and amazing people.
Our program is also endorsed by a number of organizations including: the California Teachers Association; the California Federation of Teachers; the California State Library Foundation; the California Library Association; the California School Boards Association; the California Council for the Social Studies; and the California Historical Society.
Thanks again for your support, and as always, you are invited to join the adventure as we continue our search together for California's Gold.
California's Gold #801 - QUICKSILVER
It was the very first mining community in California, starting up operations in 1845. Before it closed down for good in 1976, it also held the distinction of being the largest, richest mine California has ever known, processing over $700,000,000 in metallic wealth. New Almaden Mine was situated in the Santa Clara Valley near San Jose and in its heyday was bustling with activity with a mix of miners from Mexico to Cornwall. And the surprise is -- this was not a gold mine. It was a quicksilver mine! Quicksilver (mercury) was absolutely essential in hard rock mining because it was used to separate the gold from the rock it was found in. The fact that the New Almaden Mine was already in operation when gold was discovered in our state only quickened the pace of the gold rush itself. Today, the town is a registered National Historic Landmark and the mine itself is on land which is part of a county park. In this episode, Huell Howser visits the town and the mine and learns first hand about the rich history of this little-known but very important bit of "California's Gold."
California's Gold #802 - RAILCARS
California's Gold #803 - ROCKS IN WATER
California is full of them. They are located in both fresh and salt water.
Some are big and some are small. And they're all part of our state's rich
geological and human history.
California's Gold #804 - MT. SAN JACINTO
The San Jacinto Mountains are one of the most impressive natural wonders in
our entire state. No other mountains on this continent rise so high so fast - in
slightly less than seven horizontal miles, the peak rises from 800 to 10,804
feet above sea level!
California's Gold #805 - WOODEN BOATS
They come in all shapes and sizes and many date back to the early part of this century. All have been lovingly restored by their owners and are meticulously maintained. In short, they're some of the most beautiful wooden boats ever made.
Host Huell Howser gets a close look at these boats as he attends the 24th annual Concours d' Elegance which is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of the wooden boats that have graced Lake Tahoe since the 1920s. He not only talks with the owners about the rich history of their individual boats, but goes out on the clear waters of Lake Tahoe for a ride on some of the fastest boats.
It's all part of Wooden Boat Week sponsored by the Tahoe Yacht Club, and after you see these spectacular boats for yourself, you'll agree they are very much a part of "California's Gold."
California's Gold #806 - SLAB CITY
The California desert has always been a place filled with mystery ... and surprises! When you travel through our desert you're never sure what you're gonna see, who you're gonna meet, or what strange and wonderful experiences you're gonna have. Huell Howser discovered that first hand on a recent trip to the Salton Sea community of Niland.
At first glance, Niland is a sleepy little agricultural town once known as a major grower of tomatoes. But a few miles out of town -- out in the middle of nowhere -- Huell discovered two honest-to-goodness, little-known pieces of "California's Gold."
First Huell visits with self-taught artist and desert character Leonard Knight and gets a tour of "Salvation Mountain," a huge multicolored mosaic of scripture, flowers, trees and the American flag all sculpted into the side of a mountain with adobe, straw, and as much bright paint as Leonard can lay his hands on. "Salvation Mountain" is an on-going labor of love that Leonard started ten years ago and he shares his enthusiasm and his mountain with Huell.
About a half mile down the road, Huell next visits a town that is like no other in our state. Everyone lives rent free. There are no landlords, no official rules and there are no utilities or houses, yet over 3,000 people call it home during the winter months. It's called "Slab City" and it sits on the sight of an old abandoned Marine Base. Its citizens are a hearty bunch of independent, self-sufficient folks who have turned this desolate, yet beautiful part of the desert into an unofficial RV park. Huell spends a day touring "Slab City" in a twenty-five year old dune buggy, meets many of its colorful residents, and finds out why so many of them keep coming back year after year.
It's a real desert adventure as Huell Howser goes way off the beaten track to find two fine examples of "California's Gold."
California's Gold #807 - PARADISE
The morning of April 12, 1859 started like most other mornings for the miners working the Willard Claim on the West Branch of the Feather River just across the canyon from Dogtown. The men were hard at work washing the mountain away with the force of water pressure using the hydraulic mining technique.
Then, as Chauncy Wright, one of the hired hands, bent over to pick up what he at first considered to be just another rock, he made a discovery that would end up in the record books. Because on that morning, Chauncy and his fellow miners uncovered a 54 pound gold nugget! Needless to say, word quickly spread and the community of Dogtown celebrated the momentous discovery for several days. And as producer/host Huell Howser discovers in this adventure, the celebration is still going on !
Huell and cameraman Luis Fuerte travel to the town of Paradise, just down the road from Dogtown in Butte County, for the annual Gold Nugget Days Celebration, complete with a parade and all sorts of community festivities. The local citizens also take him to the actual area where the huge nugget was found - an area where modern-day miners are still searching for gold. There's also an E Clampus Vitus Donkey Derby and a visit to the Gold Nugget Museum included in this adventure. An adventure in search of an honest-to-goodness big piece of California's Gold.
California's Gold #808 - MULE DAYS
They've been a part of the California landscape for hundreds of years, helping to build our canals and highways and railroads, hauling our freight, our silver bullion and, of course, playing a major role during the gold rush era. However, many people are under the false impression that they're stubborn, while others tend to overlook them in favor of the more glamorous horse.
But, once a year the good citizens of Bishop, California, in the Sierra Nevada, set aside an entire week to pay tribute to... the mule. Often regarded as one of nature's oddities, a mule is a hybrid animal that results from crossing a mare (female horse) with a jack (male donkey). They come in literally all shapes and sizes, and during Bishop's Mule Days Celebration there's a mule parade, mule races and all sorts of mule competitions. Thousands of people come from all over California to have a good time and to pay tribute to this animal.
Host Huell Howser and cameraman Luis Fuerte join in the celebration of this rather remarkable animal which, over the years, has very much proven itself to be a fine example of California's Gold.
California's Gold #809 - WIND
Some people like it -- to others, it's a nuisance. Something "to come in out
of." But like it or not, everyone would agree it's been a part of the history of
California since the very beginning. We're talking about wind. And on this
particular adventure, host Huell Howser goes in search of some of the most
historic and strongest wind around.
California's Gold #810 - BITS AND PIECES
What do a brilliant field of marigolds, an ostrich farm, thousands of cacti and a two-story outhouse have in common?
The answer is that they are all accidental discoveries made by producer/host Huell Howser as he traveled the state in search of California's Gold.
"As we drive down the highways of our state we're always seeing things that surprise and amaze us," says Huell. "This entire episode is made up of people, places and things we came across quite by accident as we were heading for a planned shooting location."
Included in this potpourri entitled "Bits and Pieces," is a visit to an ostrich farm in Buellton on the central coast, a walk through a huge field of flowering marigolds alongside a rural road near Ventura and a tour of a historic two-story outhouse in the town of San Juan Bautista. Also included is a look at a farming operation in the Salinas Valley that grows hundreds of acres of cacti for human consumption.
"This all happened in a spontaneous way," explains Howser. "We'd literally spot these interesting places as we drove by, stop our car and start asking questions."
The result of these stops and these questions is an unplanned episode made up entirely of "Bits and Pieces" of California's Gold.
California's Gold #811 - VANDENBERG
It began back in 1941 when it was known as Camp Cooke and served as a U.S.
Army training facility for tanks and infantry troops. With the advent of the
missile age in the 1950s, the land was transferred to the U.S Air Force for use
as a missile training base. The first missile was launched from this facility in
1958 and since then almost 2,000 missiles and space boosters have followed suit.
California's Gold #812 - SNOW AND ICE
Sunny beaches and swaying palm trees are very much a part of what California
is all about. So are snow and ice.
KCET Launches Huell's Interactive Los Angeles
Visit the interactive
The Best of California's Gold. Call 800-255-5727. DVD for $49.95.