The Havilah Herald

Official Publication of the Havilah Centennial Group, Inc.

aka The Havilah Historical Society and Museum

Havilah California – April 2020

A recognized 501 C 3 non-profit Historical Organization (all donations are tax-deductible)

Dedicated to the preservation of the history of Havilah,

The first County Seat of Kern County, CA

Our Purpose:

The purpose of this corporation is EDUCATIONAL. The organization has been formed and is maintained to research, document, preserve, and share the historic legacy of the town of Havilah, California, and of Kern County, California. Included in this purpose is the objective to provide for the advancement of education about the history of Havilah and early Kern County to the local community at large and to any and all visitors to the community.

 

The Prez Sez

                                                                                                                                      For April 2020:

 

Hello everyone, I hope everything is fine with you and yours.  Due to the recent warnings, and the orders from the Governor to “stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary for you to go out”, we will have to remain closed at the Havilah Court House and School House museums until further notice.   Our regular monthly meetings will also have to be cancelled until we’ve been advised otherwise.  Jayne and I were looking forward to getting the museums up and running again as I’m sure many of you were.  It’s always a pleasure to meet so many interesting visitors, and to watch their faces and listen to their stories and comments during their visits.

I guess our only contact until the COVID-19 virus is under control will be by newsletter or telephone.  It doesn’t look too promising at this time for any other scheduled activities for the area — including this year’s History Day in Havilah.  We will keep our fingers crossed and hope we are on the way to a full recovery nationwide and worldwide very soon.

In the meantime, please take care of yourselves.  We look forward to getting back together real soon.

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             —- Prez. Al & CFO Jayne

LAST MINUTE ADDITION:    Jayne and I went down to the Havilah museums to put up a notice telling visitors that due to the Governor’s orders to “Stay at Home” and only go out if absolutely necessary, the museums will be closed until this order has been lifted !  —– WHAT A SURPRISE ! Someone had gone down to the creek bed behind the museums and had cleared out all the dead branches, weeds, and trash that has accumulated over the last few years, and even got a burn permit and burned all the trimmings! Our V.P. Larry Grafius was the guilty party I was sure, so I called him when I got home. Yup, Larry, wife Lana, and members Bob and Vickie Porter got together on a Thursday, did some of the clean-up, stopped for lunch, then went back to work. They returned on a following Saturday to finish up. Also, at least one of the Gremlins went up and cleaned up inside both the School house and the Court house!  THANKS AGAIN (GREMLINS!) We really have a bunch of very special people in our small volunteer group! BOY DOES IT LOOK TERRIFIC !                                                                                                                       —– Al & Jayne

 

The following article was published in The Bakersfield Californian, dated May 18, 1962, by Marion Deaver

                                                                                                                               (Part 2 – Conclusion):

 

                                                                  Ex-Prospector Recalls Early Days on Kern Desert

 

During this mining period, Muller lived at Hagen’s combined home and post office.  Hagen, he said, originally came from Germany, and once had been the personal chef for the Kaiser.  Later, he served as chef at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria.

Hagen, when he moved west, first came to Bakersfield, where he had relatives.  The German had many idiosyncrasies, Muller declared.   If Hagen took a liking to any of the prospectors roaming the area, he would let them stop and give them water.  If he didn’t like them, he chased them away with his rifle.

Hagen went into partnership with many of the prospectors.  The prospectors would stake a claim, sign a crude agreement and for 50 per cent of the claim.  Hagen would do the filing and the yearly assessment work.  Muller said Hagen had such claims for miles around Red Rock, but never made any money out of any of them.

Two dachshunds Hagen owned he called “his children,” and better mannered dogs couldn’t be found.  They had their own chairs and a place at the dinner table.

Muller explained that Hagen, though living in a crude desert home, never forgot that once he was a famous chef.  He lived “high,” with enough nonperishable food on hand to last a year, and brought in fresh food and ice by stagecoach.

Gracious Living

At the evening meal, the table was set with the finest linen, dishes, silver and cut glass.  The meal was prepared with all Hagen’s chef touches, and he taught Muller many of his cooking tricks.

When dinner was ready, the two men and the two dogs took their places at the table.  Hagen put a napkin around the dogs’ necks, and the dogs sat quietly, noses resting at the edge of the table, waiting to be served the part of the meal their master thought would please them the most.

They had good manners, and never ate until given permission, at which time they would place their paws on the table and eat “with refinement.”  Muller said that the little dachshunds were the most important things at Hagen’s life.

Stage Route

The stages that brought food to Hagen and Muller also transported supplies to the camps where Muller later lived while working as an aqueduct surveyor.  The stage ran twice weekly from Mojave to Panamint.  The route wove around Joshuas, sage brush and cactus, and followed the Red Rock Canyon wash.  From 12 to 16 mules pulled the coach.  Occasionally, the strong winds halted the coach, blowing sometimes for 20 hours.

The cook for the survey crew often ordered ice brought in the stage at five cents a pound, for a 300 pound cake.  In the hot summers, by the time the stage delivered the ice, it had dwindled to 80 or 100 pounds

The camp was headquartered between Red Rock and Jawbone, where the crew lived in tents.  Muller said that the surveyors and engineers were “not the flapjack and bean” type, but were used to good food.  The camp cook provided meals equal to the cuisine of the finest Los Angeles hotels…and out of a covered wagon!

Two Years on the Job

Muller worked there for about two years, surveying a three and one-half mile stretch.  The winters were cold, and in the summer, temperatures sometimes reached 120 degrees.  In their camp, the desert sands retained the heat and many nights were as hot as the days.

Muller spoke of William Mulholland, project engineer for the aqueduct, whose ability brought him worldwide fame, and of J. B. Lippincott, whom Muller credited with raising funds to construct the aqueduct.

He remembered Lippincott as very polished and well-educated person, who wore a stove pipe hat and a swallowtail coat.  Mulholland, he said, didn’t have too much formal education, but was a self made man with outstanding ability, and a gruff, but kindly manner.

Muller recalled Mojave in the early days.  When he was there, he said the town was not too much to talk about.  Mostly, he said, it consisted of railroad buildings and railroad employees.

There was the little wooden station, a saloon, and next to the saloon, a wooden building which provided sleeping quarters for transient train crews.  There also was a wooden shack for the permanent crews.  Some box cars were used as sleeping quarters, and once in a while one of the boxcars would be blown over in the wind.

The railroaders he remembered were two telegraphers, two train dispatchers, a section foreman and the train crews.

 

Hat Ranch

 

Most people interested in desert history have heard the story of the Mojave “hat ranch,” where there was a collection east of town where hats blown off heads were deposited in the sagebrush.

Muller tells of another “ranch”, known as “Sombrero Flat.”  An old prospector told Muller the story:  Between Mojave and Tehachapi there is a big curve on the railroad tracks.  At this point, a windy channel blew, scooping hats off the train passengers, whisking the “sombreros” out the train windows and out onto the flats east of the tracks.  If a prospector needed a new hat, he inspected the flats and made his choice.

Later in his life, Muller was in government secret service work and in medical research.  Now, he is an “armchair” rock hound whom he described as buying and trading rocks, but not hunting them in remote areas.  And, he concluded, out of all the gold he had picked up in earlier days, he had no specimens remaining.

 

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Editor’s Note.  Also found in the above news clipping was the following interesting article:

Patient Gets Cured

MUSKOGEE, Okla.  (AP) – While Heskill Tilley, 53, was in a hospital recovering from burns, doctors became interested in his raspy voice.  They found a medallion in his larynx.  Tilley couldn’t recall having swallowed it.  His voice improved.

 

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The Bad Old Days:  (Concluded from last month’s issue)

 The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be.  Here are some facts about the 1500’s:

  • Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June.  However, since they were starting to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor – thus derived the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

 

  • Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.  The man of the house had the privilege of using the nice clean water, followed by the other sons and men, then the women, and, finally, the children, and lastly, the babies.  By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.  That‘s where the saying “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” came from.

 

  • Houses had thatched roofs; thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath.  It was the only place for animals to get warm.  So, all the dogs, cats and other small animals, i.e. mice and bugs, lived in the roof.  When it rained, it became too slippery and the animals would slip and fall off the roof.  Consequently, the expression “It’s raining cats and dogs” came into being.

 

  • There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house.  This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed.  For this reason, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

 

  • They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot, and then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery.  If you had to do this to survive you were “Piss Poor”.  But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot – they “didn’t have a pot to piss in” and were the lowest of the low. 

 

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Membership Application:

 

Havilah Centennial Group, Inc., dba

Havilah Historical Society & Museum

6789 Caliente-Bodfish Road, Havilah, CA 93518

www.havilahmuseum.org  Fiscal Year from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31

 

$25 Annual Dues for an Individual or a Family Membership (a family is 2 adults for voting purposes), will entitle members to receive notices via monthly newsletter, The Havilah Herald, of meetings, functions, and events.

 

Name________________________________________________________________________

Mailing Address_______________________________________________________________

Phone________________________________email___________________________________

Deliver newsletter (check one) by email______ or by snail-mail______

Date Application Submitted___________________________________

 

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Membership Renewal:

Havilah Centennial Group, Inc.

Havilah Historical Society & Museum

6789 Caliente-Bodfish Road, Havilah, CA 93518

www.havilahmujseum.org  Fiscal Year from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31

 

$25 Annual Dues for an Individual or a Family Membership (a family is 2 adults for voting purposes), will entitle members to receive notices via monthly newsletter, The Havilah Herald, of meetings, functions, and events.

 

Name________________________________________________________________________

Mailing Address_______________________________________________________________

Phone________________________________email___________________________________

Deliver newsletter (check one) by email______ or by snail-mail______

Date Renewal Submitted___________________________________

 

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THE CURRENT HAVILAH HISTORICAL SOCIETY OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS:

President:                             Al Price                              661/867-2414         email   havilahmuseum.org

Vice President                     Larry Grafius                     661/867-2579

Secretary                              Roy Fluhart                       928/308- 1863        email   rflu408@gmail.com

Treasurer                             Jayne Hotchkiss-Price     661/867-2414         email   havilahmuseum.org

Directors (2)                         Lana Grafius                    661/867-2579

                                               Wes Kutzner                   760/379-2636       email   kutznerwes@gmail.com

 

Past President &/Editor    Janet Kutzner                   760/379-2636    email   kutznerwes@gmail.com

 

Annual membership is $25.00 per individual or family.  Membership year is from January 1 to December 31.

The Courthouse Museum and Schoolhouse are open from April 1 through Sep. 30 on weekends from 11 am until 3 pm, and by appointment.  They are located at 6789 Caliente-Bodfish Road, Havilah, CA 93518.

Admission to the museum is FREE, but donations are cheerfully accepted, (and 100% tax-deductible!).

The monthly general meeting is at 3 pm the second Saturday of each month at the Havilah Schoolhouse.

HAVILAH HISTORICAL SOCIETY & MUSEUM

6789 Caliente-Bodfish Road

Havilah, CA 93518