September 2015 Newsletter


President's Message


 Sixteen of us gathered at the Harris Ranch August 29 for our first Strategic Planning Meeting of the revised CCHS Board. We spent the entire day putting our thoughts down on paper for the future direction of CCHS. Ben Wirick our Administrator was our facilitator. Here are the topics we are going to work on:

  • Needs Assessment
  • Knowledge Base
  • Symposiums
  • Annual Meeting
  • Historian (Magazine)
  • RVP Program
  • Audience Development
  • Strategic Partnership
  • Workshops
  • Membership Campaign

Each has a timetable, budget, strategy and a way to achieve success. There is a core committee diligently working on them.

As your President, I will be overseeing the results on each of these topics and the results from our committees. During our October Conference, the Board has scheduled a 2 hour Board meeting to go over the results to that point. We will succeed. “Failure is not an option” (Apollo 13).

It is not just for the Board to keep the CCHS afloat, we all have a vested interest in this organization. I implore you to ask your historical societies to be involved by keeping your members apprised of upcoming events (workshops, symposium). Ask your organizations and potentially interested parties to join the CCHS. We are the umbrella organization for over 300 historical societies in the state. There are approximately 2,000 historical societies in California. We will be making contact with each and every one of them in the near future so that we can add more history minded organizations and individuals to our umbrella. Please tell every history minded person about us and let’s get together and have some fun.

 Thank you,


John Lenau
Conference of California Historical Societies
[email protected]
(760) 249-4650


First Vice President's Message


I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful summer.  It has been a busy season for CCHS.  First, the Annual Meeting held in June in Burlingame at which time a lot of significant changes to the organization were voted on, especially the re-structured board of directors.  And then on August 29, 2015, Administrator Ben Wirick facilitated a well-attended and very productive Strategic Planning Session.  Priorities for CCHS were agreed upon, and specific goals were identified.  Several committees were formed as a result of the discussions held during this planning session and the goals set for the organization.  The CCHS membership will be informed about these committees in further correspondence and newsletters.

In an effort to increase the CCHS membership base, educational opportunities for our membership,  and the wide-range marketing of the conference, several programs were established.  I will be participating in an RVP program that will provide training and opportunities for regional and group RVPs to share information and ideas, the creation of a Knowledge Base that will be made available to all CCHS members through our website and a series of workshops relating to the work of historical societies, resources and volunteer leadership training.  Christine Stokes, Group A RVP and Todd Shulman, Group C RVP will be working with me on these exciting projects.  Watch this newsletter for more information about these programs.

We still need a Group RVP for Group D which includes Regions 10, 12, 21 23 and 24.  You can go to the CCHS Combined Regions Map on our website for more information about Group D.    If you are interested in participating on the CCHS board of directors as the Group D RVP, please contact me for details. 

Recruiting and training volunteers is a challenge that all of our member organizations face.  The Community Tool Box is a website that offers help and suggestions on how to encourage interested volunteers to become involved in our organizations.  This month you will find a link to Chapter 2 about “Recruiting and Training Volunteers”.   Please let me know if you find that sharing information and ideas in this manner is one way that CCHS can help our local museums and historical societies develop management skills. 

Please share your challenges and ideas, and if there is a particular subject or concern that you’d like us to address, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].

Best wishes and I look forward to seeing everyone in Redding!



Second Vice President's Message 

The sunniest city in California beckons! Redding.

And you will certainly want to join us Oct. 15-17 as we visit the City of Redding for the first time since the 1970s. You don’t want to miss the internationally famous Sundial Bridge. You can enjoy a customized curator-led tour of key exhibitions at Turtle Bay Exploration Park right on the state’s key river, the mighty Sacramento.

If you want to skim my message, just go to the red signs, do not pass go and quickly find out all the details and how you can save a lot of green by registering early for the events you want and the host hotel. Please do it now.


Call the trip to Redding a CCHS reconnection to its founding roots. Much of the credit for this goes to Shasta Historical Society Executive Director Christine Stokes and Lupine Reppert, who recently resigned as vice president of client services of Arrowhead Management, CCHS’s administrative arm. The Shasta HS is hosting the fall Symposium.

The energetic Stokes this year not only joined us as CCHS’s newest regional vice president but became the youngest and northernmost regional group leader on the newly reconstituted board of directors. As such Stokes played a major role Aug. 29 in our strategic planning meeting at the Harris Ranch near Coalinga in Fresno County.

Shasta Historical Society was one of our charter members back in the 1950s and hosted one of our early state conferences. Roy Ballou was president and Ruth H. Sublette was secretary of Shasta HS then.
At the inaugural meeting of CCHS in Monterey the state was divided into 15 regions. W. R. Parker of Oroville was the first regional vice president of Region 2, then comprised of seven counties (Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama and Trinity).

Today, the CCHS is divided into 40 regions. Shasta today is part of Region 3 along with Siskiyou and Trinity, now represented by Stokes.

We now have a reconstituted structure, engineered by President John Lenau. The 40 regions henceforth will be represented on the Board of Directors by eight group leaders from their midst.


Thus as Group Leader A, Stokes represents the five northernmost regions covering 14 Counties. They are: Region 1 (named Redwood Empire): Del Norte, Humboldt. Region 2 (Mendo-Lake): Mendocino, Lake. Region 3 (no name): Siskiyou, Shasta, Trinity. Region 4 (Range and River): Tehama, Butte, Glenn, Colusa. Region 5 (Northeast Corner): Modoc, Lassen and Plumas.                                                                                                                                                                                           

Sound weird? You’re welcome to be part of the conversation as we work to simplify and improve our organization to adapt to the 21st Century. Stay tuned and join in the fun at the fall symposium Oct. 15-17 in Redding. Keep checking the website for more.


Michael Otten
2nd Vice President
Conference of California Historical Societies
[email protected], (530) 888-7837 

   Will you join us?

 Tell us if you'll be joining us for our Fall Symposium in Redding, so we can start making plans for a fantastic three days!
 Please clink the link below and fill out this quick survey so that we know you'll be there.


 Don't miss out on Shingletown!


Our 2015 Fall Symposium to Redding, will include a visit to the historic Shingletown. Shingletown was first called Shingle Camp. James King and Thomas Asbury were possibly the first shingle- and shake-makers. In 1850, they set up camp and established their lucrative business beside Shingle Creek. The early Shingletown was a small village with about a dozen homes, a hotel, a combination store and saloon, a blacksmith shop, and a large barn used to house the freight teams that hauled the shingles and shakes and merchandise up and down the mountains.

Today, the shingle- and shake-making camps and the big lumber mills are long gone from the forests around Shingletown. Gone too are the sounds associated with it and the smell of the fresh-cut wood in the mills. Even though the lumber industry no longer exists, traces of many of the larger mills still exist in the forests. Emigrant Trail road signs exist on the north side of Highway 44 in quite a few places, letting us know where the old historical trail was, and if you know where to look, you can still see the ruts in the ground left by the covered wagons as they rolled along. And not to forget, the charming self-descriptive name of Shingletown lives on.

This visit will be one to remember: hosted by the historical society and citizens of Shingletown, you’ll enjoy a personalized tour of the Museum and historical presentation about the town’s history.  You’ll also get the chance to “break bread” with the citizens of Shingletown, and hear from our speaker, Glenn Aldridge, so you can learn even more about what makes this place so special.










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Conference of California Historical Societies
Bringing together California's historical community to share California's heritage, learn from one another and strengthen our communities.