Alex Stillman: Women – including this woman – have cast off traditional roles to halt the destruction of history

Finishing the book, Who Saved the Redwoods? made me think of all the women in our country who saved American treasures in their towns and some of those treasurers became national treasures such as the Alamo and Mt. Vernon.

 Women have gathered together for social reasons for ages and at times these gatherings turned to championing a cause. 

I think in this day and age we have at times lost sight of what those groups did. These women were stepping away from the domestic roles they were supposed to and expected to live. 

If it weren’t for those groups of women who supported their members activism efforts, we would not have an old growth redwood in our midst today.

 Which brings me to the Historical Sites Society of Arcata. In the beginning they supported the first survey of the historic structures in 1979. From that survey over 90 structures are on the Landmarks list. 

HSSA continues to support Arcata’s heritage, through the General Plan historic element, the 2008 survey, the Phillips House Museum, historic displays in the museum, working with Humboldt State University interns, “This Place Matters,” website, Facebook, Instagram, Historic Preservation Month, and the photographic display in the hallway past Libation and Willow on the Plaza, where the QR code takes you on a virtual tour of the Phillips House Museum.

 HSSA is charged with maintaining the Phillips House by the City of Arcata, and how do we do it? 

Subscribe to the Mad River Union and get online access to the full print edition

We do it through memberships, the Annual Collectibles Sale, which is this Saturday, Sept. 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and house tours and teas, calendars, fabric sales and donations at the door when docents open the museum every Sunday between 2 and 4 p.m.

I found this song in the book Who Saved the Redwoods? and wanted to share a forgotten piece of history: “I Love You, California.”

I love your redwood forests –

love your fields of yellow grain.

I love your summer breezes and 

I love your winter rain.

I love you, land of flowers; 

land of honey, fruit and wine.

I love you, California: 

you have won this heart of mine.

 Our history is us. 

Alex Stillman pioneered historic preservation in Arcata.



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