Thursday, April 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
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Ring in the old with Vacaville Heritage Council calendar

12 vaca heritage council 1

Doug Rodgers sits in an old prison cell, Tuesday, at the Vacaville Heritage Council. Rodgers organized a 2014 fundraising calendar. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

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From page OSF5 | December 12, 2013 | Leave Comment

VACAVILLE — Doug Rodgers devotes himself to decades in a time, while he said new technology like smartphones help keep us stuck in the here and now.

Rodgers and Jess Hayden, volunteers for the Vacaville Heritage Council, produced the 2014 fundraising calendar that this year emphasizes the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.

“As people get older they’re more interested in their ancestors and things in the past,” said Rodgers, 58, who retired after working more than three decades for the city of Fairfield.

While an “it’s-not-here-it’s-gone” indifference to the past holds for some people, he said, older Americans often want to know more about what preceded modern life.

“They see the importance of things they let go,” Rodgers said.

That can prove emotional, even for people who couldn’t have prevented the loss. He noted a man who owned a home and ranch in the town of Monticello, which flooded more than 50 years ago when the dam that forms Lake Berryessa was completed.

A half-century did not make the loss any easier for the man who came by the heritage council, Rodgers said.

Hayden said local history has surprises even for longtime residents like him.

“You find out more about what you thought you knew,” he said.

Making the calendar, he said, meant “you’re always uncovering history.”

He spoke about being in the Sambo’s coffee shop in Vacaville early in the 1980s when a celebrity made some local history by pulling up in a blue Camaro to get coffee to go. Clint Eastwood was on his way to Reno, Hayden said.

The calendar, which is a fundraiser for the heritage council and can be bought on the group’s website at www.vacavilleheritagecouncil.org, includes important dates in the city’s past.

For example, on Sept. 16, 1949, Bing Crosby stopped for lunch at the Nut Tree. Vacaville celebrated Raisin Day in April 1911 and 11 years earlier Alphonso Case, who served during the Civil War, was granted a $6-a-month pension.

Photographs include Corvairs lined up in front of Stith Chevrolet, the site that is now the home of Made in the Shade party rentals.

History has always intrigued Rodgers and he hopes to help preserve the past here. Rather than photographs and other items being lost to history, Rodgers prefers that people bring them to the Vacaville Heritage Council, where volunteers can scan photos to keep in a computer.

The city does a good job taking care of its historical assets, he said.

“Vacaville wants to protect its history,” he said. “Vacaville protects its downtown businesses.”

The heritage council is part of that and provides the public with the city’s story.

“We want people to know that history is available,” Rodgers said.

That includes Basic Vegetable Products, which is part of the 2014 calendar. Basic processed onions on its 29-acre site in Vacaville before closing in 1986. You couldn’t drive Interstate 80 to Sacramento without smelling onions, the heritage council volunteer said.

The ad for Basic on the calendar’s cover noted the child care center the business provided, buses that met every shift and homes available for those who wanted to live right near the plant.

For the future, the heritage council is already planning its 2015 calendar that will feature “then and now” photos of local sites.

The 2014 calendar is also available Tuesdays and Thursdays at the offices located at Old Town Hall, 618 E. Main St. in Vacaville. For more information call, 447-0518.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or rmccarthy@dailyrepublic.net.

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