This weekend will mark 25 years that the people of Lodi and surrounding areas will gather in the Hill House Garden for an old-fashioned ice cream social sponsored by the Lodi Historical Society.
The annual event, scheduled for Saturday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., is a fundraiser for the Hill House Museum, located at 826 S. Church St. The event brought in almost $2,000 last year.
Admission to the event requires a $5 donation for adults. Children younger than 6 get in free with an adult donation.
Several prizes will be raffled off. Raffle tickets are being sold for $1 each, or six for $5.
The event will feature musical entertainment along with ice cream sundaes with a variety of toppings and other snacks and light refreshments, according to Mary Jane East, chairwoman of the event.
She said this event is one of the main fundraisers for the Hill House Museum along with an annual yard sale. The museum is supported by membership fees, donations and grants and is currently is in need of volunteers to give tours.
Several locals visit the museum and are in awe because they’ve lived in Lodi all their lives and never been inside, East said. The museum receives visits from many out-of-town visitors who are also impressed with the museum.
“It’s an absolutely remarkable residential museum,” she said.
The museum is the home of the Hill Family, and was built in 1901 on School Street across from the post office. The house was designed by George Washington Hill and built by the Cary Brothers, who were popular builders in that era.
According to East, the house has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a parlor-dining room combination and a kitchen.
Hill and his wife Mary Lewis Hill, their two children Nellie and Maurice and Mary’s half-sister Daisy lived in the home. Ninety to 95 percent of the items that remain in the home today originally belonged to the Hill family.
Hill who was originally from Maine, owned a Jewelry business and was an accomplished carpenter. He died on Feb. 22, 1927 — George Washington’s birthday. Mary, who was only a little girl when she moved to Lodi with her mother, died Oct. 12, 1934. The two were married in 1875.
Mary and George raised her half sister Daisy who went on to become the first woman watchmaker in California. Their first born Nellie was born in 1883 and was left crippled by a childhood accident only growing 4 feet tall. She died in 1912 of pneumonia at the age of 29.
In 1900, they had their son Maurice who was a published concert pianist.
Because of the growth of businesses on School Street, Maurice had the house moved to its current location on Church Street, a total of six blocks. He lived in the home until the time of his death.
East said that Maurice documented everything and held onto several family artifacts. Upon his death in 1984, he left Hill House and its contents in a trust to become a museum.
The Hill House became a museum in 1998. Artifacts found in the home include a victrola, a Victorian baby crib, Hill family photos, clothing belonging to members of the Hill family and old fashioned appliances along with a host of other items.
The house is operated under the auspices of the Lodi Historical Society and the Hill House Committee. For more information on the ice cream social, call 209-368-7878.