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Durlynn Anema: Galt Historical Society turns 30

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Posted: Friday, October 20, 2017 5:30 pm

“People don’t seem to look back in this age. And that’s too bad because history is so important.”

These words were spoken by Don Nottoli, Sacramento County Supervisor, at the 30th anniversary celebration of the Galt Historical Society on Oct. 8 at the Rae House. Members, residents and Galt High School alums were among those present.

The celebration was held at an advantageous time. Alums had returned for their reunion held the previous evening and also were invited to the anniversary celebration.

This year’s reunion was in honor of the Class of 1967 with grads from the 1940s to the present. Over 200 people attended. Each year the Galt High School Alumni Association holds the reunion with extra money going to Galt High School scholarships. Last year $6,500 went to scholarships.

Ralph Cortez, second vice president of the historical society, was in charge of the society’s photo table at the reunion. Photos of past events throughout Galt were displayed. He was especially touched when a woman began to flip through the pictures and then exclaimed, “There’s my sister!” Then she began to cry as her brother joined her.

As people looked at the photos, Cortez mentioned that if they knew anyone in a photo to let him know. He also said he would love to add to society archives these oral interviews. Several people volunteered to do oral interviews.

A large crowd gathered for the society’s anniversary celebration as Janis Barsetti Gray, president, opened the ceremonies. “We are here both to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Historical Society and to honor one of our founders, Eugenia Olson, who passed away this year, by planting a rose for her donated by Ida Denier.”

Barsetti Gray then mentioned some of the society’s highlights. It was founded by Olson, Orvell Fletcher, Beatrice Orr Smithson and Margaret Greer and quickly grew from 61 members to over 500 during the years. The Rae House was acquired in April 1988 at which time the society went into action, raising over $192,00 to restore it. Then, in November 1988, the Sacramento County Parks and Recreation Department asked the society if they would consider restoring and preserving the Historic McFarland home on a 99-year lease. The society quickly said yes.

Following Barsetti Gray’s recap of society projects, Louise Loll Dowdell, who was the first president of the society, spoke. She quickly charmed the audience with her announcement that she was born in 1918 seven miles east of Galt. At that time Galt was a town of 500 and began to grow after World War I. She remembered the dairy farm that was part of the Rae House property, and three relatives who are buried in the Elliott Cemetery. Currently the society’s corresponding secretary, she was president nine times and is great-aunt of Nottoli. A smile wreathed her face throughout as she recalled so many past memories.

Then came the rose planting with both society members and Galt High School alums shoveling the dirt. Barsetti Gray and Nottoli first shoveled followed by past presidents, relatives of founders and Galt High School alums. Everyone enjoyed themselves and meeting those around them.

Barsetti Gray summed up the feeling of the crowd when she said, “Our volunteers today have the same passion as our founders and charter members, to preserve the irreplaceable for generations to come. Thank you all for coming and helping us to celebrate.”

The society’s latest project is SnapShots of Galt on Facebook.

Dan Tarnasky, historian of the society who handles all archives, is in charge of this project. He encourages anyone in Galt to look through the snapshots. If they identify with a photo comment on it so he can add it to the archives.


Some interesting comments/ quotes I found during the week:

Russell Baker in his book “Growing Up” said this after the end of World War II (page 230): “Tonight, it’s almost like a miracle to think that nowhere on the entire earth is there one single, insignificant little war being fought.

“That is something utterly new in my lifetime, perhaps even in yours. Certainly, this is a strange new era loaded with immense latent possibilities. Let’s hope that we can make the most of this opportunity at least.”

And? We all know what happened next. Guess humans have a difficult time making this happen.

“People are united by questions. It is the answers that divide them.”

— Elie Wiesel

“Do not waste time asking for peace; get more fearless peace into your souls, then you will be some good — and peace will follow.”

— Anonymous

Have a story? Let me know. Email: durlynnca@gmail.com.

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