Thursday, January 03, 2008

American River Heritage

The heritage of the American River Watershed, including the Parkway, is substantial, but generally not appreciated by us as much as visitors, and this history teacher from Ohio sent a letter published in the Bee about it.

Why downplay state's history?

I was a recent visitor to the Sacramento area during the holidays. I am an advanced placement U.S. history teahcer at West Carrollton (Ohio) High School. It was my desire to see as many historic sites as possible in the area, and my visits included the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Site in Coloma, Sutter's Fort in Sacramento, Donner Pass and others.

As a history teacher, I was excited to see these sites, as their historical significance is great, not only in California, but in the nation at large. Manifest Destiny played out in California following the discovery of gold in 1848.

My concern is that we as a nation are allowing the sites of our history to deteriorate. At the Marshall site I was struck by the lack of facilities to explain the discovery and its impact on the life of the residents of Coloma.

I read all the markers, but I doubt most visitors do so. The site could have been so much more with a modest investment. The employees were knowledgeable, but the visuals were sorely lacking.

The history of California is the history of America. The pride of Californians in their past should be visible to all visitors to your state.

- Steve Flickinger, Miamisburg. Ohio