An Update From
Friends of The Juana Briones House
Winter 2008 - 2009
Dear Friend of the Juana Briones House:
Clark Akatiff attended the Palo Alto City Council meeting on Monday, November 10, where he spoke at the public input part of the meeting at 7 pm to remind new members of the City Council and the newly appointed City Manager, of the importance of the Juana Briones House to Palo Alto, Santa Clara County, California, United States history, and preservation. Clark was a docent when there were public tours of the House in the 1980s, was a member of the board of the Juana Briones Heritage Foundation, oversaw the dedication of the state historic marker on Old Adobe Road, and so much more. There may be a viewing opportunity of the meeting on Comcast 26 or on radio at FM 90.1
To mark the launch of WeAreCa.org by the California Council for the Humanities, the Executive Director, Ralph Lewin, chose Al Camarillo, Professor of American History at Stanford, for their Scholar Interview. Al was the featured speaker, along with Mayor Willie Brown, at the dedication in 1997 of the state historic plaque honoring Juana Briones in Washington Square in San Francisco. (see image above) He has diligently supported the preservation of the Briones House in Palo Alto by writing to City and State in support of preserving her house, and has often spoken for the cause.
Last year, Al had his Stanford public history students create exhibit panels about Juana and the house, and held a gathering where the students explained their research and findings. Those panels are often used at events. They address archaeology, law, preservation, biography. Al has published seven books and numerous articles. His latest book, Not White, Not Black: Mexicans and Racial/Ethnic Borderlands in American Cities, will be published by Oxford University Press. Al said in the interview, “One could argue that California's history has been more tied to a migrant experience than that of any other state.”
In the past week, three persons have told me they drove by the house at 4155 Old Adobe Rd. and found it looking seriously neglected. An article in the November 8, 2008 Daily News claims that Foster City has sued a woman for failing to weed her yard, repaint the front of her house, and leave garbage cans out. Do neighbors of the Juana Briones house, or the City of Palo Alto, care that the owners are neglecting the property?
The biography I wrote, Juana Briones of 19th Century California, is now in print and available from the University of Arizona Press.
November 29th will be the 231st Birthday of San Jose at the Peralta Adobe, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. The public is invited to attend at the Peralta Adobe, 175 West Saint John St, San Jose. Juana Briones' mother Ysadora Tapia, was a child with her family as part of the founding of both the San Francisco Presidio and Mission and the Pueblo of San Jose.
Following is a quote from an article by Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, from San Jose Mercury News, 3-26-08: "Historic preservation has an essential role to play in dealing with the environmental crisis that looms over us. Because it is rooted in the conservation of energy and natural resources, preservation has always been the greenest of the building arts."
~ Jeanne Farr McDonnell
Friends of the Juana Briones House
Send inquiries to: Clark Akatiff
Join In The Action!
A Handful of Adobe, A Houseful of History...One Woman Built it, All of us can save it.
Jeanne McDonnell's book is in print