Building on last year’s successful inaugural event, Heritage Day at Marsh Creek State Park this October will feature more of the Stone House, the park and the sort of entertainment locals enjoyed there in days gone by.
Ground-floor windows in the 159-year-old structure built by John Marsh, Contra County’s first American settler, will be opened, and the public will be able to walk right up to the building and look at some of the 7,000 square feet of space inside.
“It won’t be possible to enter the building because the stabilization work is still going on, but the windows are six feet tall and provide a good view of the rooms inside,” said Trust Executive Director Rick Lemyre. “Visitors will also be able to see the detail of the original clay porch tiles and the hand-tooled sandstone used to build the house.”
Heritage Day 2015 will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17. The event will also include a performance by the Brentwood Concert Band, the East County community band under the direction of Sue Stuart and Carey Hurst. Reminiscent of days when community bands performed in public places — including the Stone House — the band will play period pieces like those performed in the late 19th and early/mid- 20th Centuries.
Another first for this year’s event will be an exploration of parts of the park usually inaccessible to the public. A guided hike will allow visitors to enjoy the landscape, wildlife and views in parts of the park, which is planned to eventually include 70 miles of trails.
Attractions from last year’s event will also return, including performances and presentations on the former Native American inhabitants of the area, the pre-statehood Californio period, and the Westward Movement triggered by Marsh’s letters back east encouraging settlers to come to California years before gold was discovered. Educational kids’activities will include excavating “artifacts” from midden boxes located near the site of 7,000-year-old archaeology discovered near the house.
“There’s so much about the history and the nature of the park we’d like to share, and we’re really only scratching the surface with a six-hour event,” Lemyre said. “We want people to know about the possibilities, and hopefully build the support needed to get the park open year-round.”
Like last year, admission to Heritage Day will be free, although donations to help support the Trust and the park will be welcomed. A $5 suggested donation for the hike will help cover costs, and root beer floats and hot dogs will be available for purchase.
The event is co-hosted by California State Parks, and local sponsors are being sought. People interested in sponsoring or volunteering to work the event should call Lemyre at 925-286-4591, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.