San Joaquin Historical Society and Museum in Micke Grove Park
By Tim Viall
Nestled in the 258 acre Micke Grove Park just south of Lodi, California is
the San Joaquin Historical Society and Museum. With eight large exhibit
buildings packed with agricultural, Native American, pioneer and Gold Rush
history, and four historic buildings including the Charles Weber Cottage
dating to 1847 and the Calaveras School, 1866, it's one of the state's best
Within the large park you'll also find the stunning Japanese Gardens, the
Fun Town Amusement Park, the Micke Grove Zoo, surrounded by lots of picnic
areas placed amongst stately Valley Oaks.
One of the museum's ongoing exhibits includes all facets of early pioneer
and Gold Rush transportation. Included in the museum's collection is an
original prairie schooner, one of only several left in existence, dating to
1859, many farm wagons, buggies and all manner of early farm equipment. The
museum is rich in old farm implements: plows, harvesters, tractors, Holt and
Best crawlers, Caterpillar tractors, John Deere tractors and many more.
Wander through the museum's exhibit buildings and get a sense of life in the
1860s through the early 1900s, or picture life on the prairie crossing the
US to California. Life on the farm is clearly depicted from more than one
hundred years ago. A large contingent of historically-correct docents are
available to give you tour tips and interpretive information.
Of special interest for kids, coming on Fridays and Saturdays, March 7-24,
is the Critter Corral, with a variety of farm animals for petting!
Directions: the museum is located inside Micke Grove Park, at 11793 N. Micke
Grove Rd., Lodi. From Interstate 5, go east on Eight Mile Road, then left on
Micke Grove Road.
Admission: $5 for adults, seniors (65+) and teens are $4, kids (6-12), just
$2. The park also has a vehicle admission fee. Winter museum hours are
Wednesday through Sunday, 11 AM to 4 PM. For more information, go to
www.sanjoaquinhistory.org, or call (209) 953.3460. For additional Weekend
Getaway ideas, go to <http:>LittlePlacesIKnow.blogspot.com. Take the family and make a fun day
at Micke Grove Park and the museum!
Elliot-Morse freight wagon: This 1859 prairie schooner stands more than 8 1/2 feet tall, was loaded with 1600 pounds of household goods and food for the five-month trip across the United States to California. Blue farm wagon, built by Truscott and Sons of Stockton in 1910, it cost $250 and was used by the Brassesco family to haul fruits and veggies to markets in Stockton and Lodi. The museum has literally scores of vintage tractors, crawlers and Caterpillar tractors. Pacific Fruit Express refrigerated rail car: this car was built in 1957, an ice-cooled steel car which could haul 80,000 pounds of produce to markets in the East. Mechanically-cooled cars would not come into production until the 1960s. Huge dredge bucket: this huge dredge bucket was used on the San Joaquin Delta to dredge waterways and build the levies that held back the San Joaquin River And Delta waters. Docent tours: here a docent leads a tour of guests at the museum.