Who Were These Men?
The identity of the six men in the photo and the purpose of their meeting at Bidwell's Bar continues to baffle historians.A enlargement of each individuals face is shown at the end of this page. Perhaps eventually someone will be able to find a historical clue to identify the individuals, the year and purpose of the meeting.
What historical clues can be determined from the photo?
- The Orange tree appears to be mature, indicating the photo was taken several years after the tree was relocated to this site after the flood of 1862.
- The presence of buggies in the picture indicates the photo may may be circa 1900 or earlier. Other photos show early autos (circa 1915) with the picket fence stil in use.
- Enlargement of the photo shows the lumber on the ground, behind the three men on the right, to be of a size that could have been used for the post and rail barrier that replaced the pickets fence.
- Enlarging the photo reveals the third man from the lelt appears to be holding a fence picket in is hand, not a roll of plans.
- What other clues can you see in the photo to aid in identification?
Another research track is to consider what type of meeting could have been occurring and who would have attended such a meeting.
There are two well document major events at the historic site at Bidwell’s Bar.
- The first was the dedication of the courthouse monument in 1918. That monument was located about one-quarter mile south of the bridge site. John Bendle was involved in the early planning of this event that started in 1914, although the dedication did not occur until May 12, 1918. The photo of John Bendle, taken at that dedication, shows he was not one of the men in the group of six men standing in front of the orange tree.
- The second major ceremony occurred on November 27, 1926, and involved the dedication of the suspension bridge and orange tree. Planning for that dedication undoubtedly involved county officials, such as members of the Board of Supervisors and officers representing the Native Sons of the Golden West. Prior to this dedication the picket fence was replaced with a rail fence and a large monument and plaque was placed in front of the "Mother" Orange Tree. Photos at that event indicate 1920's automobiles at the dedication.
- Officers of the Bidwell Bridge Company undoubtedly met at the site at various times to review operations of the suspension bridge and toll house. Perhaps this gathering had nothing to do with the encloure around the orange tree.
When the facts are unknown, any thing is possible!
The individual men are shown below in the same left to right order as in the photo at the top of the page. Can you identify any of them?
Photo on the left is John Bendle at the 1918 Courthouse monument dedication.