Historical Society Events
Historical Society Events
Events at Sebastopol Senior Center
Showing posts 1 - 2 of 2. View more »
History of Sebastopol
From the first known inhabitants, the Miwok and Pomo Indians to today, Sebastopol's history is rich in cultural, and often high-spirited discourse. Read about the History of Sebastopol.
A Pomo woman, Cecilia Joaquin, using a seed beater to gather seeds into a burden basket.
Images From Past
This Day in History
Previously, the plants were marked with aluminum numbers on wooden posts, and the visitor had to look in the self-guided tour brochure to find the name. The squirrels had chewed the signs to sharpen their teeth, and the wooden posts had rotted. Thanks to a generous grant from The Rotary Club of Sebastopol and consultation by Professor Richard Whitkus from the Biology Department at Sonoma State, guests can immediately identify what they are looking at.
“This will be a great teaching tool for children to learn the names of plants,” says farm volunteer Patty Levenberg. “Also, it will introduce students to the Linnaean system of classifying plants and animals. The scientific names are in Latin so that Luther Burbank’s creation, the Shasta Daisy, is Leucanthemum x superbum in Moscow as well as in Minneapolis. It was a lot of hard work, and this project took 3 years to come to fruition”
Most plant signs also have numbers on them. Those numbers refer the reader to the revised self-guided brochure with information about the item. These are reserved for the specimens that have been identified as associated with Luther Burbank (1849-1926). He is credited with introducing more that 800 new varieties of fruit and nut trees, flowers, vegetables, ornamental shrubs, grains, and even the common baking potato. He imported some examples, like the Trifoliate Orange from China. Hearing that it was hardy to 15 degrees below zero F, Burbank hoped to cross it with an eating orange to make the new fruit able to thrive in cold climates. Had he succeeded, we might be now surrounded by orange groves instead of vineyards!
We can thank good luck and Burbank’s curiosity for our French fries. While a young man back in Massachusetts, he ran a truck farm to support himself, his sister, and his widowed mother. One of his crops was the Early Rose Potato, one that we would use for boiling. He noticed that one plant had produced a stem and on top of the stem was a seed ball. He wanted to wait until the pod was ripe before planting the seeds to see what would come up. The story is that when he went to check, the seed ball was missing from its stalk! He had never seen a potato produce seeds, so this was a rare opportunity slipping out of his grasp. He frantically got down on his hands and knees, sifting through the dirt, and finally found his prize. From the 23 seeds he planted, two produced potatoes different from the parent plant, and one of these was obviously superior. It had higher starch content so that it survived storage and shipping longer than any other potato, and offered more nutrition per pound. Since improved, the Russet Burbank is the most widely grown potato today.