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Stanford Mansion Opens To Public

Saturday, September 10th, 2005

from The OC Register

SACRAMENTO –The Leland Stanford Mansion opened to the public Friday, after a $22 million makeover.

“It just shows that in California, even a mansion can get a face-lift,” quipped Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who attended the opening ceremony.

Leland Stanford – railroad baron, former governor and founder of Stanford University – bought the then-4,000- square-foot Victorian house in 1861. Two subsequent governors also lived in the mansion.

In 1871, Stanford renovated the house, expanding it to the current 19,000-square-foot size to accommodate his growing family and use the house for receptions and other official duties. It was sold to the state in the 1950s and then transferred to the Parks Department in 1978. In 1991, a foundation formed to restore the mansion.

It will function as a museum run by the state parks system and as a venue for the governor’s diplomatic functions.

Mountain Bike Exhibit is a State Park First

Sunday, July 10th, 2005

LAGUNA BEACH: The El Moro Visitor Center at Crystal Cove State Park celebrated it’s reopening to the public with a dirty old bicycle with chipped paint and fat tires! Huh?

The bike was acquired from Joe Breeze, recognized by the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame as the originator of the sport. He presented it to the park this past August for permanent display.

The mountain bike is a 1934 Schwinn Excelsior one-speed bicycle with a Morrow drum brake. He never washed it after it’s last run down Repack Road, the site of the earliest downhill races. Joe won more Repack races than anybody.

“It’s a first”. Karen Beery, Interpretive Planner for California State Parks (CSP), informed the project team that this is the first exhibit to interpret the history of Mountain Biking in CSP.

After researching the natural and cultural history of the Crystal Cove backcountry, Sean Laflin the project’s designer, discovered numerous connections between the park’s history and biking.
“Crystal Cove is one of the most popular southern California parks for mountain biking.” He pushed to include the story and found Joe Breeze in the process. The rest is history.

The new exhibits celebrate the park’s natural and cultural features and outdoor recreation with a way-finding theme, interactive exhibits and a kid’s learning area. A 30’ long trail photograph on the floor to replicate a trail is planned, should fund raising activities be successful.

In fact, it’s been almost 15 years that Supervising Park Ranger, Mike Easton had waited for a real visitor center for the backcountry to interpret the natural, cultural and recreational resources for his park visitors. Mike had only one comment, “The new displays are great and I can finally retire!”

This wasn’t a first for Sean Laflin at BANG! Creative, who specializes in developing interpretive experiences. They are currently developing several other Visitor Centers for CSP.