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Living History Day
A Fun, Informative Spring Event for the Whole Family
Herb Lindberg

Each Spring the South Yuba State Park hosts Living History Day, in which volunteers dress in period costumes to play the roles of gold rush characters who were crucial in developing the Bridgeport area.  The players interact with visitors to tell "their" story about how they came to and developed this region.  Principal among these historical figures are members of the Kneebone family, whose home stood where the grassy field is now, next to the Visitor Center.

The pictures below, taken in recent years, give a feel for the knowledge visitors gain and the fun activities they enjoy at the event.  You can also download a high-resolution, full-screen video show of the event.

Activities take place near the Visitor Center and The Barn

Activity at The Barn

Historical picture of the Kneebone family at the time Andrew was a teamster --
Top row: Alfred, Andrew, Joseph, Charles;  Front row: William, Victoria, Bud

(Note: This is a photo I took of a photo provided by the family. It appears from the varied background that the original photo had been assembled from three photos, e.g. Charles and then Bud were added later. I cleaned up a halo around Bud's head, perhaps from Scotch tape. This version was used by California State Parks in their brochure on the park.)

Alfred Kneebone's wife, Lucy Moynier from nearby French Corral,
as played by Pat Warner

Andrew Kneebone pulls a triple wagon with a 16-mule/horse team.
Bells on the lead animals warn oncoming traffic when going around a tight corner.

Andrew Kneebone as played by Ranger Chuck Scimeca (now retired)

In addition to telling their histories, the players also demonstrate chores and skills typical of the gold rush era. Here are a few:

Corky Redmon as Josephine Cooley lets a happy boy feel finished yarn compared with raw wool fiber.

Barbara Brueckner and Dennis Monax demonstrate blacksmith skills.

Judy Nichols demonstrates basket weaving and shows some of her final products.

Howard Voshell as Alfred Kneebone in front of the still-standing Kneebone gas station building.

In addition to learning local gold rush history, visitors can enjoy many fun activities.  Foremost among these is a ride in a horse-drawn wagon driven by Cal Rowland of Rockin' R Carriage & Wagon.

Visitors climb aboard a horse-drawn wagon for a ride across the covered bridge and back,
and out along a remaining stretch of the Virginia Turnpike to the Kneebone cemetery.

The wagon returns from across the bridge and heads toward the Kneebone cemetery.

Panning for real gold is also popular.

Children and parents alike enjoy the photo op on the buckboard mockup.

Lively music fills the air throughout the event, here by Mountain Laurel.

And what event would be complete without a hot dog, soda, and maybe a snocone.