Check-Six Online Museum
Land / Terrestrial Wing
Medallion Made from Copper
Recovered from Mission "Santa Clara de Asís"
This 1969 copper "California Bicentennial" medal contains
quite a bit of history. It contains copper left by an early Spanish
expedition that was found on the grounds of the Spanish Mission at Santa
Clara, the eighth mission established in California. It also
clearly commemorates the 200th Anniversary of the first European
land exploration of California by Gaspar de Portolá and Father Junipero
Serra. The exploration lead to the founding of the 21 Missions and
long-term settlement of the state by the Spanish. The medal also
recognizes the city of San Jose as the first capital city of the state.
Located on the Guadeloupe River, the log chapel of Santa Clara de Asís
was founded in 1777 by Father Serra in honor of St. Clare only three
months before his death. In 1851 the work began which ultimately produced
Santa Clara University as we know it today
Place your pointer
over the photo to see the reverse of the medallion
This medal was struck specifically for "La Fiesta de Las
Rosas," a festival that was to be held in San Jose to commemorate the
city's Spanish heritage as associated with the Bicentennial. Unfortunately
for the organizers of the festival who had the medals struck, local groups
objected to the Spanish heritage aspects of the festival, as they felt it
ignored the city's Mexican heritage. The result was the festival was
canceled and the medallions sat in storage for the next 30 years.
The front of the medal shows a horse-mounted Portolá and walking
Father Serra, with a rose in the foreground. It also contains
"La Fiesta de Las Rosas", the dates of the Bicentennial
(1769-1969), and "Portola Expedition". The reverse
contains a portrait of the state of California, and state "This coin
contains copper left by early Spanish expedition, found on old missions
grounds, Santa Clara." Made of copper, the medallion is an inch and a
quarter in diameter.
Segment of Wood From the Elm
Tree That George Washington Took Command of the American Army
A popular legend, the story became part of
American popular culture as early as the 1830s, becoming famous during the
centennial year of 1876, with the publication of a fictitious
"eye-witness" journal, The Diary of Dorothy Dudley.
The tree itself was indeed real and stood in the middle of Garden Street
at the intersection of Mason Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
did take command of the army in Cambridge on July 3, 1775, but there is no
documentation to indicate that the event took place under the elm tree.
Washington established his New England headquarters at the Vassal House on
Brattle Street (now better known as the Longfellow House), where he
resided until April 1776. The myth of Washington and the elm is
still widely known today, and the image of the tree remains a symbol of
patriotism in Cambridge.
Workers had been
removing branches to ease the strain on the ailing tree (whose trunk had
rotted into “a mere mass of punk,” in the words of a later historian)
when they tugged too hard and accidentally knocked the whole tree down.
Local residents swarmed over the site to gather souvenirs, but enough wood
was salvaged to fashion into more than a thousand assorted tokens and
relics, including gavels for the legislatures of all forty-eight states. A
botanist estimated the tree’s age at 210, meaning that it had been
around 60 in Washington’s day. A plaque embedded in the street's
pavement marks the original location of the tree.
However in 1925, Samuel
Batchelder, a Harvard University professor, cast serious doubt on the
story that had made the tree’s reputation. He combed through records,
letters, and diaries from 1775 and found no mention of any such event. In
any case, he wrote, there would have been no reason for Washington and
Artemas Ward, the general he was replacing, to leave their headquarters
and stand beneath a tree simply to hand over the order book and conduct a
few other formalities. And with the whole Boston area in peril less than
three weeks after Bunker Hill, no one had time for elaborate ceremonies.
Washington was much more concerned with inspecting his troops and
reconnoitering the enemy, who were rumored to be preparing an attack.
According to Batchelder,
Washington may well have stood under the elm sometime around July 3 and
reviewed the few regiments stationed in Cambridge, to the usual
accompaniment of fife and drum. But no grand ceremony took place, and the
actual transfer of command was a perfunctory bureaucratic event that
doubtless took place indoors. Modern historians tend to downplay or
dismiss the Washington Elm tradition.
Original Piece of the London Bridge
The Thames River bisects the city of
London, and has had several bridges cross its span over the
centuries. None, however, are quite as memorable as the London
Bridge of 1831 to 1968. On June 15,
1825, the Lord Mayor of London, John Garrett, laid the first stone.
this bridge was not to survive as long as earlier bridges, and
plans were afoot in the 1960's to replace the structure by a modern bridge.
The bridge had sunk twelve inches at the southern end even on completion and
had continued to sink unevenly by an inch in every eight years thereafter
and could no longer cope with the extent of modern traffic.
in the United States, Robert McCulloch, a real estate developer, learned
that the British Government was putting the bridge up for sale. He put in
the winning bid for $2,460,000 in 1968, and plans were drawn up to move
and rebuild the bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. McCulloch spent
another $7 million to move the London Bridge to Lake Havasu City which
took a total of three years. Each piece was marked with four
numbers. The first indicated which span, the second noted which row of
stones, and the last two numbers indicated which position in that row. It
was discovered, while dismantling the bridge, that there were code numbers
on each stone when it was originally built: John Rennie must have used the
same system when the sections left the quarries. The reassembly of
the bridge in Arizona was completed on October 10, 1971, and it remains in
use in Lake Havasu City to this day.
of the bridge were removed and sold as collectibles, such as this
paperweight. It included a small plaque, stating "Authentic
piece of the London Bridge" and bears the signature of Harold K.
King, the city engineer for the Corporation of London.
Texas-Shaped Paperweight Made
From Limestone From the Battle of San Jacinto
The Spring of 1836 saw
several pivotal moments in Texas history. On March 2nd,
delegates at Washington-on-the-Brazos signed the Texas Declaration of
Independence and the Republic of Texas was born. On March 6th, the
Alamo fell to overwhelming Mexican forces after a thirteen day siege.
And, on March 27th, Colonel Fannin and 344 of his men were massacred at
Goliad. These twin disasters sparked a mass exodus of Anglo settlers
towards the Louisiana border in what is known as the Runaway Scrape.
General Sam Houston, too, withdrew east as the larger Mexican army under
the "Napoleon of the West" -- General Antonio Lopez de
Santa Anna -- advanced deeper into Texas.
On April 17th, Gen. Houston's army reached a fork in the road. One
road led to Louisiana and refuge in the United States; the other led to
Harrisburg and the Mexican Army. Houston signaled his men to
march toward Harrisburg, sparking cheers and applause. His men
-- poorly trained and equipped, but feisty and determined -- numbered only
900 men; Santa Anna's troops -- highly trained but overextended -- totaled
over 1300 men.
4:30 p.m. on April 21st, Sam Houston ordered the attack. Mexican
soldiers were roused from their siestas to the smell of gunpowder and the
cries of vengeance: "Remember the Alamo!" "Remember
Goliad!" In eighteen minutes the battle was over, and Texas had
won its independence. Over 600 Mexican soldiers were killed and 700+
allowed to surrender; only nine Texans were killed or mortally wounded.
Sam Houston was wounded in the ankle, while Santa Anna was found
the next day hiding in some tall grass, dressed as a common foot soldier.
The defeated "Napoleon of the West" soon signed treaties ceasing
all hostilities, recognizing an independent Republic of Texas, and
establishing the Texas-Mexico boundary at the Rio Grande River.
Construction of the
monument to the battle began during the Texas Centennial celebrations in
1936 and lasted three years. It was designed by
architect Alfred C. Finn, engineer Robert J. Cummins, and Jesse H. Jones.
Its builder was
the Warren S. Bellows Construction Company of Dallas and Houston. At
570 feet, this Texas giant is 15 feet taller than the Washington Monument
and is one of the finest examples of Moderne (Art Deco) architecture in
the United States. The monument has been recognized as a National Historic
Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil
Engineers. The base is 125 feet square, with text panels
highlighting significant events in history leading up to and
resulting from the Texas Revolution. The shaft itself is octagonal,
48 feet at its base, 30 feet at the observation level and 19 square feet
at the base of its crowning jewel—a 220-ton star made from stone, steel
and concrete. It is the
world’s tallest memorial column.
In 1995, the Texas Parks and Wildlife
Department began renovations of the monument's iron and limestone exterior
and commissioned a company to make souvenirs from the salvaged materials,
mostly fossiliferous "shell" limestone. This is one of those items. This paperweight is in
the shape of Texas and measures approximately 3" by
3". It is composed of Texas fossilized buff limestone quarried
near the state Capitol at Austin. It has a polished metal plaque
affixed to it that reads, "Original Limestone from the San Jacinto
Monument" plus the name of the artisan, Philip Hoggatt, and the date
Brick Paperweight from Abraham Lincoln's Springfield Home
A miniature brick cut from Abe Lincoln's home at 8th and
Jackson in Springfield, Illinois. The first home
Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln owned, it was
after he became a lawyer as a one-and-a-half story cottage with six rooms,
and was enlarged in 1855-56 to two stories with twelve rooms. The
site of numerous important events in Lincoln's life, such as the births of
three of the couple's sons, his home while he served in the U.S. House of
Representatives, and where has lived during his 1860 bid at the
1954, the state government of Illinois had repair work done on the Lincoln home, the
contractor removed the broken bricks and a local jeweler cut them into
mini bricks, which were sold to the public. The
size of the mini-brick is
1 1/2" by 1/2" by 1/2", mounted on an engraved marble paperweight that is
back has a copy of authenticity attached, and each
brick paperweight comes with a short history of the bricks from 1954 to
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