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Event provides opportunity to show off refurbishing
A scattering of vintage Christmas pieces accented the spruced up displays on Sunday at the Alta Schmidt House in Orland.
D.G. Woodward also kept the Yule spirit going on the keyboard with a selection of traditional caroling tunes — that is when the old player piano was not doing all the work itself.
And while the open house also included a collection of festive and seasonal aprons collected by Laurie Woodward, president of the Orland Historical & Cultural Society, the event was more about celebrating the city's history than Christmas — and to show off a recently refurbished section of the home.
"The one big thing that has happened was the work on the south wall ... by Justin Chaney and Scott Miller," Woodward said.
The contractors used an $1,800 donation from the Barceloux-Tibessart Foundation to redo the wall and window frames, which were falling into disrepair.
Woodward said the foundation has been responsible for paying for a number of repairs on the old house, which was built in 1903 by C.F. and Kathy Schmidt.
Mostly, the history surrounds the Schmidt family.
A member of the Schmidt family lived in the home until the death of Edna Schmidt in the mid-1980s. She willed the home to the historical society, under the condition it be named after her sister, Alta Schmidt, who had been an artist.
Ironically, there is no piece of her artwork in the home, something the society would love to change if they could find a piece to be donated or given on loan.
"Edna told me she always wanted her main bedroom, which was in the center (of the house) to be an art room with art from he sister ... who was a very good artist in Sausalito," said Carlee Bruckenstein, a longtime friend.
Similarly, there is no original furniture from the house, which had been cleared out — probably by extended family members — before the historical society could finalize all the legal paperwork.
Still, the content that is there — from equipment used by the Schmidts at their leather shop, to photos, to vintage clothing and much more — was more than enough to capture the attention of those who visited the house on Sunday.
For Marilyn Rehse, who has a rich knowledge or the family, an old sales book from one of the Schmidt's businesses fascinates her.
It includes a notation if a refrigerator her family had purchased.
Marie Kollmeyer, a retired teacher who bought the old McKintosh school and uses it as her residence, loved strolling the town's history — some that included information about what is now her home.
"I always said I wanted to own my own school," she said.
One of the newer items was a project book completed by eighth-graders at the old Ord Grammar School in 1941.
It was in the shape of California, and included text on everything from geography to minerals, and included a variety of illustrations as well.
The teacher was Bernice Fox, and some of the students listed were Jeanne Martini, William Dabner and Jackie Fox.