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Archive for October, 2009

Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford

The “Lights. Camera. Pleasanton.” exhibit runs through January 17, 2010 at the Museum On Main Street, 603 Main Street, Pleasanton.

The exhibit showcases the history of moviemaking in Pleasanton from the silent era to the digital age, with particular emphasis upon the town’s experience as a popular filming location during the late teens and early twenties. Such screen luminaries as Mary Pickford and Rudolph Valentino appeared in Pleasanton-shot productions.

On display are movie stills including original prints and reproductions; publicity photos of actors and directors; copies of the books from which some of the films were adapted; a selection of glass slides advertising Kolln Hardware at local movie theaters; pictures of the Main Street theater at various times in its history; a re-creation of the filming of a scene as a life-sized tableau; and a display from the Niles-Essanay Silent Film Museum.
Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, 1-4 p.m. Admission is a $2 requested donation. Visit www.musueumonmain.org

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Ida Jessen Holm with her children on a buckboard, circa 1910, on the family’s farm on Stanley Blvd., Livermore.

Ida Jessen Holm with her children on a buckboard, circa 1910, on the family’s farm on Stanley Blvd., Livermore.

Meet the 4th and 5th generations of the Holm Family at the Dublin Heritage Center’s Danish Workshop, Saturday, November 7, 2:00-4:00 PM. Explore the delicious and colorful traditions of Denmark; from sweet dessert dumplings to the stories of Hans Christian Anderson, to the local Danish ranchers of Dublin. Children can participate in Danish crafts and paper cutting and enjoy Storyteller Randel McGee as he makes the stories of Hans Christian Andersen come to life. Learn how to make Danish Abelskivers and taste cookies made from the Holm Family Cookbook. Fun for everyone, from toddlers to grandparents.

Danish Workshop
Dublin Heritage Center
Historic Old Murray Schoolhouse
6600 Donlon Way, Dublin, CA
925-452-2100
http://www.dublinheritage.org
$5.00 per person

A story passed down in the Holm family tells that one of Ida Holm’s forefathers was a Danish sea captain who sailed into the Bay when there were only seven houses in what is now San Francisco, California. It is known that Danish whaling ships anchored in the San Francisco Bay in search of water and provisions. The height of the California Gold Rush was from 1849–1853. Many sailors deserted their ships to join gold seekers (known as the 49ers) in the placers of the Sierras. The majority had little success. Many had noticed the abundance of natural resources in the Bay Area—redwood forests, millions of wild fowl, large herds of game animals, fish in the rivers and bays, salt, and rich land that could produce hay, grain, and vegetable crops. Markets were available in rapidly growing San Francisco, which was booming with tents and wooden houses. A walk through the Dublin Pioneer Cemetery will confirm the prevalence of Danes that settled and ranched in the Tri-Valley in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The names include Rasmussen, Fredericksen, Therklesen, Andersen, Holm, Kamp, Jensen, Larsen, and many more. The Danes helped to shape the Tri-Valley as we know it today.

A young Danish sailor, Cornelius Mohr, left his ship in 1852 to find work as a carpenter and farmhand on the ranches around Alvarado in the Bay Area. In 1853 he purchased 200 acres of the Soto Land Grant. Many of the young Danish immigrants found work through Mohr. He became recognized as the founder of “Little Copenhagen” and “Germantown,” which is now San Lorenzo in Alameda County. Cornelius Mohr’s properties grew to include 360 acres in Pleasanton where his son, Henry P. Mohr, raised large grain crops, pastured range cattle, and became a noted breeder of Clydesdale and Shire draft horses. Henry P. had five daughters: Eileen, Ernestine, Mildred, Cecile, and Edna. They were family friends of the Holm family. Cecile recalled enjoying a visit at 4:00 p.m. on a Sunday at the Holm house and being delighted by the spread of food, which included delicious cream puffs. Many of the young Danish immigrants had experience as carpenters and ship builders. They carried hammers with square heads and became known as “squareheads.”

The Danish Lodge picnic, Livermore, circa 1908. Ida Holm third from left in front row standing; Carl Holm, in front standing row, sixth from left.

The Danish Lodge picnic, Livermore, circa 1908. Ida Holm third from left in front row standing; Carl Holm, in front standing row, sixth from left.

Peter Nielsen was born in Denmark and immigrated to California in the 1880’s, settling in Dublin. He became a naturalized United State citizen in 1890 and leased large tracts of land from Charles Dougherty on what is now Camp Parks. He married Johanna Nielsen and they had four sons. A believer in education, Thomas Nielsen was one of the founders of the Murray School District. John Bonde was born in Denmark in 1855 and worked in Mt. Eden near Hayward for four years. Then he moved to Dublin where for 22-years he operated the hotel originally built by J. W. Dougherty.

In 1869, Carl Holm, a young, adventurous Dane immigrated to California, drawn by the dream of owning his own land. By working hard he realized this dream and bought a tract of land, built a home, raised a family, and became a vital and contributing member of the Livermore community. His descendents remain in the Livermore Valley, and have creatively captured their family history through recipes, stories, photographs, and art in a book entitled, The Holm Family Cookbook, A Culinary Tale of Danish Tradition and Western Lore. The book includes many sidebars describing the Danish immigrant community within the Livermore Valley of California, dating back to the 1850’s. Carl Holm helped form the Danish Lodge in Livermore, Dannevang No. 7, was president of the California Grand Danish Lodge in 1908, and helped build Livermore’s Dania hall in 1911.

Flødeboller (Cream Puffs)
Serves 6
Ida Jessen Holm

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Lightly butter the cookie sheets. In a medium saucepan over high heat, melt the butter in the boiling water. Decrease the heat to low. Add the flour and salt all at once, stirring vigorously with a spoon until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan in a smooth, compact mass and a metal spoon pressed into it leaves a clear impression. Immediately remove from the heat. Quickly beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until each is blended and the mixture is smooth. Continue beating the mixture with a spoon until it forms a stiff dough. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls (it helps to use a wet spoon) 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Using a wet spoon, shape into rounds that point up in the center, like a Hershey’s Kiss. Bake for 10 minutes, then decrease the temperature to 400˚F and continue baking for another 25 minutes. The cream puffs should be puffed high and golden brown. Remove from the cookie sheets with a spatula and place on a wire cake rack to cool. Combine the cream, vanilla, and sugar in a bowl. Whip until soft peaks form. To serve, split the cream puffs almost all the way around horizontally. Fill with a large scoop of fresh whipped cream.

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