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The Michael White Adobe

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1 The Michael White Adobe
1840? – 2011

2 Raven Jake’s Observations
“Raven Jake” is a character I developed with my husband Jeryd. Raven Jake, as such, does not exist. He is a fictitious desert rat. As with many fictitious characters, he has become real and even has something of a following. The content of his blog, “Observations of a Western Legend,” centers mainly on nature, history and travel.

3 The Blogosphere Raven Jake’s blog, originally hosted by VOX, is now on Typepad. Both are free hosting services with nice templates. Blogs are one of the more reputable forms of social media. They are free, easy to use, and can be an invaluable tool in the preservationist’s arsenal. Blogs can be used by a person or by an institution or business and are frequently incorporated into a more “official” website. One day, Raven Jake received a comment from a distraught fan…

4 The Challenge On September 26, 2009, Raven Jake received a brief from Ann Gray, a Los Angeles area architect. “The Michael White Adobe in San Marino is threatened with demolition by the San Marino School District,” she wrote. “[They plan] to replace it with asphalt (!). It is extremely rare and in good condition. It could be a fabulous educational resource if thought about creatively. We need enthusiasts to write to the school board and to appear at the October meeting to protest the demolition.” Thus began a quest, not only to block demolition of the adobe, but to restore it to its historical context; to make it relevant as more than a decrepit old building. A flurry of historical research followed, and leading the effort was Michael White himself.

5 Let's Save the Michael White Adobe
Here was the initial post regarding the adobe. Eventually this series grew to more than 50 posts and we keep adding to it. You’ll notice that this is an advocacy challenge, not fair and unbiased reporting. We had a building to save! Folks, we've got a crisis. First, hats off to Ann Gray for alerting me to the evil machinations of the San Marino School District, who want to knock down a 164-year-old adobe to expand their high school swimming pool. Yes, you read that correctly. Here's the brief story: "The adobe was constructed in 1845 by Michael White, a European sailor who adopted the name Miguel Blanco and became a Mexican citizen so he could own land in California, which was under Mexican rule at the time. White's mother-in-law was Eulalia Pérez de Guillén Mariné, who worked at the San Gabriel Mission and owned land that eventually become part of Pasadena, South Pasadena and San Marino." And then 100 years later, they built a high school right next to it. In the past few years they've spent $35 million on infrastructure to the high school, exactly $0 on the adobe (which is actually pretty well preserved - it isn't just a ruin) and now that they're out of money, it's called an "economic downturn," and they want to pave it until funds become available to expand the pool. What? How about "you idiots built the pool in the wrong place." Here's where it is: 2701 Huntington Drive, San Marino, CA 91108 Here are the villans on the Board of Education: President Jeanie Caldwell Vice-President Dr. Jeng Yen Clerk C. Joseph Chang Member Karen Preston Member Chris Norgaard and here's when the adobe gets the hatchet: Board of Education Meeting 10/27/2009, 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM Location: District Office Board Room 1665 West Dr., San Marino, CA 91108 Please write them a letter and tell them what you think about their ideas of "economy" and "progress." Here are a couple of links to news articles: My next two posts down will give you a sense of the history we'll be missing.

6 Holding Guilty Parties Responsible
10/11/2009 Michael White Adobe Today And folks, I mean literally TODAY, October 11. We have to save this adobe, and time is running out. While we were peeking over the fence, one of the baseball moms, Joanna, came over to talk to us. She was proud to show off the adobe and comment on its uniqueness and we said "it's too bad your board of education wants to tear it down at the end of the month." What? Turns out that not even the PTA has been told that the San Marino Board of Education including these members (go ahead and feel free to send 'em an y'all, they're elected officials)  President Jeanie Caldwell November 2009 (term expires) Vice-President Dr. Jeng Yen November 2009 Clerk C. Joseph Chang November 2009 Member Karen Preston November 2011 Member Chris Norgaard November 2011    is planning to wantonly destroy this historic building. I don't blame them for not wanting to get the word out, they ought to be ashamed. In fact, if this plan goes through, I'll make sure that every time someone Googles Jeanie Caldwell, Jeng Yen, C. Joseph Chang, Karen Preston and Chris Norgaard their name crops up in conjunction with this act of historical violence. In fact, with term expirations coming up for Ms. Caldwell and Yen and Chang, they oughta start thinking about what their legacy is going to be. As you can see, there's nothing wrong with the adobe except that this hideous collection of sports fields have grown up around it and they are now starting to crumble. If I had my way, I'd fill in the pool and plant a historically appropriate herb garden. Now that ain't gonna happen, so swim in peace kids, but the problem is not the adobe, it's lack of long-term planning. The adobe is the redeeming feature of the place and it's time to stop making rash decisions based on false economic expediencies and start thinkin' about the long haul. It's also time to stop trying to run a fasty past the school, the parents, the city and the community. It ain't gonna work.  And the address for the San Marino Unified School District is:1665 West Dr., San Marino, CA 91108, so make sure they know what you think about this.

7 Rewarding the Valiant 03/02/2010 San Marino School Board Meeting
Folks, I'm going to have to send a shout out to the San Marino School District's Board of Education. They were very receptive and supportive of the work that the Friends of the Michael White Adobe task force has been doing over the last three months, and while they've refused to take demolition off the table, they have put it firmly on the sidelines. And they granted another stay of execution. Now we're gettin' somewhere. We're talkin'. Karen Preston even bought "California All the Way Back to 1828" on EBay, and that's put us a damn sight further down the trail than we were in October. Now the board has their hands full with a bunch of problems that aren't related to the Michael White Adobe - they've had about $5 million cut from their budget, and a third of their teachers have been put on notice that they might not have a job in September. So it ain't like being a board member is all about PTSA luncheons and tearing down old buildings - they've got a hard row to hoe too, and I don't envy them one bit. But savin' the San Marino School District ain't my business and savin' the Michael White Adobe is, and that's why the school board is in my good books - they're getting behind the project. First off, the next board presentation in in August - six months away, and you know a lot can happen in half a year. Second, everybody, including newcomer Nam Jack, recognized that finding a way to accommodate the building was a consideration - like I said, we're coming along and I'm feeling optimistic - I think we can reach a solution where everybody wins. So kudos to the board - Dr. Jeng Yen, Karen Preston, Chris Norgaard, C. Joseph Chang and Nam Jack, for giving the adobe another chance.

8 Michael White Michael Claringbud White was born in 1801 in Kent, England. He died in Los Angeles in 1885. His adventures started early. At the age of 13, he was apprenticed to a whaler and made the long passage around Cape Horn to hunt whales in the Pacific Ocean. Injured on a trip to Mexico, he made Baja, then Alta California, his permanent home, built the first ship in California, married the daughter of Eulalia Perez de Guillen-Mariné, the celebrated matron of the San Gabriel Mission, and ran cattle over the Spanish Trail to Taos. Returning with the Rowland-Workman Party Party in 1841, he joined the gold rush in 1849, then drove a covered wagon back to Los Angeles.

9 Michael White’s Legacy
We know a lot about Michael White because he dictated an oral biography to a researcher, Thomas Savage, who was employed by Hubert Howe Bancroft, the famous historian. Savage wrote down everything White told him, word for word, and Bancroft verified all the claims that he could. They found that Michael White was smart, and truthful, and had a tremendous sense of humor. Eventually this transcription became a book, “California All the Way Back to 1828.” This story has everything – Cowboys, Indians, Gold Miners, Cattle Rustlers and Spanish Dons, and presents a history of the Old West in simple human terms. Michael White was an ordinary man in extraordinary times, the center of a multi-cultural odyssey set in the early 19th century. Michael White is the coolest pioneer you never heard of!

10 Genealogy Genealogical research can be a tremendous asset in studying historical figures and places. Here are some of the descendents who attended our Halloween Open House event. Attaching the present to the past is an essential aspect of promoting relevance.

11 Michael White Adobe Exterior Photos

12 Michael White Adobe Interior

13 The Blogosphere The initial advocacy was helped to a large degree by a blog, “Raven Jake’s Observations.” In no way was that the only form of community action being taken, or even the most important one. Typepad, Wordpress, Blogger, LiveJournal and many other platforms offer free, dependable, nice-looking blogs. Start one!

14 Social Media FaceBook has become and indispensable way to quickly share information and is gaining credibility. It is free, allows easy interaction/feedback and can be used to raise funds. It is also a good way to reach a broad spectrum of the public – particularly young people. This is a “cause” page.

15 FaceBook Group Page

16 Organization Page

17 The Michael White Adobe Website

18 The Website has a blog component:

19 Research Module The research module is my favorite part of the website. It offers a digital library of books, newspaper clippings, interactive Google maps and other files in .pdf format. The entire website was created for free in Google Sites, but there are some limitations.

20 Measuring Results One of the many advantages of using digital media is that results are immediate and measurable. On FaceBook, you add “friends” and “members,” Twitter gives you “followers,” Youtube shows you how many “views” and “subscribers,” and virtually all websites keep track of your “hits.” It’s easy to see what campaigns are popular, what advertising resonates, and your viewers’ demographics. Frequently your online viewers become contributors.

21 Where to start? “There is an underlying oneness of all things, it does not matter where we begin, whether with stars, or laws of supply and demand, or frogs, or Napoleon Bonaparte. One measures a circle, beginning anywhere.” –Charles Fort “Just Do It” –Nike advertising campaign

22 Online Resources Raven Jake
Michael White Adobe Publishing Issuu Magcloud Website builders Google Sites Joomla Wordpress Social Media Facebook MySpace (almost obsolete) Twitter Timelines Dippity Timeline Generator Blogs Typepad Wordpress Blogger LiveJournal (mainly for writers) Genealogy Find-a-Grave Family Search Watch a video of anything - YouTube Another video host - Vimeo Create slideshows – Kioza iPhone apps for historical tours (great for districts, could also be a self-guided museum or cemetery tour) This is a company that creates iPhone apps for custom tours. I have no idea if they’re any good or how much they charge:

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