Speaker Date Topic
John Claggett Jan 19, 2021
Angel Island, Guardian of the Western Gate
Angel Island, Guardian of the Western Gate

John will provide a live program from the US Immigration Station, Angel Island. The walls of the historic detention barracks are filled with poetry, written and carved by immigrants expressing their feelings of frustration, anger, and hope.                                

Historically called the “Guardian of the Western Gate” by immigration staff, the station is second in size only to Ellis Island in New York. The detention facility was built to enforce immigration laws of the era including the Chinese Exclusion Act.  People from over 80 countries, were detained on Angel Island between 1910-1940, the largest groups were immigrants from China, Japan, Russia, and India.
 

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Janis Couvreux Feb 02, 2021
Sail Cowabunga: A Family's 10 Years at Sea
Sail Cowabunga: A Family's 10 Years at Sea
From Bordeaux France to San Francisco, California, her talk follows a Franco-American couple and their two young sons across the Atlantic Ocean and into a ten-year journey at sea. Through their adventures and misadventures, tragedies, and glories across four continents, the Couvreux family rarely had a dull moment living on the water.  Janis chronicles in vivid and lively detail how they fended off a midnight intruder, sailed to the microscopic St. Peter and St. Paul rocks on the equator, explored the jungles of French Guiana and Devil’s Island, and sailed through Cuba in the turmoil of the late 80s.  Their adventure was not without hardship, however, as Janis recounts battling medical emergencies that required sending her husband across the globe for treatment (twice), leaving her to single handedly orchestrate a Panama Canal passage amid pre-war chaos. While living in the close quarters of their 42-foot sailboat, the Cowabunga, the Couvreux family was able to maintain sanity and a normal daily routine of cooking, schooling, and sleeping at sea, knowing all the while that something unexpected might be waiting just around the next peninsula.
 
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Nick Zoa Feb 16, 2021
Marooned in Paradise during the Pandemic
Marooned in Paradise during the Pandemic
Nick Zoa landed on Kosrae in Micronesia on March 6th, not knowing that he would be the last tourist to come to this tiny South Pacific island in 2020.  Although Nick planned to continue to nearby islands on March 9th, all his flight reservations were cancelled when Micronesia declared a Covid-19 travel ban on March 8th.
Nick soon realized that being marooned in Kosrae isn't such a bad thing.  The island is a tropical paradise with high mountains, dense jungles, a warm ocean and healthy reefs.  With his background in geology, Nick has been in demand by Kosrae's environmental management authority.  The local college offered him a furnished apartment on the beach in exchange for teaching a few classes.  Thanks to the travel ban, Kosrae is one of the few places in the world that remains 100% virus-free.  Life is normal here.  There are no masks.  There's no need for social distancing.  Schools, businesses and churches have stayed open.
Although Nick has visited 158 countries in the past two decades, he's been confined to an island less than 10 miles long for almost a year.  The island life is comfortable and healthy.  The Kosraeans are some of the friendliest and most generous people he's met anywhere.  When this pandemic is over, Nick will resume his travels, thankful for having had the chance to know a place that the rest of the world has never heard of.
 
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John Freeman Mar 03, 2021
California Embraces the Great White Fleet
California Embraces the Great White Fleet
John Freeman's presentation will focus on the lavish welcome the Fleet received in the Bay Area, including how Marin County participated.
Teddy Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet made a bold display of the United State’s new role as an international power 113 years ago. The fleet left Hampton Road, Virginia in December 1907 and traveled around South America, and into the Pacific Ocean.  In each of the ports it stopped along our coast, the fleet was hosted and toasted with an exuberant show of patriotism and pride, culminating with the fleet entering the Golden Gate on May 6, 1908, where an estimated crowd of a million people thronged to get a look at the 16 battleships.
 
San Francisco Bay Area hosted one of the finest receptions our navy has ever seen with spectacular parades, grand balls, banquets, and lots of exciting activities for all the sailors. The visit of the fleet was the first major public celebration of San Francisco's recovery from the earthquake and fire, and the city capitalized on the events to boast to the world about it’s rebuilding progress and it’s ability to accommodate the “grandest fleet in the finest harbor in the world.”
After two months based in San Francisco, the fleet would cross the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea into the Atlantic Ocean, arriving back at Hampton Road on Washington’s Birthday, 1909, to complete this triumphant circumnavigation of the world.
 
 
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Mike Moyle Mar 30, 2021
There were HOW MANY dairies in Marin County???
There were HOW MANY dairies in Marin County???

Beginning in the middle of the 1800's, the dairy industry in Marin grew dramatically until by the end of the century the county had become the major supplier of dairy products to San Francisco and one of the major dairy centers in the country.  Those dairies, which over the years numbered more than 350, blanketed the county, and cows were a familiar site grazing on the hillsides.  Today, just over twenty of those dairies remain.  

Mike Moyle, who heads the History Committee at the IDESST Sausalito Portuguese Cultural Center, and West Marin historian Dewey Livingston, are collaborating to identify all of those dairies and the individuals who operated them over the years.  Mike will be speaking to us about this project, as well as about some of the dairies that were in and around Mill Valley.   Today those dairies are largely forgotten.  However, as Mike likes to say: "Watch where you step!  If you are  somewhere in Marin County, it's likely it was once a cow pasture."

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