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Lincoln's past finds a new home

By: Brandon Darnell News Messenger Reporter
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By Brandon Darnell News Messenger Reporter The Lincoln Area Archives Museum is now open in its new location for visitors and researchers. The archives are at 472 E St., where they were moved from the Beermann Plaza building that now houses the Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce. “We mainly needed more room,” said Jerry Logan, historic research archivist. “We were just in what was practically a closet. A six-foot-by-12-foot room was the whole archives. Now we have space to store things, have displays and work in. We have room for a computer, too, and we never had one before.” The volunteers appreciate the additional space. “It’s at least 20 times bigger,” said Shirley Russell, the archives’ office manager, adding that the previous space was little more than a closet. The Lincoln Area Archives Museum was founded Oct. 1, 1993 in the downtown library’s basement. Jerry Logan, his brother Don Logan and Wes Freeman founded the museum. When the library expanded in the late 1990s, the archives were moved to the building where the Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce now resides. The museum’s building is sponsored by the city but the Native Sons of the Golden West sponsor the archives’ other financial needs, Russell said. Those needs include the day-to-day expenses such as the Internet line for the computer, the heating and air conditioning bills and electricity. Other financial support comes from the Better Together group, which has been instrumental in obtaining community foundation grant monies and helping get more than $10,000 in community donations. The archives are currently open from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesdays but Logan and Russell said they will soon announce another day, once a volunteer schedule is worked out. The archives are full of a wealth of information about Lincoln and western Placer County, Logan said, adding that there are at least 1,000 old photographs and approximately 2,000 historic documents and items. The items include everything from official city records to the plaque naming valedictorians from Lincoln High School, with Jerry Logan’s name listed for 1942. Some of the most-accessed files, however, are the 100-plus files on area families. These files were compiled in the early 1990s on families in the town for more than 100 years. Besides doing genealogical research, museum visitors often check out the general history of Lincoln, which started out as a railhead in the 1860s. “One woman came in looking for a copy of a railroad poster,” Russell said. “We had it and we made a copy for her.” Archives volunteers are also recording local stories. Currently, the Lincoln Women’s Club has a program called California Stories, which is available online, and is a sampling of stories residents record for posterity. Lincoln stories, as well as California stories, can be recorded at a kiosk in the Twelve Bridges Library. They are currently not available online but Russell said she hopes to have that ability in the near future. Russell and Logan both said that while the archives are not stored in climatically controlled environments, the documents and photographs are in a far better state than they were in the barns in which many of them were stored in the past. Logan asked that anyone with old documents or photographs relevant to Lincoln and Western Placer County bring them by for copying and filing, if not donating them outright. For more information, visit the Native Sons Web site at www.lincolnnativesons.org or call Shirley Russell at 645-3470.