Guide to the Woodland Opera House State Historic Park Collection

Woodland Opera House SHP Collection

Processed by Deborah Hebert Lee
California State Parks Archives
4940 Lang Avenue Suite 114
McClellan, CA 95652
Phone: 916-263-0779
FAX: 916-663-0858
Email: department.archives@parks.ca.gov
URL: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1080
© 2015
California State Parks Archives. All rights reserved.


Descriptive Summary

Title: Woodland Opera House State Historic Park Collection
Date (inclusive): 1870-2010
Date (bulk): (bulk dates 1960-1986)
Collection number: CSPA-327
Creator: Woodland Opera House State Historic Park
Extent: 1 linear foot, including 1 map folder.
Repository: California State Parks
McClellan, California 95652
Abstract: Woodland Opera House State Historic Park, situated in Yolo County, is located in downtown Woodland. Woodland Opera House became a State Historic Park in 1980 in order to restore the building. Reopened to the public in 1989, the Opera House continues theatrical productions. The Woodland Opera House State Historic Park collection is arranged in ten series: 1. Correspondence, 2. Legal Documents, 3. Financial Documents, 4. Histories, 5. Research Notes, 6. Ephemera, 7. Photographic Material, 8. Publications, 9. Cartographic Material, and 10. Reports. Items span the years 1870-2010 with the bulk of the material between 1960-1986.
Physical Location: California State Parks Archives
Languages: Languages represented in this collection: English

Access

The collection is open for research. Cultural and archaeological site maps are restricted. Reports with sensitive data may be restricted. Consult repository for details.

Publication Rights

For permission to reproduce or publish, please consult the California State Parks Archives archivist. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Parks Archives, McClellan as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement that may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Parks Archives.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Woodland Opera House State Historic Park Collection, CSPA-327: [box: folder number], California State Parks Archives, McClellan, California.

Acquisition Information

Woodland Opera House State Historic Park donated the materials in the collection in 2002.

Processing Information

Deborah Hebert Lee processed this collection and created and encoded its finding aid in 2015.

Administrative History

Woodland Opera House State Historic Park, situated in Yolo County, is located in downtown historic Woodland. The opera house, built in the late Victorian Era, still maintains its primary function.
The Native American group Poo-e-win, a part of the Hill Patwin, occupied the area before the influx of Europeans and Chinese population during the nineteenth century. The Poo-e-win population rapidly decreased with the arrival of Spanish Missionaries, and by the mid nineteenth century few remained in the area.
Originally named Yolo City, Woodland became established in 1861 and incorporated in 1871. The later name derived from the local oak trees. Because of the city’s location in the fertile Sacramento Valley, agriculture and subsequently the railroad were major contributors to local development.
A San Francisco architect named Thomas Welsh designed the original 1885 opera house. Seven years later, a fire destroyed the building along with other parts of the downtown area. David Hershey, a locally prominent figure, acquired the land. Hershey and several other local citizens helped to rebuild the opera house. The new building opened in 1896.
Due to the growing popularity of motion pictures and a lawsuit brought against the Opera House, the facility closed in 1913. In 1971 the Yolo County Historical Society bought the building to protect it from urban renewal. California State Parks took over ownership in 1980, and restoration began. Architect Gary Wirth and Brocchini and Associates helped to restore the building. Federal and state grants along with local donations funded the restoration. The Opera House reopened to the public in 1989.
The Woodland Opera House, also known as the Hershey Opera House, is located at 340 Second Street. The two-story brick building is listed on the California State Historic Landmark #851, and the National Register of Historic Places # 71000212. Areas of significance include: architecture, music, social/humanitarian and theater.
Although the opera house is owned by the State of California, the Opera House Board of Trustees maintains the building. True to its original purpose, the opera house still performs theatrical productions, and is also involved in school outreach programs.

Scope and Content

The Woodland Opera House State Historic Park Collection is arranged in ten series: 1. Correspondence, 2. Legal Documents, 3. Financial Documents, 4. Histories, 5. Research Notes, 6. Ephemera, 7. Photographic Material, 8. Publications, 9. Cartographic Material, and 10. Reports. Items span the years 1870-2010 with the bulk of the material between 1960-1986.
Series one, Correspondence, consists of general correspondence and memorandum between Opera House supporters, the local historical society, and state government officials prior to and after the establishment of the park. Series two, Legal Documents, contains correspondence and memorandum related to the acquisition, restoration, operation of the park. It also contains copies of a lease agreement and a probate record.
Series three, Financial Documents, consists of an expense account document. Series four, Histories, contains background information about the land, inhabitants, and the building. Series five, Research Notes, contains research information related to the history of the site, and includes a copy of the 1870 Census, Cache Creek Township.
Series six, Ephemera, consists of a conference flyer, a brochure and a pamphlet. Series seven, Photographic Material, consists of 35 mm black and white negatives, 4 x 5 black and white negatives, 4 x 5 black and white photographs, and an 8 x 10 black and white photograph. Series eight, Publications, contains a historical booklet, newspaper clippings, and journal articles.
Series nine, Cartographic Material, contains maps of the topography and geography of the park. Series ten, Reports, includes reports by state and national government agencies and an architectural firm.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Architecture.
California. Department of Parks and Recreation
Chinese.
Hershey, David N., 1818-
National Register of Historic Places.
Native Americans
Opium.
Theater.
Woodland Opera House Site (Woodland, Calif.)
Woodland Opera House (Woodland, Calif.)
Yolo County (Calif.)
Yolo County Historical Society


Collection Contents

Box 1 : 1

Series 1. Correspondence 1973-1986

Physical Description: 1 file folder

Series Scope and Content Summary

Correspondence is arranged chronologically followed by undated items. Included are letters between opera house supporters, Department of Parks and Recreation, Yolo County Historical Society, a California State Senator, and architects.
Box 1 : 2

Series 2. Legal Documents 1903-1908, 1979-1982

Physical Description: 1 file folder

Series Scope and Content Summary

Arranged chronologically and includes a 1903 probate, a 1908 lease agreement, and correspondence between the Department of Parks and Recreation and Yolo County Historical Society. Included are titles for the Yolo County Historical Society and Lot 5, Block 2.
Box 1 : 3

Series 3. Financial Documents 1980

Physical Description: 1 file folder

Series Scope and Content Summary

Arranged chronologically and includes expense account information related to various services.
Box 1 : 4

Series 4. Histories 1969-1972, undated

Physical Description: 1 file folder

Series Scope and Content Summary

Arranged chronologically followed by undated material. Includes histories related to the opera house and the Elliot Building.
Box 1 : 5

Series 5. Research Notes 1870, 1971-1983, undated

Physical Description: 1 file folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Arranged chronologically followed by undated material. Includes an 1870 Cache Creek Township Census, bibliographies, general research notes, drafts, articles, and sketches.
Box 1 : 6

Series 6. Ephemera 1983

Physical Description: 1 file folder

Series Scope and Content Summary

Arranged chronologically followed by undated material. Information includes a letter between the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Program Committee Co-Chair, flyers related to a 1983 Ethnology at Home Conference, a brochure, and flyer.
Box 1 : 7

Series 7. Photographic Materials 1984, undated

Physical Description: 1 file folder

Series Scope and Content Summary

Materials are separated by type and arranged chronologically followed by undated materials and include negatives and photographs. See Appendix A for a complete list.
Box 1 : 8 - 9

Series 8. Publications 1969-2000

Physical Description: 2 file folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

The first folder is arranged alphabetically by title and includes a brochure by the Yolo County Historical Society. The second folder is arranged alphabetically by title and includes newspaper clippings and journal articles.
Box 1 : 8

Yolo County Historical Society, Woodland Opera House 1969

Physical Description: 1 file folder
Box 1 : 9

Newspaper clippings 1973-2000

Physical Description: 1 file folder
Box 1 : 10

Series 9. Cartographic Material 1885-1906, 1952-1981, undated

Physical Description: 1 file folder

Series Scope and Content Summary

Maps are arranged chronologically and include Sanborn maps, sketch of archeological excavations, lot sketch, and drawing of property owned by D.M. Burns. See Appendix B for a complete list.
Box 2 : 1 - 3: 11

Series 10. Reports 1960-2010

Physical Description: 15 file folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Reports are arranged alphabetically by first letter of the report to coincide with the Department Unit Data File System.
Box 2 : 1

A Note on Chinese and Opium Use September 27, 1982

Box 2 : 2

An Initial Evaluation of Cultural Resource Preservation Needs Associated with the Woodland Opera House Restoration Project August 19, 1980

Box 2 : 3

An Initial Evaluation of Cultural Resource Preservation Needs Associated with the Woodland Opera House Restoration Project, Preliminary Draft August 17, 1980

Box 2 : 4

California Archeological Reports No. 24: The Chinese Laundry on Second Street, Papers on Archeology at the Woodland Opera House Site 1984

Box 2 : 5

Case Studies of the Adaptive Reuse of Historic Adobe and Non-Adobe Buildings Using Public-Private Partnerships 2010

Box 2 : 6

Chinese at Woodland 1979

Box 2 : 7

Development Project Completion Report 1979

Box 2 : 8

General Plan 1979

Box 2 : 9

General Plan Preliminary 1980

Box 2 : 10

Historical Resource Inventory, Volunteer Workbook 1982

Box 2 :11

History Status Report April 29, 1982

Box 2 :12

Inventory of Features 1979

Box 2 :13

National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form 1971

Box 2 :14

National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination, Application for Historical Landmark 1971

Box 2 :15

Negative Declaration Downtown Design Plan January 9, 1986

Box 3 : 1

Opium Smoking Paraphernalia undated

Box 3 : 2

Overseas Chinese Ceramics Values July 21, 1983

Box 3 : 3

Parcel Description, Elliot Bldg. 1960

Box 3 : 4

Parcel Description, Opera House June 1, 1960

Box 3 : 5

Preliminary Report on Structural Condition and Building Code Compliance Scott- Elliott Building undated

Box 3 : 6

Woodland Opera House Feasibility Study 1971

Box 3 : 7

Woodland Opera House, Archeological Report, History Status Report 1980

Box 3 : 8

Woodland Opera House, Archeological Testing, Historic Research Program, Correspondence 1980

Box 3 : 9

Woodland Opera House Specifications for Restoration and Related Development 1980

Box 3 : 10

Woodland Opera House Specifications for Restoration and Related Development 1980

Box 3 : 11

Woodland Opera House State Historic Park, General Plan 1980