Delta Queen | KCET
For 50 years one of the most popular ways to travel up and down the mighty Mississippi River has been aboard the authentic paddlewheel steamboat Delta Queen. To ride on this boat is to step back in time -- in fact, the Delta Queen has been declared a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But true riverboat buffs will tell you that the Delta Queen was not originally built to travel on the Mississippi River. It's a California boat, built in Stockton in the late 1920's for service on the Sacramento River. The Delta Queen spent the first 20 years of her life as a night-boat taking passengers back and forth from Sacramento to San Francisco and becoming a familiar and much-loved part of the California landscape. In 1947, the proud paddlewheeler left California, was towed through the Panama Canal and began her service on the Mississippi River. Now, 50 years later, producer/host Huell Howser travels over 2,000 miles east to rediscover the Delta Queen's California history and roots. Also, along for the rid are several Californians who remember her "good ole days" and have great stories to tell about her time on the Sacramento River.
During World War II the Kaiser Shipyard in Richmond ,California built 747 ships while working 24 hours a day and 365 days a year for the war effort. With full medical care, housing, daycare and 24 hour meals, it was the model of efficiency and the forerunner of Kaiser Permanente. Huell and Luis visit the site of the Kaiser Shipyard and talk with people who worked there throughout the war, including some "Rosie the Riveters" who took the place of the many men who were overseas.
Take a tour of the little, quaint town of Locke, founded and settled by the Chinese on the Sacramento River Delta; hear ancient Cahuilla Indian bird songs sung by members of the Cahuilla tribe, and participate in a threshing bee and antique engine show featuring old farm vehicles and machinery.
Back in a Southern California garage in 1963 something amazing was happening. A 37 year old Bruce Meyers was building a car that would that would become an icon, the Meyers Manx... better know as the Dune Buggy. This simple car really springborded "off-road" racing into the huge sport it is today, cutting more than 5 hours of the pervious Baja 1000 record in its 1st try. This in turn caught the eye of Hollywood: Elvis, Lucy & Desi, Scooby-Doo all had to have one.
Drawbridge is a small, marshy island at the southern end of San Francisco Bay. People started going there in 1876 for the excellent hunting and fishing. By the early 20th Century, Drawbridge had become a full time community for a handful of families. It had also become something of a weekend resort.
This is a 1 Hour combination of:
California's Gold #5005 - JOHN MUIR
Huell goes back in time and visits with John Muir at Yosemite National Park. Muir was America's most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist who is often called the father of our National Parks System. In 1892, he founded the Sierra Club to protect the newly created Yosemite National Park. Through his writing and actions, he taught the people of his time, and ours, the importance of experiencing and protecting our natural heritage.
Coit Tower was built on top of Telegraph Hill in 1933 at the bequest of Lillie Hitchcock Coit to beautify the City of San Francisco; Lillie bequeathed one-third of her estate to the City of San Francisco "to be expended in an appropriate manner for the purpose of adding to the beauty of the city which I have always loved".
Huell spends the day exploring all aspects of this San Francisco landmark, including the beautiful murals that adorn the lobby with the descendants of one of the original artists.
Originally built as a reservoir to feed the citrus groves of San Bernardino through a series of flumes and tunnels, this engineering marvel eventually fell apart. For legal reasons, the project never worked and the reservoir became a recreational area. What most people don't know is that there is a whole world under the lake. Huell takes a hundred-foot ride down in an elevator that was built in the late 1800s to explore this underwater marvel.
Join Huell as he learns about the sometimes-controversial history of this California landmark and gets a very special tour, including a vertigo-inducing trip to the very top if the spire which is set against the San Francisco skyline...
Travel with Huell to Sequoia National Forest to visit historic Buck Rock Fire Lookout. Established in the early 1900s, Buck Rock Lookout was one of the first fire detection locations in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The current lookout building, constructed in 1923, is historically significant as a representation of the earliest live-in towers in California. Huell climbs 172 stairs to an elevation of 8, 500 feet to interview the woman who currently staffs the lookout through the fire season, and to learn what it's like to live perched on the edge of a cliff!
Huell Howser travels to the Central Coast in search of Nitt Witt Ridge, an unusual state historical landmark in Cambria Pines. Built from cement and found objects like bottle caps, toilet seats and abalone shells, this folk art home was lovingly built by self-taught artist Art Beal over a period of fifty years.
Huell looks beneath the surface of our state. First he goes to the prehistoric La Brea Tar Pits in the heart of Los Angeles, where dinosaurs and other early denizens of California have been preserved in tar for thousands of years. Next, he visits California's version of Plymouth Rock-the Presidio of San Diego-and watches as an excavation uncovers all sorts of amazing relics from this, the first European settlement in California.
It wasn't always pretty, and it didn't always work, but the "doctors" of the Gold Rush did the best they could to take care of the throngs of immigrants who came to California in search of fame and fortune. Sacramento's Sutter's Fort is the backdrop of this adventure. Huell hears the story of how the Fort was chosen as the site of the first hospital in Sacramento that housed doctors, midwifes, Chinese herbalists certainly some charlatans with plenty of snake oil to sell. With the help of docents and some real doctors, it's sure to be an education.
The Central Garden, created by renowned artist Robert Irwin, lies at the heart of the Getty Center. The 134,000-square-foot design features a natural ravine and a tree-lined walkway that leads the visitor through an extraordinary experience of sights, sounds, and scents. Huell gets a special tour from Jim Duggan, the Central Garden's curatorial advisor and the gardeners who keep this living sculpture alive for everyone to enjoy.
The San Diego & Arizona Railway has been called "the impossible railroad". They broke ground in 1907 and completed the line in 1919. Between San Diego and Arizona is some of the most treacherous countryside in the U.S. with a bevy of workman and a lot of dynamite they managed to snake their way to Arizona. The railroad had many tunnels collapse over the years, especially in the Carrizo Gorge. The railroad decided to build the Goat Canyon Trestle in 1932 after a series of tunnel closures. The Goat Canyon Trestle is one of the most impressive feats of engineering in the world.
Take a sizzling trip to the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County and its many unknown desert destinations, including the tiny town of Amboy (on the side of old Route 66), historic homesteads, immense sand dunes, an extinct volcano and a beautiful, old train depot.
Surreal, awesome, unbelievable, weird? These are just some of the words that come out of your mouth when you view the Devil's Postpile. Located in the Eastern Sierras, this formation is one of nature's true masterpieces. Towering 60 feet over the San Joaquin River the postpile looks like a huge cathedral pipe organ built entirely of stone. The postpile is actually composed of thousands of columns of fine-grained, black - colored basalt. 100,000 years ago cooling molten rock contracted, creating perfect cracks.
Join Huell on an adventure to two places he's wanted to visit for years. First up is a stop along Highway 395 to see the Upside Down House in Lee Vining. Built by Nellie Bly O'Bryan and inspired by children's books, it's considered Mono County's first man-made tourist attraction. Huell gets a tour from some of the locals who restored it lovingly after years of decay.
Huell visits two trees in Monterey with interesting histories. In December, 1602, Sebastian Viscaino officially named Monterey, in honor of the Viceroy of New Spain who had ordered his expedition. His band of 200 men gave thanks for their safe journey in a ceremony held under a large oak tree overlooking the bay which still stands. And then he's off to see the famous Lone Cypress, a 200-300-year-old tree standing alone on a rock jutting out over the ocean.
Huell visits two replicas of the Golden Gate Bridge: the walkway to the Point Bonita Lighthouse, and the Guy West Footbridge at Cal State University Sacramento.
Huell gets a behind-the-scenes tour and takes the "swim of a lifetime" in the Neptune pool at Hearst Castle, which is arguably one of the most spectacular pools in the world. It is fed by mountain water and is surrounded by ancient Roman columns and statues. Designed by architect Julia Morgan, the Neptune pool was constructed in 1924 and finally completed after several redesigns in 1936.
Huell tours Holcomb Valley, just north of Big Bear, and learns about its gold mining history.
Situated 30 miles east of Indio, this popular stop for travelers and truckers who want to gas up, get a home cooked meal or browse for knick-knacks is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Huell spends the day with the people who live and work in this desert outpost as they enjoy this milestone.
Soar above our state as we look at the Pigeon Courier Service at Avalon on Catalina Island, once the most expeditious means of communication with the small island. Next, Huell visits the Twenty-Nine Palms Air Academy, created during World War II. Huell goes up in the air with some of the original pilots at this, the largest glider school in the country.
Huell travels to the small town of La Grange to see an amazing part of our states history. The Tuolumne Gold Dredge sits abandoned right of the highway and is an incredible site. Huell and some local historians visit the dredge and the now virtual ghost town that was once home to the many workers that kept this behemoth running around the clock in search of gold.
Join Huell as he hops over to the Pasadena home of Candace Frazee and Steve Lubanski, who have turned their house into a living museum filled with almost everything bunny! Over 21,000 bunny collectibles: most of their furniture, light fixtures, kitchenware, toiletries, books, and games are bunny themed. And lounging around their house, they have seven real bunny pets that do not live in cages, and are litter box trained!
Californians have done everything imaginable to keep cool in their blistering deserts. Join Huell as we look at two ways of cooling off: first, in the amazing old "desert submarines" of Indio County, then at an honest-to-goodness oasis near Palm Springs.