2017 Big Bear Old Miners Days official commemorative button now on sale

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2017 Big Bear Old Miners Days official commemorative button
The Big Bear Old Miners Association’s 2017 Old Miners Days Official Commemorative Button is now on sale. The theme for the 2017 Old Miners Days Official Commemorative Button is “Celebrating the Women of the Gold Rush.”

Big Bear Old Miners Association releases 2017 Big Bear Old Miners Days official commemorative button for sale

Theme of 2017 Big Bear Old Miners Days official commemorative button is “Celebrating the Women of the Gold Rush.”

The Big Bear Old Miners Association now has its 2017 Big Bear Old Miners Days official commemorative button on sale. The theme for the 2017 Big Bear Old Miners Days official commemorative button is “Celebrating the Women of the Gold Rush.” To purchase a 2017 Big Bear Old Miners Days official commemorative button, please contact Richad Millener, association president, at (909) 553-2220 or email him at rmillener@hotmail.com.

The concept for the 2017 Big Bear Old Miners Days official commemorative button comes from Richard Millener, association president. Millener, a professional photographer with Millener Productions, worked with models Debby (mother) and Sara (daughter) Fitzgerald to create a scene reminiscent of what is was like for a woman to pan for gold during the 1960 gold strike in the Big Bear and Holcomb valleys. After the modeling session, Millener dispatched his photo to graphic artist John Phane who cartooned the picture to create the graphic and added text. The buttons are physically assembled by Bill Douglass, owner of Big Bear City Saw Works.

The scene shows grandmother Debby Fitzgerald holding her grandchild while her daughter, Sara, dips her hands into ice cold water to pan for gold. They are standing against a rocky outcropping on the banks of a bright blue waterway.

The sale of the very popular commemorative buttons at just $5 each helps to underwrite events produced by the Association during their annual festival which is designed to attract visitors to the Big Bear Valley through the creation of a number of enjoyable, family-oriented events during the months of July and August.

On the calendar so far is the Miss Clementine Pageant on July 13 (see story at http://kvbb945.com/big-bear-miss-clementine; the annual Big Bear Chili Cook Off (see story http://kvbb945.com/Big-Bear-Old-Miners-Association-ICS-Chili-Cook-Off-full-of-family-fun) on July 15 and the History Alive…Chautauqua event presented by The Friends of the Big Bear Library on July 22. For more information, visit www.OldMiners.org, or call Henry Moreno at (442) 243-1880 or email to: dizzyjbear@gmail.com.

The Women of the Gold Rush…

Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to California to make their fortunes in the Gold Rush. Almost none of them were women.

According to historical records 92 percent of the prospectors were men.

The few women who did travel to the West for the most part eked out a living in the growing boomtowns by working in the restaurants, saloons and hotels.

Some women’s journals back east, fearful of the trouble the men might get into without the civilizing influence of women, published stories and ran ads encouraging educated, morally-minded young women to travel west to tame these men. The percentage of women in gold mining communities did eventually increase somewhat, but even in 1860 they numbered fewer than 10,000—just 19 percent.

In mining country, women were deemed to be “good” or “bad.” The “good” women provided domestic services to the miners, such as cooking, laundry, and boarding houses. The “bad” women were prostitutes.

Both classes of women earned a steady living—often steadier than the miners earned. One prostitute reported earning $50,000 in a few short months.

Any woman who wanted to get married had her pick of potential spouses. The paucity of females gave them more say-so than most women back East.

Because of its Spanish heritage, California also adopted community property laws when it became a state in 1850, giving each spouse a right to half of whatever was acquired during the marriage.