Affiliated with the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, the California Area Historical Society is located in the Gallagher House, one of the oldest homes in the area which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. It has the express mission to “…preserve the heritage of the land and the significance of its settlers. To bring together those people interested in local history. To educate the public about the heritage of the area.” It houses numerous local historical artifacts as well as a research library and archives.
historical society was founded in 1992 by Edgar Harrison and moved into the
historical Gallagher house the next year.
The society has refurbished the house to reflect how it might have
looked in the early 20th century.
It’s extensive research library, archives and genealogical records are
open to the public and include obituaries, local year books and town
minutes. During its fund raisers, the
society displays a variety of its historical artifacts on a rotating basis.
settlers arrived in what is now California in 1784 and the town was surveyed in
1848, the same year as the California (west coast) gold rush, hence the name of
the town. The Gallagher House was built
in 1895 by a local Methodist minister named Jonathan Winnet Jennings. The Gallagher family purchased the home in
1930 and donated it to the society in 1993.
It still contains its original stained glass windows, Fleur-de-Lis
sidelights, chandeliers and pocket doors.
The second floor now houses the society’s library and archives.
hosts a variety of events and fund raisers, to include wine tastings and a
holiday wreath sale. It also offers, for
purchase, a historical 90-minute DVD that was originally produced in 1937, that
recounts the history of California and the surrounding area.