Historic Auburn shot glass, records on way to county archives

Items moving from City Hall closets to safer environment
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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The Placer County Museum’s new archives are getting a shot of Auburn history, quite literally.

A shot glass from the Freeman Hotel – where President Herbert Hoover stayed 80 years ago – is one of the more unique items, if not the most significant, said Auburn City Councilman Mike Holmes, who proposed transferring the items.

Holmes wouldn’t speculate as to whether Hoover or other famous guests including Mark Twain and Henry Ford may have drank out of the shot glass, which features no labeling but comes with a sticky note saying where it’s from.

Perhaps it’s more likely to have been used by an everyday citizen, as Holmes said the hotel had been one of the most popular in town, built in the 1880s near the railroad downtown on the lot between Harrison and Elm avenues.

Even though the building had been torn down in 1970, shot glasses can still be found at its old location, which now features Pistol Pete’s Brew and Cue.

The shot glass relic will likely be shipped with the other items to the new Placer County archives later in March after paperwork is completed, Holmes said.

Other items include City Council and Board of Trustees records ranging from 1912 to 1964, a framed photo of John Gaines taken before 1879, a 1950 graduation program for Auburn Joint Union Elementary School and jail register including names of offenders and arresting officers from 1940-53.

“Since I was born in ’56 I have no problem with the jail records,” Councilman Keith Nesbitt said, drawing laughter among council members, who unanimously approved the move at its most recent regular meeting.

The items had been tucked away in a closet at City Hall, most of them in a “disorganized fashion” in the administrative services department, with others stored in the city historian’s office, according to a staff report.

“They need to be put in a place where they will not deteriorate, where they will not fall apart and where a staff person takes care of them,” Holmes said. “Where they can be available to historians and other people who want to use them for historical research.”

This year marks Auburn’s 125th birthday, putting the spotlight on the city’s history.

The county museum’s archives and collections consolidated into its new location in the Placer County Government Center in North Auburn, and it had its grand opening on Feb. 28.

There is no cost to the city to transfer the items, and though they will become property of Placer County, Auburn will still be able to access them when needed, Holmes said.

The new archives facility at the DeWitt Center is climate controlled, offering stable heat and humidity levels to reduce the causes of document deterioration.


Jon Schultz can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews