Historical society prepares for open house
This beautiful new marker, created by local artist Ron McBride, based on a concept by Tony Jonas, Lassen Historical Society’s president, stands just outside Roop’s Fort. According to McBride, when people look at the marker 100 years from now, they will remember today’s residents. Photo by Sam Williams
Tuesday, May 6 — When the Lassen Historical Society kicks off its season with an open house at 5 p.m. Friday, May 9, a new marker at Roop’s Fort is sure to be an eye-catching part of the celebration.
The new marker, created by local artist Ron McBride, features hand-hammered repoussé art work depicting the emigrant settlers beneath the words Roop’s Fort.
The marker, which utilizes an old metal wagon wheel, is mounted on six large posts just outside Roop’s Fort, the first building in Lassen County and site of the famous Sagebrush War.
According to McBride, Lassen Historical Society President Tony Jonas came up with the concept and design for the piece.
“I designed the repoussé and ring and fabricated it,” McBride said. “Jonas did the work on the beams. He’s put a lot of work into this piece.”
“This is a historically significant piece for Lassen County,” McBride said. “Fifty or 100 years from now, when people look at this piece, they’ll be looking back at us.”
“It’s all hand-hammered repoussé,” McBride said. “It’s all cold forged and the images are hand-hammered into 18-gauge metal. The lettering is all hand-forged steel, hand formed over an anvil.”
He said the four-inch steel tire that encircles the project probably came of an old wagon train wagon or a freight buggy.
Always the history buff, Jonas said he often collects the names of children visiting the site and reminds them they are creating history right now. He said many of the youngsters are delighted to stick their fingers in one of the bullet holes in the log siding of Roop’s Fort — making the history all that much more interesting for them.
Jonas said eventually the metal sculpture would rust and create an exquisite patina.
“The whole piece will eventually rust, and in five to seven years it will look like it’s from the 1800s. That’s intentional. In five to 10 years it’s going to look incredible.”
The public is invited to attend the open house held at 5 p.m. Friday, May 9 near Roop’s Fort.
Jonas said Boy Scout Troop 159 will raise the colors and lead the Pledge of Allegiance, and Bob Bengard will deliver the invocation.
Debbie Lucero will cater the event and the museum will unveil its new displays for the season and announce its annual scholarship winners.
For more information, call the Lassen Historical Museum at 257-3292.