Fort Tejon SHP
Narrated by Russ Christoff
Located in Grapevine Canyon, a few hundred yards from busy Interstate Highway 5, is Fort Tejon State
This normally serene historic park comes alive on several Sundays throughout the year, when the Fort Tejon Historical Association celebrates living history days.
The public is invited to join these scheduled events when volunteers dress in 1850's clothing, and re-enact life at the fort, when it was a thriving outpost built with the intentions of protecting the Native Americans of the Tejon reserve.
I visited on a Sunday to witness one of the park's events.
I found several reconstructed buildings on the grounds that were open to explore.
One building was the soldier's barracks. This structure is an authentic recreation that takes visitors back to a time when dragoons patrolled this part of California.
The officer's quarters were also open and revealed some modest rooms, and a basket weaving lesson.
In the kitchen, I found costumed volunteers busy demonstrating the art of period food preparation.
I offered my services as taster of some delicious homemade bread and freshly churned butter.
Yum, that's very good. That's great!
On the grounds, people were enjoying the demonstrations.
In the afternoon, we retreated to a rifle and cannon exhibition.
(Man yelling Fire, sounds of cannon explosions heard in background)
Sean, volunteer coordinator and state liaison, talked about the fort's significance to California history.
VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR SEAN: What's special about Fort Tejon is that it was a cross-roads of culture. And, I like to use that because it really was the point where people from the native Californian society and Indians, came here and worked and were interactive with people of Mexican or Spanish heritage.
The Spanish were here, the Americans came here and during the time that Fort Tejon was an active military post, all these things were still happening. You have Native Californians that are bringing cattle or driving horse herds up the canyon that we have in front of us. Or bringing people through here on stagecoach or wagon
trains. People from the Northern California were going to Southern California.
The military was here, and it all coalesced and combined to form the new society that California was becoming. California was a brand new state in 1850, and in 1856 the army was here to waive that flag and also to start to make California into the American state that it is today.
RUSS CHRISTOFF: If you plan to visit the park on a living history day, call ahead for a schedule.