Sometimes It’s The Simple Things

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by Gynae Davalos

A refreshing, warm shower is sometimes the only thing one wants to recharge, rejuvenate, and relieve the body, mind, and spirit. For those in our community with no home in which to shower, Downtown Stockton Alliance provides a free Portable Bathroom Shower Unit (PBSU) right behind St. John’s Episcopal Church on El Dorado Street.

A simple shower can make a huge difference

Monday through Friday starting at 8:30am, anyone needing a bathroom or warm shower can sign up, reserve a time slot, and freshen up. Through generous donations, food, beverages, and clothing are often also available, as well as access to a washing machine and dryer.

SJ Public Health is also on site once a week providing free COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, in addition to other health services.

The PBSU shuts down at 4pm.

“I’m disabled and it has a shower for the disabled,” said Jesse Tora who frequents the PBSU.

DSA staff member Shirley Griffith and her team manage and maintain the unit, providing not only an essential need to the unsheltered community, but social support as well.

“A lot of them are appreciative; they’ll thank us over and over,” Shirley explained.

Music by S.T.A.T.I.K.

“The people are always so nice and respectful – love the fact we have longer time and they don’t play favoritism. They treat everyone the same,” commented Lisa Yoder.

In 2021, the PBSU served 887 individuals who took about 7,444 showers. The unit is funded through a combination of ESG-CV and CDBG grants obtained from the City of Stockton and San Joaquin County. Since 2020, over $350,000 total grant dollars have been secured and devoted to PBSU operation.

“It’s available 5 days a week and it’s convenient for afternoon showering. They feed you and they make sure everyone gets in the shower,” said Yujmon Charles.

It’s easy to take the simple things in life for granted, until they are no longer easily accessible. The Portable Bathroom Shower Unit is just one action Downtown Stockton Alliance takes to support and uplift everyone in our community. Do you have ideas to help make Downtown Stockton the best it can be for everybody?

Best. Job. Ever

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by Gynae Davalos

Getting paid to do what you enjoy is a lifelong goal for many. But what happens when you actually DO reach that goal? Well, I just got this job and I’m freaking out.

What’s this place? Who owns this building? What was this before? Is it for lease? So many questions. . . .

I have to show and tell how awesome Downtown Stockton (and subsequently the whole city) is. I have to give reasons why everyone should come downtown more often. I have to encourage entrepreneurs, investors, and businesses to open or expand their companies downtown. I have to reassure the public that downtown is safe. I have to shine some light on businesses and services that may be on the brink of going out in hopes of possibly saving them. I have to inspire and motivate ideas to fill all the empty buildings and spaces speckled throughout downtown. I have to harness enough energy through my adventures to help revitalize all of downtown as soon as humanly possible.

But I only get 5 hours a day.

Good thing I’m on skates.

My trusty Riedell R3s

I’ll do the best I can do Downtown Stockton, but let’s help each other out! Events, meetings, celebrations, announcements, specials – I need to hear about ALL of it. PLEASE send me an email, a direct message, call me at the office, hand a DSA Safety Ambassador a flyer to give to me – however digitally or physically I can retrieve info, the sooner I can share and let everyone know about all the cool happenings downtown and continue to show and tell how awesome downtown is and is becoming.

I was born in Stockton and I’ve spent the majority of my life here. The grass is NOT greener on the other side. Everything we need to grow and flourish is right here.  And I hope everyone rolls right along with me to help Downtown Stockton and the rest of our fine city continue to blossom and thrive. Because this is the best job ever and I love it here!

The Waterfront. From here, you can go anywhere.

Downtown Stockton’s “Bourbon Street”: Dreaming Tomorrow’s Downtown

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by Shaun Chatrath

Throughout the 21st century, Downtown Stockton has improved substantially, in large part due to the many businesses, people, and organizations who have helped revitalize this area.

Since the 1990s, the Downtown Stockton Alliance has played a massive role in marketing, informing, and giving life to Downtown. Through this effort, many projects, such as musical events and the restoration of Mun Kwok Lane, have seen the light of day.

With that said, we have only scratched the surface of Downtown Stockton’s potential.

We believe that Downtown Stockton one day can become one of the premier landmarks in the state of California.

This belief is due to the picturesque port that flows across Downtown, the convenience of Stockton’s geography, and the vast amount of land Downtown suited for businesses and entrepreneurship.

To reach Downtown Stockton’s full potential, why not look at the following American cities for inspiration: New Orleans and Reno?

Like Downtown Stockton, New Orleans has rich architecture and history, many of which oversee a body of water that cuts through the city (Mississippi River).

According to the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, 58% of tourists to New Orleans tour these historic sites and architecture.

In that same study, they found that tourists to the city of New Orleans spent an average of $50 more than the average tourism spending in the United States.

Thus, growing the economy of the local area. elements of New Orleans into its urban planning, we’d be drawing from a proven foundation of success and establishing a tourism-friendly culture for Downtown.

Now obviously, the area size of Downtown Stockton is significantly less than New Orleans, but that’s where a town such as Reno comes in. Reno, Nevada, is billed as “The Biggest Little City in the World.”

Like Las Vegas, the city has several casinos and shows such as Circus Circus Resort or Atlantis that draw visitors each year. According to a study by Travel Nevada, Reno has seen a $95 increase in average tourism trip spending between the years 2016-2019. Las Vegas has seen an $88 increase in the same time period.

Reno is a successful mini–Las Vegas.

To entice tourists, Downtown Stockton needs its own mini–Bourbon Street or North Virginia Street. A stretch of road where food, history, music, and most importantly, people gather at every corner together to celebrate.

What features would make Downtown Stockton the next tourist hotspot? Which street could be our Bourbon Street?

SOURCES

Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism 2019-2020 Study: https://crt.state.la.us/Assets/Tourism/research/documents/2019-2020/2019%20Louisiana%20Visitor%20Profile.pdf

Reno 2016 -2020 Travel Nevada Study:

Reno-Tahoe-Territory-CY16-20.pdf (travelnevada.biz)

Las Vegas 2016 -2020 Travel Nevada Study:

Las-Vegas-Territory-CY16-20.pdf (travelnevada.biz)

Downtown beautification adds new color and art in Stockton

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by Ben Sanchez

Brighter days.

When I boxed up the buttons my intern designed in preparation for the diversity ceremony this month, I realized the work my team developed for this project would be coming to a close.

My intern, Ayaana Williams, wrapped up button and flyer designs for the project during her final week at the office. I picked up the camera for the first time in a long time. The camera felt heavy in my hands as I walked past the new Superior Court of California downtown. There is a small walkway between the old and new courthouse buildings on Weber Avenue. I heard swishing water past the steps where people were walking in and out of large, windowed doors of the courthouse. The bustling crowds moved swiftly through the walkway to approach the building.

Skies were clear today with sun rays beaming down on the open space behind the courthouse. The ceremony was scheduled before noon. I slip past the crowds, preparing my attempt to capture moments with the camera.

I have made this walk numerous times with my team in downtown. Jason and I filmed downtown shots of the Fox theater and the old Bank of Stockton building. We snapped photos a few blocks away at the redeveloped Chung Wah Lane. But today, at that moment, I am the one looking down the lens this time. This space is different now. Ayaana compiled before and after footage of this outdoor area. We both watched this outdoor space transform over the past four months from Hunter Square to Diversity Plaza.

City of Stockton team members pose for the selfie.

Diversity Plaza.

Once called Hunter Square, the new space is now named Diversity Plaza. The Spire, an art piece designed by Glen Mortenson, was originally located in this outdoor space (Passerbyers will now see the Spire at the newly developed Miner Avenue roundabout).

Michael Huber, Executive Director of Downtown Stockton Alliance, explained he wanted to celebrate Stockton’s diversity for this project, hence the name change for the area. “For our 2021 beautification project, we chose the back half of Hunter Square, which is now Diversity Plaza,” says Huber.

During the winter months last year, our maintenance team assisted with the landscape development. Flag poles were painted and placed across the plaza. Each flag is designed by Ayaana with these words: Unity, Equity, Pride, Inclusion, Diversity, and Respect.

The short video footage she put together will give you a sense of the work and transformation over the past year.

You can watch the video below.

Behind the lens.

The camera felt heavy today. Heavier than usual. The crowd walked across the lawn into the sunlight where rows of chairs waited to seat their visitors. I look through the camera lens to capture the art on utility boxes near Diversity Plaza. The outdoor space was utilized in our other video when we introduced Ayaana on our YouTube channel. I went ahead and operated the camera when we captured video of her walking past the flags during construction. You also can watch that video on our YouTube channel.

Ayaana was a great photographer. She captured a lot of the Diversity Plaza photos you see on social media. The material she developed was an integral part of the design process for marketing going forward.

Speaking of design and art, Sam Majeed (@dopaminecolors) created the art you see at Diversity Plaza. This collaborative effort toward this project is not his first project in downtown. He created a mural in the Courthouse Plaza parking lot along the east wall of the building. People approached him in the crowd. His large coat had a colorful art design across his back. When he turned to address the people acknowledging his artwork, I squeezed the button on the camera to capture it.

Sam Majeed greeting the public.

Celebrate Diversity.

Diversity Plaza ceremony

Two large polished art statues stand behind a circular, iron gated area. These statues and gates round out the art ensemble at the plaza. City of Stockton officials, public figures, and community members gathered for the presentation of Diversity Plaza. When Huber addressed the crowd introducing Harry Black to the microphone, everyone took a seat. Each speaker approached the microphone to say a few words about the work being done in downtown before presenting a certificate to Huber.

Chamber representatives were asked to approach the microphone to speak. The Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce, San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Central Valley Asian American Chamber of Commerce offered their appreciation for the beautification efforts in downtown. People lined up for photo ops by Tim Ulmer as they exchanged greetings before the camera clicks to snapshot the moment. Majeed took a candid photo standing in front of his work (Striking a pose to capture his coat in the shot). With people saying their goodbyes, I pop the cover back on the lens before I head off to the next venture.

The crowd dispersed with a snapshot of Diversity Plaza. I hope the public can make their way to visit this hidden space. Hopefully, this will be one of many upcoming beautification projects within downtown Stockton.

Fun Fact:

Ayaana Williams designed the flags and buttons for Diversity Plaza. She also created the highlight video and captured photos during the development process downtown.

Check out businesses in previous vlog episodes on our YouTube channel!

Subscribe now and catch all new episodes in downtown Stockton.

Live music returns to downtown Stockton for new series

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by Ben Sanchez

The Downtown Sounds music series launched this past month with some amazing rockin’ sounds from Haywired. While their weekly music set is coming to an end, we had a variety of questions regarding this new, outdoor music event downtown. We wanted to take all your feedback and answer as many questions you have about Downtown Sounds. We all know you are curious about who is performing next in downtown. Let’s take a look at how this event has evolved over the past year.

What is Downtown Sounds?

Last year, the Downtown Stockton Alliance hosted a series of music events downtown with local musicians. The open space in Janet Leigh Plaza was a great opportunity to present a free outdoor event for the community. In May 2021, University of the Pacific’s Patrick Langham Jazz Sextet was the first group to appear in Janet Leigh Plaza performing live jazz outdoors!

The first outdoor music event was dubbed ‘Jazz in the Plazz’ and throughout the month had more attendance every Tuesday. With the success of the outdoor music series, two more monthly events would appear in 2021. The Mike Torres Jr. band would play in September for Torres Tuesdays and Phillip Bailey Moncrease appeared in October to bring more amazing sounds to downtown.

Initially, the music series did not have an official name tied to each monthly event downtown. Each musical performance was tied to a different, monthly title. This year, we wanted the music series to fall under one title as we introduce Downtown Sounds in 2022. With more performances planned throughout the year, you will want to follow our social media platforms to stay updated on who is playing live on Tuesday nights.

When is Downtown Sounds?

Our music series is every Tuesday night at Janet Leigh Plaza.

Live music starts at 6 PM and will run until 8 PM.

Is there a charge for this event?

No. This event is FREE to the public.

Jazz in the Plazz highlight from 2021.

Will I need to bring a chair?

Plastic chairs will be provided. You may bring your own chair to this event. The plaza has plenty of space for you to sit and enjoy music.

Who has performed this year?

We reached out to Haywired, a “Rockin Americana” style band with dynamic vocals that are welcome sounds to downtown Stockton. With a versatile musical style, this band is inspired by country, rock, pop, folk, R&B and blues.

Haywired performing downtown

Will Jazz in the Plazz return to downtown? 

Absolutely! We heard all the feedback from the community and are happy to announce that Jazz in the Plazz returns in May for our Downtown Sounds series. Langham, Professor and Program Director of Jazz Studies at the Conservatory of Music at University of the Pacific, is excited to perform for our community in downtown Stockton. You can catch live jazz downtown starting on May 3rd at 6 PM.

Mike Torres Jr. band

Are restaurants open during the live event?

Yes! All restaurants in the surrounding area of Janet Leigh Plaza will be open. Grab food during the show! Drinks are also allowed outdoors! Here is a list of restaurants in the plaza serving tasty food on Tuesday nights.

Grab food and drinks at the Plaza!

Share your #DowntownStockton experience 

While you’re exploring downtown – snap a photo and share it on social media with us! Be sure to tag us in your photos at @Downtownstockton and use the hashtag #DowntownStockton for the chance to be featured on our social channels. 

Check out the downtown vlog episodes on our YouTube channel!

Subscribe now and catch all new episodes in downtown Stockton.

Basket Caravan

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By Jessica Nguyen

What is Basket Caravan?

Basket Caravan, located on 311B West Weber Avenue, is a shop specializing in custom-made, gourmet gift baskets. Although the storefront may be small, each individual basket is overflowing with creativity and content. Lisa Chalk-Frausto, Basket Caravan’s owner, decided to open a storefront after exclusively taking orders through Basket Caravan’s website. In response to high demand, Lisa decided to open Basket Caravan’s current Downtown Stockton brick and mortar space in late March of this year.

“A Gift of Great Taste!”

Basket Caravan is the only gift basket service in Downtown Stockton. The gift baskets are completely customizable, and may feature anything from chocolate, healthy treats, or coffee, to aromatherapy spa products! Lisa partners with other businesses in the area to include local products in her baskets, such as jam, coffee, oil, and sunflower seeds. In fact, she’s working on the creation of “209” baskets to be released in the near future that will contain and feature local products exclusively.

Why is Downtown Stockton a Great Location for Basket Caravan?

According to Lisa, “the location is perfect.” Many people who were previously searching for gift shops in Downtown Stockton now have access to unique gifts that are perfect for every occasion. Lisa often has last-minute shoppers who drop by in search of the perfect gift for their family members or friends. Because Lisa has also lived in Stockton for over 40 years, the city has a special place in her heart and she, too, wishes to dispel the myth that Downtown Stockton is a place to be feared. In reality, she believes that in Downtown Stockton, “people are very nice and friendly.” She especially enjoys the atmosphere of live music events that take place in the area.

Lisa also loves “watching the new businesses [in Downtown Stockton] start to prosper and making it like 20 years ago where it was booming. [She]’d like to see it happen again.” Just in the few months since Basket Caravan opened, Lisa has noticed a marked increase in Downtown Stockton foot-traffic and is enthusiastic about the future.

For more information or to place an order, visit Basket Caravan’s Website, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

                    

Downtown Stockton Living

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By Oscar Segura, Lofts & Marketing Manager,
Residences at the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel

Hello there, my name is Oscar Segura. I am delighted to have been selected to tell my story about Downtown Stockton.

I currently work for the University Lofts at the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel. I manage the residences and get to meet people from all walks of life who are interested in our concept of modern downtown living amenities with an all inclusive price.

The idea that only students live in our residences is a misconception I am working on changing. Anyone can apply to live at the University Lofts and enjoy what we have to offer. I mean, who doesn’t want weekly housekeeping included? Oh, and residents receive 20 % off in the Delta Bistro, the hotel’s restaurant. We offer an array of floor plans starting from studios all the way to panoramic 3-bedroom penthouses overlooking the ever growing and changing Downtown. We are just a stone’s throw away from such venues as the Stockton Arena, Banner Island Ballpark, Bob Hope Theatre, and The Sycamore, just to name a few. There is always something going on in Downtown Stockton!

As for me, I am a self proclaimed foodie. Give me all the food! Almost every day you can catch me in one of the many downtown restaurants or cafes. My favorites, just to name a few, are:

Cast Iron – try their hardy sliders or carnitas tacos;

Terra Coffee – I always get the Café de Olla plus it’s a great place to take in some local art;

Deliberation Room – they have a great lunch combo with a panini and salad, YUM!

Thai Thai – because, duh, Thai!

Don Rafa’s Taco Truck – for some much needed yummy Mexican food;

Bella Vista – because, I need more carbs! Check out their endless pasta night on Thursdays, oh, and wash that down with the Tuscan Spritzer (reminds me of my time traveling through Italy, SO GOOD);

Trail Coffee Roasters – because I am hooked on their Lavender Latte and their new coffee shop is so beautiful. Gianna and her team did an amazing job!

House of Ice Cream – because we all scream for ice-cream!

Red Orchids – for some bomb Pilipino food. Plus, try their chicken adobo and they also offer lunch buffets with a new menu every day.

Fusion Boba Café – Give Me All The Boba!

One thing that always mesmerizes me is the architecture in Downtown Stockton. There are many beautiful buildings here that have so much history. Downtown is attracting awesome creatives who are taking refuge here breathing life and energy into our neighborhood, and it is exciting to watch it grow.

My personal life is all in Downtown. I live, work, and work out in Downtown. Everything I do daily is within a 4-mile radius and I love it! Sometimes I just walk aimlessly with camera in hand photographing those alley ways and details otherwise easily missed. For me, love is in the details and there are a lot of details in downtown’s architecture and a lot of love in the people that inhabit and help improve it.

Until next time!

Downtown Murals Create Awareness

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By Sylwia Lipiec-Qualls, DSA’s Communications Manger

“We have a thing about doing murals in partnership with human rights and non-profit organizations,” started his story Andrew Laubie, the founder of Street Art Anarchy. SAA curates and produces high impact public art projects in such cities as New York, London, and Hong Kong. Now they have come to Downtown Stockton, CA.

Art by Astro; Location @ California St. & Miner Ave., Stockton

Laubie reached out to the Economic Security Project last year to suggest creating murals to illustrate the program and to inspire more awareness. ESP supports and funds projects that explore and champion unconditional cash for Americans.

“ESP loved the idea and understood right away the power of reaching people through urban art and gave us complete creative control of the project.”

Soon after, ESP announced at the CASH conference in San Francisco that it would be introducing the program in Stockton, CA. In due time, Stockton’s Mayor, Michael Tubbs, rolled out SEED, Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration. This experimental program aims to provide a group of low income residents of Stockton a guaranteed basic income to help offset the cost of their basic needs.

Art by Brandan Odums; Location @ American St. & Main St., Stockton

“I was particularly inspired by the story of Stockton and the Avant Garde projects of mayor Tubbs. I went to scout Stockton to evaluate the possibility of doing the mural project there, where I met several people,” continued Laubie.

One of the people he met was Matthew Amen, the director of Huddle Co-work, who helped SAA to secure walls for the murals on downtown buildings belonging to Ten Space Development.

Three murals were created over the span of three weekends in Downtown Stockton. Through their creative symbolism each image ties into the philosophy of Economic Security Project and furthers the awareness of SEED in Stockton.

Art by Kia; Location @ Channel St. & California St.

Laubie is excited about the impact SAA’s art has already had on the local community, “Stockton has a lot of potential to host mural projects, and there are already many good works around town. It reminds me a lot of Brooklyn and Wynwood before they became artistic hot spots, and with such a strong artistic culture and innovative leadership I have a feeling that it may be going in the same trajectory.“

 

Own a Small Piece of Downtown

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By Courtney Wood

With a brick exterior, quaint wallpaper, antique-style lighting fixtures, and ornate ceilings, the Budd Building is an opportunity for commercial landlords looking to invest in a unique, office space in the historic Downtown Stockton on the 3rd floor at 333 East Channel Street.

Historical Tidbit

The original Budd Building was the home of California’s 19th Governor and Stockton resident, James Budd, born in 1851. He immigrated to California with his family when he was 7 years old, and attended schools in the Stockton area.

Later on, Budd studied law at UC Berkeley, gained admission to the California Bar in 1874, and became a member of the House of Representatives, where he “balanced the budget and cut spending, despite working with a hostile legislature,” according to our Resident Historian Ambassador, Manuel Laguna (Click here for info about Manuel’s free historical tours).

Budd was elected as governor in 1895, and served only one term before returning to Stockton, where he died in 1908. In the Stockton community, “Budd was instrumental in the dredging of the Stockton Channel, which aided shipping to the Port of Stockton.” After Budd’s death, his daughter began using the former home as a boarding house. The charming 3-story brick frontage addition was completed in the early 1900s, and has been used as commercial office space for decades.

Investment Opportunity

While its architecture and interior design bring to mind the golden days of Stockton’s past, this office building is fully equipped with all expected modern amenities including an elevator. The bottom two condominiums are currently owned and occupied by the law offices of Rafael Carrillo, but the 3rd floor is for sale at a modest price of $275,000 for the entire 3,000 square feet!

Located across from Channel Street Parking garage, a block from the Downtown Transit Center, only a few blocks from the new San Joaquin County Courthouse, and in proximity to the upcoming Medici Apartments, this upper floor office suite is ideal for leasing to a professional services-type tenant, be it a lawyer, accountant, insurance agent, property manager, business consultant, or a bail bond salesman.

For more information about the property check out the DSA’s listing and click here to watch a video, or contact the real estate agent, Andrew Hernandez, directly at 209-765-8568.

For other Downtown spaces for lease or sale, visit DSA’s Real Estate Directory and follow DSA’s #PropertyMondays on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Historic Downtown Tours

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By Manuel Laguna, DSA Resident Historian Ambassador, CTA

Since 2006 I have presented the history of Downtown Stockton through various tours I gave to visitors from senior groups, schools, and even Stockton Sister Cities. We have had groups from throughout California, from the Bay Area to Southern California visitors. In general, they have always seemed to have a positive attitude towards Stockton which they saw as a beautiful city with its many waterways and interesting historic buildings. I have never had a tour where at least one person wouldn’t say, “I didn’t know that!”

In October of 2016, I partnered with Kelly Howard for the very first Ghost Tour of Downtown Stockton. A total of 65 people joined us to explore the Hotel Stockton, B & M Building, and finally the Bob Hope Theater. The tour was well received by everyone, except one young lady who became so frightened, she had to leave early. We are looking forward to organizing a ghost tour again in 2018. Call me at 209-888-8636 to be added to the downtown tours contact list.

Every October I am joined by dozens of third grade students from the Stockton Collegiate Schools as we visit the Bob Hope Theater and the San Joaquin County Administration Building. Other local schools bring their students to downtown too. At the end of 2017, we had over 200 students from Kohl Open School join me for a series of brief public art tours! We looked at various street murals as well as one of the Music To Our Ears community pianos affectionately called “Jules” as it reminds people of a time machine from a Jules Verne’s novel. Our tours ended at the Mexican Heritage Center where the students viewed ofrendas, or altars, made for the Dia De Los Muertos celebration.

The Bob Hope Theater was clearly the most requested place to visit last year. Certainly, one of the most fun tours was with former Stocktonian Karl Scott and his photographers. Karl came here to write an article on his memories growing up in Stockton and going to the movies. He even recreated a promo done in the past at the Bob Hope for a Vincent Price movie! During the movie projection, a skeleton was lowered over the side of the balcony to scare theater goers. Karl said that teenagers would throw popcorn at the plastic skeleton as the audience laughed. As we took pictures during the tour, one of Karl’s photographers lowered a skeleton off the balcony.

I also fondly remember the group from Stockton Institute for Continued Learning who came to the DSA office for a talk and tour last year. I dressed in a costume as a fictional Charles Weber employee and after the talk I took over 30 participants on a tour of the B & M Building, Hotel Stockton, and Bob Hope Theater. Later that month, I led “A Walk Through Time” tour of the Stockton Rural Cemetery where I told the stories of the many colorful characters buried there, both heroic and tragic figures of Stockton’s past.

I have several new ideas for history events and tours in 2018. I’m happy to notice that there is a growing interest in local history and historic places in our community. If you want to stay in touch for the upcoming tours, contact me at 209-888-8636 or email.