Humboldt County Historical Society

Humboldt Historian

Winter 2006: Volume 54, No. 1

Gifts of History
Deborah Meador
As the Humboldt County Historical Society approaches its sixtieth anniversary, Collections Manager Deborah Meador takes a look back, and a look ahead.

The Union Town Players, 1961 - 1963
Joline Bettendorf
Three glorious seasons of community theater at the Minor

Humboldt County Dances
Naida Olsen Gipson
The author, who comes from a dancing family, gives a lively history of Humboldt County dances from the days of her pioneer grandparents to the present.

Two Peoples, One Place
A Book Review
A review of the forthcoming Volume One of the Humboldt History Series, chronicling North Coast history up to 1882.

The 1906 Earthquake on California’s North Coast
Lori Dengler
The fault rupture of the great 1906 earthquake reached well into Humboldt County; in fact, studies suggest that the largest fault offsets anywhere occurred right here. HSU professor of geology Lori Dengler looks at the effects town by town.

Gayle Karshner and Joline Bettendorf are pictured in their roles as the sisters Abigail and Martha Brewster, with a bottle of their infamous elderberry wine, in the 1961 Union Town Players production of Arsenic and Old Lace. (See “Union Town Players,” page 12.) Both women remember this particular play with great warmth and enthusiasm. “We all were such a compatible group,” writes Joline Bettendorf, “and so supportive of each other, so confident that we were doing the play and playwright proud, and having such a good time doing it, that it remains as one of the best theater experiences of my life.” For Gayle Karshner, too, who recalls her Union Town summers as the most enjoyable theater times of her life, the production of “Arsenic and Old Lace” was her favorite: “The cast was great. When Herb McClellan as ‘Teddy’ blew his bugle to CHARGE, we would all collapse with laughter. Jimmy House-holder was a perfect villain.” Gayle remembers Union Town summers as “glorious adventures” in which her whole family participated. “And of course,” she writes, “Bob Titlow and Frank and Joline Bettendorf were very capable and delightful to work with. Their summer theatre was indeed a unique community gift that brought together people of all ages and many backgrounds to work, have fun, and give pleasure to enthusiastic full houses of Humboldters.”
— On The Cover