The Elk Grove parlor of the Native Sons of the Golden West recently launched a program to present local history via a high-tech tool: smartphone QR codes.
By scanning these matrix barcodes, smartphone users can access information made available by the local Native Sons parlor.
Russ Oase, the parlor’s president, said the program is in its very early stages, and so far is offering one video: a history of the Elk Grove Fire of 1892.
Oase added that the purpose of this program is to get people interested in the history of Elk Grove and California, as well as to attract the attention of youth to the organization through modern technology.
“Maybe we could encourage some (youth) to join our group and eventually take over,” he said. “We’re not getting the younger people in the (organization), and a lot of it is they have their social media and they do most of their socializing through some type of device.
“Maybe getting involved with (youth) through technology might be a start, and maybe they will want to come to a meeting and discuss the next project.”
With that recruitment approach, the parlor – which is officially known as Elk Grove Parlor No. 41 – has made preliminary contact with the video department of Pleasant Grove High School, with the desire to work with students on the project.
“We would give (the students) kind of a guideline of what we’re looking for and what we think is interesting,” he said.
In a more advanced stage of the parlor’s video program, permission would be obtained to place QR codes at many historic sites in Elk Grove and throughout the region.
Oase hopes to eventually share the program with other parlors for the purpose of offering the program across the state.
The video on the Elk Grove Fire of 1892 is a historical journey that extends from present times to the late 19th century, Oase said.
“(The video) starts at the School of Rock and it goes into (that current Old Town business) and back out, and it’s now 50 years earlier, and then I go across the street and show you the Foulks-Graham Building (at the former site of) the Toronto Hotel, and then I take you back to the 1890s with pictures,” he said.
As for future videos, Oase said one consideration is to present details of a robbery that occurred at the Bank of Elk Grove on Feb. 17, 1928. That building, which was built in 1910, still stands in Old Town on the south side of Elk Grove Boulevard.
Oase is also interested in creating a summary of Elk Grove’s step into the world of Hollywood, a 1983 made-for-TV movie starring actress Ann-Margret that was filmed in the city.
“They used the Odd Fellows Building there (in Old Town) and the bus depot, and across the street at the Foulks-Graham Building, they kind of used that. In fact, they put that Toronto Hotel (sign on) the building, but never used it. That (building) was never the Toronto Hotel.”
Oase said the video on the film – “Who Will Love My Children” – will be about two minutes in length. He added that the idea is to present videos that are short enough to not surpass the attention span of the average person.
A video on the local Native Sons parlor could also be a part of the project, considering its own lengthy history, Oase noted.
“I could do a video on that, too, eventually,” he said.
The parlor’s history links back to 1884. After surrendering its charter in 1895, the parlor was reinstituted in 1903.