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Citys Historical Group Remembers Early Area Visitors
Retired teacher and historian Bill Bucknam, at the podium, recounts the early history of the local area at last weeks Memories Day presentation for the Riverbank Historical Society in the museum. He picked up with part two of his presentation, begun last April which ended just after the nearby battles fought between the local Yokut natives and the Mexican Army. Ric McGinnis/The News

The Riverbank Historical Society hosted another of its Memories Day last week, seeing the return of Bill Bucknam, who brought ‘part two’ of his presentation on local history and how it fits in to the early development of California.

Bucknam is a retired teacher who taught elementary school in Riverbank for 13 years, then went on to teach history at Modesto High and La Loma Junior High. After retiring, he became a docent at the McHenry Museum in Modesto and leads tours for elementary school groups there.

His lecture on Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Museum in downtown Riverbank, took up where he left off with part one, about the time after the local Yokut natives had their confrontation with a detachment of the Mexican Army.

Bucknam noted that several names in state history have traveled through the Riverbank area, from Jedidiah Smith, John C. Fremont, Charles M. Weber, founder of the City of Stockton, to Robert F. Stockton, a United States Navy Commodore, notable in the capture of California during the Mexican-American War.

Also traveling through were John Bidwell, John Marshall and John Sutter, among others, according to Bucknam.

Part two of the presentation concluded at the period before the establishment of the Burneyville Ferry across the Stanislaus River near Riverbank.

The Riverbank Historical Society has planned its annual meeting and installation of officers at Perko’s Restaurant for Saturday, Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. Attendees will order off the regular menu.

The meeting/dinner is open to society members as well as the general public interested in helping preserve the history of the Riverbank area.

The Riverbank Historical Museum is at 3237 Santa Fe St., next to and behind City Hall North. It is a ‘Carnegie’ Library, constructed in 1921 with funds donated by Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, along with local contributions. The facility has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1997, when it was dedicated as a museum.

The Riverbank Historical Society is a non-profit organization that was formed in the late 1990s, and has been operating the museum since it was dedicated as a historical landmark.