John Kolstad’s lecture on “California’s Historic El Camino Real Bell” was held at the Saratoga Foothill Club and was hosted by the Saratoga Historical Foundation.
In 1892, Anna Pitcher was concerned about marking where the historical El Camino Real Road was and with preserving the California missions. Eventually, the Daughters of the American West and the California Federation of Womens’ Clubs assisted with this El Camino Real Road preservation effort and created the El Camino Real Association to centralize that effort.
The company California Bell created over 500 bells, which served as markers for the El Camino Real Road. The intention was to have a single bell along each California mission and along each mile of the El Camino Road.
John Kolstad noted that in the 1960’s several bells were stolen by various people including fraternity members in San Luis Obispo.
John Kolstad became the owner of the California Bell company, and has created replicas of the original bell. John’s company creates a documentary video showing some of the replica bells being created on company grounds.
The Sartoga Foothill Club is the first site that the city of Saratoga designated as historical.