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July 10, 2007 > Shinn House Ice Cream Social

Shinn House Ice Cream Social

Bowler hats and parasols will be the order of the day at Fremont's historic Shinn House as visitors gather to attend the Mission Peak Heritage Foundation's (MPHF) annual Victorian Ice Cream Social. A Fremont treasure nearly hidden among residential homes and businesses along busy Peralta Boulevard, Shinn House offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of the twenty-first century, a cocoon of tranquility amidst busy boulevards filled with traffic. Nestled among the lush trees and manicured lawns of Shinn Historical Park and Arboretum sits the 1876 ranch house built by James and Lucy Shinn. Stroll the grounds and feel time slowing down. Throw in an old fashioned Victorian Ice Cream Social and you have stepped into history.

The social will be held on Sunday, July 15 to benefit MPHF and everyone is invited to attend. Originally formed by Dr. Robert Fisher, the foundation coordinates efforts among concerned citizens to preserve the historical resources and heritage of Washington Township. It was through Dr. Fisher's efforts that the Foundation assisted the Shinn family in donating their home, surrounding gardens and farm buildings to the City of Fremont in 1962. Shinn House opened in 1976, a Bicentennial Year accomplishment for the foundation.

Within the Victorian-style farmhouse visitors will find a treasury of authentic furnishings and memorabilia. There is also a cottage on the grounds, one of the oldest frame houses in the Santa Clara Valley. Built in 1852, it was later relocated from the gravel banks of Alameda Creek in what is now called Niles Community Park. The 4-1/2 acres of park surrounding the house host many exotic trees and rare plants imported by Shinn, a pioneer in the nursery business. A charming, walled Japanese garden on the grounds also draws many visitors. Adding to the historic setting are several buildings transported from the Santos property when it was slated for modern development.

Shinn House was also home to James and Lucy Shinn's surviving children, all pioneers in their respective fields and important contributors to the history of California. Charles Howard Shinn was an early conservationist and first superintendent of Yosemite National Park, Dr. Millicent Washburn Shinn, the first female doctoral graduate of University of California at Berkeley, author, and pioneer child psychologist, and Joseph Clark Shinn, horticulturist, community leader, and first president of the Alameda County Water District.

On Sunday, step back in time; buy a hotdog, popcorn and create an old-fashion sundae just the way you like it. Stroll around the grounds and enjoy docent led tours of the Shinn House. Model A's, courtesy of the "Acorn A's" Model A Club will line the walkways adding a bit of nostalgia and peaceful ambiance to the afternoon. So take a step back in time and enjoy the relaxation of a bygone era.

Victorian Ice Cream Social
Sunday, July 15
12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Shinn Historical Park and Arboretum
1251 Peralta Blvd., Fremont
(510) 656-7702

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