For those of you who are interested in local history, there are several museums in and around the town of Lakeport in California’s Clear Lake County that offer informative exhibits and tours that will help you find out more about the area and how it has developed over the centuries.
These include the historic Courthouse Museum which is situated on North Main Street and has extensive records of the county’s chronicles over decades long past as well as paying homage to its Native American history. The original building is an impressive two-story structure that cost $17,000 to complete when it was built in the early 1870’s to serve as the local courthouse and this was its main purpose right up to 1968. An additional budget of $50 was later assigned to the project in 1889 by the county’s Board of Supervisors to purchase tree and shrubs to adorn the grounds, some of which are still growing strong today. A smaller brick building was later added in 1895 for just $2,000 and this is also still standing today and is now home to the Lake County Veteran’s Office. In the late 1960’s, a new courthouse was built to replace this original building and plans were proposed to raze it to the ground and then construct a museum on the site where this historic structure had previously stood.
However, as it transpired, there was a great deal of opposition to this and as a result it was not demolished after all but was instead designated to the National Register of Historic Places and restored into the museum it has become today. There are many interesting items on display here that are synonymous with the local area including an exhibition paying homage to the Pomo tribe – who were among the original inhabitants of the region – that includes a superior selection of baskets, arrows and spear points as well as extensive information about their history. The museum also hosts an excellent collection of historic photographs from the area that include landscapes of Clear Lake and the surrounding terrain and towns as well as local people throughout the ages from Native Americans and early settlers to outlaws and celebrities associated with Lake County. Additional displays also include a selection of fascinating relics from pioneering days and a restored courtroom that emulates the original right down to the smallest detail.
The Historic Schoolhouse Museum can also be located on Main Street just east of the downtown Lower Lake area. Regular cultural events and art shows are held here in its Weaver Auditorium however regular displays include many early pioneer artifacts, geological exhibits featuring gems, rocks and minerals from the region and restoration projects which allow visitors to take a step back in time and experience the feel of a Victorian Parlor or Schoolroom exactly as they would have been over a hundred years ago. Both these museums are open from Wednesday to Saturday and closed on major holidays, operating similar hours until 4pm however the Courthouse opens to the public an hour earlier than the Schoolhouse which opens at 11am and is also open from noon until 4pm on Sundays.