This series explores the stories behind historic sites, artifacts and tall tales told in cities across the country, with the help of an inquisitive team of fact-finders with an uncanny talent for uncovering the truth.
History Detectives Previous Broadcasts
KQED Plus: Mon, Sep 15, 2014 -- 12:00 AM
What can a Club Continental business card tell us about California's prohibition-era underground? Then, did gangs use this shotgun in the Chicago St. Valentine's Day massacre that shocked the nation? And why is FDR on the guest list for a High Society Circus during the depths of the Depression.
KQED Plus: Sun, Sep 7, 2014 -- 10:00 PM
Wes Cowan hunts for the identity of a man whose name is engraved on a rare matched set of Civil War-era pistols, still in the original case. Tukufu Zuberi tracks down the story behind an old 78rpm, distributed by K.K.K. Records, containing songs titled "The Bright Fiery Cross" and "The Jolly Old Klansman." And Eduardo Pagan tries to prove that James Jamerson, a bass player whose bass line drove the Motown sound, owned a battered Ampeg B-15 amp that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will display - but only if inductee Jamerson really owned it.
- KQED Plus: Mon, Sep 8, 2014 -- 4:00 AM
Lost Gold Ship/John Hunt Morgan Saddle/Cesar Chavez Banner (Episode #209Z)
KQED World: Sat, Sep 6, 2014 -- 3:00 PM
* Lost Gold Ship - Environmentalist Gabriel Scott was working in the Copper River Delta near Cordova, Alaska, when he came across the wreckage of an old ship. According to locals, these are the remains of the SS Portland, the famous steamship that carried 68 miners and nearly two tons of gold from the Klondike River to Seattle harbor and began the great Klondike Gold Rush of 1897. Could the stories be true? To find out, Elyse Luray joins a team of experts in Alaska to investigate the wreck. Mixing maritime history and forensic science, the team reveals the dramatic story of the SS Portland and confirms whether Scott has found the remains of this legendary ship.
* John Hunt Morgan Saddle - A man in Paris, Kentucky, owns a beautifully preserved Western-style saddle, believed to have been used by the Confederate general, John Hunt Morgan, on his famous raid into Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio in July 1863. Could this be a relic from one of the most audacious attacks launched by the South during the Civil War? Wes Cowan is on the case and reveals a surprising personal connection: Wes' great-grandfather was actually one of "Morgan's Raiders" and was captured alongside Morgan during the historic raid.
* Cesar Chavez Banner - A San Francisco woman has heard about a beautiful old banner owned by a local archive that, rumor has it, was carried at the head of the famous Delano Grape Boycott march led by Cesar Chavez in 1966. The banner features a painted Virgin of Guadalupe and a Union of Farm Workers Eagle, but its original ownership is a mystery. The contributor wants to know what role this banner may have played in Chavez' campaign to pursue better living conditions and rights for Mexican-American farm workers. HD travels to the West Coast to investigate the importance of art in one of the most famous civil rights campaigns in U.S. history.
The Depot That Made Dallas, Mexican Peso, Pirate Spyglass (Episode #107Z)
KQED World: Sat, Sep 6, 2014 -- 2:00 PM
* The Depot That Made Dallas - A local historian in Dallas, Texas, has a question about an early railroad station in the middle of Dallas. He wants to know if this building was the first railroad station in Texas - and if so, was it responsible for creating the bustling metropolis that Dallas is today? HD hits town to investigate this railroad mystery.
* Mexican Peso - A man from San Antonio, Texas, found what looked like Mexican currency among his late great-grandfather's possessions. Are they linked to the Mexican bandits Zapata and Pancho Villa? Did they play a part in the Mexican revolution in the1910s and if so, how did they get into the hands of his great-grandfather, a quiet family man from San Antonio?
* Pirate Spyglass - Jean Lafitte has been called a fearsome pirate, an ingenious privateer and a war hero. His exploits are still recounted today in Texas and Louisiana. A librarian in Texas City, Texas, has a spyglass she believes may once have belonged to Lafitte. Old, but still in working condition, the object was donated to the local library by a descendent of Jim Campbell - a founder of the town and one of Lafitte's captains. Did Jean Lafitte give his trusted captain a spyglass, and if he did - is this Jean Lafitte's spyglass?