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 9: Tue, Jul 31, 2012 -- 8:00 PM
What does the evocative symbol of a bird dropping a bomb mean? Did two patches with the symbol belong to a World War II unit? Then, Gwen Wright connects a tiny swatch of tattered red fabric to a pivotal moment in US Civil War history. Did a neckpiece and leggings once belong to Chief Black Kettle, known as a Cheyenne Peace Chief? Finally, did President Lincoln actually sign this note?
Sheridan's House, Mark Twain Watch, Prisoner Poem (Episode #109G)
KQED World: Fri, Jul 27, 2012 -- 6:00 AM
* Sheridan's House - On a dusty back road in the town of Grand Ronde, Oregon sits what appears to be an abandoned, early 2 0th Century Dutch Colonial Style home. But is it? Research conducted on behalf of the Oregon State Department of Parks and Recreation recently revealed an astounding discovery. At the core of the house is a U.S. Army officer's quarters - one of four built in the 1850's at nearby Fort Yamhill on the border of a Native American reservation. The construction of these buildings was supervised by a young officer who was destined to become one of the Union Army's greatest generals and a ruthless foe for Native Americans in the Far West. Now local residents want the History Detectives to find out -- was this the home of General Philip Sheridan?
* Mark Twain Watch - An Oregon man, Jack Ainsworth Mills, has a watch that may have been a gift to his grandfather from noted American author, Samuel Clemens, otherwise known as Mark Twain. Mr. Mills has always wondered how his grandfather, Captain Ainsworth, a prominent Oregonian, could have met Clemens, and why he would have been given such a gift. The History Detectives will follow the trail of these two adventurous men to discover if their paths could have ever crossed, to determine if the Mills family legend could be true.
* Prisoner Poem - History Detectives goes to Salem, Oregon to look into the story of a Revolutionary War poem found 25 years ago hidden in an antique trunk. The document appears to have been written by an American named Dan Goodhue while imprisoned in 1780 as a POW in England. Who was this man and how did his poem travel for over two centuries, across the sea and nation, to end up in Oregon?
- KQED World: Fri, Jul 27, 2012 -- 9:00 AM
KQED 9: Tue, Jul 24, 2012 -- 9:00 PM
Host Elyse Luray floors country music singer Clint Black with the information she uncovers about his turn-of-the-20th-century book of wanted posters. Then, can Eduardo Pagan link a chunk of molten metal to the B-25 Bomber that crashed into the Empire State Building in 1945? Did HD find a slide of Bettie Page, "Queen of Pinups," that somehow escaped the censorship of the 1950s? Finally, a six-foot metal bar tells the story behind the original iconic Hollywood sign.
- KQED Life: Thu, Jul 26, 2012 -- 2:00 AM
- KQED Life: Wed, Jul 25, 2012 -- 8:00 PM
- KQED 9: Wed, Jul 25, 2012 -- 3:00 AM
Ventriloquist Dummy/Home of Lincoln Assassination Plot/34 Star Flag (Episode #108Z)
KQED World: Fri, Jul 20, 2012 -- 6:00 AM
* Ventriloquist Dummy - An African American woman in Brooklyn, New York, has her father's black ventriloquist dummy, "Sam." Her father, John Cooper, was the first famous African-American ventriloquist. In a time of minstrel stereotypes, did "Sam" help transform how Americans viewed race in the early 20th century? How was this dummy created, and was it meant to be a protest against racial prejudice? < br />* Home of Lincoln Assassination Plot - A resident of Greenwich Village, New York, has a question about the home in which she's been living for the last few years. She's heard a rumor that John Wilkes Booth, the infamous assassin of Abraham Lincoln, spent some time in her house. Not only that, she's heard that her home is where the plot for the assassination was hatched. Is this really where Lincoln's murder was planned?
* 34 Star Flag - Twenty years ago, the Staten Island Historical Society received a beautiful 34-star flag and a fascinating mystery. Patched together with bits of fabric much like a quilt, the flag flew at a boarding house on Staten Island. According to local legend, an angry mob approached the owner of the boarding house. The mob claimed that one of his boarders had hung a Confederate flag outside the window. It was just before the outbreak of the Civil War, and with tensions running high the mob was threatening to burn down the boarding house. As several other buildings were already in flames, the owner knew to take them seriously. He ran back to tear down the flag, but that did not satisfy the crowd. To save his building from being burnt to the ground, he replaced the rebel flag with the 34-star U.S. flag. The Staten Island Historical Society wants to know, is there any truth to this story?
- KQED World: Fri, Jul 20, 2012 -- 9:00 AM
The Depot That Made Dallas, Mexican Peso, Pirate Spyglass (Episode #107)
KQED World: Fri, Jul 13, 2012 -- 6:00 AM
* 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?
- KQED World: Fri, Jul 13, 2012 -- 9:00 AM
John Brown's Letters, Japanese House, Poems (Episode #106Z)
KQED World: Fri, Jul 6, 2012 -- 6:00 AM
* John Brown's Letters - Sacramento, California--A woman in Sacramento, California, has reason to believe she may be a relative of John Brown, the 19th-century abolitionist. Do her grandmother's letters prove that she is a descendant of the historical figure? The Detectives attempt to answer her query once and for all with a series of investigations into the authenticity of the letters and her family tree. Will this investigation prove to be a crucial piece in the puzzle of her family history?
* Japanese Tea House - Gilroy, California--How did an authentic Japanese tea house become part of the famed San Francisco World's Fair in a time just preceding World War II? The Detectives attempt to reveal the origins of the tea house and explain how it came to be featured in the fair at a time shortly before Japanese internment camps were established. How did the tea house make its way to America in the first place, and who was behind its inclusion in the fair?
* Poems -San Francisco, California--In the first half of the 20th century, nearly 250,000 Chinese immigrants attempted to enter the United States. Because of discrimination against Chinese, and laws meant to impede their passage, most were detained and interrogated on Angel Island, America's west coast immigration center. The experience of these immigrants is documented in hundreds of poems that have been carved into the walls of the Angel Island detention center. Many of these have been translated, but little is known about the authors. Kathleen Wong, a second-generation Chinese-American, believes that her grandfather and great-grandfather spent time on the island and that her great-grandfather committed suicide there. She knows little about her ancestors' experience on Angel Island and their possible connection with the poems. History Detectives will investigate the story of her family's passage to the United States to find out if any of the poems were written by her ancestors.
- KQED World: Fri, Jul 6, 2012 -- 9:00 AM