In honor of the 167th birthday of San Mateo County, the Historical Association will hold the third annual “Happy San Mateo County Day.” The theme of this year’s birthday party is the Aughts (decade of 1900-1909). The event will feature craft activities and games of the era.

Image: San Mateo County Courthouses after the 1906 Earthquake.
Archival photo showing the damage caused by the 1906 earthquake on the county courthouse
Redwood City Arts Commission Logo

Poster Contest

Congratulations to the winners of the poster contest. The theme for this year is Life in San Mateo County in the Aughts (decade of 1900-1909).

Cover art from the Discover San Mateo County in the 1900s activity book

Activity Book

Partygoers will receive the new children’s activity book, Discover San Mateo County in the 1900s.


Click here for an online version.

Hands-On Activities

Celebrate San Mateo County’s birthday with crafts related to the 1900s!

  • Make your own teddy bear puppet
  • Create an Ocean Shore Railroad train
  • Make your own Brownie camera
  • Enjoy a birthday treat (while supplies last)
  • And more!
Teddy bear puppet made from a lunch bag and decorated

Teddy Bear Puppet

In November 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear chained to a tree during a hunting trip. The story spread across the nation. In New York, Morris and Rose Michtom decided to create a stuffed toy bear and dedicate it to the president who refused to shoot a bear. They called it Teddy’s Bear. It was so popular, the couple soon started a toy company. Teddy bears became favorite toys across the nation.



  • Teddy Bear Template
  • Brown paper lunch bag
  • 2 Google Eyes
  • 1 Black pompom
  • Glue Stick
  • Scissors
  • Colored Pencils, Crayons, or Markers


  1. Cut out the teddy bear face, paws and the Happy San Mateo County Day oval.
  2. Color the face and paws (not needed with material kit).
  3. Glue the face to the bottom of the paper bag (the part that’s folded over). The bag’s opening should be pointed down.
  4. Glue the brown belly to the part of the bag that’s under the flap (this step only with the material kit).
  5. Glue the white oval on top of the belly, words right-side up.
  6. Draw five claw marks on each of the paws (as needed).
  7. Glue the paws to the bag, two on top and two on the bottom for the front and back paws.
  8. Glue on the two google eyes and the black pompom for the nose.
Chrysanthemum made of hand prints cuts out of orange construction paper


In 1906, Sadakusu Enomoto opened a nursery in Redwood City to grow chrysanthemums. Japanese farmers in the area perfected a method of growing the flowers in cheesecloth “houses” to protect the flowers from insects and to control the climate. The Redwood City area became known as the Chrysanthemum Belt for the number of flowers grown.



  • Construction paper
  • 1 green pipe cleaner
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Tape


  1. Trace your hand 5 times on construction paper.
  2. Cut out the handprints.
  3. Glue each hand on top of each other, fingers out, arranged like a flower.
  4. Tape one pipe cleaner to the back of the flower.
Model train engine with a a cork for a steam stack

Ocean Shore Railroad

Construction started on the Ocean Shore Railroad in 1905 with service planned between San Francisco and San Jose. Due to the 1906 Earthquake, there was a break in train service between Tunitas and Swanton.



  • Train template
  • Cardboard tube (toilet paper tube)
  • Cork (works best if cut in half)
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick
  • Colored Pencils, Crayons, or Markers


  1. Cut out the template.
  2. Color in the different parts of the train — the body, the cabin and the steam stack.
  3. Glue the main body onto the cardboard tube. The ends of the tube are not
  4. Glue the cabin on the back end of the train, over the big wheels.
  5. Glue the half cork on the front of the train, over the little wheels.
Blue sports pennant with a white baseball and the word Belmont

Sports Pennant

A pennant is used to show support for a particular athletic team. In the
Aughts, baseball was a popular sport in the area with many schools and towns having their own teams. Polo was a favorite sport in the Burlingame area, with the Burlingame Four winning the California championship in 1907. Boxing, cycling and horse racing were also popular sports of the time.



  • Felt or Construction Paper
  • Felt sticker sheets (optional)
  • Fabric markers or markers
  • Glue
  • Wood skewer


  1. Cut a triangle out of felt or construction paper.
  2. Using the felt sticker sheets or construction paper, cut out any shapes desired. Stick onto the felt pennant.
  3. Using fabric pens or markers, decorate the pennant with team names, towns or cheers.
  4. Glue the short side of the pennant to the top of the wooden skewer. Let dry.
Model of a Brownie Camera Number 2 made with a cardboard box

Brownie Camera No. 2

First invented in 1900, Eastman Kodak Company’s Brownie Camera was a popular box camera marketed to children. There were a few variations in the Aughts. The Brownie No. 2 was made from 1902-1935. It used 120 film — a roll of film had either 6 exposures or 12 exposures. It was loaded into the camera. You would have to manually wind the film and then use the exposure lever to take the picture.



  • Cardboard box (we used a 6″x4″x4″ shipping box with lid)
  • Small piece of wire (or paper clip that is straightened)
  • 1 large sequin and 2 small sequins
  • 1 black pipe cleaner
  • 1 small rectangle sticker (a small piece of masking tape would also work)
  • 1 bottle cap
  • Thumb tack or small pin
  • Markers
  • Glue Stick
  • Masking Tape


  1. Assemble the box, keeping the lid open.
  2. Place the box with the open side down, a small end facing you and the lid
    hanging down on the left side of the box. Taking a thumbtack or the end of a paperclip, punch a small hole on the left side of the box (not the lid) in the bottom right corner.
  3. Take the wire, fold it in half, and stick it partway through the hole. Tape the remainder to the inside of the box and close the lid.
  4. Glue the large sequin in the middle of the short end of the box that is closest to the wire—this is the lens.
  5. On the same end as the lens, glue the two smaller sequins in the top left
    corner, one on top of the other
  6. Fold the pipe cleaner in half and tape it to the top of the box to form the
  7. On the top of the box near the front of the camera on the left side, put a
    rectangle white sticker. That would be the viewfinder.
  8. Glue the bottle cap to the left of the wire to make the film crank
  9. On the other short end, write a number between 1-12 with a black marker in the top right corner and then circle it—this tells you what number photo you are taking!

Free Material Kits

Not able to come to the museum? A limited number of FREE material kits are available. Please note, you do not need to register for a material kits if you are intending to attend the event in person.

Material kits requested by Wednesday, May 10 are available for pick up. For kits requested after May 10, the Education Department will email you when they are ready for pick up.

If you have trouble with the registration form below, please email your request to Limit 3 kits per family.

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