In honor of the 165th anniversary of San Mateo County, the Historical Association will hold the first annual “Happy San Mateo County Day.”


Photo: Sketch of Angelo Ranch, by William Dougal (drawn in 1850)

Sketch of Angelo Ranch drawn in 1850


Happy San Mateo County Day will feature online activities. A webinar for adults about the start of the County will be presented by Historical Association President Mitch Postel on Wednesday, May 12 at 3 p.m.  Register for the free webinar here.

For more information, visit our Courthouse Docket page.  The Courthouse Docket series is sponsored by Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation.

Activity book cover with a child's drawing of a stagecoach

Activity Book

Click here to download Happy San Mateo County Day! Discover San Mateo County in the 1850s.  Discover what life was like in the 1850s through coloring sheets, mazes, crossword puzzles, word finds and more!

Hands-On Activities

Photo of a Button Buzzer

Button Buzzer



  • button (at least 1.5 inches wide)
  • 36 inch piece of thin string


For video directions, click here  (Courtesy of YouTuber Needlepointers).

  • Thread the string through the button holes (if your button has 4 holes, thread it through the opposite holes).
  • Position it so the button is in the middle, the two ends are together on one side, and the bend in the string is on the other side.
  • Tie the ends in a knot.
  • Tie another knot about 1.5 inches down to make a loop for your fingers. Repeat on the other end of the string to make a loop on that side.
  • Wind up your toy by spinning the button around in a circle to twist the string.
  • Pull the string back and forth so the string rewinds on its own.
  • See how long you can keep your button buzzer going!
Paper Moveable Horse

Paper Horse



  • template (courtesy of Ann Wood)
  • 1/4 in paper fasteners
  • crayons, markers or color pencils


  • Color and cut out the body and legs of the horse.
  • With the end of a paper clip or needle, punch two holes on the horse’s body: one where the front legs should go, and one where the rear legs should go.
  • Also punch a hole at the top of each of the four legs (not at the very top, about 1/4 inch down).
  • Use the fasteners to put the legs on (one leg goes behind the horse, one leg goes in front).
  • Use your horse to pull your carriage (see next craft)!
Model Doctor's Carriage

Doctor’s Carriage



  • plastic berry basket (or something of similar size)
  • template (both pages) – cardstock or other kind of heavy paper works best
  • crayons, markers or color pencils
  • glue dots or glue stick


  • Color the pieces of your carriage template. Historically, Doctor’s Carriages were black.
  • Each piece of the template is labeled. Glue the two “Panels for long sides” on the two long sides of the basket. Repeat for the two short sides. (The short sides are now the front and back of your carriage, and the long sides are the sides of your carriage.)
  • Fold the ends of the seat at the dotted lines. Glue to two short pieces on the ends of the set to the inside of the carriage to make the seat.
  • Fold the Canopy at the dotted line. Glue the back of the longer end of the canopy to the inside of the back of the basket (behind the seat).
  • Glue the four wheels to the bottom of your basket.
  • Use a couple of pieces of string or yarn to make the reins.
thaumatrope craft




  • template
  • 2 pieces of yarn or string (approx 8-10 inches long)
  • hole punch


  • Color and cut out both circles.
  • Place the circles back to back with the decorated sides out – however, make sure one side is upside down, and one is right side up.
  • Punch a hole on each side of the circle and string your yarn through each side. Tie the ends together to make a loop.
  • Twist the yarn between your fingers to make the thaumatrope spin.
  • Can you see the picture?
Image of the CA Republic Flag




  • template 
  • crayons, markers or color pencils
  • straw (or something of similar size/shape – craft stick, BBQ skewer, chopstick, etc.)
  • tape


  • Design a flag for San Mateo County – what would you put on your flag that represents our county?
  • Draw your design on the template.
  • Tape it to a straw (or other object) so you have a handle.
  • Wave your flag!

Free Material Kits

Not sure if you will have the materials to do the crafts at home? FREE material kits are available for the first 100 registrations. There is a limit of 3 material kits per family. The kits will be available for pick-up at the History Museum. Please call 650.299.0104 for availability.

On Wednesday, May 12 at 3 p.m. Association President Mitch Postel will talk about the formation of San Mateo County on the 165th anniversary of the first election.

For more information, visit our Courthouse Docket page.  The Courthouse Docket series is sponsored by Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation.