• Marci Shadd

1912 - Congressman Kent & Suffragist Helen M Todd visit the Colonia

For my entire life I have been researching my own family history. Deep diving into the depths of the internet to find little clues to solve the mystery of my family.

For the past 5 years of owning this amazing building I've had a lot of fun using those research skills to find out small tid-bits of what life was like over the years at The Colonia Building. So many amazing people have walked through the doors of this building and I thought that it was time to document these visitors so that they are not forgotten.

Recently I came across a small write up in The Sunshine Valley News, which which was the Biggs paper in the early 1900's. Dated October 25, 1912 it mentions that Congressman Kent & Helen M. Todd would be speaking in front of the hotel, and a large crowd was expected. I really wasn't sure who they were at the time so I thought I'd do a quick google search to clarify.

William Kent & John Muir

William Kent was a three term member of the House of Representatives. He was well known for being a lead sponsor of legislation in the House of Representatives for establishing the National Park Service along with companion legislation from the Senate. He was also responsible for the establishment of Muir Woods National Monument. Unfortunately, he was also known to push through policies barring Asians from owning property and was a member of the Oriental Exclusion League.

Helen Todd and other suffragists of the time.

Helen Todd was a very well known suffragist throughout the United States. After speaking in San Francisco she was asked to stay to organize and encourage the women in California to use their right to vote. She spoke to the House of Representatives on Women's Suffrage in 1913. Through the years Helen campaigned for many social injustices. She believed in women's rights to learn about birth control. She represented the committee of 1000 women urging the release of the Silent Sentinels after being mistreated in prison. In a speech Todd coined the term 'Bread and Roses' which became a political slogan (Garment Workers Walk out in New York) in which a poem was written about, and music composed for it. She goes on to explain further in the following quote.

Not at once; but woman is the mothering element in the world and her vote will go toward helping forward the time when life's Bread, which is home, shelter and security, and the Roses of life, music, education, nature and books, shall be the heritage of every child that is born in the country, in the government of which she has a voice.
— Helen Todd, 1910

I love the fact that Helen visited the Colonia and that the women of Biggs were exposed to such an interesting person who was an integral person of her time. I can't wait to find out who else visited our little space over the past 115 years, so the research continues!