old east davis on new year’s eve

4th & I on new years eve
The last sketch of 2016. What a year that was. 2017 will be a year too. On New Year’s Eve we don’t really do all the partying. When I was a kid though, my family and neighbours always had big New Years parties, either at ours or another house in the street, lots of fun memories. We had quite a few families in our street with kids of similar age so we’d all play while the grown-ups drank and danced, then Big Ben would be on the telly going “BONG BONG…” and then all singing the Auld Lang Syne song and the next morning, a lot of mess to clean up. Bit quieter these days. I do like to get out before the sun sets and get a last sketch of the year in, and so on New Year’s Eve I cycled downtown on my new bike (my other bike went the way of so many celebrities in 2016, just before Christmas), before settling on the corner of 4th and I Streets in old east downtown Davis.”I Street” is not like “I, Claudius” by the way, nor is it like the Roman for 1st Street. I thought about drawing a panorama, but I got cold. Ended up adding most of the colour once I got back indoors as well. This building is historic, it is known as the Schmeiser House, and was built in 1911 by a man called Theodore Schmeiser, who ran a company that manufactured almond hullers and brought the first water supply to Davis. Here is a page with some history about it. Apparently the chimney has a swastika built into the brickwork, added as a “good-luck charm” by the Schmeisers whose family had come from Germany, obviously in the pre-Nazi era when that symbol didn’t mean what it later meant. Still, hmm. People apparently call this the “Swastika House”. If it wasn’t mentioned in every single article about this building, it might not be noticed (I didn’t, but I will now). Interestingly, I have learnt that Davis actually had a football team until 1909 called the “Davis Swastikas”, which had big swastikas on their chest; they disbanded after a player died of a broken neck. Here is some info on Davis wiki – that uniform looks very shocking in modern context, but again, this was well before it meant what it now means. Ugh. Well, a bit of sketching and a bit of history as one year changes into another, and this is still a lovely old building I’ve wanted to sketch in ages. There’s a whole list of historic Davis buildings and monuments listed on the City of Davis website as the “Historic Pedestrian and Bike Tour” on which the Schmeiser Building is included. I should really make my way through the list, sketching each one. I have sketched 23 of the 47 (remarkably few!), so I know what my new year’s resolution will be…

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