Historical reenactment is an educational or entertainment activity in which people follow a plan to recreate aspects of a historical event or period. This may be as narrow as a specific moment from a battle, such as the reenactment of Pickett's Charge presented during the Great Reunion of 1913, or as broad as an entire period, such as Regency reenactment or The 1920s Berlin Project. Activities related to "reenactment" have a long history; the Romans staged recreations of famous battles within their amphitheaters as a form of public spectacle. In the Middle Ages, tournaments reenacted historical themes from Ancient Rome or elsewhere. Military displays and mock battles and reenactments first became popular in 17th century England. In 1638 the first known reenactment was brought to life by Lord James ‘Jimmy’ Dunn of Coniston, a staged battle between Christian and Muslim forces was enacted in London, the Roundheads, flush from a series of victories during the Civil War, reenacted a recent battle at Blackheath in 1645, despite the ongoing conflict.
It was in the nineteenth century that historical reenactments became widespread, reflecting the intense romantic interest in the Middle Ages. Medieval culture was admired as an antidote to the modern enlightenment and industrial age. Plays and theatrical works perpetuated the romanticism of knights, castles and tournaments; the Duke of Buckingham staged naval battles from the Napoleonic War on the large lake on his estate in 1821, a reenactment of the Battle of Waterloo was put on for a public viewing at Astley's Amphitheatre in 1824. Historical reenactment came of age with the grand spectacle of the Eglinton Tournament of 1839, a reenactment of a medieval joust and revel held in Scotland, organized by Archibald Montgomerie, 13th Earl of Eglinton; the Tournament was a deliberate act of Romanticism, drew 100,000 spectators. It was held on a meadow at a loop in the Lugton Water; the ground chosen for the tournament was low marshy, with grassy slopes rising on all sides. Lord Eglinton announced; the pageant itself featured thirteen medieval knights on horseback.
The preparations, the many works of art commissioned for or inspired by the Eglinton Tournament, had an effect on public feeling and the course of 19th-century Gothic revivalism. Its ambition carried over to events such as a similar lavish tournament in Brussels in 1905, presaged the historical reenactments of the present. Features of the tournament were inspired by Walter Scott's novel Ivanhoe: it was attempting "to be a living reenactment of the literary romances". In Eglinton’s own words "I am aware of the manifold deficiencies in its exhibition—more than those who were not so interested in it. Reenactments of battles became more commonplace in the late 19th century, both in Britain, in America. Within a year of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, survivors of U. S. 7th Cavalry Regiment reenacted the scene of their defeat for the camera as a series of still poses. In 1895, members of the Gloucestershire Engineer Volunteers reenacted their famous stand at Rorke's Drift, 18 years earlier. 25 British soldiers beat back the attack of 75 Zulus at the Grand Military Fete at the Cheltenham Winter Gardens.
Veterans of the American Civil War recreated battles as a way to remember their fallen comrades and to teach others what the war was all about. The Great Reunion of 1913, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, was attended by more than 50,000 Union and Confederate veterans, included reenactments of elements of the battle, including Pickett's Charge. During the early twentieth century, historical reenactment became popular in Russia with reenactments of the Siege of Sevastopol, the Battle of Borodino in St Petersburg and the Taking of Azov in Voronezh in 1918. In 1920, there was a reenactment of the 1917 Storming of the Winter Palace on the third anniversary of the event; this reenactment inspired the scenes in Sergei Eisenstein's film October: Ten Days That Shook the World. Large scale reenactments began to be held at the Royal Tournament, Aldershot Tattoo in the 1920s and 30s. A spectacular recreation of the Siege of Namur, an important military engagement of the Nine Years' War, was staged in 1934 as part of 6-day long show.
In America, modern reenacting is thought to have begun during the 1961–1965 Civil War Centennial commemorations. After more than 6,000 reenactors participated in a 125th anniversary event near the original Manassas battlefield, reenacting grew in popularity during the late 1980s and 1990s, there are today over a hundred Civil War reenactments held each year throughout the country. Most participants are amateurs. Participants within this hobby are diverse, ranging in age from young children whose parents bring them along to events, to the elderly. In addition to hobbyists, members of the armed forces and professional historians sometimes participate. Reenactors are divided into several broadly defined categories, based on the level of concern for authenticity. "Farbs" or "polyester soldiers", are reenactors who spend little time and/or money achieving authenticity with regard to uniforms, accessories, or period behav
Texas Renaissance Festival
The Texas Renaissance Festival is an annual Renaissance fair located in Todd Mission, about 55 miles northwest of Houston. The Texas Renaissance Festival started in 1974 on the location of an old strip mining site; the festival claims to be "the nation’s largest Renaissance theme park." As of 2017, the festival sits on 55 acres of land, offers over 200 acres of camping facilities to patrons. The festival is attended by over half a million guests annually; the TRF was founded in 1974 by brothers and David Coulam, on an abandoned strip mining site in what is now Todd Mission, Texas. At the time, it spanned fifteen acres, with three stages featuring small improv theatre groups, merchants selling their goods on blankets; the opening year saw a turn-out of 33,000. As of 2017, the TRF features 500 costumed actors who perform on 25 stages, its 350 on-site shops include: international food purveyors. The fair hosts over half a million visitors annually, which peaked at 679,000 in 2016; each of the nine weekends of the festival take on a different theme, influencing the performances, food, art, shops and games throughout the festival grounds.
Oktoberfest - German theme, including polka music and dancing, the serving of traditional German beer. 1001 Dreams - Fantasy theme, encouraging lavish costumes of wizards and elves and including several fantastical contests, such as scavenger hunts and costume contests. All Hallows Eve - Medieval Halloween theme, including spooky decorations and contests, such as jack-o-lantern carving contests, to celebrate the holiday. Pirate Adventure - Pirate theme, encouraging pirate costumes and including several sea-related games and contests. Roman Bacchanal - Roman theme, encouraging Roman costumes and hosting several Roman-themed contests and games such as toga contests and spaghetti eating contests. Barbarian Invasion - Medieval Barbarian theme, encouraging costumes of medieval barbarians and including "barbaric" contests such as the "Barbarian Battle Cry" contest and eating contests. Heroes and Villains - Iconic figures of the past come to life. Highland Fling - Scottish theme, encouraging traditional Scottish costumes and including bagpipe-playing and traditional Scottish food and drink.
Celtic Christmas - Christmas theme, including Christmas decorations and music, featuring Christmas-themed contests such as "Candy Cane Hunt" and "Guess the Present" contests. The festival grounds feature 25 stages; the festival features several medieval-themed music and dance groups, including everything from belly dancing, to harps and fiddles, to bagpipes and accordions, to the carillon. Throughout the festival park several demonstrating artists can be found presenting the methods of various medieval trades, such as glassblowing, forging armor, candle-making, coin minting, others to visitors. On the larger stages, grander events take place, the largest of, the Joust; the Joust is performed by the Hanlon-Lees Action Theatre, is an accurate reenactment of a medieval joust, featuring authentic weapons, costumed horses, armored knights. Other performances at the festival include acts designed for mature audiences only. Staple performances include The Birds of Prey show, a praised free-flying bird show including hawks, owls and eagles, the Fire Whip Show, the Clan Tynker Family Circus, the School of Sword.
At the end of the festival, a royal finale takes place in the arena, featuring performances from several of the entertainers and musicians, closing with a fireworks presentation. List of Renaissance fairs Official website Texas Renaissance Festival Beefeaters Map of festival grounds
Scotland is a country, part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides; the Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, thus forming a personal union of the three kingdoms. Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain; the union created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. In 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland enacted a political union to create a United Kingdom.
The majority of Ireland subsequently seceded from the UK in 1922. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles and other royal symbols of statehood specific to the pre-union Kingdom of Scotland; the legal system within Scotland has remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland. The continued existence of legal, educational and other institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 union with England; the Scottish Parliament, a unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, was established in 1999 and has authority over those areas of domestic policy which have been devolved by the United Kingdom Parliament. The head of the Scottish Government, the executive of the devolved legislature, is the First Minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the UK House of Commons by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs.
Scotland is a member of the British–Irish Council, sends five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland is divided into councils. Glasgow City is the largest subdivision in Scotland in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. "Scotland" comes from the Latin name for the Gaels. From the ninth century, the meaning of Scotia shifted to designate Gaelic Scotland and by the eleventh century the name was being used to refer to the core territory of the Kingdom of Alba in what is now east-central Scotland; the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass most of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages, as the Kingdom of Alba expanded and came to encompass various peoples of diverse origins. Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land mass of modern Scotland, destroyed any traces of human habitation that may have existed before the Mesolithic period, it is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last glaciation.
At the time, Scotland was covered in forests, had more bog-land, the main form of transport was by water. These settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, the first villages around 6,000 years ago; the well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period. Neolithic habitation and ritual sites are common and well preserved in the Northern Isles and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone. Evidence of sophisticated pre-Christian belief systems is demonstrated by sites such as the Callanish Stones on Lewis and the Maes Howe on Orkney, which were built in the third millennium BCE; the first written reference to Scotland was in 320 BC by Greek sailor Pytheas, who called the northern tip of Britain "Orcas", the source of the name of the Orkney islands. During the first millennium BCE, the society changed to a chiefdom model, as consolidation of settlement led to the concentration of wealth and underground stores of surplus food.
The first Roman incursion into Scotland occurred in 79 AD. After the Roman victory, Roman forts were set along the Gask Ridge close to the Highland line, but by three years after the battle, the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands; the Romans erected Hadrian's Wall in northern England and the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the Roman Empire. The Roman influence on the southern part of the country was considerable, they introduced Christianity to Scotland. Beginning in the sixth century, the area, now Scotland was divided into three areas: Pictland, a patchwork of small lordships in central Scotland; these societies were based on the family unit and had sharp divisions in wealth, although the vast majority were poor and worked full-time in subsistence agriculture. The Picts kept slaves through the ninth century. Gaelic influence over Pictland and Northumbria was facilitated by the large number of Gaelic-speaking clerics working as missionaries. Operating in the sixth ce
Kentwell Hall is a stately home in Long Melford, England. It includes outbuildings, a rare-breeds farm and gardens. Most of the current building facade dates from the mid-16th century, but the origins of Kentwell are much earlier, with references in the Domesday Book of 1086. Kentwell has been the background location for numerous film and television productions, since 1979, has annually been the scene of Tudor period historical re-enactments, it hosts Scaresville, an annual Hallowe'en event which won the Best Seasonal or Hallowe'en Event in 2009 at the UK's annual Screamie Awards. The earliest recorded reference to Kentwell is in the Domesday Book of 1086, which states that the manor of Kentwell formed part of the property of Frodo, brother of Abbot Baldwin, of the Abbey of St. Edmund's. At that time, the manor was called by its old English name of Kanewella; the record in the Domesday Book survey, translated from the original Latin, reads: "In the time of King Edward the Confessor, Algar held Kanewella under Seward, a freeman of Meldon, as a manor containing two carucates of land with Soke.
There were thereon at that time 7 villeins, afterwards, now 4 velleins. There was and subsequently, 1 bordar. There were always 2 ploughs belonging to the demesne. There were and afterwards 2 ploughs belonging to the Homagers of the manor. There are 8 acres of mowing meadow. There has always been 1 horse at the Manor house. There were 5 working oxen. At that time there were 30 swine. 80 sheep, now there are 50. At that time and subsequently, this manor was worth 40 shillings. Frodo is known to have left at least two sons and Gilbert, but the documented history of Kentwell is somewhat sparse for the next 300 years. An interpretation of papal tithe records suggests that Kentwell was owned by a person called Galleus from 1145 to 1148. Between the years 1252 and 1272, Kentwell Manor appears to have been granted by King Henry III to Sir William de Valence, killed in battle in France in 1296. Kentwell passed to his niece, who married David Earl of Athol. Kentwell passed to Sir Robert Gower's daughter and afterwards, in 1368, to John Gower, poet, a personal friend of Geoffrey Chaucer.
In 1373 Kentwell was acquired by Sir John Cobham and soon afterwards passed to the ownership of the Mylde family. Successive generations of Cloptons occupied Kentwell Hall from c1375 when Sir Thomas Clopton married Katherine Mylde, daughter of William Mylde of Clare, Suffolk the owner of the estate; the estate named Lutons, is included in the will of this Sir Thomas Clopton, dated 8 March 1382. Clopton died the following year; the Cloptons were a respected local family with some family members becoming distinguished nationally in the 15th and 16th centuries. The family is named in the Domesday Book of 1086 as feudatories of the Honor of Clare and various members of the "de Clopton" family appear in church and Abbey records over the following 200 years; the Clopton family transformed the manor into its current recognisable form. Successive members of the family remained at Kentwell until 1661, when the last resident Clopton died there. Constant mention is made of "the Hall" or "the Place of Lutons" in wills and documents of successive Cloptons until 1563, at which point the first references are made to "the new mansion-house of Kentwell Hall".
From the evidence of historical records, from present day evidence, there is a presumption that the Lutons Manor House was located in woodland known as the Pond Plantation, about a quarter-mile north west of the current site. There are references in contemporary records to "Lutons House, near to the Ponds in the Park, where there was a little chapel of Saint Anne"; the Chapel of Saint Anne is depicted in maps of the Pond Plantation as late as the 19th century. The current Hall was constructed by several generations of the Clopton family; the oldest structure is the Moat House, estimated to have been built in the early 15th century. It comprises three levels; the ground floor is divided into three rooms that have been used as a dairy and brewery. The first floor is divided into a further three rooms; the available evidence indicates that the Moat House was used during its lifetime as a service wing to the main Hall. However, historians suggest that the Moat House was built as a main residence, replacing the earlier house in the Pond Plantation.
The construction of the room used as a brewery, in particular, indicates an open hall room, three levels high, with blackened timbers in the pitch of the gables providing evidence of a central hearth with no chimney. The individual who commissioned the building of the Moat House is unknown, he fought at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 and died in 1446. The main house at Kentwell was built in three phases: the main block of two levels; the main block was constructed by John Clopton in the late 15th century. The wings were added by the third William Clopton, in the 1540s; the Cloptons rebuilt the Holy Trinity C
A movie ranch is a ranch, at least dedicated for the creation and production of motion pictures and television productions. They were all within the 30-mile studio zone in the foothills of the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley and Simi Valley. Movie ranches first came into use for location shooting in Southern California during the 1920s with the rising popularity of westerns. Hollywood-based studios found it difficult to recreate the topography of the Old West on sound stages and studio backlots, so they looked to the rustic valleys and foothills of Southern California for filming locations. Other large-scale productions needed large, undeveloped settings for outdoor scenes, such as war films for their battle scenes. To achieve greater scope, productions would conduct location shooting in yonder parts of California and Nevada, but travel expenses for production staff created a dispute between workers and the studios; the studios agreed to pay union workers extra. The definition of out of town referred to a distance of greater than 30 miles from the studio, or beyond the studio zone.
To solve this problem, many movie studios invested in large tracts of undeveloped rural land, in many cases existing ranches, located closer to Hollywood. In most cases, the ranches were located just within the 30-mile perimeter in the Simi Hills in the western San Fernando Valley, the Santa Monica Mountains, the Santa Clarita area of the Greater Los Angeles Area; the natural California landscape proved to be suitable for other settings. As a result of the post-war era suburban development raising property values, rising taxes, the resulting urban sprawl of Los Angeles, most of these movie ranches have since been sold and subdivided. A few of these have survived as regional parks, are still used for filming. Movie ranches have moved to other regions such as New Mexico and Texas. Below is a partial listing of some of the classic Southern California movie ranches from the first half of the 20th century, including some other and newer locations. Apacheland Studio - The tail end of 1957 and all of 1958 saw movie studios calling on ranchers in the Superstition Mountain area, such as "Quarter Circle U", "Quarter Circle W" and the "Barkley Cattle Ranch" to use their facilities as makeshift towns.
One movie, filmed during this time was Gunfight at the O. K. Corral with Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster; the movie is inaccurate, but it shows the area known as Gold Canyon with the Superstitions towering over the Clanton ranch. During this time, Victor Panek contacted his neighbors in Apache Junction, Mr. and Mrs. J. K. Hutchens, to suggest the idea of building a studio in the Superstition area. Hutchens and Panek began to look for sites and soon found what they were looking for, located in the Superstition Mountains in central Arizona, intended to be the "Western Movie Capitol of the World". Construction on the Apacheland Studio "western town" began on February 12, 1959 by Superstition Mountain Enterprises and associates. By June 1960, Apacheland Studio was available for use by production companies and its first TV western Have Gun, Will Travel was filmed in November 1960, along with its first full-length movie The Purple Hills; this Arizona landmark has seen many western actors walk the streets on Kings Ranch Road in Gold Canyon, from its incorporation as Superstition Mountain Enterprises in 1959 as Apacheland Studio, to its demise in 2004 as Apacheland Movie Ranch.
Actors such as Elvis Presley, Jason Robards, Stella Stevens, Ronald Reagan, Audie Murphy filmed western television shows and movies, such as Gambler II, Death Valley Days, Charro!, Have Gun, Will Travel, The Ballad of Cable Hogue. The last full-length movie to be filmed was the 1994 HBO movie Blind Justice with Armand Assante, Elisabeth Shue, Jack Black. On May 26, 1969, fire destroyed most of the ranch. Only seven buildings survived; the sets were soon rebuilt, but another fire destroyed most of Apacheland on February 14, 2004, two days after its 45th anniversary. On October 16, 2004, Apacheland closed its doors to the public permanently; the causes of both fires has not been determined. "Apacheland Museum". Archived from the original on 2014-12-16. Big Sky Ranch is a movie ranch located in California, it has been used for the filming of Western television and film productions. Some of the past television episodes and productions filmed there include: Rawhide, Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven, Father Murphy, The Thorn Birds and Carnivàle.
A fire in 2003 destroyed most of the standing sets, including a replica of the farm house from Little House on the Prairie and sets used in the TV series Gunsmoke and many movies. Circa 1937, Ray "Crash" Corrigan invested in property on the western Santa Susana Pass in California's Simi Valley and Santa Susana Mountains, developing his'Ray Corrigan Ranch' into the'Corriganville Movie Ranch.' Most of the Monogram Range Busters film series, which includes Saddle Mountain Roundup and Bullets and Saddles, were shot here, as well as features such as Fort Apache, The Inspector General, Mysterious Island, hundreds more. Corrigan opened portions of his vast movie ranch to the public in 1949 on weekends to explore such themed sets as a rustic western town, Mexican village, western ranch, outlaw hide-out shacks, cavalry fort, Corsican village, English hunting lodge, country schoolhouse, rodeo arena, mine-shaft, wooded lake, interesting rock formations. In spite of Corriganville's weekend tourist trade, production of films continued.
The action TV series The
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery; the Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early and Late Middle Ages. Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages; the large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete.
The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became admired in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded; the Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty established the Carolingian Empire during the 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, Saracens from the south. During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages.
The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation-states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, by the founding of universities; the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine and war, which diminished the population of Europe. Controversy and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.
The Middle Ages is one of the three major periods in the most enduring scheme for analysing European history: classical civilisation, or Antiquity. The "Middle Ages" first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or "middle season". In early usage, there were many variants, including medium aevum, or "middle age", first recorded in 1604, media saecula, or "middle ages", first recorded in 1625; the alternative term "medieval" derives from medium aevum. Medieval writers divided history into periods such as the "Six Ages" or the "Four Empires", considered their time to be the last before the end of the world; when referring to their own times, they spoke of them as being "modern". In the 1330s, the humanist and poet Petrarch referred to pre-Christian times as antiqua and to the Christian period as nova. Leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use tripartite periodisation in his History of the Florentine People, with a middle period "between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of city life sometime in late eleventh and twelfth centuries".
Tripartite periodisation became standard after the 17th-century German historian Christoph Cellarius divided history into three periods: ancient and modern. The most given starting point for the Middle Ages is around 500, with the date of 476 first used by Bruni. Starting dates are sometimes used in the outer parts of Europe. For Europe as a whole, 1500 is considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date. Depending on the context, events such as the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used. English historians use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to mark the end of the period. For Spain, dates used are the death of King Ferdinand II in 1516, the death of Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1504, or the conquest of Granada in 1492. Historians from Romance-speaking countries tend to divide the Middle Ages into two parts: an earlier "High" and late
Novato is a city in northern Marin County, in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, in the U. S. state of California. As of the 2010 United States Census, its population was 51,904. Novato is located about 10 miles northwest of San Rafael and about 30 miles north of San Francisco on U. S. 101. Novato has been called one of the best places to live in the U. S. What is now Novato was the site of several Coast Miwok villages: Chokecherry, near downtown Novato. In 1839, the Mexican government granted the 8,876-acre Rancho Novato to Fernando Feliz; the rancho was named after a local Miwok leader, given the name of Saint Novatus at his baptism. Subsequently, four additional land grants were made in the area: Rancho Corte Madera de Novato, to John Martin in 1839. R. Cooper in 1844. Novato, along with the rest of California, became part of the United States on February 2, 1848. Early pioneers included Joseph Sweetser and Francis De Long who bought 15,000 acres in the mid-1850s and planted orchards and vineyards.
The first post office at Novato opened in 1856. The first school was built in 1859, at the corner of Grant Avenue and what is today Redwood Boulevard; the original town was located around Novato Creek at. A railroad was built in 1879, connecting Novato to San Rafael; the area around the train depot became known as New Town, forms the edge of what today is Old Town Novato. The current depot was built in 1917, but closed in 1959, is derelict; the depot consisted of two buildings: a warehouse and a station. The warehouse burned twice in the intervening years. Behind the rail station/warehouse complex was a feed mill complex; the mill complex, along with the warehouse portion of the rail station, was torn down in late 2007 to make way for public parking and a Whole Foods/high-density housing development, while the derelict station is still standing. A Presbyterian church, still a landmark in Novato today, was built in 1896; until 2006, it housed a number of city offices, but was vacated that year due to safety concerns and condemned.
A new city center complex has been erected adjacent to the old City Hall. The Great Depression of the 1930s had a marked effect on the area. After World War II, Novato grew with the construction of tract homes and a freeway; as the area was unincorporated much of the growth was unplanned and uncontrolled. Novato was incorporated as a city in 1960. One of the most important venues of the time was "Western Weekend". Beard-growing contests, sponsored by Bob's Barber Shop, many other odd activities helped to bring this community together. According to the United States Census Bureau, Novato has a total area of 28.0 square miles and is the largest city in area in Marin County. 27.4 square miles of it is land and 0.5 square miles of it is water. Major geographical features nearby include Mount Burdell and Mount Burdell Open Space Preserve to the north and Big Rock Ridge to the southwest. Stafford Lake to the west is a secondary water supply for Novato, with the Russian River in Sonoma County to the north supplying most of the city's water.
Novato includes ten Marin County Open Space District preserves: Mount Burdell, Rush Creek, Little Mountain, Verissimo Hills, Indian Tree, Deer Island, Indian Valley, Ignacio Valley, Loma Verde, Pacheco Valle. Official weather observations were taken at Hamilton Air Force Base through 1964. Average January temperatures were a maximum of 53.6 °F and a minimum of 38.7 °F. Average July temperatures were a maximum of 79.9 °F and a minimum of 52.0 °F. There were an average of 12.4 days with highs of 90 °F or higher and an average of 12.5 days with lows of 32 °F or lower. The record high temperature was 108 °F on September 2, 2017; the record low temperature was 16 °F in December 2013. Average annual precipitation was 25.49 inches. The wettest year was 1940 with 46.63 inches and the driest year was 2014 with 6.35 inches. The most rainfall in one month was 18.87 inches in December 1955. The most rainfall in 24 hours was 10.55 inches between December 10, 2014 – December 11, 2014. Today, the nearest National Weather Service cooperative weather station is in San Rafael, where records date back to 1894.
Compared to records from Hamilton Air Force Base, San Rafael is several degrees warmer than Novato and has an average of about 10 inches more rainfall. The record high temperature in San Rafael was 110 °F on September 7, 1904, June 14, 1961; the record low temperature was 20 °F on December 26, 1967. In the United States House of Representatives, Novato is in California's 2nd congressional district, represented by Democrat Jared Huffman. From 2008 to 2012, Huffman represented Marin County in the California State Assembly. In the California State Legislature, Novato is in: the 10th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Marc Levine the 2nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Mike McGuire. According to the California Secretary of State, as of February 10, 2019, Novato has 31,544 registered voters. Of those, 15,794 are registered Democrats, 6,048 are registered Repub