AHSGR Central California Chapter


Free Admission
Open Tuesday thru Friday 12:00 Noon - 4:00 pm
                     Closed Monday & Saturday
                     Call for appointment at (559) 229-8287

Why would a camel be representative of Germans from Russia?

Camel blanket
Handmade camel blanket
Because camels were common and were used as work animals in the lower Volga Valley of Russia.

Camel wool was used to make blankets like this lovely brown blanket. This camel wool lap robe is 95 year old and came from the village of Alexandertal, Russia and was donated by Alexander Stoppel, of Three Rivers, California.

Spinning wheel & carder SPINNING WHEEL, COMBING BENCH, YARN WINDER WITH BLANKET Camel wool (hair) was used for making blankets and clothing, as well as for warmth in Quilts. The wool would be combed, while sitting on the wooden bench, with a wire brush Attached. (this instrument is over 100 years old and brought from Russia by the Conrad Bauer family and the bench was donated by Henry & Martha Bitter) after combing, the wool Would be spun into thread on the spinning wheel (donated by Gil & Barbara Axt, in memory of Gil's mother and purchased from Sandy Hurley Risley) and then woven into blankets, cloth, etc. For use. Since the homes were fairly Small in Russia, table looms were probably used often. The yarn winder was used to wind Yarn into convient balls for knitting, crocheting or weaving.

hand-made quilts QUILTS
Quilt making was a routine skill of the Germans from Russia, as they found a use for every piece of material.

The hanging quilt was made in 1980 by the members of the Central California Chapter-AHSGR, depicting the various ancestorial villages, occupations and family surnames of our local families.

The quilt on the bed is a corduroy patchwork quilt stuffed with camel wool from the village of Blumenfeld, Russia. This 119 year old quilt arrived at Ellis Island in November 1910, went to Russell, Kansas and then to Alhambra, California, recovered in about 1940. This quilt was in the belongings of Jacob & Katherine Elizabeth (Greb) Schreiner, from Blumenfeld, Samara, Russia. Donated by Freida Schreiner Purvis of Arizona and her sister.

carved spinning wheel


Donated by Louise Stephens of Redding, CA

Bridal Gown


The white, hand stiched, gown was worn by the bride, Maria Busick, when she married Frederick Diel in 1898 in the village of Kukkus, Russia. The gown is 106 years old. It was donated by Maria's daughter, Mary Diel Thompson.



Built by fred markus 25 march 1925. Rebuilt by leroy weber 12 dec. 1986. The dulcimer is an instrument now used for its wonderful, but rather obsure folk sound. It Has the wildness and harmony of the bagpipes. It is sometimes called mountain or Appalachian dulcimer since it is still played in the southern mountains.



The original pump organ in the Cross Church, was owned by Rev. Jacob Legler, from Straub, Samara, Russia, and he and his family arrived in Fresno, California on Auguest 10, 1891. He was called to service in the Free Evangelical Lutheran Cross Church, built in 1895.

felt boots FELT BOOTS

These felt ladies boots were made in Russia, from sheep's wool. The felt maker would travel from village to village, house to house, to fit and made felt boots for everyone in the family. The men's outdoor work boots had leather heals and soles added to them. The felt boots were warmer and dryer that other types of shoe wear. The ones we have are well worn. These boots were donated by Richard A Markus.



The home places, in the village, were fenced in for protection and security. While the people did their farming well outside of the village, their threshing area, fruit trees and home gardens were all enclosed behind walls. Animals were kept in the barn attached to the house, during the winter months. This model was made and donated by Johanne Ehly Pekarek

willow brooms


Brooms of Willow branches used for sweeping yards in Russia and in West Fresno. One made and donated by Adam Meisner of Fresno and the one yard broom of split willow was made by hand by Andreas Beiden of Dinkel, Russia. Donated by his grandchildren: Ruby (Winter) Nagel and Robert Winter in memory of Beiden & Benzler Families.

Baskets and trunks from Russia


These were used to bring items to America from Russia.



The top abacus is Chinese and the other one is Russian. Donated by siblings, Edward Bischel and Vera Bischel Hills.

Woodworking Tools


Many of the men were carpenters by profession and need. We have a set of wood-working Tools from the John Fink family, with hand-made wooden planes made in Russia and a tool Box full of modern-day equipment.

Russian Photos


Old photos, family genealogies, maps, and other artifacts cover the walls of the museum like these photos above. The hand drawn map of Stahl am Tarlyk, a Volga village, shows the layout of the village about 1910. Click on the map to see a larger version.
Stahl am Tarlyk map - click here


Collection includes items from Russia, Germany and early Fresno. Some artifacts, such as camel wool, are over 115 years old and the wedding gown is 102 years old. We have a lot of old photos, some with names and many more without.


Copyright 2002 AHSGR - Central California Chapter

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