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Researchers Anonymous: Historic Tales of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

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Saturday, May 8, 2021,
10am - 12pm

Online via Zoom


Join the Researchers Anonymous monthly meeting with special guest Deborah Osterberg author of the Historic Tales of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.

Deborah Osterberg will discuss the inspiration and process she used for writing her first book, Historic Tales of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park – Big Trees Grove (The History Press, 2020). She began her research to compile background material for her role as a volunteer docent at the park. Deborah planned to conduct living history to tell the story of the site’s original Big Trees Grove resort (1867-1930).

When Joseph Warren Welch purchased the Big Trees in 1867, he became the first person to preserve a grove of coast redwoods for public enjoyment. As she commenced her research Deborah was disappointed to find so little, specific information about the resort and virtually nothing about the experiences and impressions of the resort’s visitors. As she conducted research using online newspaper and digital book collections, the groundbreaking role of the grove emerged. Visiting the redwoods in 19th century California meant coming to Big Trees Grove, the original redwood resort. As the most visited redwoods of the nineteenth century, Big Trees Grove resort played a crucial role in the growing recognition of these remarkable trees. Since no single book told this engaging story, Deborah believed that her research could help fill that gap in the written works on the park. Through extensive documentation, she was able to dispel a few myths, confirm some long-told park stories, and discover several new stories and characters who were essential in the resort’s success.

As a first-time author the book process was a learning curve. Deborah will talk about her research methodology, some of the research brick walls she encountered and how she got around most of them and what she learned about navigating the publishing process for the first time.

Deborah not only wanted to make the resort era history of the park more widely known but also intended that her book would be a benefit to the park. Proceeds from her book will be shared with the Mountain Parks Foundation to help support programs at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Deborah also continues sharing the stories of Big Trees Grove through her blog at

Please email for the Zoom link.