The Boggs Art Collection at Shasta

Gallery overview
The Williamson Lyncoya Smith Gallery at Shasta State Historic Park

Paintings offer insight that goes beyond any particular artist’s technique. They provide images that document a period in time and give researchers and other viewers information that may otherwise be unavailable. Historical paintings tell a vivid story.

Shasta State Historic Park is fortunate to have on display a collection of paintings depicting the time between 1850 and 1950. The donor of this collection is Mae Helene Bacon Boggs. Her interest in California began in 1871, at the age of eight,  when she arrived in Shasta from Missouri. She was cared for in Shasta by her uncle Williamson Lyncoya Smith, who was the division agent for the California Stage Company from 1853-1888. Her family also ran a store in Redding.

Mae married Angus Gordon Boggs in 1900 and moved to San Francisco to begin her married life. During her time in San Francisco, the new Mrs. Boggs helped organize the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition and collected art and books. She was particularly fond of paintings depicting life in different parts of California.
Ten years after the death of her husband, in 1930 Mrs. Boggs visited the town of Shasta for the first time since her departure. She found the town largely abandoned and deteriorating quickly. She began buying lots and encouraged others to do so, hoping to one day form a state park from the remains of the once-booming town.

Courthouse Museum
The Courthouse Museum

Mrs. Boggs was successful in her mission, and in 1950 the Shasta State Historic Monument (now renamed Shasta State Historic Park) opened. When the courthouse was restored, Mrs. Boggs donated a huge collection of her books, papers and paintings to create the Courthouse Museum and the Williamson Lyncoya Smith Gallery in honor of her uncle.

Today the paintings and books still reside in the Courthouse Museum and have been thoroughly documented. Here are just a few of the nuggets from the collection:

Glen Ellen
Bathing at Glen Ellen, oil on canvas. Ernest Narjot, 1888

Mount Shasta
Mount Shasta, oil on pressboard. Carl Dahlgren, after 1878

Chinatown, oil on canvas. Jules Pages, 1941

Garden and Barns, oil on canvas. John Tufts, before 1942