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Jensen pens Delta’s past
By Len Richardson   - 02/25/2008

The Californian Farmer

For many years, tourists and residents have enjoyed the 1,000 miles of waterways that comprise the California Delta. But now, as the years progress, the Delta has become a hot topic of discussion for its wildlife-habitat restoration, water rights and deteriorating levees.

In The California Delta, her third book with Arcadia Publishing, Carol A. Jensen captures her audience with the history of a local landmark that is now challenging both locals and politicians.

Jensen is a native daughter of the Delta and East Contra Costa County. She is a history graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara. Jensen is a member of the California Historical Society, Contra Costa Historical Society, East Contra Costa Historical Society and John Marsh Historic Trust. She also serves as vice president of the Contra Costa Historic Landmark Advisory Committee.

Jensen hopes “this work will bring back fond memories of Hal Schell and inspire readers to save the California Delta by restoring its levees.”

She regards the book as a remembrance of Schell, a dedication both she and the East Contra Costa County Historical Society are delighted to give.

Highlights of the book

The California Delta features the archives of Hal Schell, known as “Mr. Delta.” It stresses the importance of rebuilding and repairing the California Delta and its levees to avoid a catastrophe. The book also contains many never-before-seen vintage photographs, including the Delta smelt, a small, once prolific fish that is near extinction.

Schell passed away in 2006. He defined the Delta’s laid-back lifestyle in books such as Hal Schell’s Dawdling on the Delta, and was best known for his long-standing column in The Bay & Delta Yachtsman and his Delta Map and TideTables.

A Delta history display is planned for a Discover the Delta Visitor’s Center at the foot of the Rio Vista Bridge.

The California Delta is part of the East Contra Costa Historical Society Images of America series. For $19.99 in soft cover, the book is available at area bookstores and independent and online retailers. Or, call Arcadia Publishing at 888-313-2665, or visit www.arcadiapublishing.com.

Jensen is the author of a number of books and magazine articles on East County history.

Byron Hot Springs
She is best known for her book Byron Hot Springs, California. On her Web page at www.byronhotsprings.com, she writes,

“If you stop 10 people at random on a street in San Francisco and ask them the question, ‘Do you know where Byron is?’ probably nine of them won’t know the answer. But, if you went to Hollywood 100 years ago and asked the same question, some of the biggest stars of that era would be able to tell you exactly where Byron was located.

“From the 1870s to the 1930s, people who wanted to have this kind of experience came right here to East County to drink water from one or more of the 50 springs at the Byron Hot Springs Resort, to bask in the elaborate spas on the property, to enjoy the amenities of the large 5-star hotel, or to hack their way around the beautiful golf links,” she continues. “Hollywood movie moguls, big-league athletes and representatives from the upper echelons of society flocked to little Byron.”

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