Reunion 2006

by / Monday, 26 June 2006 / Published in BFA Reunion Invitation & Registration Form
Larry H. Bidwell
10608 Hanarry Ct.
Jack Bidwell
88B Brandywine East
Kevin White
PO Box 424
Faith B. Heath
6586 Fields Ertel Rd.
Sharonville, OH 45341-1367TREASURER
Shirley Aravich
2885 Old Bethlehem Pike
Quakertown, PA 18951WEBMASTER
Richard Bidwell
3310 Belshire Court
Roanoke, VA 24014

Meet your cousins and celebrate your Bidwell connection at the 2006 Bidwell Reunion, in Chico, California, founded by John Bidwell in 1860 Friday June 23, through Sunday, June 25 at the Holiday Inn.

Please contribute to our craft sale and auction. Items can include decorative pillows, handbags and homemade jewelry, afghan, “gourmet” or homemade candies and jams, small paintings or watercolors, notecards, etc. All proceeds benefit the BFA and help to defray reunion expenses. Also…Bring your Campbell Soup labels to aid Bidwell Riverside (social service) Center, Des Moines, Iowa, in their ministries.


Thursday, the 22nd, after supper on our own, we greet & chat with our cousins in the hospitality room. It will be open during the weekend when no organized activities are scheduled.

Friday, the 23rd, morning activities begin with registration, setting up and purchasing crafts, and visiting. The morning concludes with the annual BFA Board meeting. You are free to sit in on the meeting to learn what’s going on. Or you may continue to browse through the crafts. Following lunch the craft sales continue. Or tour Chico on your own.

The evening features get-acquainted activities and the annual BFA Business meeting. We will review the Board meeting agenda and open the floor to discussion, questions, and comments.

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Saturday, the 24th, we take a morning tour of Chico’s Bidwell Mansion (John & Annie Bidwell’s home, 1868-1918), now a California State Historical Park. After lunch (restaurants in walking distance of the Mansion) we take a guided tour of through the 3600-acre Bidwell Park (donated to Chico by Annie in 1905 after John’s death in 1900). Bidwell Park is one of the largest municipal parks in the U.S.
Saturday evening we’ll enjoy each other’s company at our annual banquet, followed with a talk by the authors of the 2003 book,John Bidwell and California. They will highlight John’s history and contributions to California, and to Chico which he founded. We complete the evening with our annual “high energy” auction.

Sunday, the 25th, we board the bus for 9 A.M. worship at Bidwell Presbyterian Church. Afterward we return to Holiday Inn for brunch, preceded by our annual memorial service for those whose recent deaths are known to us. After lunch we visit Bidwell’s Bar along the Feather River where John first struck it rich in 1848. We also make a stop at the Chinese Temple. Back at the hotel we say “goodbye” to those who are leaving. Sunday evening those remaining can again visit in the hospitality room.

Monday morning, the 26th, we all depart.


The Chico Holiday Inn is located at 685 Manzanita Court, just west of State Route 99, via Cohasset Rd. For Reservations call 1-800-465-4329 or 1-530-345-2491 direct. You must specify “Bidwell Family Reunion” when booking your room.

Rates for the reunion period (Thursday, June 22 through Sunday, June 25) are $78.00 for standard room, with two queen-sized beds, mini refrigerator and microwave. (Rollaway beds are available for $12.00 per night). The$110.00 suite has living room with pull-out sofa, one bedroom with 1 1/2 baths, microwave and mini-fridge.

Reservations must be made by May 22. At that time any unreserved rooms will be released. There is free parking at the hotel for self-contained RVs. Hotel provides free shuttle service to and from Chico’s municipal airport. The hotel’s swimming pool is available for our enjoyment. For further information on hotel amenities email the hotel at:


If you would like to volunteer some time to help with registration, “manning” the craft tables (pricing and sales), or auction (auctioneer, bid spotters, recording buyers and prices), etc. notify host, Bernie Bidwell at PO Box 192, Colbert, Washington 99005. Email:


That’s the headline in the Sunday June 25th edition of the Chico, CA,Enterprise/Record.

Bunch of Bidwells for website

Chico is a small city in northern California that was founded in the 1840s by one of the most noted Bidwells – General John Bidwell. More than 100 Bidwells, spouses and friends met for three days of reunion, fun, food, visiting and all-around companionship. Since the temperature was over 100 ° F. every day, ducking in and out of air-conditioned spaces was a high priority. Of course, there was a certain amount of serious stuff, including a board meeting and a general membership meeting. These meetings reviewed the financial state of the BFA (good), administrative details, and most importantly, the status of the project to revitalize the creation of Volume II of the Bidwell Family History that was interrupted by the tragic death of our beloved Joan Bidwell. A course of action was decided upon which will proceed. This will be reported on as it develops.

Following the annual meeting, a brief presentation of some of John and Annie’s letters from her book “Dear General” was presented.

Also of great interest was the “unveiling” of the newest Bidwell book, a compilation of all Bidwells in the world outside the United States. This massive effort was carried through by member Frank Bidwell. Copies of this book are for sale by Frank who can be contacted at

The two major points of interest to the Bidwells was a tour of the Bidwell Mansion, an historic landmark built by John in the 1860s in the center of Chico. The Mansion is now part of the State Historic Park system. Bidwell Park, a natural open area of 3600 acres within the city limits was another stop on our tour. The park area was donated to Chico by John’s widow, Annie, in 1918.

The annual banquet and auction were held Saturday evening. Speaking, after dinner was Michael J. Gillis, co-author of John Bidwell and California, The Life and Writings of a Pioneer. Mr. Gillis provided new insight into one of our most famous “cousins”.

Mansion for website

On Sunday the group attended services at the Bidwell Presbyterian Church, founded by Annie. A bus trip to Bidwell Bar, an old gold-mining town about 20 miles east of Chico and the Chinese Temple ended the day and the reunion.

Thanks to Bernie Bidwell of Spokane, WA, and to Judy Crain for organizing such a fun and educational reunion! Judy is a former director of the Bidwell Mansion. Her knowledge of John & Annie’s life in Chico added a great deal to the weekend.

spacer.gif - 1kb2007 Reunion to be held in Asheville, NC June 22 – 25. More details later!