The message rocks, a historical outdoor exhibit located at the Stonyford Museum, now has a bronze sign to tell visitors the story of the unique artifacts – even when the museum is not open.
Museum officials were able to install the much-needed sign in front of the rock display, thanks to a $250 grant from Premier Mushroom, Inc. of Colusa.
“Most people don’t know the story of the message rocks, so the museum is very thankful and appreciative of the grant,” said Joyce Bond, museum curator. “This will be here for generations to come, and its park quality.”
In the 19th century, ancient stones served as modern-day message boards for the pioneers who lived in the foothills in western Colusa County, Bond said. The square obelisks, which were along the roads at the entrances to Stonyford, had a small area carved out that was removable so people could leave a written message to others without it getting lost to the wind or damaged by increment weather.
Bond said settlers used the message rocks long before telephone lines reached the mountainous community.
“Back in the 1800s and early 1900s, local residents would pull out the square rocks in the big stone and place a message in the hole,” Bond said. “Usually the request was for an item to be brought up from the valley by whoever was making the trip.”
Bond said Lawrence “Sharky” Moore and his sister, Beulah Vanlandingham, would often talk about the message rocks, and said early Stonyford residents or travelers would leave other messages in the rocks, such as greetings or information about roads or weather conditions.
“What stories these rocks could tell if they could speak,” Bond said.
Jim Alloway and Jesse Diaz installed the sign directly in front of the exhibit. The message rocks were moved from their original locations to the store, and were moved to the museum later so they would not be damaged.
“They are museum quality, and they have withstood the test of time,” Bond said. “We are very proud to have them.” ■