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 About us

THE CALIFORNIA PIONEERS OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY is a non-profit organization founded in 1875 to preserve and promote the history of the 'VALLEY OF HEART'S DELIGHT', a region more commonly known today as 'SILICON VALLEY'. 

One of the many ways we accomplish this is through our historic 'FILM PRESERVATION PROGRAM'.  In early 2014, we received a contribution of family films from the 1920's which totally amazed us. Inside a large cardboard box, among many films of local interest, we discovered ten reels of vintage 16mm film tucked neatly inside a gallon can, a hold-over from the valley's once-thriving fruit canning operations.

The film canisters were simply labeled "MALOLO". A quick search of the internet and we soon discovered this reference was to the "STEAM SHIP MALOLO", credited by many to be the first modern ocean liner specifically designed with 'leisure cruising' in mind. We became mesmerized by these never-before-viewed moving images 

This is when our own personal journey began. We discovered these wonderful moving images had been taken in late 1929 by the donor's great-grandfather, LOUIS O. NORMANDIN, while traveling aboard the SS Malolo on the ship's first 'ROUND THE PACIFIC CRUISE'. The cruise consisted of an extensive ninety day, twenty-four thousand mile journey that called on nineteen ports in fourteen countries.  

As historians, we wanted to know more, but unfortunately, there was very little information available.  It didn't take us long to confirm our suspicions about the importance of these films. It just seemed like the natural thing to do was to set about reconstructing the various stories behind these rare moving images. 

Our initial research sent us to online genealogical websites where we discovered a copy of THE SHIP'S PASSENGER LIST. It contained the names and birth dates for the three hundred and fifty-six passengers who were on board.  This document became our 'Rosetta Stone' as we set out to make contact with as many of the passenger's living descendants as possible.

During our three years of research, we successfully, and quite dramatically, increased our treasury of resource material. Altogether, we doubled the amount of 16mm film footage to four hours, received more than one thousand snapshots, seven journals, and six diaries. Even a cabin key. It is from these family resources we have been able to match image to text and the actual identities of passengers viewed on film and photos. We dedicate this documentary to those families who thoughtfully preserved the many fascinating narratives and incredible images from this historic trip... then, enthusiastically shared them with us so we may all be able to revisit this historic lost moment in time.

We would especially like to acknowledge and thank The Louis O. Normandin Family, whose films originally sparked our own long, personal journey. More specifically, grandson, Lon Nomandin, and great-grandson, Paul Normandin.