Guide to the Vivian Rostron Collection (1928-1999) – History

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Christian Aichberg (Eichberg), a native of Switzerland, and his wife Anna set up business and residence in Santa Cruz, CA in 1880. They established the Philadelphia Gallery on the top floor of the old Ely block on Pacific Avenue. They lived on the second floor of the same building. While Christian did the photography it was his wife Anna who did most of the photo printing and developing. He was one of only four photographers in Santa Cruz during the 1880s. He took most of the prizes for photography at the county fairs. Their foster daughter, Rose, did most of the interpreting for the family. In an interview with the Santa Cruz Sentinel Rose recalled being called ‘the little interpreter.’

Richard Rostron established his home and homesteaded in Santa Cruz County in 1866. He subsequently moved to Salt Lake City where he was a leading member of the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). His son, George Henry, stayed in Santa Cruz where he bought a farm in 1884, growing grapes and apples. He met and married his wife Rose Aichberg in 1899. In 1914 George was appointed by the governor to fill a vacancy on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors. He retained this position until his death in 1930. During his time as county supervisor he was a strong advocate for bettering roads and bridges and improving the character of the highways. For his services he was appointed by Governor Richardson to represent the state of California at the Good Roads Movement National Convention held at Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Rose (Aichberg, Eichberg) Rostron in 1930 was appointed by Governor Clement C. Young to her husband’s county supervisor position. She was the first female county supervisor for Santa Cruz County and only the second woman supervisor for the entire state of California. She won her first election in 1932 and was reelected three more times before she retired in 1948. She was also a strong advocate for road and bridge improvement. Most notably she was at the forefront for replacing the substandard Glen Canyon covered bridge, but also in the name of preservation she had the bridge moved to DeLaveaga Park. During her time of service to the county she could frequently be seen clearing drainage ditches if need be. In her words “I always have believed a public official is a public servant and responsible to the people who elect him or her.”

Vivian Rostron was Rose’s and George’s younger daughter. At a young age she was a resident at Agnew State Hospital. As a result of her experience she was a strong advocate for mental health issues. She not only stayed abreast of the latest news in mental health. But she also wrote state senators and assemblymen advocating for the budgets of state mental health facilities. In addition, she was a strong advocate for her mother’s legacy – writing letters to the newspaper for recognizing her mother or a Mrs. Koch for recognizing another women, not her mother, as the first female county supervisor.