It was late summer of 1990 when the shipping record was first discovered. A carpenter was working on the second floor of the vandalized building, which had been home to three generations of the Rengstorff family. After peeling off the remaining scraps of the once elegant William Morris wallpaper, he was chipping away at the lath and plaster wall when it just tumbled from a hidden recess deep in the interior wall. Uncertain what to do with the stained, faded pages and the worn and tattered leather cover, he put it aside and eventually delivered it to Mountain View’s project manager in charge of restoring the 1867 historic mansion.
It consisted of 100 pages of bookkeeping for shipments to and from Rengstorff’s Landing on Stevens Creek where that stream empties into San Francisco Bay. Covering four years starting in 1879, it listed each outgoing shipment of hay and grain by the name of the farmer, the weight, the destination, and the name of the scow schooner carrying the cargo. Incoming shipments of hardware and related items were also detailed. Informal copies were made and the original was locked up.
Now, after almost two decades, the journal has been restored - by digitizing and printing all of the pages and creating a replica of the original leather binding. See nearby photo of the replica. The restored record invites research, disclosing some fascinating history. For example, see the entry in the Hisorical Notes section of the web site, titled “The Brainstorm and the Barrister’s Barley.”