Other people's junk is someone else's treasure!
if you post the picture on the California State Button Society facebook page - they will more than likely be able to tell you - they are a mine of information!
No idea about the story behind the button, but it really is cool. Is is steel cut? All that detail on a small button...amazizng, isn't it?XOXO,Cyndi
might find the answer in here http://www.amazon.com/Collectors-Encyclopedia-Buttons-Schiffer-Book/dp/0764323296/ref=pd_sim_b_5 but i think "Bonkers about buttons" has the right idea