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Groups Help Preserve California's Past

May 05, 1988|JUDITH JACOVITZ | Jacovitz is a Tarzana free-lance writer

The heritage of the Southland is in good hands, thanks to more than 100 local historical societies.

Tom Andrews Ph.D., executive director of the Historical Society of Southern California, said interest in the past has had a resurgence ever since the U.S. Bicentennial. In recent years, he said, a great many younger people are among those who have become instrumental in preserving our state's history.

Here is a sampling of Southern California historical societies; to locate others, consult local libraries, chambers of commerce or write to Associated Historical Societies of Los Angeles County, 411 Gordon Terrace, No. 4, Pasadena, Calif. 91105.

California Historical Society--The Southern California office is in a former water-powered grist mill, El Molino Viejo, at 1120 Old Mill Road, San Marino, (818) 449-5450. The society's History Center, 4201 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 202, Los Angeles, (213) 937-1848, contains major photographic archives and is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Mondays and Wednesdays by appointment. Tours, educational programs, art exhibits and dinners are scheduled throughout the year. No state funding is received.

Historical Society of Southern California--Headquartered at El Alisal, 200 E. Ave. 43, Highland Park, (213) 222-0546, the building is the former home of Charles F. Lummis. No regularly scheduled meetings. There are eight or nine programs a year, including author appearances, lectures, tours and dinner meetings. An upcoming event is the annual "Trek" June 4, which this year is to Catalina Island, to commemorate Avalon's centennial. El Alisal is open to the public 1-4 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday.

Historical Society of Long Beach--Meetings are the third Monday of the month (except July, August and December) 7 p.m. at the Senior Center, 1150 East 4th St., Long Beach, (213) 435-7511. This year is Long Beach's centennial. Celebrations will continue through Oct. 10. The 350-member society is in need of a permanent home; in the meantime, material is being stored in garages and private residences. Activities include collecting and cataloguing pictures and providing slide programs and exhibits to local schools.

Los Angeles City Historical Society--P.O. Box 41046, Los Angeles, Calif. 90041. No regular meetings. Events take place at different sites. On the agenda are walking tours and guided tours to historic spots. One of the 200-member group's projects since 1978 has been to place markers on each corner of the original 1781 boundaries of El Pueblo de Los Angeles; the sites are Exposition Boulevard-Figueroa Street, Indiana Street-Olympic Boulevard, Ernest Debs Park in the Highland Park area and Fountain-Hoover avenues (marker not yet installed).

Orange County Historical Society--P.O. Box 10984, Santa Ana, Calif. 92711; telephone (714) 972-8462, Wednesdays 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Meetings are the second Thursday of the month, 7:30 p.m., at Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana. Founded in 1919, the group has 325 members, some of whom are researchers and authors of books and articles relating to the area's past. Members are preparing for the Orange County Centennial in 1989; celebrations will be ongoing from August, 1988, to August, 1989.

Pasadena Historical Society--470 W. Walnut St., Pasadena, (818) 577-1660. Annual meeting in January. The group has 1,000 members. Fenyes Mansion, the society's site since 1970, is reminiscent of the graceful era of the early 1900s, when it was a gathering place for artists, musicians and scientists. The mansion is open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays and on the first, second and last Sundays of the month, 1-4 p.m.

San Diego Historical Society--The society can trace its history back to the Pioneer Society of the 1880s and now numbers 3,000 members. Write to P.O. Box 81825, San Diego, Calif. 92138. For information, call (619) 232-6203. No regular meetings. "Working Women" is an exhibit running through June 5 at the Museum of San Diego History. Photos, documents, costumes and artifacts from the society's collections depict the contributions of women to the development of the San Diego region. Public hours for the museum are Wednesday-Sunday 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Also of interest are the Junipero Serra Museum, open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Sundays noon-4:30 p.m.; Villa Montezuma/Jesse Shepard House, Wednesday-Sunday 1-4:30 p.m.; Research Archives, Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

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