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East Valley Focus

MISSION HILLS : History Buffs to Celebrate Society's Work

July 24, 1993|CARMEN VALENCIA

For 50 years, the oldest historical society in the San Fernando Valley has been the caretaker of Valley history, carefully preserving everything from historical homes to antique clothing.

Members of the San Fernando Valley Historical Society will celebrate their role in keeping history alive during an anniversary celebration tomorrow on the grounds of the oldest adobe home in the Valley.

"That's a big landmark," said Barbara Swanson, a board member. "Sometimes we feel like we're a well-kept secret."

The society's first meeting took place during a picnic July 4, 1943, at Campo de Cahuenga in North Hollywood, where Mexican Gen. Andres Pico signed a treaty in 1847 ending California's role in the Mexican War. The state then was a territory of Mexico.

Since then, the society has amassed collections of antique clothing, artifacts, manuscripts and historical photographs of the days when orange groves were more common than shopping malls. The society also worked to save the Andres Pico Adobe from demolition in the 1960s.

"That was one of our major projects. We helped lead the fight to save that building and get the city of Los Angeles to purchase it," President Bobbette Fleschler said.

The adobe, built in 1834 and now operated by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, serves as the headquarters for the society. Since December, the organization has operated out of a trailer on the 2.5-acre property, since the adobe is closed for earthquake stabilization.

The anniversary celebration will take place at 3:30 p.m. on the lawn of the adobe, 10940 Sepulveda Blvd., Mission Hills. Among the exhibits will be many of the society's 800 historical photographs.

The event is open to any member of the public as long as they bring a dish for the potluck dinner.

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