SUMMER 2009 Published by the San Marino Historical Society (PDF)

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SUMMER 2009 Published by the San Marino Historical Society (PDF) Powered By Docstoc
					Published by the San Marino Historical Society
The San Marino Historical Society Thurnher House at Lacy Park Post Office Box 80222 San Marino, California 91118-8222 Tel. 626-304-9375

APRIL 2009 HAPPY 96TH BIRTHDAY SAN MARINO Spring is always a good time to stop, take stock and look at where we are and where we are going. Spring birthdays give us another reason to do this. Ninety six is a venerable age and San Marino wears her 96 years well. It will be the responsibility of all of us to help her to get ready to celebrate her milestone 100th birthday in 2013. Many of the activities of the Historical Society will help to set the stage for that grand event. With that in mind, our Oral History Project will train its first group of volunteers, under the direction of California historian and San Marino resident, Linda Mollno. We are in the process of collecting names and contact information on people who should be included in the list of interviewees. Please contact us at the San Marino Historical Society with names of possible interviewees, as well as volunteers who would like to participate in this project. The Centennial Book Committee of the Historical Society has had its first meeting with Elizabeth Pomeroy. Elizabeth is a member of the first graduating class of San Marino High School, a reader at The Huntington Library, and the author of several books on local history. The Centennial Book Committee consists of Ave Bortz, Judith Carter, Nick Curry, Linda Mollno and Lee Mothershead. This Spring the Historical Society hosted a tour of the Michael White Adobe for family members representing five generations of his family. Prior to their tour I conducted an oral history interview with Pearl White, the great, great granddaughter of Juana Paula White, Michael White’s eldest child. This was the first time that these family members had been inside the White Adobe and it was a very meaningful time for all of them. It was exciting to meet these direct descendants and begin to put a face on someone who played a big role in the early history of our city. Just in case you are concerned that your historical society is so rooted in the past that we are out of touch with new technology, several of our members were trained in the use of the new All City Online Calendar. The training took place at the Crowell Public Library under the guidance of Head Librarian, Ann Dallavalle. SM Historical Society’s Chris Datwyler will be responsible for keeping the historical society’s online calendar up to date. Our next meeting will be at Southwestern Academy on Thursday, May 21, 2009, at 7:30. We hope to see you there. Ave Bortz President San Marino Historical Society

SAN MARINO HISTORICAL SOCIETY PROUDLY PRESENTS General George Stoneman: From the Civil War to the San Gabriel Valley Presented by George B. Stoneman, M.D., F.A.C.S. Thursday, May 21, 7:30pm Southwestern Academy, Pioneer Hall 2800 Monterey Rd San Marino

Our speaker at this meeting is the greatgrandson of General George Stoneman, who owned a 400 acre ranch named Los Robles, located in the San Gabriel Valley, and who became governor of California. You’re in store for a real treat today as he presents the life story of his distinguished ancestor.

Public is Welcome Admission is Free

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San Marino Historical Society Executive Board Officers and Committee Members 2009 President Vice President – Membership Vice President – Programs Treasurer—Chair of the Finance Committee Recording Secretary Alternate Secretary Parliamentarian Artifacts and Resources Librarian Historians Ave Maria Bortz Bill Ferry Gene Dryden Wayne Carter Emilie Ferry Marlene Elliott Paul Crowley Marilyn Peck Judy Carter Peggy Winkler Ken Veronda Ave Bortz Curator of the Michael White Adobe vacant Newsletter Chris Datwyler Newsletter Assistants Judy Carter Ken Veronda City Representative Betty Brown Project Development Dennis Kneier Legal and Bylaws Shahen Harrapetian SMHS Scholarship Committee Robert Almanza Emilie Ferry Social Chairman vacant Communications Carolyn Holmstrom Stoneman Mural Marilyn Peck Historic Collections and Architectural Survey Marilyn Peck Docent Chairman Peggy Walker Docents Ave Bortz Peggy Winkler Graziella Almanza Marilyn Peck Jim Elliott General Assistants Marlene Elliott James Elliott Alan Weirick Greg Thompson Adobe Restoration and Preservations Dennis Kneier James Elliott Paul Crowley Website Chris Datwyler Gene Dryden Society Presidents (1974-2008) Midge Sherwood................................................ 1974 Mary Smith ........................................................ 1976 Jack Sherwood .................................................. 1978 Ed Ford .............................................................. 1980 Graziella Almanza ............................................. 1982 La Verne Smith .................................................. 1985 Jeanne Imler ...................................................... 1989 Gary Fleming ..................................................... 1991 Lillian Campbell ................................................. 1993 Marilyn Peck ...................................................... 1995 Paul Crowley ..................................................... 1999 Gene Dryden ..................................................... 2004 Benjamin Salvaty ............................................... 2008 THE SAN MARINO HISTORICAL SOCIETY P.O. BOX 80222 SAN MARINO, CALIFORNIA 91118-8222 (626) 304-9375

From the Archives Judith Carter Every Friday afternoon John Ryan holds open the Thurnher House for guided tours and video presentations. Nearly three hundred people have signed the guest book. We are grateful to John for his dedication and enthusiasm. Please call the Historical Society office to arrange a group tour on Tuesdays. The photographic project is nearing completion. Judy Newell and Julie Fedde have archived hundreds of photographs that were submitted to the San Marino Tribune during the 1980s and 1990s. These photos includes sports, wedding, school and community activity photos taken in San Marino during more than two decades. This summer we hope to have two college students as interns working on various projects for us. The implementation of Past Perfect, a data base for historical societies and small museums is at the top of the list. Recent acquisitions include: Donations from Lynn Snowden • A photo of the George Patton, Jr. family taken in Washington DC, no date. • A photo of General George Patton, Jr. taken in Sicily, Italy in 1943. • Sales brochure for subdivision of Lake Vineyard, the Patton Estates. • A copy of “Lake Vineyard” Adobe Ranch House: Selected Writings, Maps and Photographs, Prepared by F. Wm. Peterson, San Gabriel Historical Society, 1974 • Los Angeles Examiner, December 8, 1941, page 1 and 2. Effort on to Save Historic Adobe, ”Pasadena Star-News, Tuesday, July 23, 1974. page C1. And • Donations from Hilary Dorsey • Two silver Republic of San Marino coins 1995 • Two silver Republic of San Marino coins 1994 • One Republic of San Marino color poster • One booklet on the history of the Republic featuring color photographs (no date). We are grateful to them for their generosity. If you have personal remembrances of the Kathy Fiscus, please contact Bill Deverell, professor at USC who is researching the incident and its implications. He can be reached at He will share his research with us when his work is complete.

Request for E-Mail Addresses—For those of you who are interested in receiving e-mail reminders of San Marino Historical Society programs or nearby events of local historical interest, please send an e-mail to us at smhistorical@earthlink. net. We promise we will not share your e-mail with any other organization or business. It will be for our own use only.
Colorfully decorated San Marino t-shirts, sweatshirts and canvas tote bags are available at the San Marino Historical Society. Check out the display in the Thurnher House and pick up an order blank for these great gifts. Call 626-305-9375 or e-mail the Historical Society at for prices. OPEN HOUSE If the sign is on the front door, the Thurnher House is open. Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays, and on Tuesdays by appointment. Please call 626-304-9375 or e-mail to schedule a tour.

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Erna Thurnher: Sophisticated Floral Designer
Reprinted from the book Sending Flowers to America with permission from the American Florists’ Exchange / Los Angeles Flower Market, publisher. For details, see “She brought class to the design profession,” recalls Stella Berry about Erna Thurnher. This talented floral designer and shop owner loved arranging flowers and planning events for her Los Angeles area customers, many of whom were wealthy and of renown. A quiet-spoken young Erna Haag, born in Hohenems, Austria in 1902, trained in Buchner Nursery and Flower Shop in Munich, Germany in 1920, where Armin Thurnher, who was a seven-year prisoner of war in Siberia following World War I, apprenticed in the nursery business. The couple married in 1922 and then, responding to Armin’s job offer from William Hertrich at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, they immigrated to the United States in 1923. Armin worked with Hertrich and Henry E. Huntington to develop the Huntington Botanical Gardens and was later selected to build San Marino’s Lacy Park. He became a park superintendent and director of landscape planning for San Marino. In 1939, Erna Thurnher went to work for Lucky Florist on Lake Avenue in Pasadena, where she became manager and in 1942, she purchased the Flower Box on Fair Oaks Boulevard in South Pasadena. In 1947, she opened Erna’s Flowers on Huntington Drive in San Marino while still owning and operating the Flower Box, which she later sold to an employee. She sold Erna’s Flowers in 1957 to the Stathatos family of San Marino, and the shop became The Broadway Florist/Flowers by Erna. Erna continued to manage the San Marino shop for many years; and she assisted the Stathatos family in their Pasadena and San Juan Capistrano “Stats” stores during Christmas seasons until she retired at age 89. The years that Erna Thurnher enjoyed her floral design career were filled with hard work and happy events. In her written memories, she reflected, “I think by now it is clear that I enjoyed every minute of what I did in my career. Most enjoyable was the opportunity for creative self expression, and most rewarding was the opportunity for personal growth.” The trust that people placed in Erna to plan and decorate dinner parties for 500 people, and organize and design large themed parties, often telling her to be creative, for “there is no limit,” touched her and challenged her. She hired teams of free lance artists, concocted one-of-a-kind props (like tall trees constructed of balloons; dancing bears; or live seals in the swimming pool) and called upon area florists and the Los Angeles Flower Market for unusual greens (like tea leaves) and flowers. During her career, Erna Thurnher designed for The Academy Awards’ Governors’ Ball dinners, conducted a 40-day flower arranging cruise event for Matson Lines, served on the FTD board of directors, demonstrated at an FTD convention and, with Armin, judged and lectured at flower shows nationwide. At the Los Angeles Flower Market, she presented several professional design classes, and her open house events, held first at Erna’s Flowers and then moved to the larger space afforded at the Episcopal Church’s parish house, quickly became legend for their elegance and a wonderful tea punch from an oldworld family recipe she wouldn’t share. Erna and Armin were a perfect team with her floral arranging and creativity and his nursery profession and flower garden, and they involved the whole family in the flower business. “Bertram tells of accompanying his faErna Thurnher,circa-1940 ther late at night out in the fields with flashlights looking for beetles in the chrysanthemums,” Erna recalled in 1997. Armin’s mums “would win prizes at the flower shows,” Erna said, “and they were very popular in the shop and at the wholesale market. On market days, Armin would cut the flowers in the early morning, about 4 a.m., and would bring them to the shop for bundling, which was very difficult as some of the flowers were so large, with heads like cabbages. I would then take them to Market. People would be waiting for me to arrive.” The couple’s sons William, Oskar and Bertram grew up in San Marino helping with their mother’s flower deliveries to meet hectic seasonal demands. (William died in March 1945 as a U.S. infantryman in Germany.) Oskar now resides in Northern California and Bertram in Orange County, California. In 1997, Erna Thurnher wrote that on their last trip to Austria, she and her beloved Armin drove to Munich hoping to visit Buchner Nursery, where Armin apprenticed, and “Blumebinderei” (a “flower business”), where she took her early training in 1920. “We looked up and down Augustinastrasse, but it was not there. It had been destroyed in the Second World War. Gone was the wonderful rotunda of leaded glass. It was sad not to find it.” Erna permanently retired in 1967, although she continued to help with special events in the San Juan Capistrano shop. She passed away in 1997 in Laguna Hills, California. Sending Flowers to America tells the stories of hun(Continued on page 4)

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Erna Thurnher: Sophisticated Floral Designer
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dreds of Southern Californians who worked in the Southern California flower business from the 1800s into the 2000s and was published in late 2008 by the Los Angeles Flower Market. For more information, visit Peggi Ridgeway, author of this article, will be speaking at the Crowell Library on Sunday, July 12 at 2 p.m.

Five Generations of Michael White’s Family Visit the Adobe
Nine descendants of San Marino pioneer Michael White visited the Michael White Adobe recently. Welcomed by San Marino Historical Society President Ave Bortz and Vice President Gene Dryden, these family members toured the home of their historically significant ancestor for the first time. “We so enjoyed meeting Michael White’s descendants. It was an opportunity to put a human face on one of the earliest families of San Marino. And the morning provided a moving way for the family to honor his name,” said Ave Bortz after the two hour tour. Pearl White, the great great granddaughter of Michael White’s eldest daughter Juana Paula White, is the

Ethan represented the fourth and fifth generation in the group. Jonathon White, Pearl’s great nephew made the trip from Tacoma, Washington for the special event. Located on what is now the campus of San Marino High School, the Michael White Adobe is one of the few remaining adobe buildings in the San Gabriel Valley. Built in 1845 by White, a former seaman and his wife, Maria del Rosario Guillen, the house provided shelter for their growing family. When Pearl White saw how small the house is, she said, “I wonder how thirteen children ever fit into such a small home?” Ave Bortz explained to her and to all the other members of the family that there had been an addition to the home to accommodate the growing family. It was detached from the adobe and moved to a location near the San Gabriel Mission many decades ago. This article by Judy Carter appeared in the San Marino Tribune on March 26, 2009.

San Marino Historical Society Represented at Los Angeles Heritage Day
For the second year, San Marino Historical Society participated in the Los Angeles Heritage Day. This year’s event was held at the Heritage Square Museum on Sunday, March 22. Hosted by the L. A. Heritage Alliance, the celebration drew over 70 heritage organizations and hundreds of guests. San Marino Historical Society members Wayne and Judith Carter and Pat Salvaty welcomed visitors to their table. Pat Salvaty stated, “We made valuable connections with many organizations whose concerns we share. We passed out literature about our group and enJudith Carter, Wayne Carter couraged people to learn and Pat Salvaty represent the more about the history of San Marino Historical Society San Marino.” This annual event is held each March and is worth putting on your calendar. It always includes a range of programs including children’s activities, living history interpretation and panel discussions for both the public and heritage organizations. The restored buildings at Heritage Square are open for tours. Docents in period costumes are on hand to tell about each unique building. This article by Judy Carter appeared in the San Marino Tribune on March 26, 2009 WEBSITE Visit our web page to learn more about your Society’s programs and activities: (Click on “Community Resources” and then on “San Marino Historical Society”) or go directly to:

Left to right: Donna Rhoads, Gilbert Juarez, Anita Merchain, Pearl White, Jonathon Withe, Stephen Juarez, Toni Bergstrom, Juana Hernandez, holding Ethan Hernandez. matriarch of the family. Pearl was joined by her son’s Gilbert and Stephen Juarez. Donna Rhoads, Anita Merchain and Toni Bergstrom also joined their grandmother for the morning visit to the adobe. Juana Hernandez and her son

Please Sign Up!!!
If you want to receive these quarterly “Grapevines”, see the old photos, learn of our programs and help to perpetuate the history of our wonderful town, then return the blue envelope quickly. A membership card will follow. Chances are your name will appear somewhere in our 2013 Centennial book! Thank you.

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