SUMMER 2009 Published by the San Marino Historical Society Published by the

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SUMMER 2009 Published by the San Marino Historical Society Published by the 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
                                                                                                       SUMMER 2009

               PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
                                                                                  SAN MARINO HISTORICAL SOCIETY
APRIL 2009                                                                             PROUDLY PRESENTS
                                                                                      General George Stoneman:
      Spring is always a good time to stop, take stock and look at             From the Civil War to the San Gabriel Valley
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
                                                                                             Presented by
us to help her to get ready to celebrate her milestone 100th birth-                George B. Stoneman, M.D., F.A.C.S.
day in 2013. Many of the activities of the Historical Society will
help to set the stage for that grand event.                                            Thursday, May 21, 7:30pm
      With that in mind, our Oral History Project will train its first
group of volunteers, under the direction of California historian and
                                                                                  Southwestern Academy, Pioneer Hall
San Marino resident, Linda Mollno. We are in the process of col-                          2800 Monterey Rd
lecting names and contact information on people who should be                                San Marino
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 Mother-
      This Spring the Historical Society hosted a tour of the Mi-
chael White Adobe for family members representing five genera-
tions 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            Our speaker at this meeting is the great-
meet these direct descendants and begin to put a face on some-                   grandson of General George Stoneman, who
one who played a big role in the early history of our city.
      Just in case you are concerned that your historical society is
                                                                                 owned a 400 acre ranch named Los Robles,
so rooted in the past that we are out of touch with new technology,              located in the San Gabriel Valley, and who be-
several of our members were trained in the use of the new All City               came governor of California. You’re in store for
Online Calendar. The training took place at the Crowell Public                   a real treat today as he presents the life story
Library under the guidance of Head Librarian, Ann Dallavalle. SM                 of his distinguished ancestor.
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                                    Public is Welcome
Thursday, May 21, 2009, at 7:30. We hope to see you there.                                   Admission is Free
Ave Bortz
San Marino Historical Society

                                                                      Page 1
              San Marino Historical Society                                                  From the Archives
  Executive Board Officers and Committee Members 2009                                        Judith Carter
                                                                                                   Every Friday afternoon John Ryan holds open the Thurnher
President                                     Ave Maria Bortz                                House for guided tours and video presentations. Nearly three
Vice President – Membership                   Bill Ferry                                     hundred people have signed the guest book. We are grateful to
Vice President – Programs                     Gene Dryden                                    John for his dedication and enthusiasm. Please call the Historical
Treasurer—Chair of the Finance Committee      Wayne Carter                                   Society office to arrange a group tour on Tuesdays.
Recording Secretary                           Emilie Ferry                                         The photographic project is nearing completion. Judy Newell
Alternate Secretary                           Marlene Elliott                                and Julie Fedde have archived hundreds of photographs that were
                                                                                             submitted to the San Marino Tribune during the 1980s and
Parliamentarian                               Paul Crowley
                                                                                             1990s. These photos includes sports, wedding, school and com-
Artifacts and Resources                       Marilyn Peck
                                                                                             munity activity photos taken in San Marino during more than two
Librarian                                     Judy Carter
Historians                                    Peggy Winkler                                        This summer we hope to have two college students as in-
                                              Ken Veronda                                    terns working on various projects for us. The implementation of
                                              Ave Bortz                                      Past Perfect, a data base for historical societies and small muse-
Curator of the Michael White Adobe            vacant                                         ums is at the top of the list.
Newsletter                                    Chris Datwyler
Newsletter Assistants                         Judy Carter                                    Recent acquisitions include:
                                              Ken Veronda                                    Donations from Lynn Snowden
City Representative                           Betty Brown                                    •   A photo of the George Patton, Jr. family taken in Washington
Project Development                           Dennis Kneier                                      DC, no date.
Legal and Bylaws                              Shahen Harrapetian                             •   A photo of General George Patton, Jr. taken in Sicily, Italy in
SMHS Scholarship Committee                    Robert Almanza                                     1943.
                                              Emilie Ferry                                   •   Sales brochure for subdivision of Lake Vineyard, the Patton
Social Chairman                               vacant                                             Estates.
Communications                                Carolyn Holmstrom                              •   A copy of “Lake Vineyard” Adobe Ranch House: Selected
Stoneman Mural                                Marilyn Peck                                       Writings, Maps and Photographs, Prepared by F. Wm. Peter-
Historic Collections and Architectural Survey Marilyn Peck                                       son, San Gabriel Historical Society, 1974
Docent Chairman                               Peggy Walker                                   •   Los Angeles Examiner, December 8, 1941, page 1 and 2.
Docents                                       Ave Bortz                                          Effort on to Save Historic Adobe, ”Pasadena Star-News,
                                              Peggy Winkler                                      Tuesday, July 23, 1974. page C1.
                                              Graziella Almanza                              And
                                              Marilyn Peck                                   •   Donations from Hilary Dorsey
                                              Jim Elliott                                    •   Two silver Republic of San Marino coins 1995
General Assistants                            Marlene Elliott                                •   Two silver Republic of San Marino coins 1994
                                              James Elliott                                  •   One Republic of San Marino color poster
                                              Alan Weirick                                   •   One booklet on the history of the Republic featuring color
                                              Greg Thompson                                      photographs (no date).
Adobe Restoration and Preservations           Dennis Kneier
                                              James Elliott                                  We are grateful to them for their generosity.
                                              Paul Crowley
Website                                       Chris Datwyler
                                                                                             If you have personal remembrances of the Kathy Fiscus, please
                                              Gene Dryden                                    contact Bill Deverell, professor at USC who is researching the
                                                                                             incident and its implications.       He can be reached at
                 Society Presidents (1974-2008)                                     He will share his research with us when his
      Midge Sherwood................................................ 1974                    work is complete.
      Mary Smith ........................................................ 1976
      Jack Sherwood .................................................. 1978
                                                                                             Request for E-Mail Addresses—For those of you who are inter-
      Ed Ford .............................................................. 1980
                                                                                             ested in receiving e-mail reminders of San Marino Historical
      Graziella Almanza ............................................. 1982
                                                                                             Society programs or nearby events of local historical interest,
      La Verne Smith .................................................. 1985
                                                                                             please send an e-mail to us at smhistorical@earthlink. net. We
      Jeanne Imler ...................................................... 1989
                                                                                             promise we will not share your e-mail with any other organiza-
      Gary Fleming ..................................................... 1991
                                                                                             tion or business. It will be for our own use only.
      Lillian Campbell ................................................. 1993
      Marilyn Peck ...................................................... 1995
      Paul Crowley ..................................................... 1999                Colorfully decorated San Marino t-shirts, sweatshirts and canvas
      Gene Dryden ..................................................... 2004                 tote bags are available at the San Marino Historical Soci-
      Benjamin Salvaty ............................................... 2008                  ety. 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.
                      P.O. BOX 80222                                                         OPEN HOUSE If the sign is on the front door, the Thurnher
             SAN MARINO, CALIFORNIA 91118-8222                                               House is open. Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays, and on
                      (626) 304-9375                                                         Tuesdays by appointment. Please call 626-304-9375 or e-mail
                                                                                    to schedule a tour.

                                                                                    Page 2
                           Erna Thurnher: Sophisticated Floral Designer
Reprinted from the book Sending Flowers to America with permission from the American Florists’ Exchange / Los Ange-
                     les Flower Market, publisher. For details, see

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

                                                            Page 3
Erna Thurnher: Sophisticated Floral Designer                    Ethan represented the fourth and fifth generation in the
                                                                group. Jonathon White, Pearl’s great nephew made the
(Continued from page 3)
                                                                trip from Tacoma, Washington for the special event.
dreds of Southern Californians who worked in the South-                Located on what is now the campus of San Marino
ern California flower business from the 1800s into the          High School, the Michael White Adobe is one of the few
2000s and was published in late 2008 by the Los Angeles         remaining adobe buildings in the San Gabriel Valley. Built
Flower Market. For more information, visit                      in 1845 by White, a former seaman and his wife, Maria                                    del Rosario Guillen, the house provided shelter for their
     Peggi Ridgeway, author of this article, will be speak-     growing family. When Pearl White saw how small the
ing at the Crowell Library on Sunday, July 12 at 2 p.m.         house is, she said, “I wonder how thirteen children ever fit
                                                                into such a small home?” Ave Bortz explained to her and
 Five Generations of Michael White’s Family                     to all the other members of the family that there had been
              Visit the Adobe                                   an addition to the home to accommodate the growing
     Nine descendants of San Marino pioneer Michael             family. It was detached from the adobe and moved to a
White visited the Michael White Adobe recently. Wel-            location near the San Gabriel Mission many decades ago.
comed by San Marino Historical Society President Ave                   This article by Judy Carter appeared in the San Mar-
Bortz and Vice President Gene Dryden, these family              ino Tribune on March 26, 2009.
members toured the home of their historically significant
                                                                    San Marino Historical Society Represented
ancestor for the first time. “We so enjoyed meeting Mi-
chael White’s descendants. It was an opportunity to put a                 at Los Angeles Heritage Day
human face on one of the earliest families of San Marino.            For the second year, San Marino Historical Society
And the morning provided a moving way for the family to         participated in the Los Angeles Heritage Day. This year’s
honor his name,” said Ave Bortz after the two hour tour.        event was held at the Heritage Square Museum on Sun-
     Pearl White, the great great granddaughter of Mi-          day, March 22. Hosted by the L. A. Heritage Alliance, the
chael White’s eldest daughter Juana Paula White, is the         celebration drew over 70
                                                                heritage organizations
                                                                and hundreds of guests.
                                                                     San Marino Histori-
                                                                cal Society members
                                                                Wayne and Judith Carter
                                                                and Pat Salvaty wel-
                                                                comed visitors to their
                                                                table. Pat Salvaty stated,
                                                                “We made valuable con-
                                                                nections with many or-
                                                                ganizations whose con-
                                                                cerns we share.          We
                                                                passed out literature
                                                                about our group and en-
                                                                                               Judith Carter, Wayne Carter
                                                                couraged people to learn
                                                                                               and Pat Salvaty represent the
                                                                more about the history of
                                                                                               San Marino Historical Society
                                                                San Marino.”
Left to right: Donna Rhoads, Gilbert Juarez, Anita Mer-
                                                                     This annual event is
chain, Pearl White, Jonathon Withe, Stephen Juarez, Toni
                                                                held each March and is worth putting on your calendar. It
Bergstrom, Juana Hernandez, holding Ethan Hernandez.
                                                                always includes a range of programs including children’s
                                                                activities, living history interpretation and panel discus-
matriarch of the family. Pearl was joined by her son’s Gil-     sions for both the public and heritage organizations. The
bert and Stephen Juarez. Donna Rhoads, Anita Merchain           restored buildings at Heritage Square are open for tours.
and Toni Bergstrom also joined their grandmother for the        Docents in period costumes are on hand to tell about
morning visit to the adobe. Juana Hernandez and her son         each unique building.
                                                                     This article by Judy Carter appeared in the San Mar-
                          Please Sign Up!!!                     ino Tribune on March 26, 2009
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 en-
                                                                    Visit our web page to learn more about your Society’s pro-
velope quickly. A membership card will follow. Chances
                                                                                grams and activities:
are your name will appear somewhere in our 2013 Centen-
                                                                    (Click on “Community Resources” and then on “San Mar-
nial book!
                                                                              ino Historical Society”) or go directly to:
                                             Thank you.
                                                           Page 4

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