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Community Resources

The Community Resources is a collection of content that serves to assist the public through a variety of mediums: instructional PowerPoints, trivia games, wallpaper files, education and exhibits. We also offer opportunities for the community to assist in the progress of the Digital Archives through volunteer positions in our Archives.

Upcoming Events:


Peeling Back 10,000 Years of San Diego History: Recent Discoveries at the C. W Harris Archaeological Site

posted 8/29/2022

Ocean Beach Historical Society Postcard. Richard Carrico and 10,000 years of San Diego History information.


Forward, into the past!  More than 10,000 years ago a group of indigenous people lived along the banks of the San Dieguito River a little east of present-day Rancho Santa Fe and west of the Lake Hodge dam. Situated on a near permanent water source with a myriad of wild game and plant resources this place, known as the C. W. Harris site was occupied continuously for more than ten millennia—right up until the Spanish period. The Harris site is one of the few archaeological sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Originally excavated by Malcolm Rogers in the late 1930s, again in the 1960s and more recently by Richard Carrico and his team of archaeologists, there is no other archaeological site in San Diego County that contains such a treasure trove of data about our First People. Join Richard as he peels back the layers of soil and brings the ancient past to life. We are going to go more than nine feet deep and see artifacts and environmental evidence of cultural and natural change. What did these people eat, how did they make their stone tools, and how did they adapt to substantial environmental change? Always entertaining and informative, Richard is going to answer those questions and many more. Join us for a trip into the past, the really, really long ago past.

Please join Ocean Beach Historical Society for this wonderful free presentation with Richard Carrico.

Thursday, September 15 at 7:00 pm. Water’s Edge Church. – 1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd in Ocean Beach




History Alive Lecture Season Begins


posted 8/9/2022

A two story house built in 1928 in the English Tudor style, white plaster and wooden frames with a hip-gabled roof clad in cedar shingles.

The Lemon Grove Historical Society will kick off the 47th season of its FREE History Alive lecture series with Jesus Benayas, charismatic president of the House of Spain. He will discuss the case of Juan Roderigo Cabrillo, the first European explorer of the California coast. Long thought to be Portuguese, he is actually Spanish. Dr. Wendy Kramer broke the story after her exhaustive research into 16th century Spanish archives. Benayas will display her book in Spanish and English. Please be in your seat by 7 pm as we start on time. History Alive is suitable for ages 16 and over.


Time: Thu, Sep 1, 2022 at 7:00 PM

Location: H. Lee House Cultural Center, 3205 Olive, Lemon Grove

Add to Your Calendar


Edison Lives

posted: 6/2/22


Dear Traveling Companions,

Every year in May and June, we think of Thomas Edison and his $637 Black Maria, the first motion picture studio. In a related invention he devised the Amberola, an early phonograph, in 1888. It was an instant hit. In May 1893 in Brooklyn, Edison showed films shot in the Black Maria. Later that year in August those early films were copyrighted at the Library of Congress. Jack could not resist the magic of Edison's genius, so made a little "historical divertimento" about the Black Maria and one of its earliest stars, Annabelle Whitford Moore, 17, performing her "butterfly dance."  Her coltish, youthful enthusiasm heralds the dawn of America's young movie industry.

Attached here for your viewing pleasure is "The Butterfly Dancer."

With special thanks to the Lemon Grove Historical Society, and warm regards,

Jack and Helen


 Butterfly Dancer


Jack and Helen Ofield


The Mothers of the Mothers

posted 5/9/2022


Forward club anniversary poster. Brown background with text and images of the red clubhouse.Dear Ones,

Greetings late on Mother's Day to all of our members and friends. We hope this special day was a happy one for you and yours.

We hearken back to 1909 and the 1920s and 1930s when our ancestral mothers led the charge in Lemon Grove as members of the Forward Club (because they were forward-thinking), a name later changed to the Women's Club when they joined the national Federation of Women's Clubs.

By 1922 the women had built and paid for their own clubhouse. You've done the math. That clubhouse is now 100. It still stands between Main and Olive Streets, Lemon Grove, on the corner of Barnell. It is part of the campus of First Baptist Church and features oodles of free parking.

We're extending Mother's Day to May 12. On that date in 1922, the ancestral mothers held their first meeting in their brand-new clubhouse. It's a 40' x 80' all-redwood wonder with a stone fireplace and a spectacular ceiling.

All 8th grade graduations were held there, along with fundraisers, social events of all kinds, meetings -- activities that made the building the heartbeat of Lemon Grove. Some of you may remember those golden days.

The Lemon Grove Historical Society will celebrate the 100th birthday of the clubhouse on May 12, 2022 at 7 pm. Please come and bring your children. It's all free and utterly fascinating. In addition to refreshments like birthday cake with 100 candles, Pastor Jeff Lettow of First Baptist Church will emcee the program, together with Laura Hook, president of the historical Society.

The excellent Sarah Lewis will present a fabulous display of Women's Club memorabilia and tell you the story of the club and how it served the town.

Best of all, local people who remember activities in the clubhouse will share them with us.

We think the mothers of the mothers would be pleased. We remember them the same way we remember our mothers now. These are the generational ties that bind the community together.

The doors open on Olive Street at 6:30 pm. We greatly look forward to seeing you at this big birthday party!

P.S. Bring your mothers, sisters, grandmas, aunts, cousins and friends!


Springtime Window

posted 5/2/2022

still life

Painting with interpretations of still life images by different artists. Rembrandt’s pear, Cézanne’s apple Van Gogh’s sunflowers, Renoir’s doily, O’Keefe’s peeled orange, Miro’s grapes, Zurburán’s lemon and Turner’s orange.


Dear Traveling Companions, 


The still life is a classic genre in art, one that springs to mind as May dawns. Jack has gathered together still beauties* by old friends like Cézanne, Zurburán, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Renoir and O’Keefe, and imagined them happily engaged in creative collaboration in a springtime window.

May your days be filled with art!

This painting has Rembrandt’s pear, Cézanne’s apple Van Gogh’s sunflowers, Renoir’s doily, O’Keefe’s peeled orange, Miro’s grapes, Zurburán’s lemon and Turner’s orange.



Jack and Helen

Jack and Helen Ofield



Lemon Grove's 1922 Women's Clubhouse Turns 100

posted 4/20/2022

forward club anniversary flyer with images of Lemon Grove red historical society house

They did it all by themselves. Raised the money, hired the contractor(s), bought the lumber and built one of the biggest--if not biggest--redwood public building in the West (40' x 80'). Their first board meeting was held there on May 12, 2022. Who were they, these remarkable women? They had grown up before WW I and helped to drive the societal changes that led so many of them--enough to form a cohort of front runners--who became lawyers, doctors, business owners, teachers and political activists.

Among the latter was Eveleen K. Bryan, whose Civil War veteran husband, Col. Theodore Bryan, was an early citrus grower in Lemon Grove. Mrs. Bryan was the first woman in Montana to be admitted to the bar and was a founder of the "Forward Club" in 1913 (later renamed the Lemon Grove Women's Club). She was thrice president of the Forward Club (1916-19; 1922-23; 1925-26), along with a who's who of powerhouse women in Lemon Grove. Among them were Alice Fisher, a founder of the Girls Scouts of San Diego County; ex-pat Brit Mrs. William West of citrus ranch fame; Mrs. Amy Sonka Newton of the famous mercantile family; Poet Mrs. Irving Vernier for whom Vernier Drive is named; business woman, Mrs. Alicia Scheneman, of auto repair fame.

The Forward Club ("forward thinking") bought the first public trash can in town and installed trees and plants wherever they could gain permission in the fledgling downtown. They had opinions about everything, such as the mistreatment of Native Americans, a cause that led them to raise funds and endow scholarships for First Nations youth.

Most of all they raised the clubhouse to an Olympian level: School graduations, countless social events, fundraisers, concerts, book clubs, theatre performances, the latter notably run in 1934-36 as the Lemon Grove Theatre Guild helmed by the famous pediatric eye doctor Dr. Amorita Treganza and her husband Robert Turnbull III. If you didn't hold an event in the Women's Clubhouse, you hadn't arrived on Planet Earth.

But time waits for no one. By 1998 the Women's Club had largely vanished, a casualty of changing economic and social times, and deaths of various members. The remaining members gave their records to the Lemon Grove Historical Society (LGHS), which treasures them as a record of the history and folklore of a fascinating community. Enter LGHS board member Sarah Lewis, who has assembled an outstanding exhibit of club memorabilia for display at the May 12 birthday party.

That's right, it's time to party in the clubhouse! Please see the attached flyer and mark your calendars for May 12 at 7 pm. (doors open at 6:30 pm.) Lots of free parking around the famous building at Burnett and Olive Streets.  Bring your family, friends and memories of this wonderful building. Those wishing to speak will have 3 to 5 minutes to either read or talk off-off-the-cuff. We'll have a microphone, tasty treats and a big birthday cake. Your hosts will be LGHS and the clubhouse owner ("Sonshine House"), the First Baptist Church of Lemon Grove. Pastor Jeff Lettow will emcee the program. Questions: sarah@lghistorical.org or 619-460-4353. See you there!

P. S. Bring the kids...


National Park Service Underground Railroad Lists Site with San Diego Connection

 posted 4/4/2022

San Dismiling woman with curly brown hairegan Dolores Van Rensalier got the word on Mar. 29, 2022, from the National Park Service (NPS): The historic site she fought for had been added to the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom after years of effort. Historic preservation requires endurance and dedication.

Van Rensalier's biracial personal history had led her to discover in Paterson, New Jersey, her free black grandfather, William P. Van Rensalier, who was a conductor/engineer on the Underground Railroad. He collaborated with his close white friend and employer, the abolitionist Josiah Huntoon, a wealthy coffee and spice merchant, whose mill was a haven for escaped slaves.

This biracial effort, so typical of the 19th century Abolitionist Movement, ultimately helped hundreds to gain freedom from enslavement. Thanks to descendants like Dolores Van Rensalier and her foundation, the two men are memorialized in perpetuity. To honor her remarkable ancestry, Van Rensalier formed the non-profit Huntoon-Van Rensalier Underground Railroad Foundation through which she raised $277,000 to hire famed black sculptor Edward Joseph Dwight, Jr. He was the first African American admitted to the Air Force training program for NASA astronauts in addition to his award-winning art works.

What should have been a slam dunk became no easy road to freedom. Huntoon's house was demolished and the resulting vacant lot was slated to become a parking lot or possibly home to a fast food chain. In 1994, day by agonizing day, Van Rensalier feared the lot would be sold by the Paterson city council when it was the obvious place for the monument. But by 1996 her research proved the lot's historic nature and convinced the city officials to preserve it. Many black leaders in Paterson helped. How could they resist her repeated phone calls to them (Los Angeles to Paterson), often in the wee hours? They responded with strategic suggestions like pressuring the city council to heed Van Rensalier's urgent plea. This worked.

By 2004 Van Rensalier had formed her foundation and begun the endless fundraising--and, oh, joy, one donation was a $171,000 historic preservation grant. This put the project on a trajectory to 2014 when the sacred site was completed.

What followed were years of loving foundation maintenance of the site (owned by the City of Paterson, New Jersey), and encouragement to several Paterson area historians to apply to the NPS for listing on the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. That listing happened. The historic site is one of 16 new listings in the 43rd round of applications from 11 states chosen to join the existing group of some 700 sites, facilities and programs in the Network, which honor those who escaped from slavery and those who assisted them on the legendary Underground Railroad. The 700 sites are in 39 states, plus Washington, D.C. and the U. S. Virgin Islands.

The stunning bronze Huntoon and Van Rensalier Historic Site honors the sheer guts and fortitude of African American slaves escaping to freedom. They are shown on sweeping wings extending on either side of the figures of the two abolitionists.

We quote Diane Miller, manager of the Network to Freedom:"...as we celebrate Harriet Tubman's 200th birthday, the freedom seekers and allies highlighted in each Network to Freedom listing remind us of what can be accomplished when people take action against injustice...we look forward to working with members to amplify the power of these places."

In her letter to Van Rensalier, Robin Krawitz Regional Managerof the National Park Service program (NTF) wrote, "Thank you for the immense work you have done to save this important historic site. Your book is in the bibliography..." That book is Bridge Street to Freedomamazon.com.

Today, Dolores Van Rensalier resides in San Diego and is married to Dr. John Warren, publisher of the equally historic  San Diego Voice & Viewpoint one of the nation's longest-running, most prestigious black newspapers. 

 In 2019 the Lemon Grove Historical Society's Remembrance Project featured Van Rensalier in a fascinating discussion of biraciality and color in the Lemon Grove Library before a packed house. We are grateful to her for her candor, love of history and intrepid spirit. Knowing she is at the helm of the Huntoon-Van Rensalier story is an inspiration.

The fabulous Huntoon Van Rensalier Historic Site lives on as part of the National Park Service and is annually viewed by thousands of visitors.

Great job, Dolores!



posted 3/30/2022

english style cottage white plaster brown wooden supports 2 stories

  The Lemon Grove Historical Society will continue its free, popular History Alive lecture series on April 7, 2022 at 7 pm in the H. Lee House Cultural Center, 3205 Olive, Lemon Grove. Helen Ofield's amusing "Where are the Great Cat Burglars" will explore crime in the 1950s and 1960s in LG when slightly kinder, gentler creeps broke into emporia, even homes, seeking spare change or maybe a donut. Invariably, they were caught hiding behind dumpsters, running down the alley, or even squished into air vents.

   Their exploits were gleefully reported in the pages of the Lemon Grove Review, the 50-year weekly chronicle of local life. Recognizing the often hysterically funny nature of these would-be crooks, Ofield began writing a column based on the Review's stories for Patch.com in which she featured assorted malfeasance, fillers ("Wisdom of the Ages"), and stories unique to the little town with the Big Lemon.

   It is no great leap to contrast crime then and now. Today we cope with shootings, muggings, car jackings, knifings, incessant graffiti, and attacks on senior citizens and youngsters. No community is safe, just as fewer courts seem capable of throwing a sufficiently severe book at often violent crooks.

   History Alive is suitable for ages 16 and over. Please be in your seats by 7 pm as the program starts promptly. The H. Lee House is in Treganza Heritage Park, where free parking abounds.



posted 3/1/2022

Brown haired woman in black glasses smiling, Cynthia Hughes Doyle.Mark your calendars for this outstanding edition of "History Alive":  Mar. 3 at 7 p.m. in the H. Lee House Cultural Center, 3205 Olive, Lemon Grove, Cynthia Hughes Doyle, great granddaughter of architect Alberto Treganza, will treat us to her latest research into Treganza’s beautiful architectural designs, many of them state and federal landmarks. Doyle’s ultimate goal is to author a book about our very own Big Lemon designer--and among the West’s finest architects, furniture designers, artists and (even) ornithologists.

The lecture accompanies the exhibit, The Treganza Family in Lemon Grove, on view now through June 30, 2022 in the Parsonage Museum, 3185 Olive, Treganza Heritage Park, Lemon Grove. Laura Hook, LGHS president, designed the informative exhibit, which features many rarely-seen photographs and gives you the lowdown on Treganza's birding exploits. He discovered the Ardea herodias treganzai in Utah in 1907. You can call this mighty bird "Treganza's Heron" or "Treganza Blue Heron" according to the Smithsonian Institution and the federal Biological Survey.

Treganza's mother wrote poetry and was an active collector of shells and fossils. His father was a horticulturist, painter and avid outdoorsman. You can see where Alberto and the whole family got their love of the outdoors, not to mention achievements in the arts and humanities. The senior Treganzas crossed the plains from Utah in 1889, a trip not for the faint of heart. In 1911 Alberto designed a charming Arts & Crafts bungalow for them on Kempf Street, Lemon Grove. That house is alive and well at age 111.

We can't wait to welcome our terrific speaker. Please be in your seat by 7 pm on March 3. Our lectures are free and suitable for ages 16 and over. See you there!


The Treganza Dynasty: The Family That Made History Happen

posted 02/24/2022

A large group of smiling people gathered around the Treganza Heritage Park signThey left nothing to chance. Starting in 1842 when the first "Tregensoes" (later, Treganzas) crossed the Atlantic to America and a new life, the family left the starting gate (Cornwall) with many of the things that make life worth living: Art, Writing, Music, Crafts, Agriculture, Architecture, Anthropology, Ethnography, Mining, Medicine, Research, Business, Education, International Relations, and above all, a sense of adventure and faith in the future.

The Treganzas set down roots in the Western US and Mexico, especially in tiny Lemon Grove, the town that welcomed our wanderers home. In gratitude, the scion of the family, master architect Alberto Owen Treganza, designed The Big Lemon, a 3,000-pound civic icon that has stood by the town's lifeline--the railroad that carried its award-winning lemons throughout the U. S.--since 1928.

Alberto's father, Eduardo Treganza, had horticulture in his veins. He worked with early growers, including the great Hunter Dynasty (founder of century-old Hunter's Nursery) to kickstart the town's citrus industry. He and his wife, Josephine the poet, had crossed the plains by wagon from Utah in 1889 to San Diego and thence to Lemon Grove.

Alberto's two marriages involved gifted women and many offspring. The first wife, Alma ("Soul"), died of heart disease (today she would have lived). Their two talented daughters, Eleanor and Eloise, lived into old age. They were raised by Alma's successor, the writer-adventurer Antwonet Kaufman, who lovingly raised Alma's children and her own brilliant three, Amorita, Adan and Adalaida. What followed were legions of descendants residing today in every part of America and carrying on family traditions in the arts and humanities and more.

Many came to Lemon Grove for the Oct. 9, 2021 dedication of Treganza Heritage Park. This joyous event was initiated by the Lemon Grove Historical Society (a founder was Amorita Treganza in 1978) and carried to the finish line by the City of Lemon Grove in honor of the pioneer family that influenced literally every aspect of civic life. The park is home to the Parsonage Museum of Lemon Grove and the H. Lee House, the Tudor Revival wonder built in 1928--both saved and resuscitated by the historical society with civic approval.

The historical society will continue the celebration on its History Alive series, Mar. 3 at 7 pm in the H. Lee House, 3205 Olive Street, when Treganza descendant, Cynthia Hughes Doyle, will give a terrific Powerpoint lecture, "Alberto Treganza: Master Architect." A special museum exhibit, "The Treganza Family in Lemon Grove," opens Saturday, Mar. 5 at 11 am. The latter will include a Members Only Reception on Mar. 5 from 2 - 4 pm. at the museum. If, gasp, you aren't a member, you can attend and join that day. We also look forward to welcoming members of the press.

And that, dear friends, is why the dynasty lives on and why history is our friend.

Photo credit: Mike Norris Media for LGHS



posted 01/18/2022

An image of an older black gentleman in tinted glasses with a white and gray goatee, a colorful hat, and fingers a golden pendant at his collar.   The Lemon Grove Historical Society (LGHS) will observe Black History Month with a solo show, Mike Norris: A Retrospective, on view Feb. 1 through Apr. 30 on Saturdays, 11 am to 2 pm, and weekdays by appointment for groups of six or more from 10 am to 2 pm in the Parsonage Museum, 3185 Olive Street, Treganza Heritage Park, Lemon Grove. The exhibition honors the work of a noted African American photographer, whose work is characterized by drama, movement and deep humanity.

   Modest and retiring, Norris was spotted by Oakland Tribune photographer Kenneth P. Green. "I used to do ride-alongs with Kenneth on his assignments," said Norris. "One day he said I'd make a good photographer, but I just laughed. At the time I was working as a nightclub singer and drummer."

   But Greene persisted. Intrigued, Norris began studying Greene's work, as well as that of Gordon Parks, the legendary African American photographer. It was sports photography that became Norris's ticket to ride--all the way to the Hall of Fame four times with dramatic images of Chargers' linebacker, Junior Seau (for whom Norris became the personal photographer); LaDainian Tomlinson, the Chargers' winning running back; Joe Morgan, the great second baseman; and Ronnie Lott, the remarkable linebacker for the San Francisco Forty-Niners.

   These indelible portraits cemented Norris's reputation as a photographer who got the story. His career includes work with Tiger Woods' golf clinics for youth, private clients, big public events, publications like San Diego Voice & Viewpoint, one of the oldest, most prestigious Black newspapers in America, and more. Norris's interpersonal skills transform stiff, nervous subjects into relaxed, personable human beings. "There is such joy in this work when a plain old photo becomes alive and vibrant, and jumps off the page," observed Norris.

   On Jan. 1, 2022 LGHS continued its practice of recognizing noted artists by appointing Norris its Photographer-in-Residence. He joins Kathleen Strzelecki, Artist-in-Residence (2000) and Robert Stuckey, Videographer-in-Residence (2010).

   "We are thrilled to have Mike on board,” said Laura Hook, LGHS president. “His reputation preceded him -- but when he brilliantly photographed our October, 2021 public events for the dedication of Treganza Heritage Park, we knew we had a winner. Thank you, Mike!”


   LGHS will celebrate the Norris one-man show with a members' reception on Feb. 5 from 2 - 4 pm at the Parsonage Museum, where libations and refreshments will greet visitors. More information: 619-460-4353.


   Mike Norris: A Retrospective is made possible by the generosity of William and Shirley Kimmich and Carol Weiss.

   (Photograph of Mike Norris by Ife Babatunde).



posted 01/04/2022


An image of an older black gentleman in tinted glasses with a white and gray goatee, a colorful hat, and fingers a golden pendant at his collar.   The Lemon Grove Historical Society (LGHS) increased its talent pool, effective Jan. 1, 2022, by appointing Mike Norris Photographer-in Residence.  Norris joins Kathleen Strzelecki, Artist-in-Residence, and Robert Stuckey, Videographer-in-Residence, both well-known for their work in portraying and documenting American history.

    “We are thrilled to have Mike on board,” said Laura Hook, LGHS president. “His reputation preceded him, of course. But when he brilliantly photographed our Oct. 8-9, 2021 ‘Treganza Extravaganza,’ the public dedication of Treganza Heritage Park, we knew we had a winner. Thank you, Mike!”

   As photographer-in-residence, Norris will cover major public events sponsored by the historical society and undertake its special photo shoots. Private and public funding underwrites the services of this important artist.

   Norris’s passion for photography is no accident. Half a century ago, he picked up a camera and never looked back. What he photographed became his ticket to ride— all the way home as a four-time Hall of Fame photographer with Joe Morgan, the great second baseman; Ronnie Lott, the superb linebacker for the San Francisco Forty-Niners; LaDainian Tomlinson, the winning running back for the San Diego Chargers; and Junior Seau (for whom Norris became the personal photographer), the legendary linebacker for the Chargers. Tiger Woods’ golf clinics for youth, social events and much more comprise the Norris oeuvre.

   Today Mike shoots for a range of news media like the historic San Diego Voice & Viewpoint, one of the oldest Black newspapers in the nation, as well as for private clients in his studio. He has amassed a portfolio of arresting images that form the basis of his one-man shows.

   But this modest man has never forgotten the close friend who recognized his talent: Kenneth P. Green, staff photographer for the Oakland Tribune. “l would do ride-alongs with Kenneth on his newspaper assignments. One day he said I would make a great photographer. I simply laughed out loud. I had no intention of being a photographer.” (At the time Norris worked as a nightclub singer and drummer.)

   Norris continues: “Whatever Kenneth saw in me was prophetic. As a top-rated photographer, I owe it all to him, as well as to inspirations like Gordon Parks whose work I studied, and to mastering various cameras, from the original film-and-darkroom cameras to the current and evolving smart phone cameras and online techniques.

   “I learned from Kenneth the importance of interpersonal skills that put people at ease, so they turn from stiff and embarrassed to relaxed and personable. This makes the difference between a plain old photo and one that jumps off the page alive and vibrant. There is great joy in this work.”

   LGHS will mount a solo exhibition of Norris’s work in the Betty Hunter Gallery of the Parsonage Museum of Lemon Grove in February. Start and end dates, and the date and time of the opening reception will be announced later this January.

   Find Mike Norris Studio, Master Photographer, at imageseed@gmail.com.

   (photo credit: Photograph by Ife Babatunde)


Happy New Year

posted 01/04/2022

Image of gears and inside a pocketwatch with curling streamers dangling from the top on a gray backgroundDear Traveling Companions,


  You are much on our minds as we bid farewell to a dreadful year. After the toasts and feasting with loved ones, perhaps you endured the senseless hoopla of television with its screeching, self-centered hosts, who are anathema to any genuine celebration.

  Then came today, la vraie nouvelle année. We hope there was a rebirth at breakfast at your house as symbolized here in Jack's amusing hatching at table.

  We think back to "Barry Lyndon" and that great closing line:  "It was in the reign of George II that the above-named personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equaAn image of a glass of orange juice, an egg hatching a blue baby bird, and a steaming cup of coffee.l now."

  That is true. But for us, you made a bad year better through your creativity, originality and love for each other.

  Onward to 2022!

  Jack and Helen Ofield



Six Nations' Worth of Great Short Films

posted 01/04/2022


The Lemon Grove Historical Society will launch its 2022 season with Film Night in the Lee House on Jan. 6 at 7 pm in the H. Lee House, 3205 Olive Street, Lemon Grove. This free, special edition of the "History Alive" series is suitable for ages 17 and over.

Films from six nations, rarely seen in the U.S., include the gripping "The Wave on the Shore," an Iranian documentary about smugglers on the Caspian Sea outrunning patrol boats while a village wedding is underway--filmed as it happened; "The Glassmakers of Herat," a documentary made just before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, where a 20-year-old father uses a 3,500-year-old method to make glass; "Stampede," a sweet animation from California; "The Voice of Silence," a heartbreaker from Sweden; "Uno Mas Uno Menos," a docu-drama about a girl with Downs Syndrome in Spain and her TV interviewer friend; "Rival," a comedy about dating in Uzbekistan.

Long-time historical society members, Jack and Helen Ofield, are sponsoring the program of unusual international films from their hit series, The Short List, a four-time Emmy award-winner on public broadcasting.

Popcorn and water will be available. Please be in your seat by 7 pm. 

(Production photos courtesy of the Iranian Young Cinema Society and Corning Glass.)


"How the Grinch Stole Christmas" Packs 'Em In

posted 11/22/2021

Helen Ofield, Patch Mayor

This is the story of a little child who leads them. When Cindy Lou (the adorable Leila Manuel) of Who-ville innocently treats the evil Grinch like the decent person he basically is, his shrunken heart starts to g-r-o-w. And with it his remorse and affection for the non judgmental denizens of Who-ville.

The Grinch (Andrew Polec) and Young Max the Dog (Tommy Martinez) argue over Christmas. (Rich Soublet II for The Old Globe)Who-villeans are amusingly upholstered, sing like angels and even appear as tiny puppets on the hill in starlight—leading us to applaud the Globe's technical team, to wit: the Who-chestra led by music director Elan McMahan; John Lee Beatty, scenic design; Robert Morgan, costumes; Pat Collins, lighting; Paul Peterson, sound; Jess Slocum, stage manager; Bob Richard, additional choreography for John DeLuca's original dances; Joshua Rosenblum, vocal arrangements and artful incidental music; Sarah Daoust, editor of the wonderful program; James Vasquez, director of this Christmas confection; and Jack O'Brien, Globe patron saint, who delivered the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas 24 years ago.

All those years ago, kids sobbed in fright as the hairy green Grinch strode the stage and screen. Now, moppets are convulsed in giggles, while their parents applaud vigorously. A packed house clearly adored the tightly-constructed show running an hour and 20 minutes. Vasquez uses the entire theatre with Who folk in the aisles, fake snow falling, and a pair of fetching "dogs" (John Treacy Egan and Tommy Martinez) keeping us on message and on track.

Find out what's happening in

Lemon Grove

with free, real-time updates from Patch.

Let's go!

Strive though he does to thwart Christmas and maintain his rugged individuality, the Grinch (the virtuoso Andrew Polec) is persuaded bit by funny bit to admit he blew it. Along the way, Who-villeans remind us that gifts are not the message of Christmas, "It's the Thought That Counts," they warble.

Dismayed though they are when the Grinch swipes their food, gifts, even, gasp, the tree with the star on top, they press on and celebrate with their children the true meaning of the Christian, but universal, season.

We thank the Globe for ignoring political correctness and all-against-all warfare and choosing, instead, to mount a happy production that emphasizes multiculturalism and the brotherhood of man. Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) would be proud of you. The show runs through Dec. 31--get your tickets now. Merry Christmas!


Lemon Grove's Early Banks are Gone With the Wind

posted 11/19/2021


The building that housed Berry's Athletic Supply and, earlier, Crocker Bank bit the dust on Nov. 18, 2021.

Helen Ofield, Patch Mayor

In 1949 Lemon Grove got its first bank, First National Trust & Savings, corner of Imperial (now Lemon Grove Avenue) and Golden. For years the building was home to Union Bank, which moved half a block south about a year ago to sit next to Bank of America on Lemon Grove Avenue. The original bank building stands empty awaiting its fate.

Once the town also had San Diego Trust & Savings and Crocker National Bank, which succeeded U. S. National Bank in the familiar white building beside the post office.

Crocker hit the ground running. The stuffed "Crocker Spaniel" was given to those who opened accounts. Excitement reigned when Crocker offered automated teller machine service, prompting customers to speak to it as though it were a person ("Hello, can you help me?"). When the bank was absorbed by Wells Fargo in 1986, other businesses occupied the building. The familiar building at Broadway and Grove is gone and its history with it. (Helen Ofield)

Most recently, the venerable Berry's Athletic Supply, which bought the place in 1992, sold out and moved to 7946 Lemon Grove Avenue, the former site of Grove Office Supply. The building and large parking lot stood empty, but for a big sign heralding the future: CityMark, the developer that built the apartment building next to the two Citronicas at the entrance to town, owned the site and bulldozed it on Nov. 18, 2021.

Rising in its place will be a five-story square apartment building bounded by Lester, Grove and Broadway. This will undoubtedly help California's chronic housing shortage, but not its soaring rents. People form banks and build multi-family housing for one reason: to make money. Whatever the traffic will bear becomes the norm.

Crocker was founded by railroad baron Charles Crocker in San Francisco in the late 19th century. In the crazy-quilt life of banks, Crocker Bank was sold and resold. At one point most of its top 70 executives lost their jobs.

You remember the banking theme in the movie, "I Remember Mama," starring Irene Dunne. Worried that her children would feel insecure if there was no bank account, she would pile up coins (her husband's salary) on the kitchen table and allocate them to the butcher, the baker, the landlord—and the bank. The children grew up thinking there was a financial floor under the family stashed in a mythical bank.

When a hometown bank is sold and resold or goes out of business, or when your mortgage is sold and resold, there is a seismic shift in family security. We can't go back to a safer time, for that is as mythical as Mama's bank. All we can do is marshall our funds, save not fritter, and teach our children the value of saving for that inevitable rainy day. God bless the child who's got his own.


Globe For All is All-In

posted October 27, 2021

Shakespeare call and response Globe for AllThe touring arm of The Old Globe Theatre is on the road again after nearly two years of lockdown. Fans are thrilled. The Lemon Grove Historical Society, the City of Lemon Grove and the Lemon Grove School District and adjacent high schools have joined forces to welcome Globe For All to Treganza Heritage Park on Nov. 10 from 3:30 - 4:30 pm for a free, outdoor performance of Shakespeare: Call and Response.

You don't need a ticket. Just come on down to the park. Bring a folding chair or blanket if you wish. We'll have chairs for grownups and plenty of space for any physically challenged guest (walker, crutches, wheelchair, etc.). Best of all, we'll have a beguiling show directed by the multi-award-winning Patricia McGregor (Nat King Cole, A Raisin in the Sun, Winter's Tale, Hamlet, more) and starring Eddie R. Brown III, Sofia Jean Gomez, Anne Son, Christopher Michael Rivera and Miki Vale.

So, what's the "call and response"?  The show features scenes from five major Shakespeare plays performed by a virtuoso quintet adept at dance, verse, music, comedy, drama and audience participation. They call; you respond. Based on your input the troupe transforms into a variety of roles, all anchored by a DJ, who invites the crowd in while spinning hits that get you on your feet. In other words, the whole show is a fresh, original, dynamic interplay between the world's greatest writer and you, the audience.


Information: 619-460-4353.



posted October 18, 2021

Deirdra and John Doan The Lemon Grove Historical Society (LGHS) will continue its free signature series, History Alive, on Nov. 4, 2021 at 7 pm in the H. Lee House Cultural Center, 3205 Olive Street, Lemon Grove, with the musical team of John and Deirdra Doan and Steven Bissell.

The trio are veteran music-makers, who regale audiences with music, words and pictures on how people used to entertain themselves with music around the family upright piano, on harmonicas, stringed instruments of all kinds, and more. In other words, life wasn’t always TV, cell phones, movies and social media.

John Doan taught “Music in America” for 40 years at Willamette University, Salem, Oregon, as a professor of Music History, while Deirdra Doan is a painter and Bissell a multi-talented instrumentalist. 

“History Alive” is made possible by a Community Enhancement Grant from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and is generally suitable for ages 16 and over. Where possible, lectures are videotaped by our videographer-in-residence, Robert Stuckey, and stored in our archives.


Treganza Heritage Park - Let the Celebration Begin

posted October 5, 2021

The Lemon Grove Historical Society and the City of Lemon Grove present a two-day celebration of the newly named Treganza Heritage Park on Oct. 8 and 9, 2021. The entire park and its two historic sites, the Parsonage Museum(1897) and the H. Lee House(1928) will be at the center of free fun for all.

In consideration of the lingering effects of Covid 19, all events will be held outdoors.

Oct. 8 at 7 pm in the courtyard behind the H. Lee House, 3205 Olive, Lemon Grove, the popular, free "History Alive" lecture series will feature Cynthia Hughes-Doyle on the story of Alberto Treganza's superb architecture and landscape designs that grace the Western U.S. from Utah to California. She will include the 3,000-pound "Big Lemon," the roadside icon of Lemon Grove since 1928.

Complementing this lecture will be Helen Ofield's story of the Treganza family and its most famous local resident, Dr. Amorita Treganza. Both lectures will feature colorful PowerPoint visuals.

On Oct. 9 from 10 - 11:30 am in the parking lot behind the Parsonage Museum, 3185 Olive, Lemon Grove, the formal dedication of the park will feature comments by dignitaries, presentations by Lemon Grove's Mayor Raquel Vasquez, Girl Scout Troop 6786 presenting the colors, invocation by Dr. John Warren, songs of celebration by the Martin Luther King Junior Community Choir San Diego, winners in the 2021 Treganza History Essay Competition for Grade 3, --and the big moment-- unveiling the new signs honoring the pioneer family that arrived in the county in 1889 and fostered the visual and performing arts, science, medicine, journalism and education in Lemon Grove, San Diego County and the West.

Don't miss this program! It will be the first time in civic history that Lemon Grove has named a public park for a significant pioneer family. The mayor and council voted unanimously for this on Feb. 4, 2020. Then Covid-19 struck, and we were locked down for over a year. But now our town can celebrate its very own.

From 11:30 am to 2 pm, the park will be alive with fun. Children's lawn games and an inflatable slide; a vintage car display; displays by local groups; open house in the Parsonage Museum with its special Treganza Family exhibit, Miller Dairy exhibit and more; open house in the adjacent H. Lee House with a first-time display of the historical society's voluminous archives.

At 5:30 pm, guests with tickets will check in at the H. Lee House for the gala al fresco dinner in the courtyard, featuring sumptuous food by La Cuisine, entertainment by the Carlos Villator Flamenco Dancers and a fabulous Silent Auction. If you don't have a ticket, buy one at the door or online at www.lghistorical.org. ($60).

More information: 619-460-4353.

Photographs: Treganza Family on the porch of the Kempf Street house in 1914, and a solo image of Dr. Amorita Treganza, 1999.


Movies and Why Some Really Matter

posted August 16, 2021


Dear Movie Fan,

Please go to this link for a discussion of five wonderful contemporary films that need longer shelf life than they received:


All the best,



"History Alive" is back

posted July 12, 2021

Our free "History Alive" programs are made possible by a Community Enhancement Grant from the County of San Diego. Normally, we don't offer these programs in July and August--but we don't live in normal times! Audiences can now attend indoor events and have been begging for "History Alive" for weeks. That's why we've planned two terrific lectures for your summertime delight. We'll carry on as usual in the fall and winter on the first Thursday of the month at 7 pm just as we have since 1978. We can't wait to see you again!

THURSDAY, JULY 8 at 7 pm in the H. Lee House, 3205 Olive, Lemon Grove, we'll present "The Remarkable Story of Solo Bee" and how a Lemon Grove researcher is putting the buzz back in the garden just when you thought all was lost. LGHS board member Roberta Bulling will stand in for researcher/inventor Candace Vanderhoff and show a terrific DVD filmed by our own Rob Stuckey on site in Lemon Grove, where the solo bee havens are made. This program is suitable for ages 16 and over and will delight gardeners and non gardeners alike.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 5 at 7 pm in the H. Lee House, 3205 Olive, Lemon Grove. One of your favorites, historian Alexander Bevil, a former California State Parks historian who writes all manner of fascinating articles, returns with a PowerPoint and a great story:  Winifred Davidson was San Diego Historical Society's first historian. Between 1924-64 she identified over four dozen local historic sites, literally finding out where the bodies are buried. Alas, in the ensuing 60 years she has been all but forgotten. Enter Bevil to ensure that her legacy lives on. If you loved his lecture on the horrific crash of PSA 182 in North Park, you'll be enthralled by this one. Ages 16 and over are welcome.


More information: 619-460-4353.


"An American Family" by Kathleen Strzelecki Marks Return of Arts and Humanities

photo of Kathleen Strzelecki posted May 17, 2021

The Lemon Grove Library is reopening, albeit with limited hours, but OPEN! This beautiful Mission Revival building opened its doors on June 1, 2013 and is very dear to the Lemon Grove Historical Society. The library and the society have collaborated on history lectures, Film Night in the Library, art exhibits, Art Talks, The Remembrance Project, book signings, and Old Globe Theatre events, all of which will return in the months ahead.

Said historical society president Laura Hook, "We celebrate the reopening of both the library and the Parsonage Museum (3185 Olive, Lemon Grove) with a wonderful exhibit of 17 paintings comprising 'An American Family' by noted artist Kathleen Strzelecki."  The collection is on view through July 23, 2021 in the library’s Ernie Anastos Great Room on the following schedule:

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 

10 am - 12:30 pm open

12:30 - 1:30 pm closed for sanitizing

1:30 - 4 pm open

Branch manager Danielle Gio directs all to wear masks in the library until further notice. Ghio and assistant manager René Gehr are on deck Mondays and Fridays for front-door pickup of reserved items.

Strzelecki’s work is in public and private collections throughout the United States. Among her many awards is a 2014 Governor’s Historic Preservation Award and the Congress of History Ben Dixon Award for painting the epic Lemon Grove History Mural commissioned by the historical society and on permanent display at 3308 Main Street, Lemon Grove.  She is a scholarship graduate of the Chouinard Institute and is the Artist-in-Residence at the Lemon Grove Historical Society. Her parents, Vernon and Margaret Allen, were protegés of Frank Lloyd Wright. 

photo taken at Art Talk“An American Family” spans 1957-2013 and shows a series of autobiographical portraits of the artist’s diverse family, a group touched by tragedy, joy and the mundane of everyday life in rural and urban settings. The portraits’ emotional intensity, backed by dream-like settings and subtle play of light, is heightened by the use of fabric, paper and photographic collage. In revealing the inner life of her subjects, Strzelecki avoids the merely pretty and works in a large format to create arresting portraits of real people and relationships.  In her own words, “Art is a voyage of discovery and there is no telling what one might bring home from such a journey.”

For more information, contact the library at 619-463-9819, or the historical society at 619-460-4353.


posted April 27, 2021

for immediate release

lghistorical@gmail.com / 619-462-6494

Major William Trask, WW II Hero, Hits 100

Major William TraskThe family of Major William “Bill” Trask, Lemon Grove, and the Lemon Grove Historical Society are proud to announce his 100th birthday on May 12, 2021.

This war hero flew 17 missions in WW II Europe and survived a crash in Liège, Belgium, while struggling to land without a nose wheel when his B-24 caught fire. He was promoted to major and spent 20 years in the Army Air Corps.

Major Trask’s postwar life was busy. He and his wife, Rita Francis Trask, raised two sons while Bill worked at General Dynamics before spending 24 years in security at the Timken Museum in Balboa Park. The Trasks moved to Lemon Grove in 1962 to the house he lives in today. He served on the Committee to Incorporate Lemon Grove, a success in 1977 when the little town with the Big Lemon became California’s 414th city.

Work was a Trask family tradition, for Bill didn’t retire until age 90. Born in Lambertville, New Jersey in 1921, by age 13 he was sacking potatoes for a princely eight cents an hour. When he apprenticed to a sheet metal worker the die was cast, for that led directly to his military career.

Eight Air ForceSaid Laura Hook, president of the historical society, “Not only does Major Trask share the role of being our most senior member—the other centenarian is Judy Smith—he was a pivotal mover and shaker in incorporating our town. We honor his century of achievement as a husband, father, professional in the military and security arenas, community leader, charter member of the Lemon Grove Senior Patrol, and as a war hero.“

Happy Birthday, Bill, from all of us!

LGHS Receives Remarkable WW II Memoir

posted February 3, 2021

The Lemon Grove Historical Society has received an extraordinary memoir in photographs and text by Robert Turnbull III, detailing his service in WW II, 1943-45, in the Philippines. The memoir was given to the society by his son, Robert Turnbull IV, a graduate of Helix High School, former film, television and theatre actor, and the founder of Turnbull Ministries.

Turnbull III was the former husband of Dr. Amorita Treganza of the famous Treganza clan of art, anthropology and medical accomplishments. They met and married when both were students at San Diego State College in the 1930s. Like his father before him, Turnbull III became a cameraman and Foley expert at Warner Brothers Studio. 

The memoir includes 524 black and white, 4x6 photographs accompanied by typewritten notes. Turnbull was inducted at Berkeley, California, into the 29th Engineer Base Topographic Battalion responsible for preparing maps of most of the Pacific Theater of the war, with a primary focus on the Philippines, Formosa,Saipan, islands of the Southeast Pacific, Okinawa and Japan. Training in Oregon focused on surveying, photomapping and photography under difficult conditions, such as aerial while under bombardment. 

But training also included digging foxholes and trenches, double-time runs with full field pack, drilling and drilling, practicing with bayonets and live grenades, cleaning rifles, and keeping troop quarters and gear spotless. "Naturally, it rained all the time," recalled Turnbull. "I had never fired a weapon before and had more troubles than a soap opera." Ultimately, he came down with pneumonia and laryngitis and spent two weeks in hospital before shipping out to Lexington, Virginia, to study Information and Education with an international student body eight hours a day, six days a week.

Turnbull became a multiplex expert, able to convert in 48 hours an aerial topographic map into a ground map of areas 60 miles wide by eight miles long. Between New York and again in Oregon, training continued until "we could build models in our sleep." It was the departure in a convoy of seven troop ships bound for the Philippines, and service there, that would change each man forever. As William Tecumseh Sherman said, "War is hell."

Manila, capital city of the Philippines, was a beautiful, old, Spanish Colonial city that had been bombed back to the proverbial Stone Age by the Japanese. Turnbull's photographs and notes capture the devastation. Nothing was spared, not churches, schools, hospitals, neighborhoods, bridges, farms, nothing. Residents rigged up ways to navigate through the rubble and keep their boats afloat, the latter crucial for transportation and selling produce raised in "paddies" ploughed by water buffalo. Monsoon rains, endless mud, hunger and privation were the order of the day. Turnbull makes frequent reference to the beautiful, resourceful Filipinos and their plucky children. The GIs found ways to help. Chocolate bars and chewing gum. Hiring kids to do laundry. Sharing water and hot food.

Turnbull's company survived the return of the Japanese, the rescue by the Americans, the Japanese surrender and the trial of General Yamashita of Bataan Death March fame before being mustered out. As their ship left Manila, they passed an incoming troop transport. "We cheered back and forth..." recalls Turnbull.

The Turnbull War Archive is contained in the Treganza Family Papers and may be viewed by appointment for $10 (no photography or scanning, which are priced separately). Copies are 15¢/page. Covid rules apply. Call 619-460-4353.


L. A. Public Library Hails Christy Hale's Lemon Grove Story

posted January 25, 2021

Author-illustrator and arts educator Christy Hale has received her ninth accolade for Todos Iguales/All Equal: Un Corrido de Lemon Grove/A Ballad of Lemon Grove (Lee & Low 2019), the bilingual book about Lemon Grove's 1931 school desegregation case. Alvarez v. Lemon Grove School Board of Trustees was the first Mexican-American successful school desegregation case in California and the nation. The story of the case comprises a large and expanding archive in the Lemon Grove Historical Society.

 Hale's beautiful book was designed for children and the people who love them. Hailed by Publisher's Weekly, School Library Journal and The Booklist for its sensitivity, gorgeous illustrations and timely topic, the book was also included in "Best Children's Books of the Year" by the Bank Street College of Education, "Notable Children's Book" by the American Library Association. "Notable Books for a Global Society" by the International Reading Association, "Outstanding Nonfiction" by the National Council of Teachers of English, "Best Books for Kids" by the New York Public Library and, now, the 2020 Focal Award in Children's Literature from the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL).

 The attached photograph shows Hale with the book and the LAPL's signature award, a handmade puppet in the likeness of 12-year-old Roberto Alvarez, the lead plaintiff in the case. Hale observed,  "I told my publishing colleagues at Lee & Low, I always fall in love with my main character while doing research, but this is the first time I actually have an opportunity 'to have and to hold.' I love my miniature Roberto Alvarez!"

 Hale's pantheon of unique books began at Lee & Low with The East-West House: Noguchi's Childhood in Japan, a lyrical introduction to Isamu Noguchi, the biracial 20th century sculptor and designer.  It left the starting gate as a Kirkus Best Book of 2009. 

 "We could not be prouder of Christy's accomplishments," said Laura Hook, president of the Lemon Grove Historical Society. "Shedding light on tough topics and little-known historical events is what historical societies are about. We were joined in this project by the Lemon Grove Library, descendants of the original cohort of 75 children in the Alvarez case, and the enthusiasm of our board and membership."