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Events in 2011


'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Date: Sunday, December 11, 2011
Time: 4:00 p.m. Please come on time. Event lasts less than one hour.
Cost: Free - donations accepted
Questions: Call (310) 328-5392

No Reservations Required

Children of all ages and adults who are young at heart, are invited to the Torrance Historical Society & Museum for a reading of the holiday classic, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Former Torrance City Councilman, Paul Nowatka, will cozy down in an antique wingback chair and delight listeners with this magical tale.

There will be a surprise visit by Santa.

Each guest will leave with a treat, compliments of COSTCO, and one lucky winner will go home with a copy of the book - 'Twas the Night before Christmas! Guests also have an opportunity to win a teddy bear.

This event is free, open to the public, and requires no reservations, so bring a friend -- or two!



If Walls Could Talk - Researching the History of Your Home
by Michael George, Historian and Reference Librarian for Katy Geissert Civic Center Library

Date: Sunday, November 13, 2011
Time: 2:00 p.m. Cost: Free - donations accepted
No RSVP; seating is limited
Questions: 310-328-5392

Light refreshments, compliments of COSTCO.

With the City's Centennial right around the corner, there is heightened interest in learning more about the history of Torrance -- including the houses of the city. The Torrance Historical Society has invited Michael George, Historian and Reference Librarian for the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library, to give a presentation entitled, If Walls Could Talk - Researching the History of Your Home.

The presentation will include how to:

  • Search for deed & title information
  • Access information from the Los Angeles County Assessor’s (when was your house built, how much did your neighbor pay for his house?)
  • Research information on homes that were built prior to 1921 (county records, Sanborne Maps)
  • Learn about homes built after 1921 (City Planning Department)
  • Use the Herald and other newspapers to find old real estate ads showing your house & how much your house sold for previously.

  • Preserve your Photos

    With the City's Centennial just around the corner, it gets one thinking about history -- not only our City's, but our family's history, as well. Photographs are some of the only links to our past, and should be preserved for future generations. Join the Torrance Historical Society for an afternoon with Tom Philo, Archivist/Cataloger for California State University, Dominguez Hills, and learn how to care for family photos, basic conservation techniques, and how to archive and safely display them for all to see.

    Here are the details:

    When: Sunday, October 30th, 2011
    Where: Torrance Historical Society & Museum - 1345 Post Ave., Old Torrance
    Time: 2:00 PM
    Cost: Free!
    Info: 310.328.5392 or www.TorranceHistoricalSociety.org

    This presentation is free, and open to the public, but seating is limited, so arrive early!

    The Torrance Historical Society Rocks Around the Block
    in Celebration of the All-America City Award

    ths logo  providencelogo

    When: Thursday, July 21st, 5:00PM - 8:00PM
    Location: Torrance Historical Society &Museum, 1345 Post Avenue
    Cost: Free and open to the public - donations accepted. Nominal fee for food and beverage
    Sponsored by Providence Little Co. of Mary Medical Center
    Info: If you have any questions or would like additional information, please visit www.torrancehistoricalsociety.org or call the Museum at (310) 328-5392.

    This is a fund raiser for the Torrance Historical Society & Museum.

    The flyer for this event is here.

    The Torrance Historical Society and Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance are hosting the fifth annual 1950s-style family summer event in celebration of Torrance's All-America City Award -- one of America's original and most prestigious community recognition awards. The City received this award for "Growth without strain" back in the 1956 when Albert Isen was Mayor of Torrance.

    This free event, sponsored by Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center, is open to the public and will be held in front of the Museum (1345 Post Avenue). Post Avenue will be blocked off from Cravens to Sartori, so guests can:
    • View vintage cars on display along Post Avenue, courtesy of Cruisin' 50s Car Club, local car owners - special appearance by the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile
    • Bop to 50s music
    • Munch on burgers from the IN-N-OUT burger wagon (burgers served from 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM, nominal fee for food & beverages; see below)
    • See special exhibits featuring the original congratulatory telegram from President Eisenhower, along with the All-America City button & logo
    • Slurp milk shakes made with vintage machines by real "soda jerks"
    • Check-out high school yearbooks -- the Torrance Historical Society has the largest collection
    • Enter the hula hoop, bubble gum blowin', cake walk and pie eating contests - there are prizes!

    The fee is $7.00 for cheeseburger/burger, chips and soda or for grilled cheese sandwich, chips and soda Milk shakes (chocolate, vanilla or strawberry) are available at $TBA.

    Tickets for either a milk shake or items from the IN-N-OUT burger wagon can be purchased at the "burger desk" on the Museum lawn during the event. Cash or personal check, made payable to the Torrance Historical Society will be accepted. Sorry no credit cards are accepted. Exact change is appreciated.

    Burgers and cheese sandwiches will be available until 7:00 p.m. or until sold out. Milk shakes will be made until sold out. Please arrive early due limited availability.

    The Bartlett Senior (over 50) Center will also be hosting an Open House this same night -- you can dine on their patio and listen to The South Bay Strummers (ukulele group)! The Torrance Woman's Club will also have their 1950s Club scrapbook available for viewing. Also, the Torrelles -- a group of City employees who sing 50s and 60s songs in a cappella, will entertain guests.

    This FREE 1950s-style family event is hosted in partnership with the City of Torrance, Costco, Torrance Bakery, Old Torrance Neighborhood Association, and is sponsored by Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance.

    If you have any questions or would like additional information, please call the Museum at (310) 328-5392 or visit www.TorranceHistoricalSociety.org.





    Annual Meeting and Board Installation - Picnic & Private Tour

    Sunday, June 5th
    10:00 am

    Includes picnic brunch on the grounds and a private docent-led tour

    $18 donation per person for THS member
    $20 donation per person for non THS member

    RSVP by Thursday, May 26, 2011 (310) 328-5392
    Checks payable to: Torrance Historical Society - Non-refundable

    Rancho Dominguez Adobe
    18127 Alameda Street Carson, 90220
    (310) 603-0088

    Directions:
    91W
    Alameda off ramp and head south.
    Right at light at Alameda.
    Pass Manville Road. Follow the signs. The entrance is less than 300 yards on the right side of Alameda.



    Book Signing & Meet the Authors
    Nikkei Generals and Admirals in the United States Military

    The Torrance Historical Society is hosting a Meet the Authors and Book Signing event for the launching of a new book -- Nikkei Generals and Admirals in the United States Military by Ansho Mas Uchima & Minoru Shinmoto. The forward is written by United States Senator, Daniel K. Inouye.

    The book documents the achievements of Americans of Japanese Ancestry (Nikkei) who attained leadership roles in United States military service. Currently there are 42 Nikkei Generals and Admirals (of which, 38 biographies are included in this publication).

    Introductions and a special presentation will be given by Former California State Assemblyman George Nakano. The authors will be available for questions and answers after the presentation.

    Copies of the book Nikkei Generals and Admirals in the United States Military will be available for purchase and signing by both authors.

    Here are the details:

    When: Wednesday, April 27th, 2011
    Where: Toyota USA Automobile Museum - 19600 Van Ness Avenue (between Del Amo Blvd. & 190th in the ProLogis Office Park)
    Tour the Museum: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    Author introduction & special guest speaker: 7:00PM
    Cost: Free
    Info: 310.316.1176

    This event is open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.


    Breakfast with a Champion - Louis Zamperini
    Presentation and Book Signing Event

    zamperini group  Louis Zamperini along with the volunteer team who helped with the "Breakfast with a Champion" book signing event of "Unbroken" at the Toyota USA Automobile Museum on Saturday. Olympic swimmer, John Naber (4 golds, 1 silver, 6 world records) is the tall gentleman in the back. There were over 400 people in attendance at this event.

    Where:

    Presentation and book signing is at Toyota Automobile Museum - 19600 Van Ness Ave., Torrance

    Historical Society Museum will be open for touring 09:00am - 12:00 noon.

    Directions:

    If traveling North on Van Ness:

    • pass Del Amo Blvd.
    • Turn right into the driveway that is immediately past Prologis Way (signal).

    If you pass Toyota Way you've gone too far north.

    Look for the address 19600 at the top of the building. You will see a Toyota Museum sign on an easel out front.

    When:

    Saturday, April 9th, 2011

    09:30am - Presentation by John Naber, Olympic champion, (five Olympic medals for swimming - four gold and one silver), network television and radio sports broadcaster will introduce Louis Zamparini.

    09:30am - about 11:45am - Book signing by Louis Zamperini

    09:00am - 1200 Noon - Historical Society Museum is open for touring

    Cost:

    Presentation: Free
    Tour of Historical Society Museum: Free

    Book signing: $10.00 donation per book. Louis Zamperini will sign books for a suggested $10 donation per book. All signature monies collected will be donated to Victory Boys Camp for wayward youth where Zamperini taught other juvenile delinquents the skills to succeed in life. The $10 contribution also includes a pre-printed photograph of Zamperini.

    Books to be purchased:

    Books may be purchased at Toyota Automobile Museum on April 9th.

    Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is $30, including sales tax.
    Devil at my Heels by Louis Zamparini is $25, including sales tax.

    Signing any book is a suggested $10 donation for Victory Boys Camp.

    Attendees may bring their own copies of books for signing or they may purchase books at the event.

    Hosted by: Torrance Historical Society & the Torrance Public Library

    Sponsored by: Toyota USA Automobile Museum and Costco

    Additional information: Call Torrance Historical Museum at (310) 328-5392 or http://www.torrancehistoricalsociety.org

    No reservations required: Seating is limited.

    Louis Zamperini - Olympian, WWII POW, and Hometown Hero, will be at the Toyota USA Automobile Museum (19600 Van Ness Avenue, Torrance, CA 90501) on Saturday, April 9, 2011, for a presentation and book signing of Laura Hillenbrand's book, "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption".

    The Museum will be open for touring from 9:00 AM - Noon, with the presentation commencing at 9:30 AM. John Naber - Olympic champion (five Olympic medals for swimming - four gold and one silver), network television and radio sports broadcaster, will introduce Zamperini.

    Unbroken, the biography of Louis Zamperini's incredible life story, is number one on the Los Angeles Time's Best Seller List, number two on the New York Time's Best Seller List, and number five on Amazon's Top 100 List.

    Louis Zamperini - the man, the survivor, the living legend was also known as . . .

    • "Lucky Louie"
    • "Torrance Tornado"
    • "The Green Hornet"
    • "Iron Man"
    • "Leather Lung"

    Zamperini was a juvenile delinquent, a world-class NCAA miler, a 1936 Olympian, a World War II bombardier and graduate of Torrance High School (Winter Class of 1936). The Torrance High School Stadium, a street, and the Torrance Municipal airport all bear his name.

    Zamperini survived his Army Air Corps B-24 crashing in the Pacific Ocean in 1943, captivity in Japanese Prisoner of War camps, and starvation. He was subjected to medical experiments, forced into slave labor, and received brutal treatment while in prison. Zamperini endured all this, and returned home to a Hero's welcome. Years later he would overcome terrible dreams, rage and despair, drinking and brawling.

    At age 94, Zamperini is still spry, has the twinkle of life in his eyes and the taste of victory on his lips. He lectures audiences around the world on how to overcome adversity, the meaning of the Olympic Spirit and the freedom he found through a personal relationship with God.

    Attendees may bring their own copy of Unbroken, and the book will also will be available at the event for $30 ($27 plus sales tax). Zamperini will sign the books for a suggested $10 donation (per book) toward his Victory Boys Camp for wayward youth where he taught other juvenile delinquents the skills to succeed in life. The $10 contribution also includes a pre-printed photograph of Zamperini. Zamperini's autobiography, Devil at my Heels, will also be available for purchase for $25 including sales tax and signing for a suggested $10 donation (per book). .

    This event is hosted by the Torrance Historical Society & the Torrance Public Library, and sponsored by the Toyota USA Automobile Museum and COSTCO. Torrance Bakery pastries, fresh fruit from COSTCO and coffee will be served.

    Reservations are not required, but seating is limited.

    The Torrance Historical Society & Museum is home to a collection of Louis Zamperini Memorabilia, including -- his track shoes, running shorts, USC sweater, death certificate, photos, and more.



    Celebrating Women's History Month with Pancho Florence Barnes

    March is Women's History Month, and to celebrate, the Torrance Historical Society is hosting a presentation on "Pancho" Florence Barnes.

    Pancho was a high-spirited, headstrong woman who was proud of her successes, unabashed by her failures, and the architect of her own legend. Living life to the fullest appears to have been Pancho's primary goal in life! She was successful in her endeavor.

    The award-winning documentary film, Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club, produced and written by Nick Spark and directed by Amanda Pope will be shown. It features interviews with test pilots Bob Cardenas, Bob Hoover and Chuck Yeager, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and biographers Barbara Schultz and Lauren Kessler.

    Jamie Ruth Watson - sponsor of this event, Librarian, history buff, world traveler, and Torrance Historical Society Advisor, will share the antics of Pancho as recounted in award-winning author, Lauren Kessler's book, The Happy Bottom Riding Club.

    Pancho Barnes was a force of nature, a person who lived a big, messy, colorful, unconventional life and who ran through three fortunes, four marriages, and countless lovers while outsmarting Howard Hughes, out-drinking the Mexican Army, and out-maneuvering the U.S. government. Living life to the fullest appears to have been the primary goal in life to Pancho who also hitchhiked across the United States, trekked through Mexico astride a burro, cruised South America and then took to the skies in the late 1920's becoming a barnstormer, a racer, a cross-country flier and a Hollywood stunt pilot.

    In Hollywood Pancho was an intimate of movie stars, a script doctor for the great director Erich von Stroheim, and, later in life, a drinking buddy of the supersonic jet jockey Chuck Yeager. The next era was running a wild and wildly successful desert watering hole known as The Happy Bottom Riding Club, the raucous bar and grill depicted in The Right Stuff.

    When: Sunday, March 27th
    Where: Torrance Historical Society & Museum (1345 Post Avenue, Torrance)
    Time: 2:00 pm
    Cost: Free! (Reservatsions are not required, but seating is limited.)
    Refreshments: sponsored by Costco will be served.



    Let's Talk Turkey

    Retired Torrance turkey farmers, Mel & Betty Vaccaro of Mira Loma Turkey Ranch, will recount how what began as a family-owned and operated asparagus farm during World War I in the west Torrance area, grew to become a full-time turkey ranch after World War II.

    The Mira Loma Turkey Ranch provided fresh turkeys to the South Bay for 38 consecutive years before closing their doors in 1986.

    Betty will bring along a few of her favorite turkey recipes from her extensive collection, to share! The couple will open the floor to questions and answers following the presentation. They welcome questions, and invite attendees to share their memories of the Turkey Ranch.

    Here are the details:

    When: Sunday, February 13th
    Where: Torrance Historical Society 1345 Post Avenue, Old Torrance
    Time: 2:00 PM
    Cost: This presentation is free, and open to the public, but seating is limited, so arrive early!
    Info: 310.328.5392 or www.TorranceHistoricalSociety.org

    Sweets, and turkey treats will be served. No reservations are required.

    Hope to see you there!


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