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Events in 2013

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Date: Sunday, December 15th
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. Each child must be accompanied by an adult.

Looking dapper with his waxed handlebar mustache, silk lounging jacket and spats, Michael George, guest historian and THS advisor, 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"!

There also will be opportunity drawings for Beanie Babies.

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




"Thanks for Giving" Volunteer Reception

When: Thursday, November 7th, 6:30 PM
Location: Torrance Historical Society & Museum, 1345 Post Ave.
Who: THS volunteers and members only - by invitation
Info: If you have any questions or would like additional information, please visit www.torrancehistoricalsociety.org or call the Museum at (310) 328-5392.


Selected Readings of Edgar Allan Poe

From Torrance to Transylvania, from Redondo to Romania, to the always haunted Torrance Historical Society & Museum, you are cordially invited to participate in an Evening of Poe(try) -- selected readings of Edgar Allan Poe.

The ghost of Hamlet might be invoked, the Headless Horseman could gallop by, Dr .Frankenstein's Monster may be in the neighborhood and THE RAVEN will certainly announce his endless refrain of NEVERMORE'.

INVITE all your ghastly, ghostly and ghoulish friends (Zombies and Vampires by special invitation only!)
RECITE a scary poem by a favorite author or share one of your own ghastly odes, (or, just listen to those being read).
READ a terrible tale like Vincent Price used to do -- think Ambrose Bierce, H.P. Lovecraft, Nathaniel Hawthorne or even Stephen King

When: Sunday, October 27th
Where: Torrance Historical Society & Museum - 1345 Post Avenue, Historic Old Torrance
Time: Twilight (5:00 PM) - 7:00 PM
Attire: Costumes encouraged, but not required for entry
Cost: This is event is free, open to the public, (present and past), no reservations are required.

We hope you can join us, and other daring souls, as we get into the spirit of the season. There will be candy and other tricky treats!


Walking Tours of Downtown Torrance

Every fourth Sunday of the month, May, June, July, August, September, and October.

Tour leaves promptly at 1:30 p.m.and lasts approximately 90 minutes.
Tour leaves from the front of the Museum
Wear comfy walking shoes.  Tour covers about eight blocks.
Free - donations accepted.

The docent led tour begins at the Torrance Historical Society & Museum (1345 Post Avenue) at 1:30 PM, and will point out many of the historic sites and landmarks of Old Torrance. Guests will also learn about:

  • What's in the Torrance Memorial Time capsule (located in the Museum)
  • What three Torrance properties are on the National Register of Historic Places
  • Where the new Centennial Time Capsule Plaza is placed
  • The original street names of "Torrance Boulevard" and "Post Avenue"
  • What famous artist was commissioned to paint a mural on the side of the Employment Development Department building
  • About the explosion that helped start Torrance
  • Why the first homes built for the executives were rented, not sold
  • What building was originally intended for the site where Torrance High School now stands
  • How Torrance broke away from the Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Why Torrance does not have a cemetery

The tour is an easy, but brisk walk covering eight blocks - the walk is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. It's open to the public, requires no reservations, and is hosted on the fourth Sunday of every month, May - October. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended. You're invited to bring your camera, and a friend.


Late Night Thursdays

What: Late Night Thursdays - Museum open until 8:00PM
Treats will be served. Please stop by and visit with our special guests from 6:00 - 8:00PM.
When: Thursdays, July 25th - August 29th, 1:00PM - 8:00PM
Location: Torrance Historical Society & Museum, 1345 Post Avenue
Cost: Free and open to the public - donations accepted.
Info: If you have any questions or would like additional information, please visit www.torrancehistoricalsociety.org or call the Museum at (310) 328-5392.

Special Guests Schedule:

Thursday, July 25th
1950s video all about Torrance -- 30 minutes long (it will be playing from 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM).

Thursday, August 1st
Chat with Chuck Lobb, author of Torrance Airport. Chuck will discuss the research and discoveries that led to his book on one of Torrance's most famous landmarks, Torrance Municipal Airport at Zamperini Field.

Thursday, August 8th
Check out high school yearbooks -- the Torrance Historical Society has the largest collection in the City.

Thursday, August 15th
View the DVD "Bricks: A Torrance Centennial Tribute" -- a year's worth of events which took place during the Centennial year (2012) presented in just seven minutes (it will be playing from 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM).

Thursday, August 22nd
Mike the Map Man is back by popular demand -- view decades worth of maps from our Historic Map Archives

Thursday, August 29th
Cowabunga, Baby! Jamie Ruth Watson, Torrance Historical Society President, librarian and historian, will talk "Surf Torrance."


Summer Stroll

What: 2nd Annual Summer Stroll - docent-led walking tour of Old Torrance Historic Buildings and a taste of what is inside

You will tour some of the hip restaurants in Old Torrance for a sip & a snack, and a peek into the past behind the brick and mortar.

When Torrance was founded 100 years ago, business began to build. Downtown Torrance, which was in the center of the original footprint of the City, soon became the heartbeat of the town. A century later, many a business has come and gone through those old buildings - they each have a story to tell.

Not only will you learn the building's history, we'll show you old photos of the "before", as you stand in the "now." The buildings on tour include - The Red Car Brewery & Restaurant, Tortilla Cantina, Buffalo Fire Dept., 1321 Taproom Bistro, Just Luigi's, Amore Vino and Torrance Bakery.

When:Thursday, August 8th, 6:00PM SHARP! - You must be on time!
Location: Meet at Torrance Historical Society & Museum, 1345 Post Avenue
Who: Adults, 21 years and older only
Cost: $30.00 per person - Reservations required. Space is limited.
Make checks payable to: "Torrance Historical Society"
Mail to: Torrance Historical Society
1345 Post Ave.
Torrance, CA 90501
RSVP: 310.328.5392 or email Debbie Hays: debbie.simpson@acssoftware.com
Reservations honored on a first come/first-served basis. Payment must be received within 48 hours of reservation in order to hold your spot. This was a sold-out event last year.
Info: If you have any questions or would like additional information, please visit www.torrancehistoricalsociety.org or call the Museum at (310) 328-5392.



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

When: Thursday, July 18, 2013 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
Info: If you have any questions or would like additional information, please visit or call the Museum at (310) 328-5392.

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

See the flyer for this event.

The Torrance Historical Society and our sponsors will host this 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 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:

  • Bop to 50s music
  • Munch on burgers from the IN-N-OUT burger wagon (burgers served from 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM, $7.50 for food & beverages; see below)
  • See special exhibits featuring the original congratulatory telegram from President Eisenhower, along with the All-America City button & logo
  • 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!

Tickets for 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, chips and a fountain drink will be available for $7.50 until 7:30 p.m. or 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 and Old Torrance Neighborhood Association.

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

When: Sunday, June 2
Time: Brunch 11:45AM
Location: The Depot Restaurant
Cost: $25.00 per person - limited reservations - nonrefundable
RSVP: by Wednesday, May 29, 2013 *(310)328-5392

Theme: Celebrating 100 years - The Bridge, (Irving Gill, Architect)

The Torrance Bridge and The Depot are both structures designed by the renowned Dominguez Land Company's in-house architect, Irving Gill.

Historic Preservationist Shane Swerdlow of Chattel, Inc. will illustrate how Gill's work, style and importance of his Torrance projects represent and contribute to his portfolio.

Who: THS members and their guests; by invitation only
Info: If you have any questions or would like additional information, please visit www.torrancehistoricalsociety.org or call the Museum at (310) 328-5392.





Irving Gill-Designed Bridge Celebrates 100th Birthday

This year, our Bridge is celebrating its 100th birthday, and after a century -- it's time for a facelift. The City of Torrance is currently in construction of the rehabilitation, repair and beautification of the Historic Pacific Electric Railroad Bridge, listed in the National Register of Historical Places. The restoration project will consist of concrete repairs of cracks and spalls on the bridge deck, girders, columns, wingwall, soffit, wooden railing replacement, surface cleaning and vegetation grubbing, and lighting. These improvements will meet the Secretary of Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties as well as current California and Federal building and Public Works Codes and standards.

Construction begins Wednesday, February 13th, with a tentative completion date of Wednesday, May 8th, 2013. Historical preservation consulting firm Chattel, Inc. is providing restoration services for the project.

Historical Note: This graceful railroad bridge, designed in 1913 by the renowned Dominguez Land Corp.'s in-house architect, Irving Gill, allowed the trains to carry the raw materials and finished goods of Torrance's factories so that they would not block Los Angeles-bound motor traffic on Torrance Blvd. The bridge also carried the noise and vibration of the rail cars away from the city's downtown Torrance depot and made it possible for goods manufactured here to be shipped via Los Angeles and San Pedro.

The bridge is located on Torrance Blvd., west of Western Ave. In 1989, it became the second property in Torrance to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

For additional information, visit: The Pacific Electric Railroad Bridge Rehabilitation and Beautification Project

Contact: Lea Reis, Assoc. Engineer
City of Torrance Public Works Dept.
Phone: 310.618-3055 voice
Email: Lreis@TorranceCA.Gov

Bridge Rededication on Thursday, May 23, at 4:30 pm.

See ceremony pictures.



Names on the Wall Remembrance

What: Names on the Wall Remembrance
When: Memorial Day - Monday, May 27th 2:00 PM & about 3:330PM
Location: City of Torrance Veterans' Memorial Wall Torrance Blvd. at Maple at 2:00PM
Torrance Historical Society & Museum at about 3:330PM (after the memorial service above)
Cost: Free and open to the public
Info: If you have any questions or would like additional information, please visit www.torrancehistoricalsociety.org or call the Museum at (310) 328-5392.

"On Monday, we will be grateful for the gift of those who never came home. We will remember -- every day is Memorial Day. We will pray that we may never add another name to that cold, black wall," noted Jerry Ronan, Torrance Historical Society Board Member and WWII Veteran.

Immediately following the memorial service, (reading the names on the wall), please join us at the Museum for a screening of Dennis Kwong's Names on the Wall documentary video, which catalogues the research behind the Names on the Wall project.



Fountain Pen Collecting - Something to Write Home About

It wasn't until the 1800s that people began to trade in their quills and ink wells for fountain pens with internal ink reservoirs -- which were filled with eye droppers. On Sunday, April 28, 2013, at 2:00 PM in the Torrance Historical Society & Museum, Charles Payne, local pen fancier and collector, will discuss the fun of collecting fountain pens.

The presentation won't give you writer's cramp, but it will give you something to write home about. All attendees will have the opportunity to purchase a Torrance postcard ($1), and write a note to someone special with a collectable fountain pen. A portion of Payne's extensive collection will be on display in the Museum through June.

This program is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. Seating is limited and will be available on a first-come/first-served basis -- no reservations are required. For additional information, call 310.328.5392.

What: Fountain Pen Collecting - Something to Write Home About, Discussion with Charles Payne and Museum Exhibit
Host: Charles Payne, local pen fancier and collector
Discussion: Sunday, April 28th, 2:00pm
Exhibit: A portion of Payne's exhibit will be on display in the Museum through June.
Location: The Torrance Historical Society & Museum
Cost: Donations accepted; no charge
No RSVP: Seating is limited and is available on a first come first served basis
Info: If you have any questions or would like additional information, please visit www.torrancehistoricalsociety.org or call the Museum at (310) 328-5392.



Celebrating Women in History - Torrance Library, The Early Years - Why was it in a house?

Jamie Ruth Watson will discuss the early beginnings of the public libraries in the United States. Jared Sidney Torrance's vision for his new community will be shared, as will history of Mrs. Isabel Torrance Henderson, who opened the first library in her living room in 1913. The presentation will be illustrated with photos and other original materials from the Torrance Historical Society Museum's archives. This event is sponsored by the Torrance Historical Society in honor of the Torrance Public Library's Century of Service.

Host: Jamie Ruth Watson. Jamie Ruth is a retired Librarian, history buff, world traveler and Torrance Historical Society Advisor.
When: Sunday, March 17, 2013, 2:00PM
Location: Torrance Historical Society & Museum, 1345 Post Avenue
Cost: Free and open to the public - donations accepted.
Info: If you have any questions or would like additional information, please visit www.torrancehistoricalsociety.org or call the Museum at (310) 328-5392.

Seating is limited, come early. No reservations accepted.



Tea at Two - a Valentine's Day Tea and Program

The Torrance Historical Society & Museum is hosting Tea at Two - a Valentine's Day Tea and Program at the Museum on Sunday, February 10th, and the pleasure of your company is requested for this afternoon of tea, delicious delicacies and history!

Proceeds from this fund-raiser directly benefit the Museum - archiving activities, historical discoveries, research projects, special programs, its operation and exhibits.

The day will include . . .

  • Miss Maureen O’Donnell highlighting the History of Tea
  • Each table will feature a teapot from the private collection of Jamie Ruth Watson
  • Vintage Linen Sale from the private collection of Janet Stancliff
  • Opportunity to win Tea Party gift baskets
When: Sunday, February 10th, 2013
Where: Torrance Historical Society & Museum - 1345 Post Avenue, Old Torrance
Time: 2:00 PM
Cost: $14 per person -- seating is limited, so reservations are required and will be taken on a first come/first served basis. Checks (made payable to the "Torrance Historical Society") are to be mailed to:
Torrance Historical Society
1345 Post Avenue, Torrance, CA 90501
RSVP: 310.328.5392 - no later than Sunday, February 3rd
Info: 310.328.5392 or visit: www.TorranceHistoricalSociety.org Attire: Tea attire -- hats and gloves, optional Historic hankies and Valentine's will be on exhibit.


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