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Events in 2014


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.


"Unbroken" Prescreening Tickets Are Sold Out

All tickets for the fundraising event of the pre-release screening of the movie Unbroken have been sold out. Special thanks go to Universal, the Zamperini family and to all the Torrance Historical Society members and the public that purchased tickets for this event.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will be dedicated to the Louis Zamperini Trust Collection at the Torrance Historical Society and other related events and projects.

See our Louis Zamperini link for more information about our local hero.

The movie makes its official debut Christmas Day, 2014.


'Twas the Night Before Christmas Reading

A Reading of the Holiday Classic & a Visit from Santa

Our guest reader, Cindy Shields as Mrs. Claus, will cozy down in an antique wingback chair and delight listeners with this magical tale. And . . . at the sound of sleigh bells ringing, Santa will pay a visit.

When: Sunday, December 14th - 2:00 PM - lasts only an hour. Please be on time!
Location:Torrance Historical Society Museum, 1345 Post Avenue, Old Torrance
Cost: No charge. Donations accepted.

This event is open to children and those young at heart. No reservations are required; however, seating is limited and available on a first-come/first-served basis.

One lucky winner will be selected to receive their very own copy of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. There will also be an opportunity drawing for teddy bears, and each guest in attendance will depart with a treat.


Football in the South Bay by Don Lechman

Book Signing and Meet the Author


Let's Talk Football! South Bay author Don Lechman, former Daily Breeze reporter, editor and critic, will share stories about high school football and sell ($20) and autograph his new book, Football in the South Bay. More than 3,000 players and coaches, along with photos, records, stories and profiles are featured in the new book published by History Press.

What: Book Signing with Don Lechman, former Daily Breeze reporter, editor and critic
When: Sunday, November 23rd
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 PM
Location: The Torrance Historical Society & Museum
Cost: No Charge - Donations accepted. Don's book, Football in the South Bay can be purchased at the museum with cash or check for $20 and can be autographed the day of this event.
Book Purchase: If you are unable to attend this event, but would like a copy of the book, it can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and many other sites. For an autographed copy ($25 includes shipping), e-mail don@lechman.org.
More info: (310) 328-5392

Seating is limited and will be available on a first-come / first-served basis. No reservations required. Light refreshments will be served.


Sparkle & Shine

Miss Maureen O'Donnell will give a presentation on how to care for your silver -- just in time for the holidays!

What: Presentation by THS member and former Torrance City Councilperson, Miss Maureen O'Donnell on how to care for your silver.
When: Sunday, November 16th
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: The Torrance Historical Society & Museum
Cost: No Charge - Donations accepted.
More info: (310) 328-5392

Seating is limited and will be available on a first-come/first-served basis. No reservations required.


Book Signing with Roger Owens the Peanut Man from Dodger Stadium

Overhand, underhand and around his back -- he'll be there pitching peanuts, telling tales, and signing his book

The Perfect Pitch - Life Story of the Famous Peanut

What: Book Signing with Roger Owens, the Peanut Man from Dodger Stadium
When: Sunday, November 9th
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: The Torrance Historical Society & Museum
Cost: No Charge - Donations accepted. Book can be purchased at the museum with cash or check.
More info: (310) 328-5392

Seating is limited and will be available on a first-come / first-served basis. No reservations required.


The Torrance Historical Society & Museum presents The Original Torrance Fall Tour of Historic Homes

Tour Interiors of Seven Homes in Old Torrance & Experience Wine Tasting in a 1936 Garden

Date: Saturday & Sunday, October 11-12, 2014
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Fee: $25 - Cash or check only; no credit cards.
Where to Purchase: Tickets may be purchased at the Museum either day of the tour - no advance purchase is necessary.

Disclaimers: No photos are to be taken inside the homes, no spiked heels, no baby strollers. Home Tour is recommended for those 18 years of age, and older. Tickets provide a one-time entry into the homes, (no re-admittance)

Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Del Amo

Complimentary Torrance Bakery Cookies

Wine Tasting for a nominal fee

The primary fund-raiser and signature event for the Torrance Historical Society & Museum is its biennial Tour of Historic Homes - a long standing tradition in the City of Torrance since 1980. This event is held on even years the second weekend in October.

The Torrance Historical Society & Museum is hosting the Original Fall Tour of Historic Homes in Old Torrance (the original footprint of the City) Saturday and Sunday, October 11th - 12th, 2014, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, both days. This biennial event is open to the general public. The Home Tour is generously sponsored by the Rotary Club of Del Amo.

For a $25 donation, guests can tour the inside of seven homes, and will see how others have renovated, updated and decorated their historic homes to accommodate today's life-style, yet managed to preserve the charming architecture and characteristics of the past. Complimentary refreshments (Torrance Bakery cookies) will be served by members of the Torrance Woman's Club, and Wine Tasting (for a nominal fee - by Amore Vino) will be held in the garden of a 1936 Neo-Classical Revival home on Post Avenue.

The homes on the tour reflect an eclectic mix - from Spanish Colonial Revival to Craftsman to Dutch Colonial Revival - which characterize and add to the charm of Old Torrance -- founded 1912. Homes on the Tour were built between 1912 and 1940. Each home will have a Model A car parked in front of it courtesy of South Bay Touring A's.

Additional elements of the Home Tour include -

  • Stepping inside the very first Library (1913) for the City of Torrance - view the original book ledger in which the first purchases for the library were recorded
  • National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat garden
  • Unique family heirloom highlighted in each home - from a cookie jar to a WWII uniform
  • Hear your footsteps echo through a diamond-in-the-rough, 1923, renovation-ready Dutch Colonial Revival home
  • Special display of Hometown Hero, Louis Zamperini (in Museum)
  • Opportunity to win a Progressive Dinner for six in three Historic Homes - drawing to be held on November 13, 2014 (winner will be notified) - tickets $10 each or 3/$25 - Dinner will be coordinated in early 2015

Tickets for the Original Fall Tour of Historic Homes may be purchased directly from the Torrance Historical Society & Museum (1345 Post Avenue, Torrance, CA 90501) either day of the tour - no advanced ticket purchase is necessary. The homes may viewed in any order, on either day, and all are within walking distance from the Museum -- the furthest being seven blocks away. Local restaurants will be offering Home Tour Specials.

The self-guided Original Fall Tour of Historic Homes begins at the Torrance Historical Society & Museum. Proceeds from the fundraiser directly benefit the Museum - archiving activities, historical discoveries, research projects, special programs, its operation and exhibits.



Late Night Thursdays

When: Thursday, July 17th - Thursday, August 27th

The Museum will be open until 8:00 PM Thursday evenings (open 1:00 - 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.

While you're out-and-about, pop in the Museum and explore the Torrance Historical Society's collection including

  • See a photo of Mrs. Jared Sidney Torrance (Helena), and ... take your own photo with Jared
  • Check out the historic Red Car photos and original ticket on display
  • Touch one of the original Torrance cowboy's saddle (yes, Torrance
  • used to be a farming community -- right down to cows, pigs, minks, turkeys, strawberries and flowers)
  • View the training shorts and sweatshirt Louis Zamperini wore during the 1936 Olympics, the luggage the community bought for him to attend the Olympic Tryouts in NY, and other "Lucky Louie" treasures
  • On these Late Night Thursdays, the Museum will be open from 1:00 PM - 8:00 PM, and treats will be served. You're also invited to stop by and visit with our special guests (6:00 PM - 8:00 PM).

    Thursday, August 7th
    Peruse the pages of the Historical Survey taken of the all the structures in Old Torrance -- the original footprint of the City. The area is comprised of 109 city blocks with residential, commercial and industrial sub-districts totaling nearly 2000 structures! Over 100 community volunteers worked on this project!

    Thursday, August 14
    See the City's Centennial DVD of Lois Zamperini - Triumph of the Torrance Tornado, and the clip of when Louis won the 1934 Southern California Track & Field Championship. "Running in what was celebrated at the best field of high school milers in history, Louie routed them all and smoked the mile in 4:21:3, shattering the national high school record, set during World War 1, by more than 2 seconds." -- Laura Hillenbrand (The DVD will be playing from 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM - pop in any time -- it's only about 10 minutes long)

    Also, 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, and he'll tell you about the planes used in the flyovers at last week's Celebration of Life event for Louis Zamperini.

    Thursday, August 21st
    Mike the Map Man is back by popular demand -- view decades worth of maps from our Historic Map Archives -- he'll be highlighting the maps of the Oil Fields (6:00 PM - 8:00 PM)

    Thursday, August 28th
    View the History of the Hollywood Riviera DVD by Sherwin Rubin (it will be playing from 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM - pop in any time).


    Summer Stroll

    What: 3rd 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."

    When: Thursday, August 7th, 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" No credit cards accepted.
    Mail to:
    Torrance Historical Society
    1345 Post Ave.
    Torrance, CA 90501
    Buildings on Tour: The Red Car Brewery & Restaurant, Tortilla Cantina, Buffalo Fire Dept., Antigua Cafe, Keegan's, Just Luigi's, Amore Vino, and Torrance Bakery.
    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 17, 2014 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.

    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, AMT TBA 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 TBA 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.


    Party on the Patio

    Annual Meeting & Installation of Officers

    After nearly two years blending the new with the old, the restoration project of the Senior Patio at Torrance High School is complete!

    Join us for a Ribbon Cutting & Presentation by Historic Preservationist Shane Swerdlow of Chattel, Inc. who will highlight the reconstruction of the Senior Patio & provide a history of Torrance High School - the first building in Torrance to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Sunday, June 1, 2014

    Check-in: 11:30 AM

    Ribbon Cutting: Noon

    followed by Torrance Bakery Box Lunch & Program

    Torrance High School Senior Patio

    2200 Carson St.*

    Old Torrance

    $20 per person

    RSVP by Wednesday, May 28, 2014 310.328.5392

    Enter & Park: Park on Torrance High's basketball courts located off Plaza Del Amo behind the school's library. Follow the balloons to the Senior Patio.

    Attire: This is an outdoor event: dress casual, bring a jacket, wear sunscreen. Flat, closed-toe shoes recommended. Shade will be provided.


    - - -

    Names on the Wall Remembrance

    What: Names on the Wall Remembrance
    When: Memorial Day - Monday, May 26th 2:00 PM for reading of the names
    Immediately following the reading of the names, we will go to the Museum to view another screening of the documentary video (see below). This might be as early at 2:40pm.
    Location: City of Torrance Veterans' Memorial Wall, Torrance Blvd. at Maple - for reading of the names; Torrance Historical Society Museum - to view the screening
    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.


    The Source (Cowboy Poetry) - Steve Deming
    Meet the Author & Book Signing

    Where: Torrance Historical Society & Museum - 1345 Post Avenue, Old Torrance
    When: Sunday, April 13 - 2:00 PM
    Cost: Free. Donations appreciated. Book is available for purchase.
    RSVP: None required but seating is limited. Please arrive early
    Who: Author, Steve Deming
    What: Book signing & presentation -- Beach Mexican
    Info: (310) 328-5392 or www.TorranceHistoricalSociety.org"


    Julia Morgan California's Best Forgotten Architect

    Date: Sunday, March 23rd
    When: 2:00 PM
    Cost: Free. Donations accepted
    RSVP: not required. Seats are on a first come basis.

    Jamie Ruth Watson, Torrance Historical Society President, retired librarian, and historian will detail the history of this prolific, yet somewhat forgotten Woman Architect who designed more than 700 buildings during her 45-year career. Morgan was the first woman architect to be licensed in California, and used her talents to design many buildings for organizations serving women and girls, including YWCA buildings. Morgan was also the first woman to receive the AIA Gold Medal, albeit posthumously.

    She is best known for her work on Hearst Castle. Morgan was also commissioned by William Randolph Hearst in 1927 to design an estate on 4.91 acres of Santa Monica beachfront property for his mistress, actress Marion Davies. Morgan created a three-story, 34-bedroom Georgian mansion which included three guest houses, two swimming pools, tennis courts and dog kennels -- to the sum of $7 million dollars, rumor has it.

    In 2009, the City of Santa Monica began an adaptive reuse project of the historic Marion Davies Beach House, which was funded by the City of Santa Monica and a grant from the Wallace Annenberg Foundation. Gene Higginbotham, Past President of the Torrance Historical Society and Museum 2008-2010 and current Historical Society board member in charge of Special Events, current Construction Manager for the City of Santa Monica for the Annenberg Community Beach House, will review the history of the Beach House renovations and reuse, as well as the colorful Hollywood connections.


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

    The Torrance Historical Society is hosting Tea at Two - a Valentine's Day Tea & Program at the Museum on Sunday, February 9th, and the pleasure of your company is requested for this afternoon of tea, delicious delicacies and history!

    The day will include ...

    • A program on Vintage Lace & Linen by Collector, Janet Stancliff
    • Each table will feature a teapot from the private collection of Jamie Ruth Watson
    • Vintage Boutique Sale - antique jewelry, linens, lace, silver, glassware and collectibles
    • Opportunity to win Tea Party gift baskets

    When: Sunday, February 9th, 2014
    Where: Torrance Historical Society & Museum - 1345 Post Avenue, Old Torrance
    Time: 2:00 PM
    Cost: $20 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. Payment must be received within 48 hours of reservation in order to hold your spot. This was a SOLD OUT event, last year! Credit cards not accepted.
    RSVP: 310.328.5392 - no later than Sunday, February 2nd
    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.

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


    Meet the Author & Book Signing
    "Beach Mexican" by Alex Moreno Areyan

    Where: Torrance Historical Society & Museum - 1345 Post Avenue, Old Torrance
    When: Sunday, January 26th, 2:00 - 4:00 PM
    Cost: Free. Donations appreciated. Book is available for purchase.
    RSVP: None required but seating is limited. Please arrive early
    Who: Author, Alex Moreno Areyan
    What: Book signing & presentation -- Beach Mexican
    Info: (310) 328-5392 or www.TorranceHistoricalSociety.org.

    His latest book, Beach Mexican, chronicles his journey of assimilation while growing up Mexican American in white, upper-middle class Redondo Beach during the 1950s. The book presents a story of assimilation different from that experienced by Mexican American in larger and more traditional Mexican American barrios in Southern California. Beach Mexican proves the journey was not easy. Mr. Areyan has authored two other books: Mexican Americans in Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach, and Mexican Americans in Los Angeles.

    During his youth, this annual "white lie" at school and among his friends was that his father had found a job up North and the family was moving. They moved all right -- in a 1941 Plymouth following the harvest. In Meridian, Marysville, Yuba City, Colusa, Firebaugh, and Mendota. They lived in tents and cars, under trucks, and in corrugated tin hovels, while picking plums, cotton, peaches, tomatoes, and most of the major crops produced in the great San Joaquin Valley of California. Although he was once threatened with expulsion from Redondo Union High School for speaking Spanish, he eventually received a plaque from the city for writing the first pictorial history of the Mexican American families in Redondo and Hermosa Beach.

    Mr. Areyan will also introduce Alice Duarte Solis, a life-long resident of Torrance, who grew up in the City's Pueblo (or "La Rana") district, and is currently writing a book on the history of that community.


    The Blimp - 37 Good Years of Flying

    Talk about having an office with a window seat ... For 37 years, Goodyear Blimp Pilot, John Crayton, had a bird's eye view of the South Bay and its ever-changing landscape.

    With a Lighter-than-Air license tucked under his wing, and having earned his Private Pilot's license at the Torrance Airport, he spent nearly four decades hovering above the Southland watching such events as the Olympics, World Cup Soccer, World Series, Super Bowls, Rose Bowls and Rose Parades -- all with the best seat in the house.

    What: John Crayton will share his memories of events, adventures and the transformation of the Southland's landscape from open fields to industrial complexes in a program entitled, "The Blimp - 37 Good Years of Flying."
    When: Sunday, January 19th
    Time: 2:00 PM
    Location: The Torrance Historical Society & Museum
    Cost: Free - Donations accepted.

    More info: (310) 328-5392

    Refreshments will be served. Seating is limited and will be available on a first-come/first-served basis. No reservations required.


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