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Events in 2015

Walking Tours of Downtown Torrance

No Walking Tour on Sunday, August 30, 2015 See "Summer Night Lights" regarding a new event in September.

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

Note: Due to the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the May Walking Tour will be Sunday, May 31st.

Tour leaves promptly at 1:30 p.m. from the steps of the Museum and lasts approximately 90 minutes. Wear comfortable walking shoes. The 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.


Selfie with Santa on Sunday

Get a jump on your holiday cards, and come take a selfie with Santa on Sunday! The Torrance Historical Society elfies will help yourselfies. Mrs. Claus will be there, too!

Bring your friends and family to capture a magical moment -- the more the merrier! Plus, you can enter our Opportunity Drawing to win a Selfie Stick!

Here are the details:

When: Sunday, November 22nd
Where: Museum - 1345 Post Ave., Old Torrance
Time: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Age: For the young, and young at heart
Info: 310.328.53992

Special treats from Costco for everyone! (while supplies last)

Hope to see yourselfie there!


Visit With a Veteran

Veterans Day is an important day for showing appreciation to members of our military -- a celebration to honor America's Veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

The Torrance Historical Society invites yoiu, your family, and friends to join them in honoring our Veterans. Pull-up a chair and visit with a Veteran: World War II, Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan

This year is significant, as 2015 marks the 70th Anniversary of the end of WWII and the 50th Anniversary since U.S. ground troops arrived in Vietnam.

What: Visit with a Veteran
When: Sunday,November 8th, 2015
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 PM
Where: Torrance Historical Society & Museum - 1345 Post Avenue, (at Cravens), Old Torrance
No RSVP and No Charge: Please come, honor our Veterans and learn something new!
Info: 310.328.5392 or visit: www.TorranceHistoricalSociety.org

"Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory." -- George S. Patton

Summer Night Lights

This is an evening walking tour to music as we see historical Old Torrance sites lit up at night. This docent-led tour begins at the Torrance Historical Society & Museum, (1345 Post Avenue), and will cover about 12 blocks. Many of the areas are over uneven surfaces.

When: Saturday, September 5, 7:00 - 9:00 PM - You must be on time, tour will leave promptly at 7:00 PM!
Location: Meet at Torrance Historical Society & Museum, 1345 Post Avenue.
Who: Adults, 21+ years and older only
RSVP: 310.328.5392 - reservations will be received on a first-come/first-served basis
This event has limited space and is for those 21 years-of-age, and older.
Cost: $5.00 donation per person. Cash or check only. Credit cards not accepted.
Checks payable to "Torrance Historical Society"
Mail your check to:
Torrance Historical Society
1345 Post Ave
Torrance, CA 90501
Please include names of participants
Required: Closed toe and comfortable walking shoes and each person must provide their own flashlight. A light jacket is suggested for a cool evening.

Special treat provided at conclusion

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

Late Night Thursdays

When: Thursday nights, Thursday, July 16th - Thursday, August 27th

The Museum will be open until 8:00 PM Thursday evenings (open 1:00 - 8:00PM). Special Guests will be there 6:00 - 8:00 pm. See guest list below.

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.

    Special Guest list - Guests will be at the Museum from 6:00 - 8:00 PM:

    Thursday, July 30th
    Mike the Map Man is back by popular demand --- view decades worth of maps from the Historic Map Archives.

    Thursday, August 6th
    Spend the evening with our President, Jamie Ruth Watson -- get a private tour of the Museum and check out high school yearbooks -- the Torrance Historical Society has the largest collection in the City.

    Thursday, August 13th
    View the private albums and read the never-before-seen WWII diary of Louis Zamperini.

    Thursday, August 20th
    See a DVD about Frederick Law Olmsted - the man hired by Jared Sidney Torrance to layout the City of Torrance - DVD will be shown at 6:00 PM.

    Thursday, August 27th
    Learn about Irving Gill, renowned Dominguez Land Corp.’s in-house architect, who designed the Pacific Electric Railway El Prado Bridge and Depot.


    Summer Stroll

    What: 4th 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 6th, 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: To be announced
    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 16, 2015 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.


    Annual Meeting & Installation of Officers
    Breathing Life into the Past

    When:Sunday, June 7th, 11:30AM
    Where: The Torrance Volunteer Center, which was originally Stone & Meyers Mortuary 1924 - 1984
    1230 Cravens, at Engracia
    Torrance, 90501

    Cost: $25 per person. This includes tour and lunch.
    Make checks payable to: "Torrance Historical Society". No credit cards accepted.
    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 72 hours of reservation in order to hold your spot. This is always a sold-out event.
    Info: If you have any questions or would like additional information, please visit www.torrancehistoricalsociety.org or call the Museum at (310) 328-5392.

    Members will vote on the Proposed Slate of Officers for 2015-2016 at meeting.

    June, 2015 - June, 2016 Proposed Slate

    PositionName
    President *-----
    SecretaryAnn Strong
    TreasurerGene Higginbotham
    1st VP (Programs)Janet Payne
    2nd VP (Membership)Michelle Polcari
    3rd VP (Fundraising)Debbie Hays
    4th VP (Communication - Newsletter)Leslie Cortez
    Financial SecretaryKurt Weideman
    HistorianJoann Miyamoto
    Special EventsJill Maroney
    Museum Volunteer ChairJudi Gerber
    Member-at-Large Jerry Ronan
    Parliamentarian (By appointment)**-----

    *THS Bylaws provide for Board to appoint any vacancy not filled by election or resignation.
    ** THS Bylaws state that position of Parliamentarian is filled by appointment of President.


    Names on the Wall Remembrance

    What: Names on the Wall Remembrance
    The Torrance Historical Society will conduct a memorial service for Torrance service personnel who gave their lives in U. S. military actions. The program will include the reading of the 146 Names on the Wall. Those names include war losses from World War I to those in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.
    When: Memorial Day - Monday, May 25th 2:00 PM (see location)
    Location: City of Torrance Veterans' Memorial Wall at Memorial Plaza, Torrance Blvd. at Maple at 2:00PM
    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.


    Zamperini Book Signing & Unbroken Blue Ray Prizes

    See our Louis Zamperini link on this website.

    What: Book signing with David Rensin, coauthor of Don't Give up, Don't Give In - Lessons from an Extraordinary Life and showing of City's Centennial DVD of Louis Zamperini and clips of Louis. See below for more information. See Museum display from the collection of the Louis Zamperini Trust.

    Cynthia (Zamperini) Garris and Luke Zamperini, Louis' daughter and son, will also be there to sign the book and visit.

    Representatives from Universal Home Entertainment will be at the Museum handing out tickets to each person in attendance. This will be your number to purchase a book, obtain a signature (whether you purchase a book or not) and you will be automatically entered into an opportunity drawing for the first copy of the Unbroken Blue Ray DVD. The official release is next Tuesday. Five lucky winners will be selected!.

    When: Sunday,March 22nd, 2015
    Where: Torrance Historical Society & Museum - 1345 Post Avenue, Old Torrance
    Time: 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

    From 1:00 - 2:00 PM and every 15 minutes, the Museum will be showing the Torrance Centennial DVD of Louis Zamperini - Triumph of the Torrance Tornado and the clip of when Louis won the 1934 Southern California Track & Field Championship.

    At 2:00 PM, a brief intro and Q&A will be given by David Rensin followed by a book signing along with Louis' children, Cynthia (Zamperini) Garris and Luke Zamperini. Either bring your own copies of Don't Give Up, Don't Give In - Lessons from an Extraordinary Life or Devil At My Heels or purchase books at the Museum to autograph.

    Cost: No cost, donations appreciated -- seating is limited, no reservations are required. Books are additional charge. Cash or personal check are accepted for purchases. No credit cards. You are welcome to bring your own books for signing or purchase books at the Museum.

    Don't Give up, Don't Give In - Lessons from an Extraordinary Life - $20
    Devil At My Heels - $15.00

    Info: 310.328.5392

    Our last book signing was so popular the Torrance Historical Society will be hosting another book signing with David Rensin, co-author of the recently released Don't Give Up, Don't Give In - Lessons from an Extraordinary Life by Louis Zamperini & David Rensin. In this book, Louis Zamperini shares his wisdom, values, lessons, secrets, and other insights gleaned from his remarkable experiences. David also co-authored Louis' book, Devil At My Heels. Cynthia (Zamperini) Garris and Luke Zamperini, Louis' children will also be there to autograph books.

    In addition, we will be showing the City's Centennial DVD of*/Louis Zamperini - Triumph of the Torrance Tornado/* and the clip of Louis winning 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 4:21:2, shattering the national high school record, set during World War 1, by more than 2 seconds." -- Laura Hillenbrand/ (The DVD will be playing from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM - pop in any time -- it's only about 14 minutes long.)

    While you're in the Museum, take a look at our display from the collection of the Louis Zamperini Trust, including -

    • 1934 trophy for setting the Interscholastic World Record for running the mile (4:21.2) - which remained unbroken for 19 years
    • Training shorts and sweat shirt from the 1936 Olympics
    • Wallet - in his back pocket when the B-24/crashed in the Pacific
    • Death certificate, and other "Lucky Louie" treasures

    Louis Zamperini memorabilia will also be available for purchase -

    • Torrance Centennial DVD, which includes the Louis Zamperini - Triumph of the Torrance Tornado - $20
    • 2015 City of Torrance Rose Float Pin - Louis Zamperini - A Race Well Run - $6
    • Discover Torrance black T-shirt with "Torrance" emblazoned across the chest at a diagonal - similar to the one worn by Louis Zamperini during high school to match the black shorts his mom made him from an old pleated black satin dress so he could feel as if he were running "naked." and a maroon (Torrance Tartar color) wristband with Louis' slogan "Be Hardy" (http://thetorrancetornado.com/) - $20 (ALL proceeds go to Louis' "Victory Boys Camp" - now run by his grandson, Clay)
    • Taking Flight - History of the Torrance Airport - A 53-minute DVD professionally produced by the City of Torrance CitiCABLE 3, released in 2005. The story begins with the Lomita Flight Strip, constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1942 to train P-38 Fighter pilots. It includes Torrance City photos from the WW II period plus interviews with Charles Lobb, author of the book Torrance Airport, Louis Zamperini for whom the field was named, Nancy Clinton, First Lady of the Airport and Roger Keeney who opened Acme Aircraft Company in October 1945. Additional pilots currently based on the field are also included - $10
    • Don't Give up, Don't Give In - Lessons from an Extraordinary Life written by Louis Zamperini and David Rensin - $20 cash per copy with David Rensin available for signing.
    • Torrance Airport book written by Charles Lobb, forward written by Louis Zamperini - $22 per copy, with the author available for signing. The book and Taking Flight DVD may be purchased as a package for $25.


    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. 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.

    When: Sunday, February 8th, 2015
    Where: Torrance Historical Society & Museum - 1345 Post Avenue, Old Torrance
    Time: 2:00 PM
    Cost: $25 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 1st - this has been a sold out event each year and sold out long before the final RSVP date.
    Info: 310.328.5392 or visit: www.TorranceHistoricalSociety.org
    Attire: Tea attire -- hats and gloves optional

    Historic hankies and Valentines will be on exhibit.

    The day will include:

    • Enjoy a Trunk Show of Vintage Accessories by Collector, Janet Stancliff
    • Each table will feature a teapot from the private collection of Jamie Ruth Watson, President of the Torrance Historical Society
    • Vintage Boutique Sale - antique jewelry, linens, lace, silver, glassware and collectibles
    • Opportunity to win fabulous gift baskets


    Happy Birthday Louis Zamperini
    Treats, Treasures & Track Clips

    See our Louis Zamperini link on this website.

    What: Book signing with David Rensin, coauthor of "Don't Give up, Don't Give In - Lessons from an Extraordinary Life" and showing of City's Centennial DVD of Louis Zamperini and clips of Louis. See below for more information. See Museum display from the collection of the Louis Zamperini Trust.

    Cynthia (Zamperini) Garris and Luke Zamperini, Louis' daughter and son, will also be there to sign the book and visit.

    Chuck Lobb, author of Torrance Airport, also will be signing books. The forward to "Torrance Airport" was written by Louis Zamperini. The airport is now named Zamperini Field.

    When: Sunday, January 25th, 2015
    Where: Torrance Historical Society & Museum - 1345 Post Avenue, Old Torrance
    Time: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    At 2:00 PM, a brief intro and Q&A will be given by David Rensin along with Cynthia (Zamperini) Garris and Luke Zamperini.
    Cost: No Cost, Donations appreciated -- seating is limited, no reservations are required.
    Books are additional charge. Cash only accepted for "Don't Give up, Don't Give in - Lessons from an Extraordinary Life." Cash or personal check are accepted for other purchases. No credit cards. You are welcome to bring your own books for signing or purchase books at the Museum.

    "Don't Give up, Don't Give In - Lessons from an Extraordinary Life" - $20, cash only accepted for this book.
    "Torrance Airport" - $22, cash or check accepted for this book.

    Complimentary cupcakes celebrating Louis Zamperini's birthday will be served.

    On January 26th, our Hometown Hero, Louis Zamperini, would have been 98. He was living legend, and now his legend lives on. Although he did not get to ride in the Grand Marshall Car in the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Years Day, you KNOW he had the best seat in the house for the event!

    In celebration of Louis' birthday, the Torrance Historical Society will be hosting a book signing with David Rensin, co-author of recently released -- "Don't Give Up, Don't Give In - Lessons from an Extraordinary Life" by Louis Zamperini & David Rensin. In this book, Louis Zamperini shares his wisdom, values, lessons, secrets, and other insights gleaned from his remarkable experiences. David also co-authored Louis' book, "Devil At My Heels".

    In addition, we will be showing the City's Centennial DVD of Louis Zamperini - Triumph of the Torrance Tornado and the clip of Louis winning 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 4:21:2, shattering the national high school record, set during World War 1, by more than 2 seconds." -- Laura Hillenbrand (The DVD will be playing from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM - pop in any time -- it's only about 14 minutes long.)

    While you're in the Museum, take a look at our display from the collection of the Louis Zamperini Trust, including . . .

    • 1934 trophy for setting the Interscholastic World Record for running the mile (4:21.2) - which remained unbroken for 19 years
    • Training shorts and sweat shirt from the 1936 Olympics
    • Wallet - in his back pocket when the B-24 crashed in the Pacific
    • Death certificate, and other "Lucky Louie" treasures

    Louis Zamperini memorabilia will also be available for purchase . . .

    • Torrance Centennial DVD, which includes the Louis Zamperini - Triumph of the Torrance Tornado - $20
    • 2015 City of Torrance Rose Float Pin - Louis Zamperini - A Race Well Run - $6
    • Discover Torrance black T-shirt with "Torrance" emblazoned across the chest at a diagonal - similar to the one worn by Louis Zamperini during high school to match the black shorts his mom made him from an old pleated black satin dress so he could feel as if he were running "naked." and a maroon (Torrance Tartar color) wristband with Louis' slogan "Be Hardy" (http://thetorrancetornado.com/) - $20 (ALL proceeds go to Louis' "Victory Boys Camp" - now run by his grandson, Clay)
    • Taking Flight - History of the Torrance Airport - A 53-minute DVD professionally produced by the City of Torrance CitiCABLE 3, released in 2005. The story begins with the Lomita Flight Strip, constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1942 to train P-38 Fighter pilots. It includes Torrance City photos from the WW II period plus interviews with Charles Lobb, author of the book Torrance Airport, Louis Zamperini for whom the field was named, Nancy Clinton, First Lady of the Airport and Roger Keeney who opened Acme Aircraft Company in October 1945. Additional pilots currently based on the field are also included - $10
    • Don't Give up, Don't Give In - Lessons from an Extraordinary Life written by Louis Zamperini and David Rensin - $20 cash per copy with David Rensin available for signing.
    • Torrance Airport book written by Charles Lobb, forward written by Louis Zamperini - $22 per copy, with the author available for signing. The book and Taking Flight DVD may be purchased as a package for $25.


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