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Events in 2016

Torrance Holiday Traditions

Date: Sunday, December 4, 2016
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Fee: Free, Donations appreciated.
No Reservations. Seating is limited. First come, first served.

Sleepy Hollow was not the only holiday tradition in Torrance. From the start, the city saw holiday celebrations as a way to bring people together. Explore some of the old traditions that were popular from the roaring 20s, through the Great Depression to the boom of the post war years.

We will learn about Santa's Village on El Prado, the decorating of Old Torrance shops for the season and the community Christmas tree.

Reference Librarian, local historian and former THS Board member Michael George, combs the old records to see how folks celebrated the season "back in the day."

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

What: Visit with a Veteran
When: Sunday,November 13th, 2016
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: torranchhistoricalsociety.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

Meet the Author - Ron Kovic

The Torrance Historical Society, in partnership with the Torrance Library, is hosting a Meet the Author event with Ron Kovic -- a Vietnam Veteran, peace-activist and best-selling author of Born on the Fourth of July, and the newly published Hurricane Street.

2016 marks the 40th anniversary since the release of Born on the Fourth of July, and 25 years since Tom Cruise's portrayed Ron Kovic in Oliver Stone's Oscar-winning film of the same name. Kovic will read from both books, have a discussion, followed by a book signing of his new book Hurricane Street -- an impassioned, timely memoir about the American Veterans Movement, which picks up where Born on the Fourth of July left off. Kovic is an impassioned advocate for better treatment of Veterans.

What: Meet the Author with Ron Kovic - a Vietnam Veteran, peace activist and best-selling author of Born on the Fourth of July, and the newly published Hurricane Street.
When: Saturday, November 19th, 2016
Time: 2:00 PM
Where: Katy Geissert Civic Center Library - 3301 Torrance Bl, Torrance 90503
No RSVP and No Charge: Free event. No reservations but seating is limited to first-come / first- served.
Info: 310.328.5392 or visit torrancehistoricalsociety.org.
Both books will be available for signing and purchase (check, cash and credit cards accepted). Born on the Fourth of Julyis a special 40th anniversary reprint edition.


Torrance Rose Float History by Lynn Robinson, VP of Rose Float Association

Torrance Rose Float Association

Date: Sunday, Nov 6, 2016
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Fee: Free, Donations appreciated.
No Reservations. Seating is limited. First come, first served. Light refreshments will be served.

A Torrance Tradition for over 100 years With the 128th annual Tournament of Roses Parade just around the corner, the Torrance Historical Society is hosting a program entitled The History of the Torrance Rose Float - A Torrance Tradition for over 100 Years. This program will take place on Sunday, November 6th, 2016, at the Torrance Historical Society & Museum - 1345 Post Ave., Torrance 90501. The presentation will begin at 2:00 PM, and light refreshments will be served.

The tradition of Torrance participating in the Tournament of Roses Parade began with our City's Founder, Jared Sidney Torrance, who was on over 130 Board of Directors, including the Valley Hunt Club, which sponsored the first Rose Parade in 1890 to promote Pasadena as a warm-weather destination to their east coast friends. During Torrance's tenure as president of the Valley Hunt Club (1895-1896), it was decided that a separate agency needed to be formed to mange the Parade, as it had grown too large for the Club to handle. In 1895, the Tournament of Roses Association was formed to take charge of the event.

The City of Torrance's first float entry was 1914. This float was entered by Thomas Campbell & Co. whose stock was solely owned by Jared Sidney Torrance. Thomas Campbell & Co. promoted the town of Torrance during its first year.

Lynn Robinson of the Torrance Rose Float Association will share the history of this long standing tradition of the City of Torrance's participation in the Tournament of Roses Parade, and provide pictures of each float entry. Guests will also see the trophy won by the City for their 1914 entry proudly displayed at the Torrance Historical Society & Museum.


There is still time to win a Progressive Dinner for six in three Historic Homes. The drawing will be held on November 10, 2016. Winner not be present to win and will be notified. Tickets are $10 each or 3/$25 - Dinner will be Saturday, January 21, 2017. You can purchase tickets for this opportunity in the museum Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday from 1:00 - 4:00 pm prior to or on November 10, 2016.

You can still enter a drawing to win a $250 shopping spree at the FREIGHTHOUSE - a design showroom and high-end bargain hunter's dream. Pick up an entry form in Museum on a Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday from 1:00 - 4:00 pm prior to November 10, 2016 and return form to the Freighthouse at 1260 Cabrillo Ave, (south of Torrance Bl, just south of the Depot Restaurant).

The following Historic Downtown Torrance Restaurants offer discounts through October upon the showing of your 2016 Original Fall Tour of Historic Homes tour booklet.

  • Red Car Brewery & Restaurant - 1266 Sartori Ave. - - show your Home Tour Book for 15% discount off entire order (excluding alcohol) - discount good through the month of October
  • Tortilla Cantina - 1225 El Prado Avenue (Corner of Sartori Ave.) - - show your Home Tour Book for a 50% discount off any Happy Hour Special (noon - 7:00 PM) - discount good through the month of October
  • Kech Cafe - 1231 Cabrillo Ave., #103 - 424.376.5000 - kechcafeinfo@gmail.com - show your Home Tour Book for a free Signature Beverages with a minimum $10 purchase (excluding alcohol) - discount good through the month of October

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. 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.


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

Date: Saturday & Sunday, October 8-9, 2016
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Museum opens at 10:30 a.m.)
Fee: $25 per person - Cash or check only; no credit or debit cards.
Where to Purchase: Tickets may be purchased only at the Museum either day of the tour - no advance purchase is necessary.
Torrance Historical Society & Museum
1345 Post Ave. (at Cravens)
(310)328-5392

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)

Refreshments: Complimentary lemonade and Torrance Bakery Cookies will be served from the historic 1925 Woman's Club with an added bonus of Views of Torrance art by the Artists of Torrance Artist Guild and Destination: Art being on display.

Fundraiser Benefits:Proceeds from the fundraiser directly benefit the Museum - archiving activities, historical discoveries, research projects, special programs, its operation and exhibits.

Sponsor:This event generously sponsored by Van Lingen Towing & Frank Scotto Towing.

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 8th - 9th, 2016, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, both days. This biennial, self-guided event is open to the general public and begins at the Torrance Historical Society & Museum.

Art by the Torrance Artists' Guild and Destination: Art will also be featured on the tour at the historic Woman's Club. Additionally, artists will be painting en plein aire at the homes on the tour throughout the weekend.

You will tour the inside of a half dozen 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.

The homes on the tour reflect an eclectic mix - from Spanish Colonial Revival to Craftsman Bungalow to California Ranch to English Tudor Revival - which characterize and add to the charm of Old Torrance -- founded 1912. Homes on the Tour were built between 1922 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 ...

  • Hear your footsteps echo through a 1924, empty Craftsman Bungalow home -- you'll get a first-hand look at the "bones" of the architecture
  • As you stroll the tree-lined streets of Old Torrance, you will also see plein air artists at work.
  • 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 10, 2016 (winner will be notified) - tickets $10 each or 3/$25 - Dinner will be Saturday, January 21, 2017.

The homes may viewed in any order, on either day. All are within walking distance from the Museum -- the furthest being six blocks away. Local restaurants will be offering Home Tour Specials.

The Home Tour Poster is available here.


Late Night Thursdays

When: Thursday nights, Thursday, August 4th - Thursday, August 25th

The Museum will be open until 8:00 PM Thursday evenings in August (open 1:00 - 8:00PM).
Treats will be served! Stop by and visit with our special guests (6:00 PM - 8:00 PM).

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.

Thursday, August 4th - Celebrating Jared Sidney Torrance's birthday and have a cupcake!
Par-tay with "Sidney!" Jared Sidney Torrance, our City's founder, was born on August 3rd, 1853 -- he would have been 163! So, to celebrate we will be serving birthday treats from 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM. Come par-tay with us!

Thursday, August 11th - Watch Louis Zamperini's record-setting track film
See the City's Centennial DVD of Louis 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).

Be the first to view the Zamperini Highway dedication project! That it is currently in the works to dedicate a portion of the 405 freeway to our Home Town Hero, Louis Zamperini!

Thursday, August 18th - Mike the Map Man - view decades worth of maps
Mike the Map Man is back by popular demand -- view decades worth of maps from our Historic Map Archives (6:00 PM - 8:00 PM)

Thursday, August 25th - History of the Hollywood Riviera DVD
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: 5th 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 Museum, Red Car Brewery & Restaurant, Tortilla Cantina, Kech Cafe., Depot, Keegan's, Restoration Kitchen & Wine and Torrance Bakery.

When: Wednesday, August 3rd, 6:00PM SHARP! - You must be on time!
Location: Meet at Torrance Historical Society & Museum, 1345 Post Avenue, at Cravens.
Who: Adults, 21 years and older ONLY.
Cost: $35.00 per person - Reservations required. Space is limited. No refunds. See info under "RSVP". 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 Museum, Red Car Brewery & Restaurant, Tortilla Cantina, Kech Cafe, The Depot, Keegan's, Restoration Kitchen & Wine, 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 has been a sold-out event each 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 21, 2016 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 - by DJ Ozzie
  • Munch on burgers from the IN-N-OUT burger wagon (burgers served from 5:00 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!
  • View vintage cars on display along Post Avenue, courtesy of Cruisin' 50s Car Club, Touring A's and local car owners
  • Alex Hattori, 3-time US National Champion and currently 2nd Place World yo-yo champ, will also be on stage amazing the crowd with his award winning tricks and will do a live demo for those who want to learn the skill of yo-yo-ing
  • Guests will also have the opportunity to learn hands-on CPR from the Torrance Fire Dept. to the Bee Gee's tune of "Stayin' Alive."

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) and dance to the Liz Holmes Retro Swing Band. 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 sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. and hosted in partnership with the City of Torrance, Old Torrance Neighborhood Association, CitiCABLE 3, and Torrance Bakery. 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

Sunday, in the Park with Frederick" (Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., as portrayed by John Powers*)

As you stroll the streets of Old Torrance, you'll find pockets of green. This is by design.

Pack a picnic, bring a chair and gather with us in the first park of Torrance, as Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr, (as portrayed by John Powers), famed Landscape Architect hired by Jared Sidney Torrance to layout our Modern Industrial Garden City, shares his story of incorporating green space and natural beauty into his urban design.

What: Annual Meeting & installation of Officers.
"Sunday in the Park with Frederick"
(Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. as portrayed by John Powers*)
When:Sunday, June 5th, 2016, 11:30am
Where: El Prado Park, (corner of El Prado & Cravens in Old Torrance)
Cost: $5.00 per person. Cash or checks accepted. No credit nor debit cards accepted
Make checks payable to: "Torrance Historical Society".
$5 includes water, lemonade and a Torrance Bakery dessert.
Mail to: Torrance Historical Society 1345 Post Ave. Torrance, CA 90501
RSVP: 310.328.5392 or email Debbie Hays: debbie.simpson@acssoftware.com RSVP by Wednesday, June 1, 2016.
Info: If you have any questions or would like additional information, please visit www.torrancehistoricalsociety.org or call the Museum at (310) 328-5392.
* John Powers is a writer and director known for his "Works in Progress" theater series and his "Ten Years After" history series.

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.

What: Names on the Wall Remembrance
When: Memorial Day - Monday, May 30th 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 Torrance Historical & Society and Museum, 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.


Women in History - Isabel Henderson - First Librarian by Connie Moretti, Genealogist

What: Women in History Talk about Isabel Henderson, First Librarian in Torrance. By Connie Moretti, Torrance native, third-generation Californian, author and professional Genealogist.
When: Sunday, March 13, 2016, 2:00 PM
Location: The Torrance Historical Society Museum - Which was built in 1936 on the corner of Cravens Avenue and Post Avenue as the first public Torrance library building, and was part of a new civic center, and a WPA project.
Cost: Free. Donations appreciated. Refreshments will be served.

No Reservations. Seating is limited. First come, first served.
Additional Information: Call the museum at 310.328.5392

Background on Torrance's First Library.

Isabel Henderson, cousin to our City's founder, Jared Sidney Torrance, started the first library in the parlor of her home located on Gramercy Avenue in Old Torrance with 300 books donated by Jared and his friends. Her doors were open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM and every evening from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM. At this event, you will also learn in what language the Torrance Public Library's first international language books were written, and the cost of and title of the first book ever purchased for the library, and many more interesting facts about the woman who started the first public library system in Torrance.


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 7th, 2016
Where: Torrance Historical Society & Museum - 1345 Post Avenue, Old Torrance
Time: 2:00 PM
Cost: Cost is $25 per person -- seating is limited, so reservations are required and will be taken on a first come/first served basis. See RSVP below. 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 - Check must be received within 48 hours of making the reservation. This has been a sold out event each year and sells out very quickly.
Info: 310.328.5392 or visit: www.TorranceHistoricalSociety.org
Attire: Tea attire -- hats and gloves optional
The day will include:

  • Enjoy a Quilt Trunk Show with Melanie Dreike of the South Bay Quilters Guild highlighting how the quilts were made and the inspiration behind them
  • 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


Past Events

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