Community Focus Event: St. Francis Dam National Memorial Foundation
The St. Francis Dam Disaster of 1928
Thursday, 13 October, 2022, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM via Zoom
Presented by the St. Francis Dam National Memorial Foundation
Featuring: St. Francis Dam National Memorial Foundation President, Dr. Alan Pollack, and Executive Director, Dianne Hellrigel
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Meeting ID: 878 7627 0585
Alan Pollack is a physician, practicing for more than three decades in the San Fernando Valley area, and as president of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, Dr. Pollack promotes and educates the public on the rich history of the Santa Clarita Valley. After a visit to Johnstown National Memorial in Pennsylvania in 2012, Dr. Pollack originated the idea to bring a National Memorial to the site of the St. Francis Dam Disaster to honor the memories of the over 400 victims of the flood. His and Dianne Hellrigel’s efforts, along with a host of other advocates, finally culminated in the establishment of the St. Francis Dam National Memorial and Monument, signed into law by the President of the United States on March 12, 2019, coincidentally the 91st anniversary of the disaster.
Executive Director Dianne Hellrigel has a background in land legislation and preservation. She has preserved 450,000+ acres of wilderness, 2 Wild and Scenic Rivers, 2 National Monuments and 1 National Memorial. When Alan approached her to work on legislation for the St. Francis Dam she was already overwhelmed with 7 existing legislations in D.C., but then she remembered that her grandparents, aunts and mother walked on the top of the St. Francis Dam, two days before it ruptured, killing more than 400 innocent people on the night of March 12-13, 1928. Remembering a trip to the dam site with her mother when she was 6, made the Dam legislation her #1 priority. After nearly 8 years of lobbying congress, the bill was finally passed on March 12, 2019.
Subsequent to the passage of the bill, Dianne has interviewed many of the progeny of the survivors of the dam break and resulting flood. She has many personal stories of amazing survivals and tragic deaths that she will relay in her presentation. All of the stories are heart breaking and will be related as the stories were related to her. Dianne and Alan have worked together to bring the story of the St. Francis Dam disaster out of the shadows, and are now educating the public through their presentations.
Alan will discuss the history of water in the natural and built environment of California, including the dependence upon the Los Angeles River in the early days of the Pueblo, Mulholland’s idea about securing water, the Water Wars in the Inyo, the building of the St. Francis Dam, and ultimate failures, including environmental disruptions to the indigenous landscape. He will also discuss his idea that came to fruition in honoring the hidden tragedy of the St. Francis Dam to develop a National Memorial.
Community Based Archives: UC-Riverside & Redlands
Building A People’s History of the Inland Empire
Thursday, 3 November, 2022 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM via Zoom
To sign up CLICK HERE.
A People’s History of the I.E.: Storyscapes of Race, Place, and Queer Space in Southern California is a digital, community-based archiving and mapping project that documents the lived experiences and memories of Riverside and San Bernardino County residents. It is focused on stories of working people, communities of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals whose experiences have often been under-represented in traditional archives and histories. Presenters will share their efforts to build and make publicly available several interrelated digital archival collections, and how they strive to maintain community ownership of them. These archives let us see how residents of San Bernardino have agitated for civil rights, how women from Redlands to Riverside mobilized their positions within the citrus industry to improve their communities, and how environmental justice leaders have advocated for a better I.E. Presenters will highlight stories from the archive and demonstrate the different ways we have deployed these materials for museum exhibits, digital storytelling, and map-based presentations.
Jennifer Tilton is a professor of Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of Redlands. She works with the Bridges That Carried Us Over Project to support a community-led effort to document Black history in the Inland Empire. She works collaboratively with students and community leaders to build historic census maps, georeferenced archives, and StoryMaps that make visible historic communities of color and patterns of segregation in the Inland Empire. Visit the Bridges Project and People’s History StoryMaps.
Catherine Gudis is a professor of History at the University of California, Riverside, where she directs the graduate program in Public History and holds a Pollitt Endowed Term Chair for Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning. She directs the Relevancy & History Project, a collaboration with California Citrus State Historic Park, co-curated Climates of Inequality: Stories of Environmental Justice, and continues to work on a series with KCET, “Empire of Logistics.”
Audrey Maier received her master’s and Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside. She is currently on the Digital Initiatives team at the National Museum of the American Latino and co-director of A People’s History of the Inland Empire Digital Archive. Maier is a part of a number of Inland Empire cultural organizations, such as the Loma Linda Area Parks and Historical Society and Relevancy & History Project, to create digital community-based archives, oral history projects, and community history programming.
Drs. Gudis and Maier have produced a website, Sweet and Sour Citrus, bringing together archival materials, research and educational resources from A People’s History of the I.E. and Relevancy & History.
Support for mapping and digital archiving of A People’s History of the Inland Empire is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities-Social Science Research Council Sustaining Humanities Infrastructure Project, Relevancy & History Project partnership between UCR and California State Parks, University of Redlands Center for Spatial Studies, and UCR Library’s Digital Scholarship.
Community Focus Event: Fillmore Historical Society
A Hidden Gem: The Fillmore Historical Museum
Thursday, 17 November, 2022 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM via Zoom
To sign up, click HERE.
Fillmore, CA. was founded in 1888, and named after Jerome Fillmore, the local area superintendent for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Rand McNally gave its population as 150 in 1900. After incorporation in 1914, the town steadily grew having 1,597 people in 1920, 3,884 in 1950, 13,643 in 2000. The 2020 census put Fillmore’s population at 16,419. The town’s growth was based on agriculture – initially barley and lima beans, walnuts and apricots, and later citrus and avocadoes – and oil. Both industries still predominate the area’s economy.
In 1972, the Fillmore Chamber of Commerce approached a retired Spanish teacher, Edith Moore Jarrett, to start an historical museum. Mrs. Jarrett was not just any retired Spanish teacher. She had written the Spanish textbooks, El Camino Real I. II, and other books. The textbooks became the most commonly used series of Spanish text books in the United States for several decades beginning in 1940 and into the 1970s. She also loved traveling and history. She was a Fillmore native, graduating from Fillmore Union High School in 1916 and from the University of Southern California in 1921. After graduation from USC, she returned to Fillmore and taught in its schools until her retirement.
Mrs. Jarrett accepted the Chamber of Commerce’s request. Space was rented on the ground floor of the Masonic Temple Building on Central Avenue and the word went out to the population of the area that she was looking for items for the Museum. She was overwhelmed with donations and soon out of space.
In 1974, the Southern Pacific Railroad was ready to demolish the depot they had built in Fillmore in 1887. It had not been used except for storage for many years and was in very poor condition. Edith Jarrett bought it for $1 plus 5₵ tax on the condition that she immediately move it from its original site. She petitioned the City which provided a lot on Main Street. Mrs. Jarrett then paid for the moving and renovation of the Depot as a donation to the town of Fillmore.
Fifty years have passed since the Fillmore Historical Museum opened its doors. After extensive damage in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, the depot was again moved and renovated.
The new site for the Museum was only a block from the old site, but now had room for a 1905 bungalow, the 1919 Rancho Sespe bunkhouse, a 1960’s caboose and several smaller buildings. An entirely volunteer operation, it receives no funding from any government agency.
The Museum is open four days a week and by appointment. It regularly hosts interns from local colleges and universities as well as welcoming local school children. It’s website, fillmorehistoricalmuseum.org, includes information about the Museum and its programs as well as over one hundred stories about the Fillmore, Bardsdale, Sespe and Piru communities.