Tel: (818) 347-9665 PST

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Historic houses at San Dieguito - Photo by Gerald Fecht for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley 2009 (click on image to enlarge)

My wife Janne, along with two great friends, and I regularly explore the gardens, historic sites and museums of Southern California. Our adventures have taken us from the poppy fields of the Mojave to the Latin American Art Museum in Long Beach. We are poster children for California "in-tourism". Our most recent exploration took us to the San Elijo Lagoon Preserve in San Diego County. The new nature center at the lagoon is a paragon of "green" thinking and construction. I came away with dozens of ideas for future sites for The Museum of the San Fernando Valley. (A fence of recycled re-bar protects the wonderful structure while celebrating the native tule' reeds that are vital to the health of the lagoon.)
After our morning at San Elijo, our friend and lagoon-docent, Elizabeth Venrick took us to yet another terrific experience, the San Dieguito Heritage Museum.
The San Dieguito Heritage Museum is a perfect example of an emerging community-based museum. With its rustic facade and inviting interior, its hard to image that the main museum structure is composed of two surplus classroom trailers. The museum has a simple but meaningful collection of historic artifacts, models, and good photographs. Best of all, it is blessed with really good docents. Two great displays were made by nearby university students who obviously related to the area's histories of surfing and skate boarding.
Outside the museum, two volunteers were cooking lima beans for us visitors. The property of the museum was once one of the largest lima bean growing areas in the United States. Those folks were so nice, they made me wish that I could find lima beans eatable.
Sadly, there was a profound lesson for those of us seeking to preserve the historic Weddington House in North Hollywood. There are two structures in the above photo. Having just visited green San Elijo center, I assumed that someone was instralling sky lights. I was wrong!
Uninhabited and unsecured, the houses were recently set afire by two young girls. You'll have to watch Cops to figure out their motives, but whatever reason, the houses could have been lost forever in the blinking of an eye!
Irrespective if The Museum of the San Fernando Valley is chosen to be the stewards of the Weddington House, our Museum community needs to urge all parties to protect the old Weddington structure and to get it secured in North Hollywood Park as soon as possible. Those aren't skylights!

No comments: