President’s Column

Dianne P. Cowen, President
The Congress of History of
San Diego and Imperial Counties (CoH)
diannepcowen@gmail.com

Local Fourth of July celebrations, held recently, reminded
me of the impact that the 200th anniversary of our nation
had on the development of local historical societies. It seemed that every community wanted to be a
part of the Bicentennial events.

Citizens began years in advance to learn more about
their own founding fathers and mothers. Historic locations
and museums were spruced-up. Organizations and
governments joined efforts to remember the linking of
13 newly-independent colonies into what would eventually
become the fifty United States of America. Fundraising, speeches,
exhibits, and dinners culminated on July 4, 1976 with the
national celebration of our nation in Washington, D.C. In San
Diego most of us saw the televised version from the
comfort of our homes even as we enjoyed the local
events before and during East Coast celebrations. . . .

This year the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum
Association
( link ) is celebrating the centennial of the San Diego
and Arizona Railway with talks scheduled at many
locations throughout the year. Driving from my Los
Peñasquitos Ranch House Docents meeting directly to
the San Diego Archaeology Center ( link ) on June 8, I was able
to hear most of Reena Deutsch’s presentation on the
construction of the SD&A. What an amazing feat that
men of various ethnicities and backgrounds accomplished
as they tunneled, built bridges, and laid track
across the inhospitable lands from El Centro to National
City. The online San Diego and Arizona Railway
Centennial page lists the schedule of events which vary
in time of day, location, and cost, with many being free.

As Helen Halmay, editor of Adelante, noted in her
column, “Hue and Cry” (in the conference edition of
Adelante) many of our Congress of History organizations
have significant anniversaries this year. Check
current and past Adelante newsletters for information.
Even if specific events have already passed, individual
museums’ anniversary exhibits will continue for
months. . . .

I am looking forward to being in Lakeside on July
20 for the next Congress of History Board Meeting.
Our host, the Lakeside Historical Society, has the Olde
Community Church on the corner of Maine Ave. and
Parkdale. An E Clampus Vitus historical marker faces
Maine Ave. Limited off-street parking is available
on Parkdale between the Lakeside Museum and the
church. Street parking on Parkdale has some shade.
Join us for the meeting, museum tour, and lunch at a
local nearby eatery. I always bring a hat and wear sunscreen for the outdoors. . . .

Our family has had several gatherings over the
past few months as we said goodbye to our 98-year-old
mother, grandmother, and aunt. Mother loved history
and was a longtime member of the Lompoc Historical
Society in her community. When traveling, in years
past, she also enjoyed visiting local historical sites and
museums. Many family members continue to share her
interests.

I hope to have a little more time to visit more of the
Congress of History member locations this year. In the
meantime, our family has enjoyed celebrating our own
history and sharing memories and photos. May you
enjoy family and friends in your life.
Hope to see you soon,

Dianne P. Cowen, President

About Raymond Blavatt

I joined the Ocean Beach Historical Society in San Diego Ca and now part of Congress of History also.
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