Thank You

Our thanks go out to Carl Shipek and the Sycuan Cultural Center for hosting our meeting today
We will post photos and a recap soon.
We would recommend a visit to this wonderful center and take a tour.

The July 21, 2018 COH Board Meeting is confirmed for the

Sycuan Cultural Center

910 Willow Glen Drive,
El Cajon, CA 92109.
10 am
Carl Shipek is the Curator/Archivist with the Kumeyaay Community College Library/Archives


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The President’s Column

 Dianne Cowen, President
Congress of History of San Diego and Imperial Counties

Summer musings –– Like some of you, I am an emigrant to California, as
our family followed my step-dad west for work. In the first 16 years of
my life, I was moved 16 times and lived in six different states and two
other countries!

As I grew old enough to understand what was happening,
I loudly and vigorously voiced my opposition to each impending move.
Now, I’m thankful that the last family move was to such a great state
which offered us many opportunities.

While my childhood and teen-age memories involve a lot of different places, the memories of my 97-year-old mother are of the rural community in which she was born and remained, until she moved to the city after high school graduation. . .

All of this is to say that each of us has memories that comprise our
personal history, and that history needs to be recorded. My children
know only part of my story unless I write, or tell, about the “BK years”
(before kids).

If you don’t have children, your stories are still important to record. You may not think your memories are special enough to write down, but they’re unique to you. You’ve seen your community and the world change. The historical society where you grew-up would be interested in your memories of your life, from childhood into adulthood.
Only you have these specific memories.

For example, when I married and moved to San Diego, the Del Mar Fair became part of my summer plans: Food, music, gardens, flowers, manning a booth, demonstrations, lots of people, items sold only at the fair, animals, rides, exhibits, arts,
crafts, & more! And, my experiences of all these aspects are unique to me.

One of my favorite places to visit at the fair is the historic
Alvarado House, which has exhibits depicting some of the history of Del
Mar. This historic residence has been moved a few times and is now in
the gardening/ landscaping area of the fairgrounds, where it’s open only
during the Del Mar Fair. The Del Mar Historical Society provides docents
to keep the building open. If you missed the Alvarado House this year,
put it on your must-see list for June 2019. . . .

During her recent visit from Portland, Oregon, my adult niece, Ana, asked to see Balboa
Park. She and her brother used to come here for several days every
summer and go to the San Diego Zoo or Safari Park, Sea World, the beach,
and camping in the Laguna mountains with my family. How delightful to
tour with an adult who is interested in Balboa Park’s history, art,
architecture, gardens, and other flora.

We enjoyed the Sculpture Courtyard outside the Botanic Library and then searched-out the architectural features explained in the exhibits. Ana also joined us for
a Monday night concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, where we were
thrilled to listen to the new San Diego City Organist Raul Prieto
Ramirez. I hope that you are able to enjoy the parks and history in your
neighborhood. We live in a region with so many different cultural
communities, which add to the exciting mix of available experiences.
Where will we go next? . . .

Thank you to the San Diego County Parks and Recreation Department Rangers at Los Peñasquitos for permitting us to meet in the conference room at the Adobe Ranch House in May. Thanks, also, to Docent Gloria Hinkley who gave CoH members an interesting tour of this historic adobe, where I am also a docent.

For our CoH board meeting THIS Saturday, July 21, the new Sycuan Cultural Center will be the host location. (For details see above.)
All our meetings are free and open to the membership; guests are also
welcome. Air conditioning will help keep us from thinking of the summer
heat and humidity!

Then, on Saturday, September 15, the meeting will be
held in the Winn Room at the Coronado Public Library. As with all
Congress of History Board Meetings, our meetings are free and open to
the public, and we do not have any items for sale.

Plan ahead to catch a ferry across San Diego Bay if you don’t want to drive over the Coronado Bridge. Or, you may drive the scenic route around, on the Silver Strand.

Unlike our usual meetings, the September board meeting will begin at
10:30 a.m. because the Coronado Library doesn’t open until 10 a.m. (More
details will be in the Sept.-Oct. edition of Adelante.) Looking forward
to seeing you soon,
Dianne P. Cowen, President


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Los Peñasquitos Adobe Ranch –

Photos by Pat Louis of our May meeting at the Los Peñasquitos Adobe Ranch.



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The President’s Column


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

May is Preservation Month
Well, my feet have finally landed on terra firma, after floating on air for weeks following our 2018 Conference. What an event! The Portuguese History Center was a fantastic sponsor for “Believe It or Not, It Happened in My Neighborhood.” The variety of speakers’ topics and the number and variety of exhibitors indulged the passion for history among Congress of History members and guests.
Thank you to co-chairs Louise Torio and Eva Petersen for heading the planning committee. Thank you, also, to our other sponsors for their support, and to all who attended this special event, held at an outstanding venue! . . .
Now it’s off to the 2019 conference, when we will celebrate San Diego’s 250th Anniversary. This 2019 conference needs a chair and members who will lead planning and “birthing” of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Please contact me, or any other Board Member (see page 3), if you can join the fun. . . .
Thank you to Helen Halmay, Jonnie Wilson, Rosanne Goodwin, and Ray and Kathy Blavatt for joining me at the San Diego History Center (SDHC) for the April 10 Free Public Tuesday. When there, we take the opportunity to check-out the current exhibits before and/or after our table-time.
Kathy enjoyed seeing paintings by an artist who used to work a day job with her father. Helen was moved by the memorial to the late Gabe Selak (a SDHC employee, and friend of the CoH) in the Fashion Redux Competition clothing display. This was a project which The SDHC, and other Balboa Park museums, are moving beyond hands-on exhibits to visually draw visitors into smaller spaces that are packed with artifacts and information, delivered in interesting ways. Many of your organizations are doing similar things in their exhibit spaces. . . .
On a recent trip to Baja Calif., Mexico, with CAREM of Tecate (a CoH organizational member), I visited the new Caracol Museum in Ensenada, which has an environmental theme. Students of all ages (and non-students) are guided though exhibits to experience the current and future effects of changes in the earth’s climate.
We were amazed at what had been accomplished with a low budget. We also visited the site of Mission San Vicente Ferrer (1780) and Mission Santo Domingo (1775), which is still in use. Both missions were founded by the Dominicans.
. . .
May is Preservation Month, celebrated locally by SOHO with its People In Preservation (PIP) event annually (this year on Thursday, May 31; see the article on page 5). Congratulations to CoH member Susan Bugbee who this year is receiving SOHO’s top honor, the Preservationist of the Year Award. Susan will share this award with Kelley Stanco, David Swarens, and Bernie Turgeon, all honored for their tireless work over several years creating the South Park Historic District. (Then the S.D. Historical Resources Board and the City Council approved the district!) We’re so pleased for Susan, who was a speaker at our 2014 Conference. . . .
Plan Ahead – You are also invited to attend our July 21 Board Meeting, which will be held at the Sycuan Cultural Center, on Willow Glen Drive in El Cajon. The Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay have repurposed the former Cottonwood Golf Resort property for their use. (There will be air conditioning.)
Mark your calendar now for this meeting, that is open to all. We’re looking forward to hearing about what your organization or museum is doing.

Dianne P. Cowen, President 

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COH Next Meeting

The September  15, 2018 COH Board Meeting is confirmed for the

Coronado Public Library

Winn Room
640 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118
Phone: (619) 522-7390

Please Note: We will start at 10:30 am due to the Library opens at 10am.




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A Wonderful Show!

This gallery contains 30 photos.


Gallery | Leave a comment

Believe It or Not – It’s Time to Register for the 2018 Conference!

For the past 53 years the Congress of History has shared it’s love of all things historic by hosting a history conference. Local historians and talented authors volunteer their time to give exciting talks that will captivate you. The conference theme this year,
“Believe It or Not – It Happened in My Neighborhood!,” is a celebration of adventures in local history, with historic tales about places that you may THINK you know, but there is so much more.
You are invited to join us on Friday, March 2, and Saturday, March 3, 2018, in the Point Loma neighborhood of San Diego at Portuguese Hall, 2818 Avenida de Portugal, San Diego. You don’t have to be a member of the Congress of History to attend; everyone is welcome to the conference. While this is the major fundraising event for the Congress of History, pricing for the two-day conference is extremely reasonable: $35 for adults, $25 for seniors (65+), and $15 for active military or any student with ID. (There is no discount if you will only attend one day.)
We’re delighted that our conference cosponsor is the Portuguese Historical Center (PHC), located in the Point Loma neighborhood of San Diego. For over 40 years the PHC has promoted the history and appreciation of the Portuguese immigrants and Portuguese culture in the region. Because the conference location is just across the street from the Portuguese Museum, conference guests will be invited to visit the Portuguese Museum as well as the beautiful 1922 Portuguese Chapel located next door to the hall. The chapel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in February 2017.
The Portuguese community is currently spearheading the adoption of a Little Portugal District to best preserve and commemorate the accomplishments of this community.
Portuguese Hall has its own parking lot, although we always encourage guests to carpool. Within a block walking distance are many locations for lunch, so lunch is on your own. (At the conference we will provide coffee and light refreshments, as well as a map showing nearby easy-to-walk-to local restaurants.)
The registration form for the conference posted on our website. Please register early. While we can take walk-ups in a conference hall this size, you will help out your Congress of History volunteers greatly by preregistering. No tickets will be mailed. When you arrive you will receive a name badge upon check in. This will serve as you ticket for each day. Please mail your registration and payment no later than February 27 to reach us in time. If after February 27, email your registration form to and pay at the door (cash or check). Your badge will be waiting for you. Bring cash for all the vendor tables and book sellers.
Please arrive before the start of the conference at 9:00 a.m. After a welcome by our President, Dianne Cowen, Congress of History Vice President and Conference Co-Chair Louise Torio will serve as you emcee. Each speaker will give a 20-minute presentation, with five minutes for Q&A.
There will be a break after every few speakers in order for guests to browse the many organizational exhibit tables and vendor tables set up by the museums and historical organizations. We’ll also have an author table; for speakers who have written books, they will bring their books for sale. To take advantage of this opportunity, please bring cash for your purchases; some vendors will also take a check, but very few will be able to take credit cards.
Believe It or Not – our speakers are coming from all around the region to share their unique neighborhood stories with you. We put out the call for speakers to members and local historical societies to share those interesting, odd, funny, beautiful, or weird stories about their particular location, stories that may not have fit into the other past 52 conference themes. Click for Registration form and  schedule of our distinguished historians and the fascinating “believe it or not” neighborhood stories they will present:

So, get excited about attending our regions longest running history conference, send in your registration today, and tell your friends that they must attend this very fun networking opportunity where we delight in supporting one another (“unity and joint effort”). We look forward to see you at the conference!

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