Our Historical Society is an all-volunteer organization and we have been very busy sharing Dana Point history with the public. There have been fun rewards for our members. Our February 24th meeting began with three delightful 7th grade students and their families. Regis, Chris and Cameron demonstrated their impressive creation of an R.H. Dana Jr. web site submitted as a National History Day project. Program Chair Bob Minty followed with a fascinating presentation on Whaling and Scrimshaw History, complete with a “cat of nine tails” demonstration. Afterward, our Board of Directors hosted a reception for members and guests in the museum to view Bob’s scrimshaw exhibit, which was designed by Kirsten Reynolds. If you have not viewed the exhibit, the exquisite carving and engraving is a must see!
March was full of events, beginning with the Richard Henry Dana Elementary 50th Anniversary Celebration on March 4. We were proud of DPHS member Helen Pierce (pictured at right), a featured speaker who recounted her experiences teaching kindergarten, first at Serra Elementary and then as part of the opening staff of the new R.H. Dana Elementary in 1966. Helen named a number of her memorable kindergarten students who have gone on to contribute to our community. U.S. Attorney Richard Henry Dana, enacted by DPHS Program Chair Bob Minty, surprised students with a visit, part of his return trip to California. His “That’s Not Fair” speech captivated the students and was a hit with all the guests who heard how Dana lost his mother as a child, witnessed the unfair treatment of merchant seamen and vowed to help those less fortunate than himself. The Society presented Principal Christina Portillo with a copy of Doris Walker’s Home Port for Romance, a gift from Doris’s two sons who attended school there, and we also gave our collectible DPHS City Seal Medallion, framed, for the school’s 50th Anniversary History display.
The city’s Festival of Whales parade had a beautiful day. Founders Elizabeth Bamattre, Judy Henderson, Helen Pierce, R.H. Dana Elementary students and guests honored us by riding on our Whale of a Fire Engine parade entry, supplied by the California Fire Museum. Thanks to guides Terry and Lee Walsh, we had two well-attended Historic Walking Tours the first FOW weekend. A big thank you to Max Brown and all the volunteers who greeted residents and visitors at our DPHS merchandise and outreach booth for both weekends!
Mayor John Tomlinson started the Sixth Reading of Two Years Before the Mast on Friday, April 1. Ocean Institute President Dori Moorehead, Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett, State Senator Pat Bates and Assemblyman Bill Brough’s family also read the first day. Councilman Scott Schoeffel was the first of 52 readers at 9 AM Saturday that included Kathrine Dana Shaw, 94, a cousin (3rd cousin, 4x removed) of Richard Henry Dana. Her daughter, Cynthia Shaw Bowers joined her (both pictured at left). A record number of 11 Dana descendants attended this year’s reading, one from as far away as Henderson, Montana. Over 125 readers and volunteers were involved by the time the reading concluded on Sunday. Each has been thanked by Chair Elizabeth Bamattre and all are listed on page 5 of this newsletter as well as on a poster in the Society’s museum. Guests and visitors to the harbor stopped by, drawn in by an article in the Dana Point Times. For more information on the 2016 reading, please see the web article: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/dana-710984-shaw-reading.html
We invite members and guests to join in the following events: The May 25 Founders Days Program honoring Bruce and Marlene Beal for their community and volunteer involvement is now being planned by co-chairs Sandie Iverson and Nancy Jenkins, if you would like to assist. Scholarship Chair Heidi Hyde and committee are organizing the June 22 Scholarship Fiesta at Doheny State Beach and need our help and support. Keith Johannes and Bruce Beal are looking for volunteers for our booth at the Doheny Surf Festival on June 25 & 26.
Monday, August 29 is the date set by Orange County for the Dana Point Harbor 50-Year Time Capsule Opening Celebration! (The original Complimentary Bar-B-Q tickets from 1966 will be honored, so dig them out.)
Our Historical Society has been invited to be the lead nonprofit sponsor of the Time Capsule Event and your Board of Directors has voted to accept the honor. As a result of the conflicting preparation time involved, the Board has decided to cancel this fall’s home tour. More information about the Time Capsule Opening Celebration will follow in May and June. If you have any photos or memorabilia from the 1966 Rock Placing Ceremony and Time Capsule Event, we would appreciate you contacting us. Photos and papers can be scanned and returned to you immediately. Artifacts would be held for a museum exhibit and then returned to you. There are lots of opportunities to be involved in these activities and as a docent in the museum. Just volunteer to join us in sharing our history.
Barbara Force Johannes