On Sunday afternoon, December 5th, the Dana Point Historical Society held its annual Open House. A very large crowd was in attendance to mingle and visit with some of our most senior residents who were the guests of honor. On display were story boards that described the life of Richard Henry Dana, Jr. Many were interested to learn of his history and how influential this Bostonian was in his home town, and yet left his mark on the California Coast. The family genealogy from the first Dana to America in 1640 to the present Richard Henry Dana VII, the Dana clan in the Santa Barbara area, and to one branch of family living in Mission Viejo was outlined on a large story board.
A copy ofÂ a 1956 original movie theater poster of “Two Years before the Mast” which starred Alan Ladd, William Bendix, and Brian Donlevy, showed how popular the book was. Also on display were photos of Dana’s Point with the 50 foot cave at the south end approachable only by a little wading and rock climbing, accompanied by the 1888 Los Angeles Times article with the historical legend of the cave’s refuge for a dangerous octopus and the bones of two lovers discovered within.
The highlight of the afternoon was the presentation by President Carlos N. Olvera to Pat Fairbanks, the Pat Plepler Citizenship Award. Plepler, a historical society member and volunteer, passed way four years ago. She was prominent activist in Dana Point advocating Ocean awareness, civic responsibility, and volunteerism. Pat Fairbanks has been the long time president of the Dana Point Civic Association and creator of the Third Friday’s Morning Coffee Chat at Coffee Importers with free coffee. Previous recipients include Paul Peck and Lara Anderson.