2014 was off to a great start as a result of an impressively well-attended January Annual Meeting. Historical Society members arrived with covered dishes and festivities were immediately underway. Thanks to our dedicated Board of Directors who organized the event and to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church facilities, our members and guests shared a delightful dinner and fellowship. Our Annual Meeting was then conducted according to our bylaws. The minutes of the January 2013 Annual Meeting were read by Heidi Hyde, Secretary, and approved. The 2013 Financial Report was reported and submitted by Christy Johnson, Treasurer, which will be audited by the Finance Committee within 90 days and reviewed by our CPA. Mary Crowl, Parliamentarian, announced the officers due for re-election to the board and they were approved by vote of the members present. The installation of elected and appointed officers was waived since all the officers were continuing in the same offices in which they were installed in 2013. After additional announcements the business meeting was adjourned by vote of the members.
Terry Walsh introduced and interviewed Jim Miller as the recipient of the 2013 Pat Plepler Award and Jim received a standing ovation after his remarks. The evening’s final event featured longtime member Richard Deffenbaugh, who, together with his wife, Geody, started Dana Point Auto in 1969 when he became the dealer of the Atlantic Richfield Gas Station in Capistrano Beach at the young age of 22. The station came with a 125-foot sign that vertically spelled RICHFIELD in eight-foot high letters outlined in blue neon with a blinking aviation beacon at its top. The tower was one of the first built in 1928 as part of a planned chain of 36 towers on the West Coast, some as far inland as Barstow. The landmark tower served as the Capistrano Bay “lighthouse” and marked the midpoint between San Diego and Los Angeles for cars, boats and airplanes. When the tower was dismantled in the early 1970s to widen Pacific Coast Highway, Richard saved the aeronautical beacon and displayed it in his Dana Point Auto waiting room. Dick sold the Arco station several years ago, but the service continues at Dana Point Auto, now celebrating 45 years in business. When Kirsten Reynolds and I met with Richard we asked him if he knew anyone we could contact to make a metal pedestal for the beacon. It wasn’t very long before he called me to say that his friend Paul Tanaka, of the Tanaka Farm family, would create and donate a custom stand to display the beacon at the museum. Thanks to Richard and Geody Deffenbaugh and Paul Tanaka, we have another significant piece of Dana Point’s history on display. Our congratulations to Richard and Dana Point Auto on being named Business of the Year at the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting in January.
The momentum is building for the fourth annual reading of Two Years Before the Mast, March 7, 8 and 9, at the Nature Interpretive Center. Elizabeth Bamattre, Event Chair, has worked with Dana Point Library Branch Manager Susan Pina on an exhibit featuring Richard Henry Dana Jr. Ann Liebowitz is currently scheduling readers who call or send an email (see Page 4). Volunteers are also being scheduled to help during the event or to volunteer at the adjacent Historical Society merchandise booth. You will really feel a part of our cultural history when you read aloud or listen to Richard Henry Dana’s description of these shores. From the March 1st parade, to the four Historical Walking Tours and our salute to Dana’s classic memoir, there are many scheduled events to participate in and enjoy. In addition, there are numerous FOW events including the new Water Taxi and the Dana Point Symphony Orchestra concert on the Pilgrim. We hope you will join in many of these activities. Due to the involvement in all these events, there will not be a regularly scheduled meeting in March.
In the meantime, our February 26 meeting promises to be another memorable evening on surfing history. Program Chair Ann Shultz has arranged for us to meet at 7 p.m. in the City Hall Chambers as Historical Society members Joe Dunn and Wayne Schafer share their experiences on Capistrano’s Beach Road. Plan to take the opportunity to discuss Beach Road history with them afterward at the reception in the museum. I have asked Joe to bring his book, A Pocket of Paradise: The Story of Beach Road, and he tells me there are only a few copies left.
Barbara Force Johannes