President’s Message February/March 2015

Barbara Profile Shot

Our February program will continue our celebration of Richard Henry Dana Jr.’s bicentennial year with a presentation about the brig Pilgrim, the tall ship that brought our namesake, Dana, to Capistrano Bay in 1835.  Our captain on this journey is Randle M. Biddle, a published author in maritime history from Valencia, California, who builds and repairs model ships.  He will share his extensive research to reconstruct the actual appearance of the Pilgrim and will present a copy of his annotated Pilgrim bibliography.  Jeff Rossaler has also accepted our invitation to attend the meeting and compare Randy’s observations with his experiences as First Mate and Chief Rigger of the Ocean Institute’s Pilgrim II.

Members of our Dana Bicentennial Banner Committee have met with city representatives and Dekra-Lite Graphic Designers to create banners that will proudly fly on our city’s vertical light poles.  Our banners will be raised throughout the city on March 16 and will commemorate Dana as well as the Fifth Annual Community Reading of his classic Two Years Before The Mast.  The Dana Point Historical Society’s goal is to inspire residents and visitors to know more about Dana’s personal accomplishments and his cultural legacy.

We invite you to sponsor a banner (see insert) as a salute to the educated young man who left Harvard and signed on as a common seaman in search of physical health and adventure.   At only 19 years of age, Dana had the wisdom to record his observations on the science of navigation, the life of a merchant sailor and the informal life style of California as compared to Boston.  Two Years Before The Mast was an 1840s best seller, inspiring young lads to go to sea and adults to emigrate West to experience the California described by Dana during his stops along the coast.  On March 27, 28 and 29 join Mayor Olvera, Sheriff Hutchens, Reverend Manson, Brad Gross and many more to become a part of our cultural history when you read aloud or listen to Richard Henry Dana’s description of his voyage and  “ . . . the only romantic spot on the coast” at the Nature Interpretive Center.

March 7 is the Festival of Whales Parade and the Society’s entry is a bright red 1964 Crown Firecoach Pumper generously provided by the California Fire Museum – Safety Learning Center. The pumper originally came from the Orange County Fire Authority, is used at special events and in outreach programs and will be displayed in the future California Fire Museum.  Look for three of our Board of Directors riding on the truck, driven by Don Forsyth, California Fire Museum President.   Please check the enclosed schedule for the DPHS Booths, Historical Walking Tours and other interesting Festival of Whales activities related to Richard Henry Dana Jr. at the Ocean Institute and onboard the brig Pilgrim II.

Please join us for as many of these informative and fun events as you can!

Barbara Force Johannes

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