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Heart of a city, a photo at a time

Historical Society seeks photographs, artifacts from community to keep Laguna's colorful past alive.

July 28, 2006|By Eric Sanders

Every resident of Laguna will, inevitably, be part of its history.

Or so the Laguna Beach Historical Society hopes.

The Historical Society ? which preserves the archival history of the city ? is asking residents to contribute to the history of the community by donating photographs and artifacts to the group.

"We're trying to preserve Laguna's past so that it's not lost. That's what this campaign is all about," board member Jane Janz said. "Our motto is to keep Laguna's history alive."

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Recently, the society received two historic photographs. One is of a campaigning Richard Nixon ? in prime political form with a golden-locked child in hand while waving to the crowd in front of City Hall ? and the other is of a 1923 Laguna Beach baseball team.

The photographs originally came from the collection of Amos Stricker and were passed on to the Historical Society by City Manager Ken Frank.

The society hopes that residents will take to its cause and donate their own collection of historical photos, like the ones contributed by Stricker.

"We want the community to help share the richness and diversity of Laguna Beach with everyone. There's so much to know and enjoy about the history of our town, and how it's grown into what it is today," Kimberly Stuart, newly elected president of the Historical Society, said.

Donated photographs can be digitally scanned and then returned, preserving a historic record for future generations without the loss of personal items to owners.

A collection of the Historical Society's photographs, written documents and memorabilia are on display at the Murphy-Smith Bungalow, located at 278 Ocean Ave.

Nestled next to the Wells Fargo building, this unpretentious structure, built in 1923, contains the true essence of the city's heart ? its history.

"We want to make it inviting by maintaining the historic characteristics of the time, so that it's a delight for people to visit," Stuart said.

The property is owned by the Wells Fargo Bank, but is leased to the Historical Society to be maintained and shared with the community.

"We enjoy using the space and sharing that piece of history through the generosity of the Wells Fargo Bank," Stuart said.

Inside the bungalow, donations include everything from a pottery piece made by Gerard Laguna Originals, donated by the pioneering St. Clair family, to a panoramic photograph of the city from 1912.

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