Read more about the article Fred McDowell on World War I
Fred McDowell poses in front of period rifles

Fred McDowell on World War I

Join us 
2 p.m. Sunday, November 18 as Fred McDowell, Costa Mesa Fire Captain, helps us commemorate the  “War to End All Wars.” In a presentation featuring authentic military artifacts, costumed re-enactors, and a slide presentation, McDowell will discuss America’s largest battle (the Meuse-Argonne Offensive), the “The Lost Battalion,” and Sgt. Rochester, the young Costa Mesan who tragically lost his life in that battle. You won’t want to miss this!

Download the full brochure (PDF)


Please note that the Park Avenue entrance is currently closed due to library construction. Please enter from Anaheim Avenue.

Costa Mesa Historical Society Museum
1870 Anaheim Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

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Read more about the article The World War I Diary of George Vincent Fox
George Vincent Fox's dog tag from World War I.

The World War I Diary of George Vincent Fox

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One of the treasures of the historical society’s collection is the daily diary kept by George Vincent Fox, an artilleryman in World War I. Fox documents his journey across the Atlantic, his time on the front lines, and his postwar duty as peacekeeper. Although the prose is sparse and matter-of-fact, it vividly captures both the thrill and the tedium of war and peace.

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Read more about the article The Society Shuffle
Items in storage boxes are checked against catalog records in the Society’s PastPerfect database.

The Society Shuffle

No, it wasn’t a two-step dance and it certainly wasn’t a cakewalk. But this Society Shuffle was performed at the Historical Society’s downtown museum September 22-26. Under the direction of Archivist Mary Ellen Goddard, the Historical Society’s storage area for collection items was cleared out, cleaned, and boxes re-shelved after checking their numerical order. This was a major effort, preparing the Historical Society for reviewing collection holdings and making space for new items. The photos tell the story.

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Do You Love Working with Old Photos?

We’re looking for volunteers to assist us in the preservation of our local history. Do you like old photographs? Do you enjoy seeing them come back to life? We need your passion and your skills!

Photo preservation and restoration is a key part of the Costa Mesa Historical Society’s mission. If you would like to learn more about this fun and gratifying volunteer opportunity, fill out the form below, give us a call at 949-631-5918, or drop us a line. Thanks for your help!

    Areas of Interest

    Volunteer work in which you are interested:

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    Read more about the article Society Elections November 18th
    Historical Society Museum

    Society Elections November 18th

    The Costa Mesa Historical Society elections will take place at the beginning of the Sunday Speaker Program on November 18th. The slate of current candidates will be presented at the meeting. Nominations from the floor will be accepted at that time. The election will take place in public and anyone can nominate someone from the floor. The positions open for nomination are: President, 1st Vice-President of Programs, 2nd Vice President of Membership, Secretary, Treasurer and Board Director.

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    Remembering 2018’s Concerts in the Park

    As the days get shorter and the air gets cooler, we remember the fun we had last summer. Thank you, Estelle Hughes, Jean Nomura, and Augustin Espinoza for manning the booth this year at the Concerts in the Park. From a booth decorated with large historic photos of Costa Mesa, the volunteers handed out candy, sold memorabilia, and promoted the society, all while benefiting the Costa Mesa Foundation.

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    Read more about the article Three Generations Tour Museum
    Jeani Hibbard, Katie Hibbard, and Bonnie Murray tour the Hull Story boatbuilding exhibit.

    Three Generations Tour Museum

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    Three generations of special women toured the society’s boatbuilding exhibit in September: Jeani Hibbard,  Katie Hibbard, and Bonnie Murray.

    Bonnie Murray’s husband Arland “Buzz” Murray was a key player in the Costa Mesa boatbuilding industry. Together he and Mel Potter built Mel-Craft dinghies and sabots. The family posed for a photo next to a model of one of Mel-Craft’s most popular crafts, a 12-foot sailing pram.

    A fun bonus came when Mary Ellen Goddard helped find a picture of Bonnie’s sister in the society’s archives!

    Boatbuilding played a significant role in Costa Mesa’s postwar industry. Plan a visit to the society museum and explore this fascinating history yourself

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