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Free Talk: Chris Lukather on Cinderella Homes

Architecture fans are in for a treat. This February 23rd at 2 p.m., author Chris Lukather will talk about his new book, The Cinderella Homes of Jean Vandruff.

Cinderella homes are a whimsical variation on traditional tract homes that turn suburban neighborhoods into storybook lands, complete with swooping gables, shake shingle roofs, and faux medieval designs. Never seen one? You don’t have to go far to find them. Costa Mesa has its own set of Cinderella homes in the College Park neighborhood.

Lukather based his book on field surveys as well as interviews with the architect himself. This event will be the perfect opportunity to learn more about these memorable homes.

Everyone is welcome at this free public event. Refreshments will be served after the talk.

Note: The Speaker Series event will be held on a special day this month. Be sure to mark your calendars for February 23rd — that’s the fourth Sunday in February 2020.

About the Author

Chris Lukather is a Cal Arts graduate whose books are guided by his passion for art and design, California subculture and obscure Los Angeles history. A fifth generation Californian, Chris has discovered tidbits of local history through his own family’s long-time residence, and has developed his passion into projects like this, memorializing iconic homes through the published record. His previous book on William Mellenthin’s San Fernando Valley “Birdhouse” ranch homes is available on Amazon. Chris is currently editor/publisher of The Writing Disorder, a quarterly literary journal established in 2010.

Event Details

Chris Lukather on Cinderella Homes
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Doors open at 2:00 p.m. Talk begins at 2:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served after the presentation.

Presented by the Costa Mesa Historical Society, 1870 Anaheim Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92627.

The event is free and open to the public.

Due to construction in the area, please enter the parking lot from Anaheim Avenue.

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A Tale of Two Thanksgivings
Statue of Father Francisco López de Mendoza Grajales in present-day St. Augustine (Photo courtesy Ebyabe, Wikimedia Commons)

A Tale of Two Thanksgivings

By Alana Turingan

Holiday excitement is in the air. As November arrives we of course recall the famous story of the first Thanksgiving: the 1621 feast of good harvest between the pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe. 

But what about the other European explorers who had celebrated their arrival on the Floridian peninsula a century before? 

After all, many feasts were held in the 1500s: by Juan Ponce de León in 1528 and 1531; by Pánfilo de Narváez around Tampa Bay and St. Marks in 1528; by Hernando de Soto in 1539 at Shaw’s Point; by Father Luis Cáncer de Barbastro in 1549 at Tampa Bay; by Tristán de Luna in 1559 at Penascola Bay; and even by René Goulaine de Laudonnière of France, who celebrated with the Timucua Indians near present day Jacksonville on June 30, 1564. 

Two feasts stand out in particular. After sighting land on August 28, 1565, St. Augustine’s feast day, Father Francisco López de Mendoza Grajales presided over a mass to celebrate safely landing in the new world. Following the service, Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles organized a feast and invited the Timucua tribe. St. Augustine was founded here.

Later, Juan de Oñate led a 50-day exploration through the Chihuahuan Dessert. The exploration ended with the discovery of the Rio Grande and a feast of thanks with the Mansos Indians on April 30, 1598 near San Elizario, Texas. They gave thanks not just for surviving the desert. They also had a political motive: staking Spain’s claim on La Toma, the Rio Grande. 

For the Spaniards and French, thanksgiving was more than a harvest celebration. It was an act of gratitude for finding new land and claiming the territory for their European empires. As we sit down with our families it’s important to remember the multiple facets of the first Thanksgiving and appreciate how these narratives weave into the American identity.

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Fairview Register October 2019
Halloween of Yesteryear. Photo courtesy Tess Bernstein.

Fairview Register October 2019

In the October 2019 Fairview Register, we look back on the life of Refugio Leon, tell some scary stories, preview the society elections, and look forward to theater legend Tom Titus’s opening of this year’s Speaker Series.



Fairview Register October 2019

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2020 Society Elections of Officers and Board Members

November is fast approaching and so are our annual elections. This is where you, our members, have the opportunity to become a candidate or nominate another member for any of the following positions: President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Board Director.

Our officers and board members can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, aren’t faster than a speeding bullet, or more powerful than a locomotive.

They are just ordinary people from the community who are interested in preserving our local history. If you’re interested or need more information, please call or stop by.

If you’re not interested in any of the positions above, perhaps you would enjoy participating by being on one of our committees. Why not check us out? We could use you.

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Society’s Ghosts Wonder Where the Humans Are

By Bob Palazzola

We knew that the need for volunteers was always an ongoing problem. However, I was surprised to find out that it was even a concern for ghosts of our building. Are you listening Tess?

The following article is from our Fairview Register newsletter as it appeared in the May 1989 issue, apparently written by one of our ghostly inhabitants. 

“A Message From The Ghosts”

To be honest with you the ghosts are really inhabiting the Historical Society. We have a lot of fun with the many collections of happenings of Costa Mesa. Just wish more of those humans would show up and get things together so we don’t get so mixed up sometimes. We know you humans get so busy making history you forget it needs to be sorted and put together, so even us ghosts can find what we want to read.

We saw in the newsletter last month a volunteer sign-up form was enclosed. Don’t you humans read the newsletter? Looking on the president’s desk, only one person replied that they would help. Now you know that it takes more people to run this society of the city of Costa Mesa. The group has officers and Board members. According to the minutes, some of them even miss sometimes.

The quilts that are on display are sure pretty and nice to roll up in when we play. Only thing is we have a hard time getting them back hung up pretty like they are supposed to be for public to view. We thought about getting in the picture cards and messing them up, but the new shelves and picture storage is going to be so nice, we can find our ghost friends much easier.

I want to tell you that the ghosts of the Costa Mesa Historical Society really appreciate the work you humans are doing, but please hurry so we can find what we want to read. Somebody’s coming… Good-bye.

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