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Remembering Hank Panian

Historical Society Charter Member Henry S. “Hank” Panian passed from this life on July 14. In addition to his career as a history professor at Orange Coast College and a dedicated family man, Hank made time for community service and your Historical Society.

Hank became a charter member of the Historical Society in 1966. Since that time he has:

  • Served with distinction on our board of directors
  • Co-authored the Historical Society Quarterly from 1977-1987
  • Served as a docent at the Diego Sepulveda Adobe
  • Contributed his wit and wisdom to innumerable Society meetings and celebrations
  • Recorded his memories of Costa Mesa’s history at the city’s 50th anniversary, and
  • Provided expert review of the Society’s two pictorial history books.

Hank received the Society’s Living Memorial Award in 1987 and special recognition as one of two surviving charter members of the Society in 2015.

Rest in peace, Hank. This society will never forget your contributions.

— Art Goddard

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Living Memorial Nominations – August 2018

The Costa Mesa Historical Society is currently accepting nominations for its Living Memorial Award. The award is presented to an individual:

  • Who has given volunteer service over a period of time.
  • Who has made a creative contribution of historic value.

Those wishing to nominate someone to receive the Living Memorial Award should submit a letter to the Costa Mesa Historical Society. The letter should state the nominee’s full name, some information about the individual, their achievements, and why the nominee is deserving of the award. The recipient(s) will be selected by the Board of Directors.

Please address the letter to:

Living Memorial Award
Board of Directors
Costa Mesa Historical Society
P.O. Box 1764
Costa Mesa, CA 92628

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52nd Anniversary of the Diego Sepulveda Adobe restoration

August 28 marks the 52nd anniversary of the restoration of the Diego Sepulveda Adobe. Originally built in the early 1800s as an outpost for vaqueros from Mission San Juan Capistrano, the adobe is not just Costa Mesa’s oldest building, it’s one of the oldest in Orange County.

In 1961 clapboard walls that had been built around the original building caught fire, reminding historians, among others, of the adobe structure beneath. The Segerstrom family donated the adobe’s 5-acre site to the city the next year. The city, led by assistant city engineer George Madsen, restored the structure under the direction of the Costa Mesa Historical Society. Some reconstruction was necessary, but the restoration and furnishing process employed period methods wherever possible. The project was a resounding success. An estimated 700 people toured the “estancia” during the first open house in August 1966.

In 2012 Mexican artisans made further restorations. Floors were sealed, walls whitewashed, and exhibits updated, thus preserving the California landmark for a new generation.

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Stephen O’Neil Highlights 2018’s Early California Days

Lovers of local history enjoyed tours of the Diego Sepulveda Adobe, live music by the Sweetwater Creek Band, and plenty of snacks at this year’s Early California Days event in Estancia Park.

A talk by cultural anthropologist Stephen O’Neil highlighted the day. O’Neil began with Spanish accounts of the Portolá expedition, then enriched the narrative with native perspectives. He drew a vivid picture of pre-colonial abundance: of water, trade, and people.

O’Neil also updated the record on Costa Mesa’s native history. Genga was the village in Fairview Park, he said, not Lukup, as was once thought.

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Newport Beach Mayor Visits Boatbuilding Exhibit

Newport Beach Mayor Marshall “Duffy” Duffield made a surprise visit on June 7 to the Costa Mesa Historical Society’s boatbuilding exhibit.

According to exhibit curator Nancy Pedersen, “He is a really nice man and a fellow Newport High grad. Duffy liked the exhibit and his comment was ‘you need more room!’ I agree. It’s a rich history!”

Duffield is no stranger to the area’s boatbuilding tradition. He invented the popular Duffy electric boat.
The Hull Story is on view at the Costa Mesa Historical Society Museum at 1870 Anaheim Ave. The free exhibit is open to the public Thursdays and Fridays 10am-3pm or by appointment.

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Remembering Barbara Panian

Society member and volunteer Barbara Panian passed away on March 30, 2018. Residents of Costa Mesa since 1956, Barbara and Hank Panian raised their family in the College Park neighborhood. Long-time docents at the Diego Sepulveda Adobe, Barbara and Hank were involved in the early days of the Society and attended many community events over the years. We offer our sincere condolences to Hank & family for their loss.

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Society Volunteers Receive US President’s Volunteer Service Awards

Our all-volunteer staff contributes more than 6,000 hours per year to fulfill the Costa Mesa Historical Society’s mission to preserve and promote Costa Mesa history. At the March general meeting, President Dave Gardner presented the United States President’s Volunteer Service Awards to the following society volunteers: Kathy Bequette, Sharon Dearing, Art Goddard, Mary Ellen Goddard, Cindy Humphries, Bob Palazzola, Dave Rusher, Terry Shaw, Karl Von Herzen, Hope Von Herzen, Annette Watson, and Susan Weeks.

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Tanks a Lot!!

Did you know there are stormwater exfiltration tanks buried underneath the yet-to-be-constructed parking lot? The pit to hold the exfiltration tank is more than 9 feet deep. After the tanks are in place they are surrounded with gravel. Finally, the tanks are covered over, ready for construction of the parking lot. Amazing, huh?

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Getting Ready for Summer Heat

The west side of the historical society’s building at 1870 Anaheim Avenue is undergoing a major transformation from turf with shade trees to parking lot. With the removal of the shade trees, the society was faced with the prospect of an increased heating effect of the afternoon sun on our floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows. The solution? Insulation!

A call to our friends at Ganahl Lumber netted us a donation of 14 sheets of rigid foam insulation. On Friday, April 6, a team of volunteers installed the insulation in the west-facing window frames. Thanks to Steve and Estelle Hughes, Bob Palazzola, Rob Braun, Mary Ellen and Art Goddard, the insulation panels were cut and installed in about three hours.

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