By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY – Staff Writer
The Mountain History Museum will be opening for its summer season this Memorial Day weekend. It will be open all four days of the holiday weekend to start the season off right.
At noon on Friday, the doors will open with historian Russ Keller as a docent and he will be there until 4 p.m., along with Rim of the World Historical Society President and newspaper columnist Bill Pumford in the afternoon. For most of the summer Fridays, Keller will be at the museum to help visitors.
Then, the museum will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day and will have excellent docents to help visitors during their tours of the free museum. On Memorial Day Monday, the museum will have a special holiday opening all day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. On that Sunday and Monday afternoon, author and historian Rhea-Frances Tetley will be one of the docents at the museum.
The museum has as its central exhibit this season “Summer Group Camps,” that marvelous summer activity that many children loved to attend, getting away from their parents for a week at a time, with the campfires, stories, life lessons and outdoor activities of hiking, fishing and crafts.
The camps were in many forms over the past 100 years, from YMCA camps, scout camps, church camps and music camps. Some camps used tents for accommodations, some had cabins or larger dormitories and some were more rustic with sleeping platforms. All seemed to attract those yearning for learning about nature and the out of doors or to “rough it,” as in the olden days, some with horseback riding or hiking, archery, and other almost forgotten skills, but all so different from their daily lives in the cities.
When asking today’s residents what attracted them to move to the mountains, many reflect on their childhood days at camp in these mountains as the first inspiration to look into living up here. The display has the photos from and the listing of many camps, some almost forgotten, others no longer in existence and yet there are others that are still active and serving their campers following decades of summer camping.
Also on display in the museum is a recreation of a general store with a post office, which so many of our original communities had as their central core of the town. The post office was the final determinator of a community’s legal name. For example, did you know that Twin Peaks chose the name Strawberry and was denied that name?
Other exhibits include a room on natural history, the Lee Cozad Theater with a presentation on the hundreds of movies made in the mountain area, and most of the mountain communities having a spotlight shown on them. The construction of Lake Arrowhead has two displays, one on the construction of the outlet tower and the other with a train set demonstrating the construction of the dam itself with the locomotive Black Annie. Added this year are the flip flop pages, focusing information on additional topics, including an expanded display on the Arrowhead Springs Hotel.
Did you remember that visitors had to pay to park at Lake Arrowhead Village? Locals could purchase a season pass decal which enabled them to park for free in the village. New and now on display is a set of those car decals.
This will be a wonderful summer to visit the Mountain History Museum, as it will be open Fridays through Sundays through October, with many exciting events on its calendar, including the June 10 Wooden Boat Show at Lake Arrowhead Village and the ice cream social on July 2 at the museum.
The Mountain History Museum is located at 27176 Peninsula Drive in Lake Arrowhead at the corner of Rhine Road, around the corner from Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School. Entry is free and docents are always available for the visitors to ask questions and learn more about the area’s history. The Mountain History Museum is run by the volunteer members of the Rim of the World Historical Society. They offer tours of the museum for groups, such as scouts, school, church or other nonprofit groups during their non-open hours all year long.
See the museum’s website, www.mtnmuseum.org, for additional information and upcoming tours, contact the museum at (909) 744-8625 or email them at [email protected].