Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Fallbrook Historical Society continues to bring history to life

FALLBROOK – As 2022 comes to a rapid close, the Fallbrook Historical Society celebrates another year of fulfilling its mission "to bring history to life by educating the community and others about Fallbrook's rich heritage."

"Like other organizations throughout the world, our activities over the past three years were greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic," said FHS President Roy Moosa. "Still, our members persevered and we celebrated several important milestones to commemorate the history of our great town."

The year began with the donation of a first edition of Rev. William Pittenger's 1885 book, "Capturing a Locomotive: A History of Secret Service in the Late War." The treasure was donated by Frank Hollingshead, a former Marine and member of the Sgt. William Pittenger Camp 21 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. As such, Hollingshead was well aware of the Civil War hero and early recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. The book is currently on display at the Pittenger House, one of the main attractions at the FHS Heritage Center, 1730 S. Hill Ave.

One of the most successful fundraisers of 2022 was a tribute to Delores Costello, considered one of the most beautiful actresses of her time. The program, held March 11 at the historic Mission Theater, included a showing of "Little Lord Fauntleroy," the 1936 film starring Costello, and recollections of her life in De Luz by her grandson Antony "Tony" John Barrymore.

Summer for the FHS kicked off with a June 11 Open House, which included docent-led tours, live entertainment by the local Slacker Hill Band, an antique car display and crafts for the young and young at heart.

The summer months proceeded with a first for the historical society – summer art classes for youth – held at the historic Reche Schoolhouse, 1319 S. Live Oak Park Road. Resident artist Pat Saunders taught a series of three classes, made possible by a grant from the David T. and Dorris E. Staples Foundation. It is hoped that this summer series can become an annual event.

The Reche Schoolhouse also served as the location for the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce SunDowner on July 20, and FHS's annual Awards Ceremony, Oct. 8.

"We honored two of our members and a local business for their outstanding contributions to our organization and the community," said Moosa.

"Lorena Harris was bestowed top honors at Pioneer of the Year; Pat Saunders was honored as Member of the Year, and Berry-Bell and Hall Mortuary, owned and operated by Steve and Scott McGargill, won the prestigious Business of the Year award."

Winners were invited to ride in the Fallbrook Christmas Parade in the restored 1860's Brougham Ladies Afternoon Carriage, an eye-catching centerpiece stored at the Heritage Center's Donald J. Rivers Interpretive Center, also known as The Barn.

FHS also hosted the annual Remembrance Day on Nov. 19, sponsored by Sgt. William Pittenger Camp 21 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. The event is typically highlighted by the reading of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and the 2022 commemoration took place exactly on the 159th anniversary of the famous speech.

The year came to a close with the historical society's annual Christmas Open House, held Dec. 4, at the Heritage Center. Themed "A Toyland Christmas," the event's biggest draw was, not surprisingly, the presence of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Holiday crafts, raffle prizes and a silent auction capped off the festive event and the year.

"It's been another good year for the Fallbrook Historical Society," summed up Moosa. "We are looking forward to our continued growth in 2023 as we carry on our mission to share and preserve the history of our remarkable town."


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