The audience was the star Thursday night at the H. Lee House for the 35th season opener of the Lemon Grove Historical Society’s “History Alive” series. A full house gathered to share stories about the Grove’s rich past. Everyone who spoke related a memory about his or her experience in our city. A videographer, Rob Stuckey, captured the entire evening for posterity.
There was an incredible amount of history, dating back to 1933, in that room. The stories were fascinating, and each one seemed to trigger another person's memory to add to the mix.
Here are some things we learned about Lemon Grove (that I never knew):
- When Mt. Miguel High School was built on a former pasture, it was nicknamed Cowpie High.
- You could explore the Grove by renting a horse at Big Chief Riding Stable.
- Miller’s Dairy was the fly capital of the town every summer.
- Lemon Grove had the first female school principal in the county, Ilse Hanning—and she was at the meeting last night.
People told stories that were humorous, historical, and poignant. We heard about the teacher who used to snack from his student’s lunches. More than one speaker mentioned the rural nature of the Grove, with its lack of sidewalks, streetlights, and stoplights, in the city’s not too distant past. Many also mentioned our long history of cultural diversity.
87-year-old Richard Patterson had a great story about Polly’s Pond, which is now the Home Depot site. When Patterson was in school, at lunchtime on warm days he and his friends would bike to the pond for an au natural swim. When they returned to school, everyone knew where they had been due to the distinct (read: stinky) pond odor they carried with them.
Refreshments following the program included lemon bars and lemonade...what else?
Thank you, , for holding on to our city’s stories. Two repeat performances to share more stories of the Grove have been scheduled for next March and June.