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January 2, 2013 (El Cajon)—If you love history and want to learn more, volunteer opportunities are now open for Knox House Museum docents in El Cajon. Pre-registration of $37 is required for docent training classes covering the area’s post-Civil War settlement in 1869 to Cityhood in 1912.

Training sessions are led by Knox Curator, historian and author Eldonna Lay, who will provide overviews of national, regional and local history. Settler descendants and experts in specific subjects will present in-depth information featuring the Importance of the San Diego & Arizona Railroad, family and business reasons for relocating to the Valley and the elevated stature of gifted teachers and world and nationally famous entertainers and writers in El Cajon’s early decades.

Classes begin promptly at 1:20 p.m. and end at 2:45 on consecutive Tuesdays in the community room of the new El Cajon Police facility at Park Street and Magnolia Avenue. Prospective docents will learn the reasons why so few writers and historians outside of East County have acknowledged its settlement in documentaries, films or books. Instead, national and regional attention has been focused on earlier arrivals to the plains, gold miners to Northern California, the emigration to the Pacific Northwest and cattle raising and Indian uprisings in Great Northwest and conflicts and cattle drives in our neighboring Southwestern border states. 

Thus, Docents will expand their own knowledge of our own new arrivals’ professional and advanced backgrounds in entertainment, business and education who settled the El Cajon Valley and its rim areas. They’ll hear about the economic boost that followed the establishment of San Diego & Arizona Railroad routes and the post-war intellectual explosion of discovery and development in science, agriculture, architecture, communication and geographical exploration -- and the sudden rise in Americanism prompted by Chicago’s new architectural grandeur and other wonders and new products during its World Columbian Exposition of 1893-94 – along with our Valley’s prize-winning agriculturalists, vintners and raisin growers at that Exposition.

Classes are restricted to 28 new docent applicants who will join some City personnel and El Cajon Historical Society board members. Pre-registration checks for $37 cover this year’s Society membership and printing of pertinent materials and must be received by January 22, payable to The El Cajon Historical Society, PO Box 1973, El Cajon, CA 92022. 

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