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By Helen Ofield, Treasurer and Historian, Lemon Grove Historical Society

Photos Credit: Lemon Grove Historical Society

On Dec. 4 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm, LGHS "reindeer" and Santa will join City staff for a drive-through holiday festivity in Treganza Heritage Park (the 23rd Annual Holiday Bonfire). Roll down the car windows to hear the caroling and receive candy canes.

November 28, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Volunteers in the Lemon Grove Historical Society (LGHS) labored in record heat in September and October and, now, in calmer sun and cooler temperatures in November. Back on Nov. 28 for the fourth session, missionaries from Lemon Grove's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will join with volunteers from Helix High School to continue rejuvenating the grounds in Treganza Heritage Park, home of the Parsonage Museum, 3185 Olive Street, and the adjacent H. Lee House, 3205 Olive.

Photo (right): Parsonage Museum

In past sessions, the team replanted ailing jasmine ground cover, power washed walkways, removed weeds, trimmed trees, restored roses and, best of all, raked and spread huge piles of mulch over bare ground to help retain water and boost the health of existing landscaping.

Laura Hook, president of LGHS, organized the mulch and succulent garden, Sarah Lewis, vice president for Membership, organized the volunteer crews, Barbara Soto, secretary, brought bottles of water, volunteers Roberta Bulling and Andres Romero scrubbed porches, athlete Lankford Alvarez provided needed muscle--and the century-old Hunter's Nursery donated the jasmine plants.

Leading the charge is Gary Elbert, whose stewardship of successive Americorps teams in 1998 led to the creation of the Parsonage Museum, which won LGHS a 2001 Governor's Historic Preservation Award (the museum was formerly the decrepit first church in Lemon Grove, a landmark in the town since 1897).

"I'm so proud of the teams," enthused Elbert. "They took ownership of the project from day one and are a shining example of what people of good will can achieve even in the midst of a horrible pandemic."

Hook chimed in: "We wear masks, socially distance and the whole project is in the great outdoors. You can tell we love our park and our two historic sites -- and we send a special shout-out to our City Public Works for their help in removing all the green waste. Since 1997 our City has been right there with us."

On Dec. 4 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm, LGHS "reindeer" and Santa will join City staff for a drive-through holiday festivity in Treganza Heritage Park (the 23rd Annual Holiday Bonfire). Roll down the car windows to hear the caroling and receive candy canes. See Community Events on the city's website.

For more about LGHS and its many activities, visit www.lghistorical.org or contact 619-460-4353 or https://www.facebook.com/lghistorical.


The Lemon Grove Historical Society (LGHS) has an important track record in historic preservation, in promoting and displaying the work of regional artists, and in providing insight into huge world events and their impact on the home town. The LGHS motto is “your story begins at home.”

The Society’s mission is to research, preserve and share the history of Lemon Grove in a regional/state/national context, to promote interest in the arts and humanities, especially historical studies, and to operate sites and public programs that advance these goals.

The LGHS is active in the Lemon Grove School District and in many City projects designed to beautify and distinguish the community.

The Lemon Grove Historical Society grew up with the City it serves and is its leading cultural organization. Lemon Grove was incorporated as California’s 414th city in 1977. Its historical society, active informally for many years, was established in 1978 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

LGHS saved the City’s first church, the 1897 First Congregational Church of Christ (also known as the “Atherton Chapel”) and oversaw its adaptive reuse as the Parsonage Museum of Lemon Grove. This Folk Victorian charmer offers two floors of beautiful exhibits related to the civic story. LGHS received a 2001 Governor’s Historic Preservation Award for the rehabilitation of the building.

The Society further saved the 1928 H. Lee House, a handsome Tudor Revival mansion, and oversaw its adaptive reuse as the City’s cultural center and as a popular site for social rentals.

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