Rancho Bernardo Historical Society needs your help
I cannot envision a community that does not have a home for its Historical Society. Rancho Bernardo is loaded with office buildings. Is there no bank, no commercial office that cannot spare 1500 square feet? RB Historical Society has been looking for space for years. Space to exhibit, space to work and 200 square feet to store artifacts and documents.
In 1982, it was a done deal. Ross Rizzo of the Bernardo Winery planned to build a new set of shops and offered to build the Historical Society a new museum at nominal rent– an architect designed one- story Spanish style building. Larry McIntyre, then president of the RB Historical Society said the interest had been "unbelievable."
Although the land was technically in Poway, the Poway City Council had no objections to the plans. The only paved road with access to the Winery is off Paseo del Verano in Oaks North. Therein lay the problem. Oaks North residents didn't want the Winery to expand. Mind you, this was in 1982, and the Winery was there long before Rancho Bernardo was! They said that the Winery had created traffic and parking problems along their street. It seems that they were more interested in containing future building of the Winery than they were in the Historical Society. Of course, this did nothing to stem the building of the Winery. The Oaks North group offered to help the Society to find RB quarters if it would turn down the Winery offer. That help was never forthcoming. Hugely disappointed, McIntyre said, "we decided to withdraw our letter of intent for the Winery spot. We were certainly in no position to get anybody mad."
What a shame that was! Any traffic going to the Historical Society would be minimal: 2 or 3 visitors a day. And, the Winery has been enlarged at least 2 or 3 times since 1982. I don't think the Oaks North group ever considered how unpopular their objections seem to be 20 years later.
When space is finally donated in Rancho Bernardo what kind of things will be displayed? There will be two distinct periods: THE EARLY DAYS from the days of Native Americans and the Spanish landowners, up until 1960; and AFTER 1960 when the idea of Rancho Bernardo was conceived and ultimately developed.
Cathy Sirpis, Charter Member and secretary of the Society for 15 years, told me that the Society has access to old pottery and farming tools that were discovered by construction crews as Avco dug up and graded Rancho Bernardo. Private parties have also offered artifacts found in the area. She also said they plan to videotape interviews with people who were around during RB's formation. "Our primary purpose will be to collect history as it's being created – important events – and to preserve them for future generations."
Well, they have the artifacts and the documents all stored in a warehouse (and in many garages.) They need a champion to offer space – who will it be? Consider the prestige and publicity that that person or group will enjoy. And the gratitude of all Rancho Bernardans.
The Historical Society is having a very interesting general meeting, open to the public, on April 15 at 2 p.m. at the Community Room at the Library. It is about the town of Bernardo, which was originally at the San Dieguito River Park Trail. There will be displays and a doorprize. Call Cathy Sirpis for more information at 487-7397.
Courtesy RB NEWSJournal
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