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Events in 2020

As of Sunday, March 15, 2020, in the interest of the health of our staff and guests, the Museum will be closed until further notice.

Out of an abundance of caution, we buttoned-up the Museum back in March when instructed to do so. As of late June 2020 we have not yet set our reopening date, but are working with City Staff to make sure all appropriate COVID-19 safeguards are in place before we welcome you back.

Questions or items that require research assistance could still be obtained by leaving a message at the Museum (310.328.5392) or via this website on the Contact Us page.

Though it pains us, to help slow the spread of COVID-19, we are cancelling the rest of the 2020 signature events which include:

Walking Tours of Historic Old Torrance - 4th Sundays, May - October 2020
Annual Meeting & Installation of Officers - Sunday, June 7, 2020
Rock Around the Block - Thursday,July 16,2020 (this would have been our 16th Annual)
Summer Stroll - Thursday, August 6, 2020
Fall Tour of Historic Homes - Saturday & Sunday, October 10 & 11, 2020
Visit with a Veteran - Sunday, November 8, 2020

Voting in 2020-2021 Slate of Board Members via Email

In early June, the Board had its first Zoom meeting. During that meeting, the Nominating Committee presented the 2020-2021 Slate of Nominees for consideration.

Janet Payne was the Chair of the Nominating Committee. She served with Ann Strong from the Board and with Lynn Robinson from Membership. Alternates were Joann Miyamoto and Mary Hoffman.

Now, here's where YOU come in. Though the pandemic prevented us from having our Annual June Meeting & Installation of Officers, we still need your vote. Please review the proposed slate below, and email Debbie Hays with your vote if you agree with the slate as presented, or not. There is a line at the bottom for any "nominations from the floor" (a write-in for any office).

Please respond to Debbie by Thursday, July 2nd, 2020.

President Michelle Polcari
1st VP (Programs) Janet Payne
2nd VP (Membership) Carolyn Pohlner
3rd VP (Fundraising) Jill Maroney
4th VP (Communication - Newsletter) Debbie Hays
SecretaryJudi Gerber
Treasurer Gene Higginbotham
Financial SecretaryKurt Weideman
Historian Jerry Ronan
Special Events Keri Gilbert
Museum Volunteer Chair Ann Strong
Member-at-Large Joann Miyamoto
_____________________ Nomination from the floor
Parliamentarian*Appointment - by President

* THS By-laws state the position of Parliamentarian is filled by appointment by the President.

Thank you in advance for submitting your vote via email. We appreciate your participation - from afar.

Names on the Wall - Remembering Those Who Served

Normally, that means before COVID crept into our lives, on Memorial Day, the Torrance Historical Society conducts a memorial service for Torrance service personnel who gave their lives in U.S. military actions. The program takes place on the Memorial Plaza at the corner of Torrance Blvd. and Maple Ave., and includes the reading of the 146 Names on the Wall. Those Names include war losses from World War I to those in the Iraq and Afghanistan War.

However, in an abundance of caution, the Torrance Historical Society, adhering to the social distancing rules in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, gathered at the Memorial Wall without an audience for a reading of the names, May 20, 2020. There was one reader, not seven - Charlie Saulinas, a Vietnam Veteran. Michelle Polcari, President, welcomed the virtual crowd, and Jerry Ronan, Coordinator of the event, lead the Flag Salute. It was simple. It was poignant. It was tradition.

On Monday, we will be grateful for the gift of those who never came home. We will remember -- every day is Memorial Day. " We will pray that we may never add another name to that cold, black wall," noted Jerry Ronan, Torrance Historical Society Board Member and WWll Veteran.

CitiCABLE aired the Reading on Memorial Day , Monday, May 25, 2020 at 7:00 AM, 4:30 PM, and 7:30 PM PST.
View the event on YouTube.

Note: With the help of a handful of volunteers, the Torrance Historical Society is continuing to gather and preserve the too-short life story of each of the Torrance military war causalities. To date, the organization is over halfway to their goal of putting a face on each name. The organization aspires to research, and place in the Museum archives, the story of each of these heroes.

Veterans Memorial  
Charlie Saulinas, Vietnam War Veteran, reading the 146 Names on the Wall in 2020 Remembering Those Who Served and Gave Their Lives.

Women in History Month - POSTPONED - New Date TBA
Kickin' It - AYSO - Girl Power - History of Women's Soccer

Torrance Historical Society has decided to postpone their Kickin' It - AYSO Girl Power presentation for this Sunday. Jan Smisek, our guest speaker lives in Washington, and she's worried she might not be able to get back on the plane to WA after her speaking engagement due to spreading of the CoronaVirus. New Date TBA.

Presented by Jan Smisek on the first all-girl AYSO team, her parents were instrumental in getting girls soccer as a legitimate sport in TUSD. She was on the first Varsity Team at West High School, started intramural soccer at UCSB, and more!

What: Women In History Month - Kickin' It - AYSO - Girl Power - History of Women's Soccer
When: Sunday, March 15, 2020, 2:00 PM
Where: 1345 Post Ave., Old Torrance (The Torrance Historical Society & Museum)
Cost: Free - Donations accepted. Open to the public.
Notes: Limited Seating. Get there early to obtain a spot! Seating is first-come/first-served. In the tradition of AYSO, wedged orange slices will be served.
Info: 310.328-5392 or

In Celebration of Women's History Month, the Torrance Historical Society is hosting an event entitled: Kickin' It - AYSO Girl Power - History of Women's Soccer. Our Guest Speaker is Jan Smisek, who was on the first all-girl AYSO team, on the first Varsity Team at West High School, started the Women's Soccer Club Team at UCSB, and spearheaded the growth of Women's Soccer in the USA, and more.

Raised in Torrance, Smisek grew-up in West Torrance where AYSO was founded in 1964 - starting with only nine (all boy) teams lead by a handful of soccer enthusiasts who wanted American kids to have the opportunity to learn, and love, the game of soccer. However, it wasn't until 1971, that a girls team was finally formed. AYSO was an amazing grass-roots effort, and Smisek and her family were in the epicenter of it all - Jan has ridden the wave, while creating it, too!

Though knowing nothing about the game of soccer, Smisek's parents didn't just stand on the sidelines. Her dad, Dick, was recruited as Head Referee (he may have not known the "rules," but he knew people and could get Referees). Her mom, Ann, was one of the first Team Mom’s, and promoted the idea of healthy snacks - hence the tradition of sliced orange wedges at half-time. Together, her parents were instrumental in getting girls' soccer as a legitimate sport in Torrance Unified School District. This was the beginning of Women's Soccer History in Torrance, and the USA!

At West High School (1972-1975), Smisek participated in Soccer, Softball and Track earning Varsity Letters in all three - Soccer (2), Softball (2), Track (1).

These were lean years for girls' sports, opportunities grew with the advent of Title IX in 1972, but not without a struggle. At the time, West High only offered girls interscholastic Volleyball, Gymnastics and Tennis. Soccer and Softball were added in 1974 and Track in 1975. Up to that point, all other girls’ sports opportunities were through the Girls Athletic Association Club.

Smisek, who now lives in Washington, was named as one of the Top 50 Soccer Citizens by Washington Youth Soccer as part of their 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2016. And, just last year, she was also named a "Soccer Legend" by the Reign FC, an American professional women's soccer team based in Tacoma, Washington.

With no kids, no pets, and very few house plants, Smisek continues kickin' it for women! Come celebrate Girl Power!

Tea at Two -- a Valentine's Day Tea and Program Tea at Two 2020 now SOLD OUT - no waitlist

The "Queen", herself (a cut-out) requests the pleasure of your company for an exclusive afternoon: Tea at Two - a Valentine's Day Tea on Sunday, February 9th at Chado Tea Room in Old Torrance. Tea will be with her Royal Highness - Her Majesty the "Queen".

Proceeds from this fund-raiser directly benefit the Museum - archiving activities, historical discoveries, research projects, special programs, its operation and exhibits.

When: Sunday, February 9th, 2020
Where: Chado Tea Room - 1303 El Prado, Old Torrance
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 PM (doors open at 1:45 PM)
Cost: Cost is $35 per person -- seating is limited, so reservations are required and will be taken on a first come/first served basis. See RSVP below.
Checks (made payable to the "Torrance Historical Society") are to be mailed to:
Torrance Historical Society 1345 Post Avenue, Torrance, CA 90501
Please include first and last names of guests plus a phone number and an email (if available) along with your check. Checks are accepted until event is sold out or prior to February 5, 2020 whichever comes first.
RSVP: 310.328.5392 - Check must be received within 48 hours of making the reservation and no later than Wednesday, February 5, 2020. This has been a sold out event each year and sells out very quickly and probably will be sold out prior to February 5th. All reservations must be made directly with the Torrance Historical Society, NOT with Chado Tea Room.

Info: 310.328.5392 or visit:
Attire: Tea attire suggested -- hats and gloves optional
Parking: Free on-street parking is available

This year, your afternoon will include:

  • Sampling a variety of Chado Tea Room's 10 freshly steeped loose-leaf teas
  • Sumptuous tea sandwiches
  • Freshly baked scones with Chado Tea Room's famous cream
  • Assorted delicious desserts
  • Opportunity to win fabulous gift baskets
  • Photo opportunity with the "Royal Family" (cut-outs)

Celebrate the 103rd Anniversary of Louis Zamperini's Birth

What: Celebrate what would have been Louis Zamperini's 103rd Birthday. Join us for cupcakes, can't-see-anywhere-else-in-the-world memorabilia, and watch the City's Centennial DVD of Louis Zamperini - Triumph of the Torrance Tornado, and the clip of when Louis won the 1934 Southern California Track & Field Championship. "Running in what was celebrated at the best field of high school milers in history, Louie routed them all and smoked the mile in 4:21:3, shattering the national high school record, set during World War 1, by more than 2 seconds." -- Laura Hillenbrand, author of Unbroken. The DVD is approximately 15 minutes long.

Some of the items on display will include:

  • Training shorts and sweatshirt Louis wore during the 1936 Olympics
  • Luggage the community bought for him to attend the Olympic Tryouts in NY
  • Diary - see the last entry he wrote before he left on the reconnaissance mission that landed him afloat in the South Pacific for 47 days with barely any water or food and a prison camp for over 2 years.

When: Sunday, January 26th, 2020
Where: Torrance Historical Society & Museum - 1345 Post Ave., Old Torrance. Free, on-street parking.
Time: 3:00 PM
Cost: Free and open to the public
Info: 310.328.5392 or

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