Glendora Historical Society

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Glendora Historical Society
Motto"Preserving Our Heritage"
FormationApril 15, 1947; 71 years ago (April 15, 1947)
TypeNon-profit corporation
PurposeHistorical preservation, education
HeadquartersOld City Hall, 314 N. Glendora Avenue
Glendora, California
Jim Riley
SubsidiariesGlendora Museum Rubel Castle

The Glendora Historical Society (also known as the Society; abbr. GHS) is a privately funded nonprofit organization based in Glendora, California. The Society produces original exhibitions; maintains a collection of historical documents, photographs, and other research materials; and hosts educational events.


The Society was chartered in 1947, when Glendora was still a quiet citrus community nestled against the northern foothills of the San Gabriel Valley. The earliest purpose of the organization was both historical and social—to discuss and collect history and gather the venerable first families in the valley. It has operated the Glendora Historical Museum since 1952, and has owned the Rubel Castle in Glendora since 2005. New bylaws were adopted in 2013 as the Society went through a realignment to streamline organizational efficiency and optimize public services.


Throughout the year, the Society provides a varied program of lectures, panels, and discussions on historical and cultural topics, ranging from local interests, to events and people of national significance.

The Society liaises with the City of Glendora, the Glendora Public Library, the Hayden Memorial Library at Citrus College, and the University Libraries Special Collection of Azusa Pacific University.


Since 1952, the Glendora Museum has been housed in the Old City Hall, the first civic building built in Glendora, completed in 1913. This portion of the museum, named the Grace Sutherland Wing, had also been used as the city firehouse, police department and jail before 1923, and as the Frank J. Gard American Legion Post #153, until 1951. A second wing, the Merrill West Memorial Hall, was added in 1989. Admission to the Museum is free to the public.

The extensive Glendora Historical Society Archive contains memorabilia and resources dating to the 1850s and is among the earliest archives in the valley, attracting authors, researchers, and students of history at all levels. The Society Archive is accessible several times a year for public research.


Constructed from 1959 to 1986, Rubel Castle was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013. The castle features the Courtyard, Tin Palace, Big Kitchen, the Ed Bennett Room (used for Board Meetings), castle gardens, and living spaces for tenants. Tours are available at the Castle by reservation-only.

Major castle operations include scheduled tours, television and movie filming, and maintenance. The castle is also rented for private events.

In June, the Society Board of Directors are sworn into office during the Annual Banquet at the Courtyard. Every December, the Castle is dressed with Christmas finery, and members are invited to a free social tea in the Tin Palace, Big Kitchen, and Bennett Room.

The Society is host to the "Rancho San Jose Dinner," a fundraising event held in the Castle Courtyard each summer and which aims to raise money for historical preservation and restoration. Funds from the 2016 dinner have gone toward the Society's collection of antique vehicles.


H. Paul Keiser Memorial Collection

Paul Keiser was from an early Glendora family (pre-1890), and served as the first Society Curator. Having a reputation as a great valley historian, Keiser amassed a collection of artifacts and records years before the formation of the earliest historical organizations in the upper San Gabriel Valley. The Memorial Collection was established after his death in 1951.

Bobbie Battler Archive

The Society received the bulk of the papers, notes, and records which had been maintained by historian, author and columnist Bobbie Battler after her death in 2003.

Michael Clarke Rubel Collection

The acquisition of Rubel Castle in 2005 included the full collection of objects and artifacts which builder Michael Rubel had amassed during his world travels. The collection ranges from Revolutionary War-era cannons, paintings, metal work and folk art, antique vehicles and equipment, and numerous objet d'art, spanning centuries. The Collection is spread across more than 2-acres of property, with the majority housed in the Tin Palace.

Current Major Exhibitions[edit]

  • Before the Golden Arches: A Look at Richard and Maurice McDonald (opened January 2017) an exploration of the life of the McDonald's founders when they lived in Depression-era Glendora, including the movie theater they owned and the local inspiration for their restaurant business
  • Cubs Win!: Frank Chance of Glendora (opened November 2016) a celebration of Frank Chance, the professional baseball player and team manager who led the Chicago Cubs to two world-series victories (1907 and 1908), in commemoration of the Cubs 2016 World Series win
  • Citrus Speaks: 100 Years of Citrus College (opened August 2014) a look at the history of Citrus College, the first public junior college in Los Angeles County, and the 5th oldest in the state of California, from its beginning as a rural high school in the 1890s, the addition of its first college curriculum in 1915, to the bustling commuter campus it is today
  • The Glendora Story (ongoing exhibit) chronicling the history of lands that would come to be called Glendora, from the time of the native inhabitants who called the area "Askusagna," through the era of Spanish Missions, the Rancho years (1837-1860s), the American settlers (1870s), up until city incorporation in 1913.


Anyone with an interest in history can petition for membership into the Society via an application process. The Society Year begins July 1, and closes June 30 the next year. Annual dues are collected before June 30.

Members are annotated on the Membership Roll (known informally since the 1950s as the Glendora Social Register), which is published annually.

Society Presidents[edit]

    • 1947-48...Ruth Pratt Kimball
    • 1948-49...Dr. Glenn Odell
    • 1949-50...Louise Thum
    • 1950-51...Leslie Warren
    • 1951-52...Roger Dalton
    • 1952-53...John Lyon
    • 1953-54...Grace Sutherland
    • 1954-55...Roy Lundh
    • 1955-56...Grace Sutherland
    • 1956-57...Earl Chapman
    • 1957-58...Roy Lundh
    • 1958-60…Frank Brown
    • 1960-61…Dorothy Chambers
    • 1961-63…Donnell Spencer
    • 1963-66...Helen Bettin
    • 1966-67...Hon. Merrill West
    • 1967-68...Alice Tscharner
    • 1968-72...Laura Ady
    • 1972-76…John McAllister
    • 1976-79…Jeanne West
    • 1979-82...Mildred Kobzeff
    • 1982-83...Hon. John Hackney
    • 1983-85...Hon. Merrill West
    • 1985-87...Charles Page
    • 1987-89...Ida Fracasse
    • 1989-90...Hon. John Gordon
    • 1990-91...Hon. Ken Prestesater
    • 1991-92...Ida Fracasse
    • 1992-94…Nelson Price
    • 1994-96...Georgia Hawthorne
    • 1996-97...Hon. John Gordon
    • 1997-98...Margaret House
    • 1998-99…Hon. John Gordon
    • 1999-2001…John Lundstrom
    • 2001-02…Hon. John Gordon
    • 2002-05…John Lundstrom
    • 2005-06…John Lundstrom & Jesse Tomory
    • 2006-07…Jesse Tomory
    • 2007-09…John Lundstrom
    • 2009-10…John Lundstrom & Dr. Kay Waters
    • 2010-11…Dr. Kay Waters
    • 2011-13…Hon. Mike Conway
    • 2013-17…Jim Riley