Women's Club of Huntington Beach

The historic Women’s Club of Huntington Beach clubhouse burned to the ground in a fire that started near the back of the building around 3:00 a.m. this morning (April 30, 2011). The little board and batten building was destroyed in minutes, according to neighbors, with the fire department putting out the very last of the flames about an hour later.

This fire may only register a small blip on the radar of most Huntington Beach citizens. But this 101-year old building -- and the philanthropic organization it housed for 95 years -- was an important part of the city's history.

This 1910 surplus school building was purchased in 1916 by the Women’s Club of Huntington Beach and moved to its current location on the 400 block of 10th Street. The Club had spent four years raising the money for the land and structure through a series of events including musical productions, a mock trial, a New Years Eve ball and a minstrel show. The photo below shows the clubhouse the day it opened, in Oct. 1916.

The Huntington Beach Women's Club itself was formed in January 1908 – seven years after the town was founded and a year before Huntington Beach incorporated as a city. Seven women attended the first meeting, which was held at Florence Blodgett’s home. It was formed as a local chapter of the Federation of Women’s Clubs – an organization with its own rich history.

Early members of the Women’s Club of Huntington Beach included such notable pioneer names as Newland, Talbert, Shank, Tarbox, Huston and Howard. These women were probably the best civilizing influence the town ever had.

Historian Barbara Milkovich wrote that "Because [the Club] attracted the wives of business and political community leaders, it had the opportunity to reflect and/or influence the development of public policy within the city. …[The Club] was a stabilizing force within the community during the transition period from religious resort to oil field.”

(The photo below shows members in the clubhouse on July 4, 1951, still in their parade finery.)

Over the years, the Women’s Club successfully promoted the incorporation of Huntington Beach and the creation of a municipal gas system, created weed abatement and civic beautification programs, was instrumental in founding the PTA, and even provided trash barrels downtown to discourage littering.

Perhaps most memorably, they joined forces with the Women's Christian Temperance Union and the Board of Trade to create a private library association in 1909. Their book collection and reading room were the beginnings of what would later be adopted by the city fathers as Huntington Beach's first public library. Even then, several members of the Women's Club remained on the Library Board. This was, remember, before women could even vote (which was another cause the Women's Club advocated for).

Later, the Women's Club upgraded the city's modest public library by requesting and receiving funds for a larger "Carnegie Library."

The Club also held regular educational programs at a time when opportunities for education were limited for women.

During World War I, the Huntington Beach Women's Club -- which held an anti-war stance -- took the lead in forming the local Red Cross Auxiliary.

(The photo of the clubhouse interior, below, was taken by Barbara Milkovich in the 1980s.)

The City's oil boom in the 1920s increased the local population dramatically, and increased the Club's membership from 55 members to over 200 members. In 1926, the clubhouse was remodeled and given an addition in back.

The fact that children were playing on the dangerous oil equipment all over town led the Women's Club to lobby for the first city playgrounds -- an amenity that can now be found in nearly every park in town.

Another concern related to the oil boom was the prevalence of dance halls frequented by oil workers (a.k.a. roughnecks). The Women's Club got the city to regulate and patrol these ubiquitous "dens of vice" -- thereby bringing up the whole tenor of the city.

Milkovich wrote that the Club also "provided the entire community with a secular intellectual and social outlet." They held banquets, dances, and other social functions, and rented out their clubhouse for other special events as well. This tradition has continued up until today.

As a senior at Edison High School, the Huntington Beach Women's Club gave me a scholarship and invited my mother and me to a very nice luncheon at the clubhouse. It was the first time I ever went inside the building, and it seems it was also the last.

As soon as I heard the news about the fire this morning, I drove over, surveyed the damage, and took some photos. Walking back to my car, I passed some folks observing the fire's aftermath.

"What a shame," I said, motioning toward the rubble and shaking my head sadly.

"Well, it didn't really fit into the rest of the neighborhood," one of them said.

"It was here long before you arrived," I pointed out.

"Oh, but it was an eyesore, and they were always holding big events right here in our neighborhood. Maybe this fire was a blessing in disguise."

The only way to stifle my urge to scream at them was to get in my car and drive away.

Before With Shoes That Will Harm Feet

High heels should only be worn occasionally. If you wear them daily, you run the risk of shortening your calf muscles, which in turn can cause an inflammation of you Achilles tendon. This can make it difficult to walk in bare feet. High heels also increase the risk of getting plantar fasciitis: a painful degenerative condition that affects the heel bone. For daily use, you may want to wear a fashion women shoes with a comfortable heel of about one inch in height.

If your work requires you to walk a lot or stand for long periods, make sure to wear fashion women shoes that support the heel of your foot and that absorb shock. You can add padded insoles to those fashion women shoes that are too hard or thin.

Royal Wedding - My Favorite Images

We weren't disappointed were we?

a beautiful bride

an exquisite wedding gown

jewelry in the utmost good taste

an adorable wedding party

a respect for tradition

a ceremony seeped in history

and a happy couple

The Royal Wedding was an 11 out of 10 wasn't it?

If you're not already burned out on the Royal Wedding coverage
for excellent sartorial reporting on the wedding party and the royal guests.


Elle Macpherson 

Elle Macpherson 
Elle Macpherson 

Queen Rania-al- Abdullah Of Jordan

Queen Rania

Queen Rania
Queen Rania
Queen Rania
Queen Rania
Queen Rania
Queen Rania
Queen Rania

Queen Rania
Queen Rania
Queen Rania
Queen Rania
Queen Rania
Queen Rania
Queen Rania

The Info About Kate Middleton's Wedding Shoes

At online betting agency William Hill, people are putting money on who will provide Kate’s footwear for the big day, and London-based designer Aruna Seth is currently one of the top contenders. Just last month Alison blogged about an amazing pair of pink Aruna Seth shoes, and there are also plenty of classic ivory designs in the collection. The designer herself has suggested the “Bryony” shoe (pictured above) as a perfect option for Kate’s nuptials. Seth also shared the following words of wisdom, which you too may find useful when shoe shopping for your celebration: “Kate Middleton’s shoes should be simple, elegant with a hint of glamour to match her style; with a reasonable heel-height to be in proportion to Kate’s petite frame. I’d recommend her choosing effortless, classic shoes that will stand the test of time. In a shoeaholic’s world, choosing appropriate shoes should be as important as the grandeur of the dress.“

SAAAB, Côté, Courreges, Archives and Brea

Today's photo shows WWII Army Air Corps veterans who trained at Santa Ana Army Air Base (SAAAB) holding a reunion in the Orange Coast College cafeteria in 1988. They'll be holding their 35th annual reunion at the (much smaller) Captain's Table -- also at OCC -- this Saturday, 11:30am to 1:30pm. $25. The address is 2701 Fairview Rd. in Costa Mesa. For information or reservations, call (714) 432-5707. Sadly, our WWII vets aren't as young or plentiful as they once were, but "nothing can stop the Army Air Corps!"

Those involved in local history or the history of arms are likely to know former Orange County Historical Commissioner Ed Côté of Santa Ana. And if you know Ed you're also likely to know at least some of his family. After a long and valiantly fought battle with cancer, Ed and Patty's daughter, Christine Renée Côté, 29, passed away on April 16th. I will leave the details to the obituary in the Register. A funeral mass will be celebrated Sat., April 30 at 10 am at St. Callistus Catholic Church in Garden Grove. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. Callistus Youth Choir with a memo to the Christine Côté Memorial Fund.

Longtime residents of Fountain Valley mourn the loss of native Hazel Lee Courreges, 85, on April 3rd. Wife of the late Joseph John Courreges, Hazel was the matriarch of one of the area's best-known pioneer families. Again, I leave details to her obituary. I didn't meet her, but my friend Dann Gibb has often spoken of her tremendous help in his ongoing efforts to document the history of Talbert/Fountain Valley.

The Orange County Archives will hold an Open House this Saturday, April 30, from 10am to 4pm. This is a good opportunity to come do research or take a tour if you normally can't visit during the week. Hope to see you there!

The Railroad Days event once planned for this weekend by the Southern California Railway Plaza Association has been postponed until 2012, "due to the lingering effect of a weak economy and insufficient financial sponsorships for this year."

Watching The Royal Wedding BHB Style

Well, we've all been waiting for the Royal Event
and it is finally about to begin....the wedding heard around the world

Christina Lindsey will be watching with Giles Deacon and tweeting it for LOVE magazine
The Aussi babes FF and SSG will be celebrating it properly with tea and scones
Dash will be tuning in from her Paradise in the Pyrenees
And of course The Preppy Princess has been all over this wedding since the engagement announcement and I can't wait to read her review of the whole extravaganza.

I don't know about you but I'm pretty sure that my invitation must have gotten lost in the mail
So I will be at home watching the wedding in my very best Edwardian diamond tiara.
Here it is.
It suits me don't you think?

Here is the close up of the tiara, isn't it magnificent.
We call it the Madonna tiara because she wore it for her wedding with Sean Penn.
You can't tell from this photo but the swag of diamonds can be removed and worn as a necklace so this tiara isn't just pretty....it's downright practical!
So if you just happen to be in the market for a gorgeous tiara...well you know who to contact.

Enjoy the wedding everyone
and congratulations to the royal couple.
May they have a long and loving marriage.

Rancho Fiesta Day in El Toro

Okay, okay! You CAN go to Rancho Fiesta Day in El Toro this Sunday (May 1st) -- but ONLY if you promise not to enjoy the local history, barbeque, historic architectural tours, music, dancing, nature, Indian lore, interesting exhibits, friendly people, or fuzzy and feathered animals. (That's what they call reverse psychology!)

All of this will take place at Heritage Hill Historical Park, 25151 Serrano Rd., in El Toro (that's "Lake Forest" to the newbies), from 11am to 3pm. Details are posted online.

Today's photos all come from last year's Rancho Fiesta Day. In addition to the Serrano Adobe (ca 1863) and some beautiful landscaping, the park includes most of the historic buildings that were saved when the old town of El Toro was bulldozed, including the one-room schoolhouse (1890), a country church (1891), and a craftsman ranch house (1908). All have been restored and will be open to the public. There is also a replica of part of an Indian village on the site. I don't know if they'll have "make your own adobe" again this year (for those who really want to get hands-on with architecture).

In addition to the farm animal petting zoo area, last year's event also featured an educational exhibit of raptors found locally -- owls, hawks, etc. -- that was truly magnificent. You don't often get to see live wild birds like these from just inches away. (See the second photo from the top, with Archivist Susan looking a bit nervous next to a hawk.) I hope they do this again. Yes, I know that ethnically I'm supposed to like lutefisk and Lawrence Welk -- and there's nothing wrong with those things. (Okay,... maybe a little something wrong.) But this gabacho loves the Californio-style barbecue and mariachi music. And if last year was any sample, Rancho Fiesta Day has plenty of that. And lots of folklorico-type dancing and historical reinactors too.

In the photo below, Jacque Nunez of the Acjachemen tribe tells one of her people's traditional stories in front of the Serrano Adobe.

I'm sorry I didn't get a photo of the singer with the band shown below in front of the Bennett Ranch House. He was on horseback. Singing on horseback. Maybe that's normal somewhere, but not in Orange County. I particularly liked that he ended his set with "I Did It My Way." No joke!

Anyway, this is just a sampling of some of what went on last year. There was a lot more, from crafts to blacksmithing demonstrations. I hope to see you at THIS year's Rancho Fiesta Day. Be sure to stop by the Saddleback Valley Historical Society's museum, and also the booths for the Orange County Archives and the Orange County Historical Society.

Moving On Now

OK...moving on now...is mercury finally out of retrograde?

Look what came in the mail this week
and it couldn't have come at a better time

With all the news about the Royal Wedding we are seeing a trend towards sapphires.  Certainly the royal engagement ring was classic, beautiful and fashionably safe.
But being a little irreverent myself, sometimes I like to see the traditional turned on edge like with this vintage sapphire and diamond cocktail ring which is one of my favorites.  I like the bold Modernist design.

I don't know about you but I'm looking forward to the royal wedding although I won't be staying up all night to watch it.  Thank god for Tivo!

Shoe Collaboration

Korean designer JUUN.J and Chinese footwear design house KIROIC have collaborated on a six-pair sneaker collection for Fall/Winter 2010. The shoes are very fitting for the season, and even more fitting for the JUUN.J Fall/Winter apparel collection; like the clothing, the shoes boast a wide range of textures, a little more heavy on the premium leather side, and feature gold zippers along the uppers. Check out the other 5 pairs in the gallery below, and look out for them at retailers such as Joyce HK and Seven NY, when fall comes around. [via]

Christian Louboutin's Men

Honestly, I do appreciate the aesthetic orgasm this line is giving me and if they come in a small enough size I’d be tempted, but, as far as taste goes, that really is a personal matter. Be on the look out for a pair of these Louboutin’s come fall…and, if you happen to catch someone on the street wearing a pair, take a picture and email us, because I want to see for myself.

Anthem - Rolling In The Deep

La Belette Rouge recently posted about our need for having personal anthems at different points in our lives.  We've all had them haven't we?

Well, after certain events last weekend that resembled a French farce
this is my current life anthem.

Luckily, the timing for these events couldn't have been better as Easter, at least for me, signifies Spring and a time for new beginnings and paying more attention to the things that add value to my life.
Bon, on y va.

Prince Harry | Princess Kate Meddelton

Prince Harry Princess Kate Meddelton

 Prince Harry Princess Kate Meddelton
 Prince Harry Princess Kate Meddelton
 Prince Harry Princess Kate Meddelton
Prince Harry Princess Kate Meddelton