To observe the City of Signal Hill’s 90th anniversary, residents filled the community center on April 22 to sift through decades of memorabilia displayed as a walking timeline of the City’s history.
The reception Tuesday was one of two events planned to celebrate 90 years since the city was incorporated in 1924. The second event, a festival in the park, will take place from 2pm to 8pm on Saturday, June 21. The memorabilia presented at Tuesday’s event will also be on display during the festival.
Councilmember Lori Woods, who has led the preparations for these events, said she hoped residents would feel inspired to imagine the lives of the former residents.
For this reason, Woods said she wanted to make the historical displays interactive. Gloves were supplied to residents to handle the fragile documents that were not sealed in plastic.
“It’s not a museum,” Woods said during the event. “Anything that’s covered in plastic, please pick up, read, share with your neighbor and discuss it. Anything that’s not, just find some gloves.”
She also chose to exclude information about the items on display. She wanted guests to discover the items as she did.
“Part of the enjoyment of studying history is to read the dates and events and times for yourself and discuss and verify your findings with others,” Woods said.
Community Services Director Pilar Alcivar-McCoy said she considered the event a success.
“We had way more people than we expected,” Alcivar-McCoy said. “Lori has done an amazing job. She’s really put her heart and soul into it.”
Woods encouraged attendees to utilize several of the area’s older residents in attendance and ask them about their experiences growing up with the city.
Former Mayor and Councilmember Keaton King, born in 1924, and former treasurer Marjorie Grommé, born in 1919, were among those recognized at the event. Resident Clemencia Arroyo, born in 1925, will also turn 90 next year.
After Woods and Mayor Ed Wilson finished introducing the nonagenarians, a duo played Jazz-Age tunes such as “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love” by Cole Porter and “I’ve Got Rhythm” by George Gershwin to a crowded room while guests sipped Champagne and grabbed a slice of birthday cake.
See slideshow below that features more photos from the event: