COVID-19 Update: Saturday, July 11, 2020

WHITTIER, Calif. – Governor Gavin Newsom and the County of Los Angeles recently mandated the closure of beaches, museums, and indoor restaurant service for a minimum of three weeks. (Read latest information here)

Oral Histories

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"Quilting Party". Whittier Public Library Historical Photograph Collection. PEO-089E.
"Quilting Party". Whittier Public Library Historical Photograph Collection. PEO-089E.

Whittier Historical Society & Museum Oral Histories

Through a partnership with the Whittier Historical Society & Museum and California Revealed, with funding from the California State Library, the Whittier Public Library has made available online 121 oral histories covering Whittier's history. These can be found on the Whittier Museum's Internet Archive page, linked above.

Whittier Public Library Oral Histories:

Dee C. Essley arrived in Whittier with his family in 1902. His anecdotes detail a history of medical care in Whittier, including the establishment of Murphy Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital.

Irene Savage King was the daughter of Judge William E. Savage, who bought the 160-acre Savage Canyon homestead in 1882. She discusses competitive horseback riding, the establishment of Evergreen School, attending dances, and the Chinese Massacre of 1871 in Los Angeles' Chinatown.

Oscar Marshburn delivers an address, titled "My Hometown for 70 Years," to the Whittier Rotary Club. He arrived in Whittier with his family in 1907 at the age of seven, and in his speech describes Whittier as it was then, from the perspective of a young boy. He also discusses the insurance business he started in 1922, and his connection to the Milhous and Nixon families.

Esther and Marcella Rideout were daughter and daughter-in-law of Albert R. Rideout, a horticulturalist who, in addition to cultivating the famous Ganter and Hass avocado varieties, developed the area known as Rideout Heights in the hills above Whittier. In two transcript-only interviews, the Rideouts each discuss Albert's methods of cultivating avocados, walnuts, berries and citrus, as well as memories of the Whittier area in the early 1900s.

Whittier Hills Collection: David Cowardin, Los Angeles County planner and past president of the Whittier Hills Preservation Task Force (WHPT), discusses the WHPT's efforts since its inception in the 1980's to plan and establish a wilderness park.

Whittier Hills Collection: Charles Hanson discusses hillside preservation activities beginning as early as 1978, including the formation of management policies, fire prevention and control, and the reintroduction of native plants and animals.

Whittier Hills Collection: Bob Henderson, Whittier City Councilman at the time of this interview, describes the formation of the Friends of the Whittier Hills and other preservation organizations, as well as the Joint Powers Agreement between the Los Angeles County Sanitation District and the City of Whittier.