Want to learn the secrets behind the legendary little lady who stood up to the mighty titan, William Randolph Hearst? Is that a myth, or about a warm working relationship between two highly talented 20th-century titans? Victoria Kastner, Hearst Castle researcher and author, will discuss fascinating facts and insights as she presents “Julia Morgan: a Closer Look,” when she serves as the keynote speaker for the Cambria Historical Society’s “Silver and Gold” Recognitions Dinner.
Kastner, a UC Santa Barbara graduate, earned a master’s degree in museum management at George Washington University. She has worked as a historian at Hearst Castle for 30 years and has written and lectured extensively across the country. In 2009, she was interviewed by Matt Lauer on the Today Show.
Kastner authored two books in collaboration with photographer Victoria Garagliano. “Hearst Castle: The Biography of a Country House” was published in 2000 and “Hearst’s San Simeon: The Gardens and The Land” in 2009. She currently is working on “Hearst Ranch: Family, Land, and Legacy,” due in 2013.
Members of the historical society will meet at Cambria Pines Lodge to honor new and old members on Sunday, Feb. 24. A sit-down banquet followed by a brief informational meeting and recognition of volunteers, then Kastner’s talk.
A special highlight of the evening will be a ceremonial “burning of the mortgage” at 5:30 p.m. in the Lodge’s huge fireplace by the donors to the One Hundred Angels Fund. They contributed at least $1,000 each to retire the remainder of the mortgage from the original purchase of the former Guthrie-Bianchini House. This was accomplished between November 2011 and December 2012.
In 2001, a small but committed corps of the historical society bought the decrepit home and three lots at the corner of Burton Drive and Center Streets for $500,000 from the California state probate court, where it had languished for about 50 years.
Since then, they have raised additional funds and secured grants for restoration and reconstruction of what is now the Cambria Historical Museum and Heirloom Gardens. Opening in December 2008, the Board of Directors and dedicated volunteers have welcomed more than 25,000 visitors for free tours inside and outside, as well as major events. President Jack Breglio will outline future plans to implement their vision and mission, including new displays and exhibits to be introduced March 21.
Yard sale, docent training
The museum store committee will have a yard sale from 1 to 4 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Burton Drive entrance. Proceeds will help finance new items for the shop.
Succulents in charming containers suitable for Valentine gifts, as well as plants from the museum’s nursery, will also be available. Mike Rice, head groundskeeper, requests that homeowners who may be eliminating or thinning heirloom plants from their gardens contact him at 927-3310 for pick up.
Rancher historian Dawn Dunlap will do a specialized training and tour for docents from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, to enhance their repertoire of information about early day Cambria residents and structures in historic East Village. This is an integral part of ongoing education, with the potential for guided and self-guided tours for the public in the future.
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Dine & learn
The public is invited to attend the Cambria Historical Society’s annual Recognitions Dinner and hear guest speaker Victoria Kastner on Sunday, Feb. 24.
A no-host social hour runs from 5 to 6 p.m., with dinner at 6 and the talk to begin about 7:15 p.m. at Cambria Pines Lodge, 2905 Burton Drive.
Available entrées are prime rib, salmon or a vegetarian ravioli medley. The cost is $32. Reservations are due by Feb. 12; mail checks, entrée choice, phone number and email address to CHS, P.O. Box 906, Cambria CA 93428.
For details, call 927-3159 or go to www.cambriahistoricalsociety.com.
New memberships and reinstatements are available for $30 for families or $100 for businesses.