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Today Is the Chatsworth Garden Festival

Attend the Duchess of Devonshire’s High Tea, see Polynesian dancers, tour the historic Hill-Palmer Cottage, and walk the gardens.

Editor's Note: Last year Chatsworth historian Virginia Watson wote this column in anticipation of the annual Chatsworth Historical Society's Garden Festival. I've updated the time elements and offer it to those who have not read it before. This year's event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at The Homestead Acre, 10385 Shadow Oak Drive. A highlight of the day is the $10 Duchess of  Devonshire’s High Tea served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Donations at the entrance are $5 for adults or seniors, Children $1 and kids under 5 are free. There is a free shuttle bus from the Chatsworth train depot. For more information call 818-882-5614.

It is time to begin thinking about our coming which is planned for Sunday, April 29, at , 10385 Shadow Oak Drive, within Chatsworth Park South at the west end of Devonshire Street.

Last year was our 21st festival and we have been thinking of other years and what took place.

One thing that stands out is the fact that we have so many people in the community and elsewhere that support us and our circle is widening as The Chatsworth Historical Society grows and develops.

TV's Huell Howser is one of the well-known people who have helped us. He taped two shows in Chatsworth, one about The Munch Box and one about Chatsworth and our local monuments. So last year when we were planning our Garden Festival I asked him to re-schedule the tapes he made of Chatsworth to play again because so many people came to The Garden Festival when he ran the tapes previously. He is such a wonderful person, he said he would not only run the tapes again he would tell people about our event. And he did! We had more than 330 people come into the Chatsworth History Museum and many of them said that they had seen us on Huell Howser.

We had three special people contact us from that program. The first one is John Glinn, who found out that he is a descendant of our Hill Family after he called on the telephone to ask about our Garden Festival. He is the grandson of Clarence Glinn, a great nephew of Minnie Hill Palmer. He came out to our festival and brought his family including two of his grandchildren. They really enjoyed pictures we had on display and we were able to find him on the James David and Rhoda Jane Hill genealogy chart that the family had given us.

Wayne Preston sent us an email telling us that his father had been a minister at the Chatsworth Church in the 1930s. Mr. Preston was in the 5th grade at Chatsworth Park Elementary School at that time. He remembered that they were still in tents following the 1933 earthquake and that he has fond memories of sneaking through the railroad tunnels with his brother, watching movies being made at the train station and climbing rocks on the edge of town. I checked and his father was listed on the official list as a minister of the church in 1933-34. Preston, 87, wasn’t able to come to the Festival but he emailed a picture of his father and mother, The Rev. Harold Preston and his wife Virgie, which we were able to display in the museum.

Joan Seligmann brought her sister and other family members to the Garden Festival. She had visited us earlier one Wednesday-at-the-Acre and had donated items to our collection from her grandmother who was the second president of the Chatsworth Women’s Club. She was Mrs. A. H. Haworth and she was president from 1923-24. Mrs. Seligman had discovered that the Craftsman House built by her grandfather is still in use in Chatsworth and is registered at CSUN. She became our latest Life Member following the festival.

Here is hoping that our 2012 Garden Festival will bring us more people from our rich past.  

If you would like to learn more about Chatsworth and people from the past you may visit the local museum at The Homestead Acre, 10385 Shadow Oak Drive, within Chatsworth Park South at the west end of Devonshire Street. The museum is open the first Sunday of every month from 1-4 p.m. There is no charge.                          

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