* Temporarily closed to the public due to COVID-19 *
The Morongo Basin Historical Society would not be able to operate without the dedication of a small but talented group of volunteers. Here are just a few and their vital contributions to our Society.
Steve Hanson has been exploring the desert in the Morongo Basin since he was a youngster. His family purchased a 5-acre homestead in Yucca Mesa in 1950 and it opened a whole new world for Steve, who’s favorite form of transportation was his motorbike. After graduating from Twentynine Palms High School in 1960, Hanson left to start a career as a mechanical engineer. He returned in 1972, while at the same time maintaining a home in Coachella Valley.
Armed with natural curiosity, you can find Steve roaming the Basin investigating Reche’s Well, the Hughie Irvine House, Vaughn Spring, Ames Well, King Clone, to name a few. Steve has visited and documented numerous sites throughout the Basin. In addition, he has published detailed reports of his findings, incorporating history, maps, genealogy, mechanical and engineering knowledge, and photography. His reports are truly full of fascinating information and are important historical records for our archives.
Glenn is the official photographer for the Morongo Basin Historical Society. He is present taking photos at our events such as 2nd Wednesday Lecture Series, Annual Meeting, and Landers’ Day. Glenn further contributes to the Society by sponsoring a $500 donation each year from his former employer, State Farm Insurance.
Glenn makes us proud. Glenn was in the Army LRRP Teams aka Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrols. He conducted special missions and ambushes of the enemy. He received the Bronze Star for Valor, Army Commendation three times, Combat Infantry Badge and was wounded by gunfire twice. More recently, Representative Paul Cook, in a special ceremony, presented Glenn a Certificate of Recognition for his Army service.
Since the Tractor Club sadly folded, the Morongo Basin Historical Society has been fortunate to have Wink Thornton contribute his knowledge and unique talent to the Society. You can find his hit-and-miss engines, vintage washing machine and “curiosity wall” included in our outdoor exhibits. Also, Wink and his son Adam have teamed and spent considerable time securing the outdoor phone booth at the original Landers Post Office and doing much needed repairs on the property.
We are happy that an interest in history brought Wink to the museum so that we could take advantage of his creative energy and ideas.
A few years ago, past-president Laurie Geeson recruited Bob Troyer, a former classmate at Twentynine Palms High School, to help out with the Morongo Basin Historical Society’s quarterly newsletter. Bob quickly became indispensable and now has the title of Graphics Editor to go along with the responsibility of fitting all the pieces of the newsletter together. Bob has flourished since leaving the desert and moving to Hawaii in 1975. At first, he taught woodworking at the University of Hawaii’s Art Department and, after teaching himself computer software, got a position teaching the school’s faculty about software. After leaving the university, he secured a contract to teach Microsoft Office for the Navy at Pearl Harbor for ten years and then at several junior colleges until 2014.
Now retired, Bob has finally found the time to indulge his passions. His most unusual pastime is to raise 3 kinds of butterflies and he has raised more than 2,500 Monarch butterflies in the past four years. His real passion, however, is photography, and he has an extensive portfolio on “Yourshot” at NatGeo.com. Somehow Bob found time to volunteer as a docent at the Pacific Aviation Museum in Pearl Harbor and teaching photography to Boy Scouts to say nothing of volunteering for our newsletter. In his spare time, Bob can be found riding around on his fifth motorcycle, a 2006 Yamaha FJR Sport Touring. We can’t thank Bob enough for his expert help.