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Lanterman House archivist Tim Gregory bids farewell after 2 decades with museum

Lanterman House archivist Tim Gregory bids farewell after 2 decades with museum
Retiring longtime Lanterman House archivist Tim Gregory, right, and his replacement Julie Yamashita in the Lanterman House Archives in La Cañada Flintridge on Tuesday. Gregory is retiring to focus on his thriving busines... (Tim Berger / La Cañada Valley Sun)

For the second time in less than a year, Lanterman House will say goodbye to an employee who's spent decades preserving local history and presenting its highlights to the public, when archivist Tim Gregory takes his leave later this month.

Gregory's departure follows that of former Executive Director Melissa Patton, who retired on Aug. 31 after 25 years with the museum. The longtime archivist clarified he would not be retiring, but rather focusing on his thriving building-biography business.

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"I'm not using the word 'retirement' since I intend to continue my business into the foreseeable future," said Gregory, who has helped provide more than 3,000 historical reports on Los Angeles County properties over the past 20 years.

A Pasadena resident, Gregory began working with Lanterman House in 1994 when Patton, who once worked with him at the Pasadena Historical Society, asked for help having the site placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Later, as archivist, he helped systematize a vast catalog of historical objects and records pertaining to Lanterman House, the city of La Cañada Flintridge and the wider Crescenta Valley.

Community members can bid Gregory farewell in a special Jan. 21 celebration being held on the museum grounds from 2 to 4 p.m. His replacement, due to begin working next month, is Glendale archivist and consultant Julie Yamashita.

One of the shelves with archived historic records of La Cañada Flintridge at Lanterman House Archives.
One of the shelves with archived historic records of La Cañada Flintridge at Lanterman House Archives. (Tim Berger / La Cañada Valley Sun)

As archivist for Lanterman House, Yamashita will take charge of and help digitize the museum's extensive catalog of written and photographic history, including books and manuscripts that once belonged to the Lanterman family.

A consultant who's worked with the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, the Autry National Center of the American West, Broad Art Foundation and Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art, Yamashita said she enjoys uncovering objects and information that might otherwise have been lost to history.

"We're bringing to light something that really needs to be discovered, or a story that needs to be told," she said of the profession.

Gregory, who himself worked in the library sciences field before historical preservation began to take off as a concept in the '90s, said Yamashita's familiarity with the Crescenta Valley, impressive background and willingness to work a part-time schedule made her a good fit for the job.

Interim Executive Director and former longtime Lanterman House board member and docent Bob Moses agreed.

"Julie brings a great deal of knowledge to us," he said. "She's local and connected with our community. She understands our work environment, but she brings a tremendous amount of expertise — I feel very fortunate that we've found her."

As for Gregory, his departure is not exactly a final farewell. In addition to helping Yamashita transition into the position, he suspects he'll be "haunting the place after I'm gone," in hopes of authoring a booklet on the real stories behind La Cañada's founding family members.

"There will always be a lot of mystery around them, because there are a lot of gaps," he said.

FYI: Tim Gregory's farewell celebration takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. at Lanterman House, 4420 Encinas Drive., in La Cañada. To attend, RSVP by Jan. 17 to lantermanhouse@gmail.com

Twitter: @SaraCardine

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