Historical Society readies for 30

Molly Shore

An addition to the Burbank Historical Society’s complex will be

the frosting on the cake at its 30th anniversary celebration in



“Our plans are to make the new space more geared to interactive

exhibits for children,” founder Mary Jane Strickland said of the

7,000-square-foot, two-story expansion project for the Gordon R.

Howard Museum.


Although anniversary plans are still being developed, the

historical society will unveil a new display by Walt Disney

Imagineering, complete with movement and sound, in October,

Strickland said.

In 1975, Howard gave the historical society 12 apartments on Hollywood Way, a donation Strickland called “a milestone.” From the

sale of the apartments, the society financed the construction of its

two display buildings, named for Howard.

Two years later, the group was given the 1887 Mentzer house, and


obtained a 50-year lease from the city to put it in George Izay Park.

The house is named after Roy and Nora Mentzer, who lived in it for

50 years.

In 1997, a $250,000 contribution from the Ray Sence Trust enabled

the society to connect the two buildings.

The museum is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays at 115 N. Lomita St.

It can also be accessed from 1015 W. Olive Ave. at the side of the

Mentzer House. Admission is free, and donations are accepted.


John Livingston, 92, who has lived in Burbank since 1941, is a

museum docent twice a month.

“I’ve had people interested in how the Model T Ford worked,”

Livingston said, referring to the vintage automobile in the museum’s


Livingston drove a Model T, and enjoys giving museum-goers

firsthand accounts of his experiences.

“The gas tank was underneath the front cushion on the front seat,”

he said of the gravity-fed device. Drivers often suddenly stopped

going up a hill because the incline forced the liquid to the back of

the tank.

Livingston said he overcame that problem by driving up hills in

reverse, propelling the gasoline to the front of the tank.