I have been looking forward to tonight’s meeting of the New Westminster Historical Society. It is not so much that former New Westminster curator Archie Miller and the historical society’s organizer would be presenting commentary and images on the Hollywood Sanitarium and the New Westminster Mall (the mall replaced the hospital that was between 5th and 6th streets, uptown New West) and his usual photo groups of places and people throughout this cities 150 year history. I just missed being there.
I became a member of the group a little over a year ago but I have not attended any of the presentations for a few months. The group meets on the third Wednesday of each month and each evening, in the bottom floor auditorium of the New Westminster Pubic Library, is a real community gathering of people who are interested in and love this city.
Sure, I am always the youngest in the room (at 31), but tonight, the first meeting of 2009, the room was packed (55 people) and everyone was treated to Archie’s easy expertise with each building or family history as we went through the slides. One of the members offered the story of when Errol Flynn came to New Westminster for some relaxation therapy (ahem, rehab, ahem) at the old Hollywood Sanitarium. The evening ended with a suite of Pattullo Bridge photos, to remind us of our current predicament.
For anyone who is interested in the rich history of this town, I encourage you to get involved with the Historical Society, its meetings or perhaps with the current city archivist and the city museum.
P.S. The photo of our hobbled bridge at the top of this post was taken by my grandfather, Bill Tomkinson.