Oceanside CA— Members of the El Camino Real chapter of the California Questers were presented a plaque by Oceanside Mayor Peter Weiss and Parks and Recreation Division Manager, Mark Olson recognizing the groups contribution to Heritage Park.
The El Camino Real Questers donated $2,000 for completion of the flooring installation in the historic Payne-Johansen House at the park. “The California Questers are having a statewide convention in Carlsbad this weekend,” said Nielsine Archibald, President of the El Camino chapter. “There are 15 different chapters represented at the convention. We are glad to have the presentation this weekend so the other chapters can see we are not just a bunch of pretty faces and we actually do something,” she said with a laugh.
“In 2015, the volunteer of the century, Edith Swain passed away,” explained retired Oceanside Parks and Recreation Division Manager, Eileen Turk. “She had poured her heart into Heritage Park and after she departed, things fell a little bit into disrepair because the park didn’t have that tender loving caring person taking care of the buildings and interiors. People were donating items that did not match the time period 1890-1910 so the place was getting a bit junked up,” she continued. “In the meantime, Terry Ann Larson, City of Oceanside Park Liaison and a few volunteers have embraced the park and have brought it back to life.”
One of the important projects was the historic Payne-Johansen House. The classic cottage was originally built in 1886 on Cleveland Street and at one point, served as the local post office. Over the years the cottage saw many remodels and modifications with four different types of flooring prior to the restoration effort that began in 2014. “We emptied the house completely so we could install a new floor but city budget cuts made that a little hard to do,” explained Eileen Turk. “North Coast Church stepped in and did their ‘Weekend of Service’ installing a sub floor. Flooring was donated for the house but the problem was, we didn’t have the funds for the installation. We met Nielsine and the El Camino Real Questers adopted the project at Heritage Park.”
Mayor Weiss thanked the group on behalf of the City and City Council. “The reality is if you go into the house and see the floor, without this group, that would not be there today,” The ambitious restoration returned the interior to the original time period including fixtures and furnishings.
Heritage Park, 220 Peyri Road, was developed, by the City of Oceanside, for the Bi-centennial of America celebration in 1976. Tours of the historic buildings are available on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The El Camino Real chapter of the California Questers meets at 12:30pm on the second Monday of the month in the Lake San Marcos Clubhouse. “We always have a speaker and the meetings last about two hours,” said Nielsine. “Visitors are always welcome and new members are really welcome.” For more information on the El Camino Real chapter, contact Nielsine Archibald at (760) 730-5446.
To learn more about the California Questers, visit their website: http://calquest.org/