Historical Society of Monterey Park
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About us

One of Monterey Park's hidden gems is the historical museum at Garvey Ranch Park! This museum consists of lots of late-nineteenth century artifacts and a whole room full of models of all the California Missions.

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Richard Garvey, Father of Monterey Park,
First came Native Americans followed by Spanish missionaries in the 18th century followed by Don Antonio Maria Lugo’s land grant of 30,000 acres from the King of Spain in the early 19th century follow ed by Alessandro Repetto, an Italian immigrant who grew crops and raised sheep on what was to become Monterey Park land in 1916.

However, the real father of Monterey Park was Richard Garvey, who fell in love with the rolling hills adjacent to the Midwick Club when he was hired to carry army mail from Los Angeles to Ft. Mojave on the Colorado River prior to the Civil War.

The Progress May 29, 1947 relates this period in Richard Garvey’s life.

“Receiving the mail at Wilmington, I usually crossed the Los Angeles River at what is now known as Macy Street. In stormy weather I was sometimes delayed on account of the difficulty of fording the stream with my animals and mail, as no bridges had been built. To reach El Monte there was the choice of several routes, the shortest of which led due east through the hills to the present location of the Midwick Club and continued due east.”

Later Richard Garvey accumulated a sum of money through mining in the Holcomb Valley and bought 5,000 acres of land in the Potrero Grande Ranch, Felipe Lugo Ranch and some school lands. This included the flat area of what later became Monterey Park.

Mr. Garvey brought water to the area and then began subdividing his land in order to pay off his debts. He had a 54 foot high dam constructed in order to form Garvey Lake and irrigate 1,000 acres. This is the site of the present Garvey Ranch Park baseball field.

Garvey Ranch house was used by Dick Garvey, Richard Garvey’s only child, to further his hobby of astronomy. Today Garvey Ranch Observatory is run as a satellite campus for Monterey Park by the Los Angeles Astronomical Society. Beginning in 1948, the ranch house has served as a meeting place for parent-child observation classes, the Rock Hound Club, the Chess Club, Chinese Opera Club, Nursery School classes, martial arts classes, voting in national, state and local elections and as a meeting place for local nonprofit organizations. The Progress May 29, 1947 talks about Garvey Avenue.

“There were roads running every which way over folks’ ranches, many of them leading nowhere. The only defined route leading into my part of the valley was the road through Monterey Pass to San Gabriel Mission….In the late 1870s I brought the Board of Supervisors to the ranch and pointed out to them the great need for an east-west highway connecting with Monterey Pass. From me they accepted deeds to Garvey Avenue as a sixty-foot wide roadway and thereupon I made the road with men, teams and equipment from the ranch and on the same route I had come to love so well as a young man when I carried the mails for Uncle Sam. This route has always served as a pleasant reminder of my three years of service to my country carrying the mails across the Mojave Desert.”

The Historical Museum of Monterey Park (in Garvey Ranch Park) is open to the public free of charge each Saturday and Sunday afternoon between the hours of 2-4 p.m. Volunteers are available to answer questions about items on public display as well as those archived in the five room museum. The observatory [also in Garvey Ranch Park] is open to the public free of charge each Wednesday evening between dusk and 10 p.m. We hope to see you this year!
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Monday - Friday
Closed
Saturday - Sunday
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
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