Emily Brown Portwig prepared this speech for the celebration of the laying of the cornerstone of the Val Verde Park pool and bath house on April 16, 1939.
After delivering her speech, her handwritten remarks went into the time capsule that was secreted inside the cornerstone.
The Los Angeles County Parks Department opened the capsule in 1994 during a renovation project and photographed the contents circa 2014.
Friends I wonder how many here remember Peaceful Valley? It was thru Peaceful Valley that Mr. Sidney Dones discovered a tract of land owned by Mrs. Laura Janes & named Eureka Villa by the late Mrs. Emma Robinson, wife of Dr. R.R. Robinson who is still practicing medicine in Los Angeles. Then followed Val Verde, the adjoining property owned by Mr. Harry Waterman. Here we found a deserted one room school house which was built years ago by Mr. John Farley who is with us today.
After several years of waiting we have gathered today to witness the laying of the corner stone of a swimming pool dedicated to the citizens of the county of Los Angeles, on part of the acres that Mr. Waterman gave to the county.
As representative of the pioneers of this community & of Val Verde Improvement Association of which the present president, Mrs. Hattie Baldwin, organized to put Val Verde on the map, to keep it there & to make the map like it, I bring greetings. We feel that the health, happiness & prosperity of one depend on the health happiness & prosperity of the others. We have felt the spell of Val Verde, we have identified ourselves with these sturdy oaks & beautiful hills. We love them & are proud of our association with them. We want this to be one of those "point of pride" places, which we can come from the uttermost parts of the earth with the feeling that after all the world can offer nothing better than this. We are a cheerful bunch with ample faith in Val Verde. Not boosters in the vulgar sense of the word, just enthusiastic optimists.
There are vacant chairs today on this platform. There are smiles we miss. But there is no vacant place in our hearts for those two men Mr. Jack Bean & Mr. Jim Vena who have gone on, but who first made it possible for this recreation center. The memory of their smiles will always abide with us. Our lives are the fuller for having known them, & their good deeds & kind words should live again in us & be passed on to others.
To you Supervisor McDonough & the others who are carrying the good work on we wish you to know that we the pioneers appreciate your efforts & will enjoy this pool which will be of great benefit to us all.
Emily Brown Portwig
CP3906: Original document on file with the L.A. County Department of Parks and Recreation. Download individual pages here