Eye on the Desert

29 Palms Historical Society needs more volunteers

29 Palms Historical Society in need...

29 PALMS, Calif. - While our world continues to change, it's important for us to always remember our past. That's exactly what the 29 Palms Historical Society is doing by educating the public about how the town was started.

Whether you're sitting in one of the town's first schoolhouses or to checking out an old-time stove, you're getting an idea of how people lived back in the day.

"We've got all kinds of mining equipment and household equipment, purple glass, photos, just everything," said volunteer Edith Carter.

The museum has many stories to tell and these volunteers are here to share them.

"The biggest question: 'Why would anyone live in 29 Palms?' and we're able to answer that with an entirely volunteer staff," Carter said.

Cheryl Erickson said many people moved to the high desert for health reasons. But living there wasn't easy.

"It really was almost like the covered wagon days out here. There was no telephone. There was no electricity. There was no water. They had to get water from the oasis," Erickson said.

She said it was a hot and hard life. You get a sense of that just by looking at some of the household items.

"People can look at artifacts and old folks say, 'I used that when I was little,' and younger people say, 'What in the world is that?'" Carter said.

The story of how the museum acquired this old schoolhouse from the district is unique.

"So they gave it to us and moved it 2 miles up the road to here and we did a lot of refurbishing but a lot of things are still original as well," Erickson said.

And they bought the schoolhouse for just $1. Huell Howser even filmed a special about it. Now the society is asking for help, because they're in need of more volunteers. Carter said by working here, you can meet people from all over the world.

"They get to meet lots of people that come through town, from Europeans to people from Japan and Korea and old-timers who are coming back to the area," Carter said.

The organization is run entirely by volunteers with no federal, city or state funding. And these volunteers said they're grateful for any help they can get.

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