Did you know that Westchester used to be known to locals simply as “Loyola”? Or that Benjamin Davis Wilson, also known as Don Benito Wilson, played a huge role in the ending of the “rancho” period in the area?
David J. Dukesherer does, and he will share these stories, as well as many more, at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 12th at the Playa Vista Branch Library, 6400 Playa Vista Drive in Playa Vista.
Dukesherer’s presentation coincides with the opening of an exhibit at the library of the images to be included in his book, Playa del Rey: The Early History of Playa del Rey/Westchester/Playa Vista, published through Arcadia Publishing.
“The exhibit tells the rich history of the area we live in that people don’t know about,” Dukesherer says. “This whole thing is about education, I’m not making any money on it. I’ve given away the proceeds of the books, so it’s being completely funded by me.
“This is about educating the people that live here, in particular the school kids that live here.”
Dukesherer is not the average “local historian,” although he certainly has strong roots in the area. Born in Westchester, this air freight executive began writing a column for Westchester’s Hometown News. He drew from the five years of material he had researched in order to write the book.
Playa del Rey covers the period from early settlement to about 1989, ending at the beginning of the development of Playa Vista.
Saturday’s presentation will cover early settlements to 1929, with approximately 100 images on display.
“The stories I’m telling begin with the old days, and begins with the story of the Port Ballona development,” he says. “Then in 1901 it begins with the renaming and development of Playa del Rey, and the amusements built around the Del Rey Lagoon.”
The exhibit will be on display through September.
Information, (310) 437-6680.