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IB Historical Society, City of Imperial Beach and Sudberry Properties find way to for IB'S Iconic Tree to Live on!

May 26, 2016 02:33PM ● By Paul Spear

Although the Iconic IB Tree got chopped down the IB Historical Society, the City of Imperial Beach and Sudberry Properties believe they have found a way to for IB's Iconic Tree to Live on!

The Historical IB Tree that was lite up every Christmas for over 30 some odd years may live on despite the fact that the majority of it was cut down and hauled away last Friday morning. Now believed to be between 8 or 9am and not during the night as first claimed by a witness.  It is believed that if the remaining portion of the base is still alive and if replanted will grow into a full size tree again.If that is the case Sudberry Properties, the City of IB and the Historical Society (and Iconic Landmarks) all seem to be willing to participate in the process of replanting the tree in one of Imperial Beach's Parks. The parks the city is considering at this time are the Triangle Park, the Sports Park and Veterans Park.

Last Friday Morning some longtime residents of Imperial Beach awoke in shock when an Iconic Tree of great historical value to the City had been cut down. Several members of Imperial Beach's Historical Society were shocked to find out the tree had been cut down.
It was only recently, because of the City of Imperial Beach's 60th Anniversary Celebration, that  a group was formed to help prepare photos, newspaper clippings and other items of historical value come to be formed. That group, started by City Council Woman Lorie Bragg was just her and Paul Spear in the beginning who Lorie had asked her to help with the City's Anniversary. Paul wrote a few articals about Imperial Beach history in hopes of drawing in more members on his webpage and started a Facebook page "Imperial Beach 60 years of History and more" to promote the City's Anniversary and try to get more members. Today it is 20 members strong and growing. It was some of these members who have lived in Imperial Beach for over 55 years (David Smith and Ann Price)  that identified the tree to the historical group and made them aware of the trees significance to the city's history.

Only when the tree came down did Sudberry Properties and the City of Imperial Beach's office become aware of the trees historical value. The people within the the city or working for the city did not know of the trees historical value or the ones that did were not aware that it was one of the trees being removed from the property. Since then, Sudberry Properties and City of IB have done everything they could do to make the best of a bad situation and have tried to do everything they can to make the situation right. As soon as they became aware that the remaining stump of the tree could possibly be replanted and grown again they immediately agreed to meet and try to do everything they can do to make that happen.

The the tree was believed to be have been originally planted by the Girl Scouts in 1950 and given to the city and transplanted in front of Coronado Federal Savings during the City of Imperial Beach's Incorporation Celebration in 1956. Their Incorporation Celebration in 1956 took place at 7th Street and Palm Avenue in front of the then Coronado Federal Savings and Loan.. There is no doubt that the tree was lit up every year for Christmas since it was transplanted in 1956. Originally in front of Coronado Savings and Loan which then became Home Federal Savings and then North Island Credit Union. What is in doubt is the exact year the city stopped lighting the tree at Christmas but going by people's memories it seems to have stopped about 25 years ago.It is important to note that City records of these things are virtually non-existent.

In the beginning, 1956, their was a close relationship between the City of IB, the Imperial Beach Gardening Club and Coronado Federal. No one knows how that relationship came about but between all three a brochure was published called "A Tree Grows in Imperial Beach". Thanks to Ann Price we have a copy of that brochure were it details how the IB Gardening Club Identified 10 Trees that would grow well in Imperial Beach. Each street was identified as having to plant a particular tree, if they planted a tree, in front of their house. Coronado Federal was giving anyone trees to anyone from Imperial Beach who lived on those streets a tree that mapped out to the brochure when they opened up an account at Coronado Federal (with a minimum amount).

This is one of the type of reasons  the group formed to put together the City's 60th Anniversary Celebration as grown into what we know as the Imperial Beach Historical Society (And Iconic Landmark Commission). 

Our group started off as the IB History Group and was formed to put together a booth for the City's 60th Anniversary Celebration taking place at the Mayor's Breakfast on Friday July 15th. Once the project got started it became clear that there was a much bigger need than to just organize and put the existing history into binders for presentation. It is clear that much of Imperial Beach's history is getting unintentionally lost or destroyed. With the passing of longtime residents of IB not only do historical possessions get thrown out because their children don't understand their historical value to the community but there is no place for them to donate them to if they do. Our older residents are valuable resources in so many way. In our case their knowledge of the past is invaluable and we need to sit down with them to record their memories as well.

We now have about 20 members working on the City's 60th Anniversary Celebration. About 10 of us our also working hard on our long term goal of establishing a IB History Museum for not only the preservation of our history but to share it with all of the community.

Currently we meet twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4pm in the Community Room at the Imperial Beach City Hall.

At this time we are operating mostly on a small budget from the City of IB and generosity of our members time and financial contributions. We are looking into putting together fundraisers to help sustain our organization and achieving our goals.

Here is the Vision, Mission, guiding Principles and Strategic Goals for the:

                                              Imperial Beach Historical Society


Collect and organize Imperial Beach history leading to the establishment of our

Own History Museum in the future


As the Imperial Beach chapter of the South Bay Historical Society, we will present the history we have organized for display.  We will collect photographs, newspaper articles, documents, or anything of historical value having to do with Imperial Beach.

Guiding Principles:

The purpose of the I.B. History Committee is to provide the people of Imperial Beach, both present and those who moved away with a place to look, read and remember the history of Imperial Beach.

In achieving this purpose, the following principles will guide our decisions and actions:

1.      We will accomplish the mission

2.      We recognize that the people are our most important resource 

3.      We are constantly working to improve.   We must reach out to  
             the people of I.B. And keep communication open at all times. 

4.      We must explore all possibilities - suspend disbelief

Strategic Goals:

Strategic Goal #1   Collect Historical Item

·  Solicit, categorize and identify photos and memorabilia of significant
Events and people of Imperial Beach         

Strategic Goal #2   Promote the upcoming I.B. History Museum

·  At all events we have our booth open, we will have a sign 
Featuring the new Museum and a container for collecting donations.

Strategic Goal #3   Identify and obtain location for History Museum

·  Seek out, Identify and obtain location for the new museum

If you have read this far you must have a love of history. Anyone with a love of history is invited to join us at any of our meetings. If you have any questions you xan contact Paul Spear at 619-844-9142 or



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