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'San Diego Memories': San Diego History Center creating coffee table books of local history

The San Diego History Center is teaming up with the Union Tribune to chronicle every era of San Diego's history.

SAN DIEGO — How would you like your family photos to be immortalized in San Diego history? For the next several years, a museum in Balboa Park is creating coffee table books that will chronicle the city's past. 

The San Diego History Center is filled with memories and people who like to set the record straight. 

"He's my wife's favorite newscaster." Ron Dewse said to museum visitors while pointing at Jeff Zevely from the Zevely Zone.  

"I'm not your favorite newscaster?" Jeff responded with laugh.  

"No, my wife's," said the straight shooter. 

Ron Dewse is at the museum hoping his parents, Carl and Charlotte, are included in the next edition of San Diego Memories.  

"My mother was the organist at the organ pavilion," said Dewse. Ron's father was the Civic Chorus conductor and the thought of singing their praises in a coffee table book?  

"It would be overwhelming," said Dewse.

The San Diego History Center is teaming up with the Union Tribune to chronicle every era of San Diego's history. It is a job that starts with photography.

"These are the archives. Two-and-half-million images of San Diego dating back to 1869. You can come down for free grab a box and take it to a table and just dig in. You can research your old neighborhood or check out your favorite San Diego beaches," said Jeff while reporting on the Zevely Zone. 

Organizing millions of memories is one thing, but keeping them relevant is a passion for Chris Travers.  

"You guys wants to be on the map?" asked Jeff. 

"Exactly we want to be on the map as the largest regional photography collection west of the Mississippi," said Travers.  

"It's very cold in here," said Jeff.  

"It's very cold! This is called the cold room," responded Travers. As the senior photo archivist at the museum, Travers is in charge of preserving pictures.

"These drawers are filled with negatives," she said as she gave Jeff a tour. 

The center used to be focused on the History of the West then downsized to California and now they focus on San Diego memories only.

"Here is Lindbergh Field in 1953, here is my mom and my dad," said Kathi Trethewey. Her father was a test pilot for Convair. He's 95 now and finally comfortable releasing these pictures no one ever knew he snapped.

"Was he allowed to be taking those pictures?" asked Jeff.  

"That I am not sure. I have one that says 'not classified' but it's probably been long enough that it doesn't matter," responded Trethewey.

If your family photos are something to chat about, this series of coffee table books will be one for the history books. 

The opportunity to scan pictures to be selected for the 1940s and 1950s eras is closed but next year the museum will open up the screening process for the '60s and maybe '70s. 

For information click here.

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