Twentynine Palms Historical Society
Old Schoolhouse Museum
6760 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277 (760) 367-2366 • Email: 29PalmsHistorical@gmail.com
Oct. 1, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Historical Society names 2018 Old Timer of the Year
TWENTYNINE PALMS — The Twentynine Palms Historical Society is pleased to announce its 2018 Old Timer of the Year honoree, Don Bolster.
Bolster is the youngest of three surviving children born to Ray and Billie Bolster. Ray came to this area around 1910 and worked with and for Bill Keys. In 1913, he homesteaded in Morongo Valley. He married Willie May Ware in 1924 and the pair honeymooned in Twentynine Palms.
Their boys, Walter and Richard (Dick), were born in Banning in 1927 and 1930, respectively. Baby brother Don was born on May 1, 1936, in Beaumont. After stints in Whitewater, Pasadena, Big Morongo Canyon and Etiwanda, the family moved back to Twentynine Palms permanently in 1944,and Ray Bolster became the community’s first employed fireman. The family lived behind the fire station on Adobe Road until his retirement in 1958.
Don attended elementary school in the original schoolhouse here, and graduated from Twentynine Palms High School in 1954. After graduation, he attended college and enlisted in the Navy.
He created most of the artwork for the 1953 TPHS El Oasis yearbook and was editor of the 1954 El Oasis. In 2003, Don donated the 1953 El Oasis to the Twentynine Palms Historical Society. He returned numerous times to visit his parents and for class reunions. Every year for the last 18 years, Don has traveled from his home in Sugar Grove, N.C., to attend Pioneer Days, the Old Timers Reunion and the historical society’s Old Timers Gathering. Don is the coordinator and driving force of the Old Timers Reunion, a weekend-long gathering of old schoolmates.
He is a longtime historical society member and has supported the organization with numerous donations of items, family genealogy, local historical information, participation in the society’s “Generations Project” and many remembrances of his childhood here.
He wrote the article, “A pioneer son remembers ‘way back when’ in 29 Palms,” for the The Desert Trail’s 2009 Pioneer Days edition, and has written several other articles for the newspaper and Old Schoolhouse Journal. He is the subject of George White’s book, “The Baseball Glove,” which is on display at the museum along with the glove. At the 2011 old timer’s reunion he gave an excellent and moving speech at the 29 Palms Inn.
Among the many great experiences Don remembers growing up here as a carefree desert boy was helping to create the legendary and mystical Oh-bay-yo-yo in the Wonderland of Rocks above Indian Cove in what is now Joshua Tree National Park. The National Park Service dismantled the cave/cabin sometime in the late 1970s and the original Oh-Bay-yo-yo logbook, in typical roundabout desert fashion, was placed in Don’s care. He still serves as its keeper and custodian.
“For his pioneer ties, contributions to recording area history and his continued support of the community and the Twentynine Palms Historical Society, we are proud to honor Don Bolster as our 2018 Old Timer of the Year,” said historical society vice president Greg Mendoza.
Don will be a guest of honor, along with Pioneer Days Grand Marshal Ann Congdon and Military Grand Marshal Kim Ortamond, at the Old Timers Gathering scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20 at the museum, 6760 National Park Drive. Admission to the gathering is free, though donations are always accepted.
For more information about the historical society and its programs, visit www.29palmshistorical.com
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