Evelyn Hollinger remembered, twice

The late Evelyn Hollinger authored “La Verne, the Story of the People Who Made a Difference,” a 1987 tome that tracked the area’s history back 150 years, to 1837. Born in Chino in 1912, she lived in La Verne from 1954. A photo of Hollinger accompanying the introduction depicts her dressed in white and astride a bicycle. The piece’s title calls her “La Verne’s bike-riding historian.”

I recently received an e-mail from reader Greg Ryman of La Verne about Hollinger, whom he and his wife befriended a few years prior to her death:

“She was a wonderful person and since I’ve always loved history she provided a wealth of information on our city. She lived at Hillcrest and ran the now-defunct Hillcrest Book Store out of a very tiny and rundown building. When she passed it was a sad day.

“The city of La Verne honored her a while after her death by dedicating a stone with a brass plaque naming the small redwood forest on the grounds of Las Flores Park (adjacent to the La Verne/University of La Verne pool) in her honor.

“A couple of times a month my wife and I would always walk by this small forest and say hi to Evelyn. Recently we noticed that one of more of our fine citizens decided to pry a large piece of the plaque off, broke it, and finally succeeded in pulling it completely off, bolts and all.”

Ryman, who attached a photo of the plaque-less rock, ended his Dec. 1 note by wondering if a mention in my column might prompt city leaders to replace the plaque.

Well, nothing so drastic as a mention in my column — talk about bringing out the heavy artillery — was necessary.

Ryman phoned on Christmas Eve to say he had taken another walk through the park and, lo and behold, “our city replaced the plaque.” How about that?

Kudos to whomever is responsible. And if you’re walking through the park, look for the plaque and reflect for a moment about one of La Verne’s leading lights, the bike-ridin’, history-writin’ Evelyn Hollinger.

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