THE “HISTORY” IN ANTIOCH HISTORICAL SOCIETY Early sources of historical information and preservation was credited to the Native Sons and Daughters organizations and Mrs. Alice Webster, a former Postmistress and City treasurer who served as the very first President of the Antioch Historical Society. The Antioch Historical Society started up and lapsed into silence several times until 1954 when Jack Dempsey became President and Ed Calisesi became Secretary-Treasurer. After taking office, no further meetings were ever held.
Around April 11, 1974, Eva Lozano, the then President of the Woman’s Club of Antioch, met with other members of the Woman’s Club and decided to reorganize the Society and put life back into it. Eva Lozano was elected the President, Geneva Kipp, Vice President; Marie Allen, Secretary; Florence Brown, Treasurer, and Victor M. Parachini, Henry R. Spiess, and Harold W. Woods as Directors. Ed Calisesi was able to locate a box of records in his basement and the society was once again off and running. The official date listed on the charter for the “Reorganization of the Antioch Historical Society” was April 24, 1975, where the first meeting was held at Marchetti’s Restaurant, with Elise Benyo as the speaker.
The Society met at various locations in the community, frequently holding membership dinners at the Woman’s Club; obtained various storage sites for the collection of artifacts; and looked for a museum location, while the membership continued to grow. On April 1, 1979, Founding member, Mayor Verne Roberts orchestrated the granting of the old Carnegie Library at 6th and “F” Streets to the society for their first museum.
The museum quickly filled to capacity with artifacts. In 1994 amidst rumors of the Riverview Fire District consolidation with Contra Costa Fire, the Society submitted letters to the Fire Commission requesting consideration for the old Riverview Union High School, should it be abandoned by the Fire District. In 1997, having learned of a pending auction of the building, Retired Mayor Verne Roberts commandeered the efforts of Elizabeth Rimbault, to stop the auction and petition the Board of Supervisors of the County to sell the building to the historical society.
Following the successful presentation of a real estate contract with much political pressure, the Board of Supervisors agreed to sell the building to the society. Don Parachini, son of founding member Victor Parachini, and a successful San Francisco attorney, stepped in to assist Elizabeth Rimbault with the final negotiations. In September of 1999 the society moved all their belongings into the Riverview Union High School and began renovation and restoration of the building. Two and one-half years later the society was able to complete the purchase, paying in full the five year option to purchase, due much to the support and contributions of the Parachini family.
With the addition of Tom Menasco to the Board of Directors, early suggestions were made to create a Sports Legends Hall on the first floor of the museum. With the support of Jim Boccio, Leo Fontana, Dave Sanderson, Eddie Beaudin and many others, the momentum grew to an unstoppable force of nature – the sports history fans of Antioch.
Today the Board of Directors of the Antioch Historical Society are proud to have been a part of the development of the Sports Legends Hall. We congratulate all those having contributed work effort, funds and ideas to make this dream a reality for the community of Antioch. We further congratulate all the inductees to this, the beginning of the Sports Legends Hall.
The Sports Legends Program and the Antioch Historical Society Museum are all one in partnership serving this community and preserving our history for generations to come.
Congratulations to One and All.
Antioch Historical Society Board of Directors – 2007