Brea Old and New: Tick-Tock, History Isn't So Boring After All™ ~ Charlie the Clock

Brea Museum and Heritage Center

  • The Schweitzer Family: A Long Legacy of Serving Brea, Pt. 2

    7 years ago by

    "The Schweitzers, clockwise L to R; Frank, Jr, Charles, Don, Ruth, and Jim"


    Previously, BBON was pleased to provide a history of one of Brea's pioneer  families, the Schweitzer's, Part 1. We now proudly present, the second  installment...

    Most Breans are familiar with the name "Schweitzer", not  just for scientifically relevant reasons (Albert Schweitzer), but for a more  contemporary reason, Brea Mayor and Councilman Don Schweitzer. Those who  attend city events or view the council meeting broadcasts are familiar with  Don's easy smile and affable demeanor. But like his father and grandfather,  before running for and winning a council seat, Don was involved in the community, volunteering at the Brea Historical Society and serving on their board, as well as donating time and fundraising for the Lions Club, where he  was awarded the prestigious Melvin Jones Fellowship.

    A third-generation  Brean, Don attended schools, played in, and grew up with Brea, much like his  father, Frank Jr. After graduating from BOHS (at the old Birch Street  location), Don attended San Diego State College, served in the Army National  Guard, traveled  extensively, and eventually ended up in Bozeman, MT, where he  attended Montana State University, studying architecture.


    While  attending school in Bozeman, Don saw an opportunity and, with a friend, opened  one of the first submarine sandwich shops  in the city, across from the  university dormitories. The sandwich shop was converted from an old barbershop, and to  memorialize his entrepreneurial venture, Don kept one  of the old barber chairs that is still in his home today.

    Eventually,  the sandwich shop was sold and, after forty years, is still a popular gathering  place for students and teachers at the University.

    After graduation,  on a trip back to California, Don got the idea for a coffee, tea and spice shop.  Taking the idea back to Bozeman, he opened one of the first shops of its type  in Montana, even purchasing coffees from a little coffee importer in Seattle,  WA called Starbucks...long before Starbucks ever opened their own retail coffee  shops!


    "Don and Janis at a Lions Club Event"

    Eventually selling the coffee shop, Don decided to return to  Southern California and the Orange County area, where he started working with  an architectural firm. He landed the job to design the Scout Center in Brea, so  he, along with his new wife Janis, began looking for a home in his hometown.  By turn of a happy coincidence, a friend told him about a home for sale that  happened to be located right next door to the home his father, Frank Jr., had  built back in the late fifties. The house, at one time, had been the home of  his best friend, who had been the best man at his wedding.


    After settling  into his new home, another old friend and long-time Brean, Al Tremaine,  suggested Don get involved in the Brea Historical Society. It was while  volunteering with the Historical Society that Don learned of  preliminary plans to turn the old American Legion Building, at City Hall  Park, into the new Boy's and Girls Club. Don saw an even better use for the  building and became the driving force, organizing support for his proposal, to  turn the building into the Brea Museum and Heritage Center. After presenting  his proposal to the City Council to a favorable vote, the Historical Society  Board of Directors named Don to the voluntary position of Museum Director, where  he oversaw the building's renovation process before it could assume its new  role.


    Don says he never intended to run for city council, but that his  experience with the museum convinced him that he wanted to accomplish more to  secure the future of Brea and Breans. Among the accomplishments he is most proud  of since serving on the council is retaining the Brea Firefighters contract  with Brea; the Sports Wall of Fame at the Brea Sports Park on Birch Street,  honoring notable Breans who have achieved national recognition in various sports; and the Brea War Memorial, honoring Breans who have given their lives  to preserve our freedoms since WWI, currently in process with artist Susan  Narduli.


    Each year, Brea's Mayor chooses a signature theme to mark their  current tenure. This year, Mayor Schweitzer's theme is "Make a Difference,  Green Brea", to educate and promote awareness on ways to save energy and help  reduce carbon emissions.


    Don is very excited about the results of the  recently completed Civic Center Solar Project, that has already seen  a savings of 50,000 kilowatt hours, which is an approximate savings of $1  million, or enough energy to provide electricity for 40 homes.


    Along  with the theme, the website was created for Breans as a resource for tips on what we can do as individuals and a community to reduce our energy consumption. Be sure and visit the website and watch for various educational events that will be presented throughout the  year.  Story courtesy of Kathy Cannon.

    "Don and Janis Schweitzer, with their daughters"

  • Brea Museum to offer photo preservation class

    7 years ago by

    Brea Fire Department, c. 1924

    Brea Museum and Heritage Center will offer a photo preservation class March 24 from 10am-12pm. Veta Schlimgen, Director of the museum, will teach the class and show how to identify and store old photographs with a variety of techniques. Cost is $20 and participants of the class are asked to bring 5 photographs with them. For more information, email the museum at

  • Brea Historical Society’s Casino Night Fundraiser

    7 years ago by


    Casino Night Dinner and Silent Auction

    No need to travel far to experience Casino night out! When just around the corner, you could make a date to go to the Brea Historical Society’s Casino Night Dinner and Silent Auction on Saturday, March 10.  Their 13th annual fundraiser will feature a host of fun, from a gourmet dinner, casino games, the Swing Cats Big Band, a silent auction, raffle and door prizes to one of San Diego’s best magicians – Kevin Viner!