The “HISTORY” in Antioch Historical Society.
Early sources of historical information and preservation were credited to the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West 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, 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 Protection District consolidation with Contra Costa Fire, the Society submitted letters to the Fire District requesting consideration for the old Riverview Union High School, should it be abandoned by the Fire Protection 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 Antioch 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.