During the Golden Anniversary celebration of the Incorporation of the City of Santa Maria, the Santa Maria Valley Historical Society was organized, chartered and incorporated on September 7, 1955 as a non-profit organization. At present, it has a membership of about 500 persons. The purposes of the Historical Society are to gather and preserve material relating to the history of the Santa Maria Valley. Also, to administer the Museum.
The Santa Maria Valley Historical Society Museum was opened to the public and dedicated to the Pioneers of the Valley on January 20, 1974. It was built on surplus city property from funds raised by members of the Society. The Museum preserves the history and nostalgia of the City of Santa Maria and its environs with pictures, artifacts, and valley memorabilia. The displays progress chronologically from one period to another, starting with the Chumash Indian culture and progressing through the Mission, Rancho, and Pioneer periods.
An entire room in the Museum is dedicated to Capt. G. Allan Hancock, entrepreneur, oil man, railroader, aviator, mariner, business man, musician, philanthroper, and more for the City of Santa Maria. He's probably best known in Santa Maria for the college which bears his name, Allan Hancock College. Here's a brief rundown of his exploits as published by the College.
The Museum abounds with artifacts from all eras of Santa Maria's history. Pictured above is a telephone switchboard from the mid-1900s. Other artifacts depict the history of fire fighting in the town, of film production adventures in and near the City, of the earlier railroading days when ice houses lined the tracks in town to deliver ice to the reefer cars full of fresh vegetables, and household goods and appliances from days gone by such as irons, pump organs, and perambulators.