Barbarann Parker – Keeping Poway’s history alive
By Emily Sorensen
A story in the Poway News Chieftain led Barbarann Parker to her new calling in life.
After living with her husband, Vern, in Lemon Grove for over 40 years, the couple moved to Poway last year to be near their children and help with their grandchildren. A longtime volunteer with the Lemon Grove Historical Society, the Lemon Grove Friends of the Library and the sheriff’s department, Parker was left searching for something to fill her time.
An article about the display of nativity scenes in the Poway Historical Society’s museum in Old Poway Park sparked Parker’s interest, and upon visiting the museum, spotted the Nelson House and fell in love. “I’ve always been a volunteer,” said Parker. “The Nelson House is just so cute, and so darling. It looked fun, and it is.”
The house was originally built in the late 1800s on Garden Road. When it burned down it was rebuilt in 1918 then moved in the 1990s to Old Poway Park.
Fascinated by the old house, Parker became a docent for the Poway Historical Society, giving tours of the Nelson House on weekends. “I give more tours than some of the other volunteers, because it’s my cup of tea,” said Parker. “I’m a talker.”
Another draw that the Nelson House has for Parker is the way it brings her and her husband together. Married 54 years, volunteering at the Nelson House allows the pair to spend most of their time together. “It’s a volunteer position that Vern and I can do together,” said Parker. “That’s the core of it.”
More than just giving tours, Parker and her husband have become deeply involved in the day-to-day upkeep of the house and its antique furnishings. After learning that there were plans to touch-up the inside paint, Parker and her husband volunteered, along with others, to completely repaint the inside of the Nelson House, fearing that the touch-ups would be noticeable.
Beginning their painting work in January, along with fellow volunteers Patt Petrovich and Jason Wolfe, the project was delayed when Vern underwent a quadruple bypass in February. Painting resumed in May, and with help, all the indoor rooms have been freshly repainted.
Parker has also kept busy working as co-manager of the Nelson House, along with Gwenmarie Hilleary, keeping the house and the furniture inside clean, making sure it opens for tours and changing exhibits. Parker hopes to make one room an exhibition room, which she hopes can be kept fresh for viewers.
“We want ever-changing exhibits to make it more interesting for local families to come,” said Parker. The exhibits include quilts, textiles, clothing and Christmas items.
Parker also helps conduct school tours during the week, as well as giving tours on Saturdays and Sundays. Thanks to the additional volunteer force, this is the first year the Nelson House has been open for viewing on Sundays. “Opening it to the public more is what I am thrilled with,” said Parker. “Opening it to the public and showing them what a house was like in the late 1800s.”
Parker plans to keep volunteering at the house in the future. “I’ll do it until I can’t do it anymore,” said Parker. “It’s a love. It’s almost like taking care of a child.”
Short URL: http://www.pomeradonews.com/?p=28112