God, Home & Country
The chapter was named for Temescal Canyon, site of the founding of Pacific Palisades in 1922. The name was suggested by the former Mary Boyce Kennedy (Mrs. Eugene John), charter member, and longtime resident of Pacific Palisades.
Each regular chapter meeting is held at 10:00 AM on the second Saturday of the month, October through May.
This day in American History
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TEMESCAL CHAPTER - Pacific Palisades, CA
Organized May 15, 1955
|The chapter was named for the American Indians who first inhabited the Pacific Palisades area. The word "TEMESCAL" is not of California origin, but derived from the Aztec "Tema," meaning to bathe, and "calli," meaning house, bathhouse, or sweathouse, a name probably brought to California by the Franciscan missionaries who had lived in Mexico.
The Temescal was made like a hut, of bark, reeds, logs, or sticks covered with brush and earth; no hole for smoke. A very small opening was kept closed when the sweathouse was in use. It was heated with fire and hot stones. One or several Indians would crawl in and stay until they could no longer endure the stifling heat. Dripping with perspiration, they would crawl out, run to the nearest stream, or down to the ocean, and plunge into the cold water, one of the Indians' ways to hygiene and health. Aztec and Indian customs are preserved for us in the word Temescal.
A number of places in California are named Temescal, among them the Pacific Palisades Temescal Canyon, where the new public high school was built. Indian bowls and arrowheads were dug up when the streets near the canyon were first graded. This was evidence of early Indian life here, which reasonably could have included a sweathouse near Temescal Canyon Creek.
It was on the edge of Temescal Canyon, under the oaks, that early settlers met to found Pacific Palisades. Wild deer, coyotes, and quail peered inquisitively down at the rockcrusher near Temescal Creek where Temescal Canyon was supplying sand and gravel for the first buildings and for the first sidewalks, curbs, and gutters. The town's first recreational and educational buildings were down in the canyon just south of Sunset Boulevard. An old rancho barn was used as a warehouse and a long shed became the mess house. Tents along the edge of Temescal Canyon housed the early settlers. In the canyon north of Sunset, cabins and a dining hall were built, and an amphitheater was cut into the side of the canyon to provide a place for entertainment. Here were held church services, summer school sessions, and dramatic productions where famous actors, speakers, preachers, and singers took part, including Madame Schumann-Heinke and Lawrence Tibbett, who lived in one of the Temescal Canyon's cabins.
It seemed fitting that a new chapter should perpetuate the history and meaning of the word "Temescal" when this chapter was formed.
Source: California's Seventy-five Historic Years DAR 1891-1966- page 131
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