Burbank Historical Society Ties Past and Present with “The Red Car” Exhibition

Photo by Alejandro Vega

On Saturday, April 20th, Don Baldaseroni, President of the Burbank Historical Society, took Burbank townsfolk back into time. All the way to the first half of the 20th century, specifically. The event ran from 2:00 to 3:00 PM at the Gordon R. Howard Museum. Memorabilia, artifacts, and full-blown, award-winning cars took multiple center stages in each event section.

Baldaseroni, who oversaw a screening of The Red Car’s history, was more than happy to explain the event’s foundations. “Right now, we’re in the middle of doing a video of the Red Car,” the President beamed. “The nature of this event actually is just to show people what was in the past. The Red Car was in existence from 1901 to 1961, and I remember a little bit of it. At the end of this here, we have questions about what’s happening. If anybody has questions, people in the audience are going to answer the questions, so kind of interesting.”

What does the event mean to Baldaseroni and Burbank? “Well, it’s like anything. Today’s events are tomorrow’s history. So what happens today, just like the Red Car that was from 1901 to 1961, that is the start and end of an era,” he said. “Now we’re going to a new era, which is electric cars and the different things that are happening in Burbank in terms of transportation.”

His opinion on the development of Burbank in relation to the event today, however, is a heavier yet realistic view. “You know, I think things could have maybe been planned better just like they did with the Red Car. I don’t know if you realize this, but one time they were going to put a monorail system from downtown Burbank to Disney, to the airport and back. A triangle. It never did pan out, but it would have been kind of interesting. It would’ve tied a lot of stuff together in Burbank.

All we can do is put our ideas out there and the powers that be, which is the city council, city manager’s office, and the different developers coming in telling us what they’re going to do. We sometimes have no control over the state government like SP35 making apartments or condos like that with little parking. It’s changed quite a bit.”

In regards to the future, Baldaseroni offers slight sunshine in. “Burbank has been growing so much. You can’t even drive across the valley from the 5 freeway to the 134 in less than a half hour, sometimes during traffic. That’s kind of ridiculous. I’d like to see some type of transportation to get across the valley like that. The city’s trying a lot of different things up on East Olive and the bike lane. I don’t know how I feel about that honestly.

Let’s hope that the city council will really analyze it and listen to some of the people who live here in Burbank, which I do and I’ve lived here all my life.”

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