Babcock brings history to life

Babcock brings history to lifeRenowned author, Maturango Museum history curator and life member of Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert, Elizabeth Babcock has just completed “The Historic USO: 70 Years at the Heart of Ridgecrest, California.”

“When Liz was asked last year to pen a history of the venerable building, she soon realized that the building’s story encompassed far more than those few short months when the structure was new and just a USO Club,” said Tex Hoppus, HSUMD president.

Babcock proceeded to use primary sources that included an invaluable scrapbook donated to HSUMD by Oliver K. “Frank” Franklin. His mother, Mildred Franklin, had put the collection together to commemorate the building’s earliest years when it actually was a USO.

At the beginning of her book, Babcock writes, “Ridgecrest’s Historic USO Building has experienced seven full decades of service in the Indian Wells Valley, with its walls sometimes ringing with the joyous sounds of parties, dances, plays and meetings and sometimes echoing only to the sounds of silence, interrupted only by occasional visitors poking through the debris of previous eras.

“Today, the building stands restored to its former glory – but a lot happened to it during those intervening 70 years.”

The content of the book opens readers’ eyes not only to the history specific to the building, but also to the history of the Ridgecrest community.

“While enjoying the book’s narrative and many of its photographs, readers will see their own words or images,” said Hoppus.

“All will learn and see the history of this place that many of us call home.”

Babcock will be in the lobby of the Historic USO Building on Friday, Oct. 16, to sign and sell copies of her book.

Story First Published: 2015-10-02