Valle Verde Resident Preserves the Community's History

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Several years ago, resident John Mandle discovered a dozen rolls of unlabeled 8 mm film sitting in a box about to be tossed. Mandle came across the old films in an alcove near the theater stage at Valle Verde, documenting the construction of the community 50 years ago. For the last 16 years, Mandle, a retired engineer, has been one of several volunteers at the Valle Verde archives. He has enjoyed preserving the history of the community, but after two decades in the volunteer post, Mandle stepped down in July and is hoping another resident will soon succeed him. Once he finds a replacement, he will take the time to train his successor. On other days, Mandle and the other volunteers spent their time sorting and deciding which documents needed to be preserved for posterity.

"I have other things that I would like very much to do," Mandle says. "I decided I would back off from the archives. I told the resident council I would retire July 4, Independence Day, and I've been trying to retire ever since."

The archives were launched in the 1980's by resident Marian Abrecht. The documents and pictures are tracked on computer databases, making it valuable to family members trying to find information about their deceased relatives. Mandle admits, "What happens mostly is that staff or relatives come in to clean out an apartment of somebody that has passed away and they find a whole bunch of newsletters or what have you and they pass them on to us and we process them."

This material helped our community celebrate its 50th anniversary by creating posters of the photographs and time-lapsed videos.

With more than 20,000 documents and photographs, the archives are located in a studio apartment at the community. Until Mandle's retirement, the studio was open each Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. or by appointment. Mandle's efforts will be sorely missed.

Click here to read the full story over John Mandle's time as the Valle Verde archivist.

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