By Susan Motander
Monrovia’s City Treasurer Steve Baker also serves as the city historian. It was in this latter capacity that he received his most recent award, The Waddingham/Doctor Award from the California Historical Societies. Nominated by Jim Wigton of the Monrovia Historic Preservation Group (MOHPG), Baker was recognized for his years of service to the community, in essence serving as its collective memory.
Among other things the recognition noted, “Steve Baker is the founding member of the Monrovia Historic Preservation Group, which seeks to preserve Monrovia’s architectural heritage. His knowledge of Monrovia history is legendary among the residents, especially his ability to recall precise details about the area’s earliest homes, residents and happenings around town. Since 2000, Steve has written the house histories of homes that are open for viewing on the Historic Homes Tour. Whenever questions arise about historical facts, residents and city employees turn to him for the answer.”
There is more to Baker than just this. He has served as president of the Historical Society for many years and served as the president of the Historical Museum Foundation as well for several years. If all this, and his work as city treasurer, did not keep him busy enough, he was also the lynchpin for the city’s Legacy Project to record the city’s history in photos and more. (Of this project, Mayor Tom Adams quipped, when the program was being described, “In other words, you are going to download Steve Baker’s brain.”)
As they say in the infomercials, but wait there’s more. Steve also regularly leads historic walking tours through the downtown and motor tours throughout the various quadrants of the city. There are also his spooky Halloween tours through Live Oak Memorial Park by flashlight at night.
Steve is the living, walking history of Monrovia.