J O H N B U R R O U G H S H I G H S C H O O L, B U R B A N K, C A
Gordon R. Howard Museum
All 3 families, including my grandfather, built houses on South Valley Street just inside the Burbank border. My cousins Cyndee, Denny, and Duke (now known as Brad) grew up just a few doors down from me on the lake. After my grandfather died in 1962 his house was sold to Frankie Avalon; I remember how exciting that was. My cousins, Cyndee (’66) & Denny (’68) attended JBHS. Denny became a fashion model at the same time as her friend Renee Russo, however she was tragically killed in a car accident in 1971.
Years ago my parents donated some property to the Historical Society which was later sold and funded their project to bring the Metzner House (sp?) to its current home next to Olive Rec. My dad facilitated the idea of moving of the house and followed through with the entire project. My parents continued with their financial support of the Historical Society and made generous donations. Ultimately the museum would house a few of my dad’s cars, and from time to time my mom (Mary) would exhibit some of her lovely antique clothing as well. She has loaned a few of her things for their fashion shows over the years. Since my dad passed away in 1996, my mom continues to fund field trips & transportation expenses for Burbank schoolchildren to visit the museum annually. In addition, our family foundation has been active in some Burbank philanthropies, including scholarships to graduating seniors at both JBHS and BHS. I have been heavily involved in the scholarships, facilitating the process for on behalf of our family and my mom.
years we had many cars including my favorite, the 1912 Apperson
“Jackrabbit.” I just loved the rabbit emblem on the front! Others
included 2 different Thomas Flyers (one red, one blue), which were huge
touring cars. There is a 1904 Franklin that he & my mother took to the
London to Brighton run a few times in the early 70’s. My husband John
and I accompanied them on a couple of these trips. In fact, John was (&
still is) such a car enthusiast, having worked his way through school as
a mechanic. When we were dating he worked at Denny Ford’s Chevron
station at the corner of Hollywood Way & Burbank Blvd.
The main cars in the collection were:
John & I also own a 1910 Model T Ford with an all original wood body.
Of course I forgot I learned to drive, as all of us did (I have 2 older sisters, neither of whom attended JBHS) on a 1949 Willys Jeepster, complete with snap on side curtains and a wolf whistle. My dad insisted we all learn to drive a stick shift. I remember driving the 1938 Buick once in a while and then for at least 2 years in college I drove the black on red Studebaker Avanti – which was unreliable as hell but sure got a lot of attention.
addition there were a few others, including a collection of antique
motorcycles (Indians, etc), many of which were donated after my father’s
death to the Peterson Museum, where there is a hall currently named for
him. Our family felt this would be a fitting tribute for a man who
loved & appreciated antique cars as much as he did.
I’m not sure if the De Dion is at the Howard Museum or if John has it stored somewhere else, but I will ask. John drove that car as our getaway car from our wedding reception in 1971. We used the Rolls at the church. That car has been in a lot of weddings I guess because of the body style and also it’s a silver color, but it is one of the cars of lesser value.
The SS-100 was bequeathed to my cousin Brad by my dad in his will because Brad has an appreciation for Ferraris, and Jaguars (he has a couple of vintage Ferraris), and he was the only boy among the 5 kids on our side of the family; I think my father thought of him like a son. Brad is a real estate broker in Burbank and in fact lives next door to my mom on S. Valley Street. Also, John & I built the house where our kids were born directly across the street and lived there until 1988. In all, there are 6 houses on that one short section of S. Valley built by members of my immediate family.
Also, the auto shop kids at JBHS are restoring the engine on a vintage Moreland truck that we donated to the museum. I believe they are restoring the power train. I think it’s cool to get the high school kids involved in projects like this within the community that benefit everyone. Additionally, the focus of our scholarship program has been to provide assistance to motivated students (not necessarily A students) regardless of whether they are headed to college or a vocational school. There are too many kids who fall through the cracks far too easily.
My husband John was in the class of 1966, he knew a lot more people than I did and was active in the street racing set with Bob Briix, Fred Shelton, and Dave Wehmeyer, among others.
John has a long association with the Horseless Carriage Club, the Model T Ford Club, the Peterson Museum etc. He also has some great friendships with people like Bud Ekins who was Steve McQueen’s motorcycle pal and trainer for the stunts in The Great Escape. John used to bring the cars out all the time for events at Disneyland and Burbank on Parade when we lived in Toluca Lake & our kids were small. We moved to Westlake in 1988. Occasionally he will drive a car for the Historical Society or for a wedding, and now he is just getting back into his car hobby as he scales down his business in order to enjoy the fun stuff a little more. There isn’t anyone in our family who understands or loves these cars the way John does.
You can imagine how thrilled my dad was, as the father of 3 daughters and no sons, to have a potential son-in-law who was such an avid car nut and mechanic to boot! Those two sure had a lot of fun touring for just about 30 years, and this was how John met all sorts of wonderful, eccentric, and interesting people who shared this passion.
he would be more than happy to give you more car info or chat with you
about cars. He knows a lot of car people and is never too busy to talk
about his favorite subject.