Welcome to the Orange County Historical Society
The Orange County Historical Society (OCHS) is a non-profit group which collects, preserves and shares the history of Orange County, California for the benefit of its members and the general public. To navigate the OCHS Website, use the menus and links in the top and left panels, or click Site Map. Check back often to find the latest Society news.

Upcoming Events



The One-Eyed Captain, Free Love, Free Pie & the Founding of Orange County

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tour at 6:30 pm, Program at 7:30 pm

One might well wonder what to expect from an event called, “The One Eyed Captain, Free Love, Free Pie, and the Founding of Orange County.” Attend the Orange County Historical Society’s program at the Heritage Museum of Orange County on June 12, 2015 to find out! OCHS members may attend at no cost. Non-members are $5 at the door. Either way, please RSVP by June 8 to OrangeCountyHistory@gmail.com.

On second thought, it might not hurt to tell you a few more event details,...

Historian and archivist Manny Escamilla of Santa Ana Public Library will speak on the subject of Orange County’s first Superior Court judge, J. W. Towner. The eccentric Captain Towner lost an eye in the Civil War, was a socialist, and belonged to not one but two free love religious communes over the course of his life, including the Oneida Community – famous for its silverware manufacturing.

The evening will also include tours of the historic H. Clay Kellogg House (1898) and Maag House (1899). And silhouette artist Steve Thompson (peoplepapercuts.com) will be on hand to render your portrait in a manner befitting the Victorian theme.

The evening will conclude with pie and cold beverages for all.

The Heritage Museum of Orange County, located at 3101 W. Harvard St., in Santa Ana, is a cultural and natural history center and has been a popular school field trip destination for over 25 years. The centerpiece of the museum, which covers nearly 12 acres in all, is a plaza featuring several historic buildings set amid extensive floral gardens and citrus groves.

Our speaker, Manny Escamilla, is archivist at the Santa Ana History Room at Santa Ana Public Library.  Raised in Santa Ana, he’s always been fascinated by the history of Orange County, and has been successful in his coordination of the Teen History Program, of which many of its members have competed in National History Day, conducted oral histories, and helped digitize local historical material.  He received a BA in history in 2008 from UC Berkeley and, of this writing, is finishing the Archival Studies program at UCLA. 

Tours will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the program at 7: 30 p.m. We hope to see you there!


Past Meetings & Events

List of Past Meetings and Events
from 1919 to 2015


Followup on
Recent OCHS Activities

Calico Trip photos and videos

Blue Light Mine History Hike photos


Orange Countiana I - IX


Jim Sleeper's
Orange County Almanac of Historical Oddities

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OCHS Seeks Home for Our Historical Collections

Contact us if you have any leads on
places we can rent or acquire to store
and work with our historical collections
to make them available to members
and public to view:
officespace @ orangecountyhistory.org