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 New Deal In Orange County

Thursday, May 14, 2015, 7:30 pm

Huntington Beach Pavilion

Charles Epting will discuss “WPA/PWA Architecture and Art in Orange County ” at the next meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, May 14, 2015, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

During the Great Depression, Southern California’s economic woes were compounded by local natural disasters. The 1933 Long Beach earthquake claimed 115 lives. The1938 Santa Ana River flood claimed more than 50 more and also washed out roads and buildings and caused enormous damage to the important citrus industry. And in 1939 our coast was ravaged by a chubasco (violent tropical storm).

Throughout this era, disaster relief and federal “make-work” programs helped transform the local landscape. Orange County’s 130,000 people received a greater density of federal public aid than Los Angeles County’s 2.2 million and San Diego County’s 210,000. Join Charles Epting on this tour of the buildings, bridges, harbors, trails, libraries, highways and other infrastructure gains—many still in use—that were revitalized by the Works Progress Administration, Public Works Administraion, Civilian Conservation Corps and other agencies of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Charles Epting is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California, with a history degree specializing in the early 20th century United States. He is the author of four books as well as various newspaper and magazine articles. He is a research associate for U.C. Berkeley’s Living New Deal program and an American Philatelic Society fellow.

His second book, The New Deal In Orange County, was published in 2014 and focuses on the federal government's aid to the county during the Great Depression. By chronicling every school and park, post office and government building, Epting shines a light on an important period in Orange County's history while at the same time explaining the effects of President Roosevelt's New Deal on both a local and national scale.


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