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.

January 2017 Meeting Program: 

Whaling Along The Orange County Coast

7:30 pm on Thursday, January 12th - Trinity Episcopal Church


Nautical historian Bob Minty will discuss whaling off the coast of Orange County in his presentation, “19th Century Legends: Whalers, Scrimshanders, and California Shore Whaling” at the Jan. 12, 2017 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

“There is slight mention in our California public schools on the economic and social importance of California’s Whaling Industry during the 19th and 20th centuries,” says Minty. “Instead, we learn romantic tales of the life of the sailor and accounts of barbarous whalers that ransacked our seas.”

Minty plans to provide a clearer picture of this historic industry and scotch a variety of misconceptions and myths about the “Romance of the Sea.” Attendees will also learn…
     • How folk art sheds light on the lives and mental make-up of whalers
     • The connection between Richard Nixon and the original Nantucket whalers
     • How Orange County played a key role in our nation’s whaling industry
     • What whales, legislation, and Conquistador Hernán Cortés have in common

The program will conclude with the film clip “Nantucket Sleigh Ride” from Elmer Clifton’s 1922 silent film, “Down to the Sea in Ships,” filmed on the 19th century whaleship, Charles W. Morgan, out of New Bedford.

Bob Minty is the Program Chair of the Dana Point Historical Society, and has been a member of Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano “living history” groups – portraying Richard Henry Dana, Jr. – for more than twenty years.

For the past several years Bob has also prepared exhibits and lectures for the Ocean Institute on the history of California shore whaling and scrimshaw. His next scheduled exhibits will be held in March at the Dana Point Festival of Whales and in September at the Dana Point Tall Ships Festival.

It's Membership Renewal Time!

It’s membership renewal time. If you haven’t renewed your membership, you’ll miss out on receiving your free copy of the newest Orange Countiana – published this fall, as well was our newsletter and other membership benefits. Not to mention, we’ll miss your support of all the work we do to preserve and celebrate Orange County history. Please click “Become a Member” to pay online or print out a mail-in form.



We’re proud to announce that the society has a new office/archive/research center on the grounds of the historic Heritage Museum of OC in Santa Ana.  The photo above shows the full two-story building.  (We’re currently only in the first floor space.)

The office will serve as our new headquarters and safely store all our various Orange County books, historical papers, images, and artifacts. Once we establish a trained volunteer staff for the office, the facility will enable members and historians to view and research our collection.

General and board meetings will continue to be held at the Trinity Episcopal Church on Canal Street in Orange.

If you need more information or are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact us at info@orangecountyhistory.org.


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 - XI


Jim Sleeper's
Orange County Almanac of Historical Oddities

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