February 2020 General Meeting: The Assault Trial of Alexander Pantages, 1929-1931

It seems there’s a sensational “trial of the century” about every ten years or so. And from the Overell Trial to O. J. Simpson, Orange County has played a role in a surprising number of these nationally covered legal dramas. Among these is the attack by powerful theater impresario Alexander Pantages on 17-year-old Eunice Pringle of Garden Grove. The stories of Pringle, Pantages, and the famous trial will be the subject of the next Orange County Historical Society meeting. Historian Paul R. Spitzzeri and Pringle’s daughter, Marcy Worthington, will present “The Value of a Girl’s Honor: The Assault Trial of Alexander Pantages, 1929-1931” on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. The event is free and open to the public.

When wealthy entertainment tycoon Alexander Pantages attacked a young dancer at his opulent Pantages Theater in Los Angeles, two criminal trials were held with polar opposite outcomes. Both trials emphasized discussion of the teen’s image and honor. The story has special resonance in this era of Harvey Weinstein and the “Me Too” movement.

Spitzzeri will focus on the story of the assault and trials, and Worthington will talk about her mother’s life before and after the attack. Eunice Pringle’s resilience in the face of relentless public exposure and courtroom grilling from the theater mogul’s attorneys was truly remarkable. She went on to live a full life which lasted almost 70 years beyond the incident.

Paul R. Spitzzeri, who grew up in Orange County, is the director at the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum in City of Industry, California, where he was worked since 1988. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from California State University, Fullerton. He has published extensively on California and regional history, including a biography of the Workman and Temple families which won an award from a national history association. Paul has given presentations to the historical society on several topics in the past, including on Carbon Canyon and the killing of Los Angeles County Sheriff James R. Barton and posse by the Flores-Daniel gang.

Marcy Worthington is the only child of Eunice Pringle-Worthington and Richard Worthington. She is a professional photographer and teaches photography, forensics, and criminal justice at the regional police and sheriff’s academy in San Diego and at a local community college. She has a M.A. in Forensic Science and B.A. in Behavioral Science, with an emphasis in Criminal Justice. Worthington has served as a reserve police officer and is a member of the San Diego Police Chief’s Advisory Board for the Disabled Community. She is writing a book about her mother which “will set the record straight, and show her to be a lady… of great character and intelligence.”

January 2020 General Meeting: Phil Brigandi: The Historian, his Work, and his Legacy

We begin this new year by saying goodbye.

There are no words to accurately sum up the loss of beloved historian and friend, Phil Brigandi, but coming together and sharing mutual memories seems to be the best way to remember him. In response, we have decided to dedicate our January meeting in his honor.

Please join us on January 9, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. (note the special time) as we review Phil Brigandi’s numerous writings of and contributions to understanding the history and cultural landscape of Orange County. A panel of those who knew him and his work will share their insights. Participants include Dr. Arthur Hansen, Mark Hall-Patton, Eric Plunkett, Chris Jepsen, and Stephanie George.

A small reception will follow.

Phil began researching and writing as a 16-year-old growing up in the city of Orange. Focusing on what and who he found interesting, those topics eventually expanded to include Orange County and southern California, and most recently, a foray into the entire Portola Expedition would have included his first publication about a statewide event.
A prolific author, he wrote more than thirty books, countless articles for newspapers, magazines, and journals, and served as editor on multiple publications.

Thursday, January 9, 2020
7:00 p.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church
2400 N. Canal St.
Orange, CA

December 2019 General Meeting: Show and Tell (and Give!!)

It’s time again for the Orange County Historical Society’s popular annual “Show & Tell” program!

Thurs., Dec. 12, 2019
7:30 p.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church
2400 N. Canal St. Orange, CA

This year, in honor of our Centennial, we’re changing things up a little. We’re encouraging you to not only bring and show us a vintage Orange County item or collection, but also to consider donating it to the Society’s archives as part of our new Centennial Collection.

Donations are entirely optional, but we’re hoping you’ll run across some great local historical material that might do more good in a research collection than in your garage or junk drawer.

Whether you donate anything or not, we hope you’ll participate in this fun evening by searching your home or office for a choice artifact or bit of ephemera that tells us something about Orange County’s past. Maybe you have an original brochure for an old housing tract. Or maybe great-grandpa’s branding iron is stored in your attic. Or maybe you have an outstanding photo that hasn’t seen the light of day in many years. Now’s your chance to trot out those curiosities you’ve had stashed away.

There will be a sign-up sheet for speakers when you arrive at the meeting. People will be called up to the podium in order of their position on the list.

We look forward to whatever surprises you may have in store for us!

November 2019 Meeting: Richard Henry Dana and Dana Point

Local historian Eric Plunkett will discuss his research on Richard Henry Dana, Jr., Dana Point’s early use as an anchorage, and the specific South Orange County locations featured in Dana’s book, Two Years Before the Mast, at the next meeting of the Orange County Historical Society.

Nov. 14, 2019
7:30p.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church
2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

Eric graduated with a degree in history from Cal State University Fullerton in 2008. His article, “Richard Henry Dana at Dana Point,” appeared last year in The Branding Iron, published by the Los Angeles Corral of Westerners.

Eric co-planned OCHS’ day-long Portola tour earlier this year and recently spoke to the Society on the subject of Hippolyte Bouchard’s raid on San Juan Capistrano. His blog, Visions of California, explores “the story of Orange County in the greater context of California history during the Spanish, Mexican and early American eras.” (visionsofcalifornia.blogspot.com)

October 2019 Meeting: One Million Years Ago, O.C.

What was Orange County like a million years ago? Find out at the next general meeting of the Orange County Historical Society when noted geologist (and OCHS member) Eldon Gath tells us “this is the way it was.”

Oct. 10th, 2019
7:30p.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

Learn how the place that’s now Orange County rose from the ocean, grew, changed, returned under the sea, and then rose again – becoming (sometimes gradually, sometimes violently) the place we now know, with all its familiar landmarks. Until Gaspar de Portola came along, there was no one to write down what was happening here. But the rocks kept a detailed record of all that went before. Eldon Gath will unlock that story and share it with us.

Gath is the president of Earth Consultants International, a geological consulting firm he co-founded in 1997, following twelve years with Leighton Consulting in Southern California. He has considerable international experience including field projects in such far-flung locales as Turkey, Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica, Papua New Guinea and Los Angeles.

Eldon has received several research grants from the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Hazard Research Program, the Southern California Earthquake Center, and the National Science Foundation for earthquake geology research in California, including paleoseismology of the Whittier fault, tectonic development of the San Joaquin Hills, tectonic geomorphology of the Eastern Los Angeles Basin, and the seismic hazards of the Santa Ana Mountains.

JUNE 13: SANTA ANA BEFORE 1900

  Celebrate Santa Ana’s 150th birthday with a special presentation, “Santa Ana Before 1900,” by local historian Manuel “Manny” Escamilla at the next meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, June 13, 7:30p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

In 1869, William H. Spurgeon and Ward Bradford bought 74 acres of the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana. The town grew quickly after Spurgeon platted the townsite the following year. It grew even faster when the Southern Pacific Railroad arrived in 1877, opening up commerce, transportation and opportunities for agriculture. Santa Ana incorporated as a city in 1886 and – after a battle with Anaheim — became the seat of the new County of Orange three years later. By any standard, Santa Ana’s first several decades were an exciting time. Opportunities seemed limitless, success was never assured, and the Wild West was reluctantly giving way to a more modern and civilized era.

Former OCHS board member Manny Escamilla is writing a history of his hometown of Santa Ana and has presented a number of related historical programs throughout the community during this sesquicentennial year. He served as a City representative on the Santa Ana Arts & Cultural Master Plan and remains on staff in the City of Santa Ana’s Planning Department. He volunteers as a consultant to local artists incorporating historical themes and site-specific considerations across the city and as a board member of the Makara Art Center. Manny received a BA in History from UC Berkeley, a Masters in Library & Information Science from UCLA and is currently working on Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.

Orange County History Roundup

The Orange County Historical Society, in cooperation with
Heritage Museum of Orange County presents:

Orange County History Roundup

Saturday, June 8, 2019
11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Heritage Museum of Orange County

  • A chance to interact with costumed interpreters, reenactors, historical societies, and genealogical societies.

  • Tours of the H. Clay Kellogg House
  • Orange County History Talks
  • Storyteller Corners (hear about OC history in their own words)
  • Live music, presented by Lilies of the West string band. 
  • Open House at the OCHS Archives
  • Artist on the Go, silhouette artist Leslie Stone
  • Nature Tours by Orange County naturalists
  • Food Trucks
  • Fruit and vegetables from the Museum’s Farm

                            

For additional information, email roundup@orangecountyhistory.org   Download the Flyer! OC Roundup Flyer

This is a free event open to the public, part of the Centennial Celebration of the Orange County Historical Society (1919-2019).

250th Anniversary Portolá Trek

THIS TOUR IS FULL! If you’d like to be put on a waiting list, please let us know via email.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

In 1769, Captain Gaspar de Portolá led the first Spanish overland expedition through what is now Orange County. In honor of this important anniversary, the Orange County Historical Society will present a guided bus tour along the Portolá route featuring stops at points along the trail and talks by local historians. The cost for the tour (including lunch—options are available—and a souvenir booklet) will be $80 for Orange County Historical Society members and $90 for non-members.

The tour starts in Tustin at 9:00 a.m. and will return to the same location about 3:30 p.m. Expect some walking and standing (30 minutes). Sign up by completing the form found here , or you can sign up and pay via Paypal below.  (You do NOT need to have a PayPal account to use this option!)

You will receive an email confirming your reservation and all additional information regarding where to meet and park.  No refunds will be available after May 1, 2019. For more information, please email us at 2019Portola@gmail.com.

To purchase tickets for multiple people, first add the ticket for your Primary Registrant to the cart, then return to this page before completing your purchase and add additional tickets for the remainder of your party.

THIS TOUR IS FULL. If you’d like to be put on a waiting list, please email us at the address above.

Cheers to 100 Years: 1919-2019

Orange County Historical Society Centennial Gala Dinner

An evening celebrating the Orange County Historical Society’s first century!
OCHS Picnic. Date unknown.

Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019
Fullerton Elk’s Lodge

  • 5:30 p.m. Social hour with hors d’oeurves and cash bar
  • 6:30 p.m. Dinner service of three-entrée buffet
  • Period musical entertainment by Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys
  • A Century of History.  A look at one hundred years of OCHS historians presented by Phil Brigandi.
  • Exhibit of photographs and items from our archives
  • Silent Auction
  • Personalized caricature art souvenirs
  • A special evening of fun and fellowship

Historical attire from any from any era from 1919 onward is welcomed but not mandatory.

This dinner event is open to OCHS members and non-members alike, so bring your friends. Registration due no later than Monday, August 26, 2019. Confirmations will made by via email.

For more info: Gala@OrangeCountyHistory.org or (714) 707-7425

THE EVENT IS CURRENTLY SOLD OUT

May 9 Meeting: Women in O.C.’s Punk Rock Scene

Author Stacy Russo and two of the amazing women from her book We Were Going to Change the World: Interviews with Women from the 1970s and 1980s Southern California Punk Rock Scene.

The punk rock scene of the 1970s and 1980s in Southern California is widely acknowledged as one of the most vibrant and creative periods in all of rock and roll history. Orange County was a key focal point of that scene.

Russo’s book captures the stories of thirty-seven women who were active in the punk scene through interviews with musicians, journalists, photographers, and fans. She will begin the evening with an overview of her oral history project that resulted in the book, followed by a discussion of the experiences and influences of growing up in the early punk rock scene in Orange County and beyond. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.

Panelist Bios:

Laura Beth Bachman lives in Los Angeles where she plays drums and sings in the all-girl, surf/punk trio, The Neptunas. She leverages her education, work ethic, and business experience to help provide healthcare to those in need.  Laura Beth is a liberty lover, truth seeker, and a beat keeper who believes it takes grit to be a woman in this world.

Angelita F. Salas is an Orange County native and has lived in London and Berkeley. She got hooked into punk rock back in the late 70s for its energy and acceptance of all the weird kids – regardless of race/ethnicity. She is now a counselor and faculty member at a community college in Southern California and still loves to go to the occasional punk show – albeit now sitting in the back.

Stacy Russo, a librarian and professor at Santa Ana College, is a poet, writer, and artist. She grew up in the punk rock scene of the 1980s, which was a major influence on her life, while living in Fullerton. Her books include A Better World Starts Here: Activists and Their Work (forthcoming, Sanctuary Publishers); Love Activism (Litwin Books), Life as Activism: June Jordan’s Writings from The Progressive (Litwin Books); and The Library as Place in California (McFarland).

Thursday, May 9
7:30 p.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church

This is a free event and open to the public.