February 2019 Meeting – The Last Remnants of Anaheim’s Chinatown

Uncover the story of Anaheim’s Chinatown with archaeologist Ivan Strudwick at the Orange County Historical Society’s meeting on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, 7:30p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

Orange County’s largest “China Town” was established in the early 1870s near the center of the vineyard colony of Anaheim. From the mid-1850s to the 1880s, one of every ten California residents was Chinese. When Anaheim incorporated in 1876, about a sixth of the city’s population was Chinese. And by 1890, 75% of California’s agricultural workforce was Chinese.

“Many Chinese engaged in truck farming northeast of Anaheim and their vegetable wagons were a familiar sight,” wrote Anaheim historian Leo Friis. “Actually, Anaheim was a good place for Chinese to live. Its citizens never carried to extremes the prejudice found in many other towns.”

Anaheim’s Chinatown is depicted on 1907 and 1911 Sanborn maps near the center of the original colony, just west of the modern intersection of Anaheim Blvd. and Lincoln Ave. In 1924, this small community was demolished, ostensibly for health concerns, and the last building was torn down in 1940.

Last Building in Chinatown, demolished 1940

Our speaker, Ivan H. Strudwick, was born and raised in southern California. He attended California State University, Long Beach, where he obtained both his bachelor and master’s degrees in anthropology, specializing in archaeology. During a professional archaeological career spanning four decades, Mr. Strudwick conducted and managed all phases of archaeological and historic projects, including survey and excavation, laboratory analysis, research, and report writing conducted in more than twenty California counties and on three of California’s Channel Islands. Mr. Strudwick was the field director and primary report author for the first cultural resource management project ever awarded for San Clemente Island. He has also worked as Native American coordinator for large multi-year projects and has numerous professional publications. For the past twenty five years, Mr. Strudwick has been employed as a professional archaeologist at LSA in Irvine.

At OCHS’ February meeting, Strudwick will discuss Anaheim’s Chinatown and some of the artifacts that were found when this historic area was recently graded for development.

January 2019 Meeting – Orange County Historical Society: The First 100 Years

Taken Oct. 29, 1921, in Laguna Beach. Dr. C. D. Ball, the Orange County Historical Society’s first president, is seated with a cane. On his left is Judge J. E. Pleasants, next to him is Laguna artist Anne Robinson. Directly behind Dr. Ball is William McPherson. Two over from McPherson is S. M. Davis, former Orange County District Attorney.

Thursday, January 10 , 2019

Meeting Begins at 7:00pm

Program at 7:30pm

Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange, CA

 

This month we will kick off our Centennial Celebration with a look back at the history of the Orange County Historical Society. Historian and OCHS Board Member, Ellen Bell will take us back to our founding year of year of 1919. We’ll revisit the time and place and learn about a young county that was just starting to understand the importance of preserving its own history.

Back then, there were no Special Collections Libraries, or Oral History Archives or History Rooms. The county was young, but early pioneers were aging. In April of 1919, Terry Stephenson, editor of The Santa Ana Register began a weekly “Old Hunter Series,” where he shared tales of old pioneers of the Santa Ana Mountains. The articles inspired Santa Ana attorney Samuel M. Davis who called a meeting to “discuss the creation of a local preservation society.”On May 28th, 1919, the Orange County Historical Society was born. The rest, as they say, is history.

Come join us as we travel the 100-year timeline and mark the many “firsts’ of our society. Don’t miss the kick-off evening of this year-long party as we celebrate the rich heritage of the Orange County Historical Society, and a legacy of preservation that continues today!

December 2018 Meeting – SHOW & TELL

What’s in YOUR attic? Dig into your garage, file cabinets, or grandpa’s sea chest for an artifact or bit of memorabilia that helps tell us something about Orange County’s past. The Orange County Historical Society’s popular annual “Show & Tell” program will be held Thursday, December 13th at 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

Maybe you have Holy Jim’s Bible, a “Citron for Treasurer” campaign sign, a mint copy of Helena Modjeska’s People magazine interview, or a rusty old blunderbuss you found along Trabuco Creek.

Whatever vintage Orange County curio you may have tucked away, now’s your chance to trot it out, show it off, and tell us something about it. There will be a sign-up sheet 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!

And do you have a favorite holiday treat or family recipe that you’d like to share?  Please contribute to our holiday treat buffet!

Our meeting will be held on Thursday, November 8th, at 7:30 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange. As always, members and the general public are cordially invited to attend.

November 2018 Meeting – CALIFORNIA CRAZY: California Roadside & Programmatic Architecture – Speaker: Jim Heimann

California Crazy cover

From orange-shaped citrus stands, to the Brown Derby, to the giant dinosaurs of Cabazon, nothing says “Southern California” quite like our crazy architecture. Join author and historian Jim Heimann on a virtual tour through our audacious and innovative landscape of eccentric buildings at the Thurs., Nov. 8 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society at 7:30p.m. Heimann will discuss programmatic architecture (e.g. “buildings that look like things”): a unique and enduring expression of American vernacular architecture.

Americans’ predilection for wanderlust at the beginning of the automobile age prompted inventive entrepreneurs to address this new mode of transportation. Starting in the 1920’s, attention-grabbing buildings began to appear that would draw drivers going 35 m.p.h. to stop in for snacks, provisions, souvenirs, or a quick meal. The architectural establishment deemed them “monstrosities” and dismissed them. Yet they flourished, especially along America’s Sunbelt, as their owners heeded a creative impulse and constructed giant owls, dolls, pigs, ships, coffee pots, and fruit. Their symbolic intent was guileless, prompting their slow deletion in a chapter of America’s social and architectural history. Yet photographic documentation of the past 40 years has assured their place in the architectural hierarchy and has prompted this building type to continue to flourish.

Jackson Ice Cream, Laguna Beach, 1920s

Southern California native Jim Heimann is a historian, cultural anthropologist, author, educator, and the executive editor of Taschen Publishing America.  He has been active in the arts field for the past 45 years publishing numerous books and articles and is a faculty member of Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, where he has taught since 1988. A greatly expanded and beautifully illustrated third edition of his classic book, California Crazy: American Pop Architecture (first published almost 40 years ago) was released earlier this year.

Our meeting will be held on Thursday, November 8th, at 7:30 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange.

Parasol Coffee Shop, Seal Beach

As always, members and the general public are cordially invited to attend.

October 2018 Meeting – Handwriting Analysis of Folk from Orange County’s History – Speaker: Sheila Lowe

 

Our October meeting brings interesting insight into the character of some of our early Orange County pioneers.  Our guest speaker, handwriting analyst and expert Sheila Lowe, works with clients around the world and testifies in cases of handwriting authentication as well as personality assessment.

Sheila’s presentation will talk about the various aspects and use of handwriting analysis and she will be analyzing signatures and writing samples of famous people of Orange County – offering a peek into these people’s real character and honesty. Her books will be for sale after the lecture.

Her rich history in the field dates back to 1985 when she first qualified to testify as a handwriting expert.  Her Handwriting Analyzer software has been used around the world since the 1990s. Sheila has taught Introduction to Handwriting Examination at UC Riverside in the CSI certificate program, Introduction to Handwriting Analysis at UC Santa Barbara, and has presented seminars to bank managers to help them be better prepared when handwriting analysis is needed. She offers an online self-study course in gestalt graphology and lectures around the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

Our meeting will be held on Thursday, October 11th, at 7:30 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange.

As always, members and the general public are cordially invited to attend.

September 2018 Meeting – The Story of South Orange County’s State Beaches – Speaker: Steve Long

Did you know California’s first state beaches were right here in Orange County? The Orange County Historical Society will explore the history of our southern State beaches at our season kick-off program, Sept. 13, 2018, at Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Highway, in Corona del Mar.

A social hour and optional potluck of appetizers and desserts will begin at 6:30 pm, followed by the program at 7:30 pm.  Members are especially invited to this annual OCHS gathering after our traditional summer break.  The event is also open to the public.  (If you have a favorite dish you’d like to share, bring it along.  Potluck food items are encouraged but not required.)

Steve Long, founder and Board Advisor of the San Onofre Parks Foundation, and Blythe Wilson, Regional Interpretive Specialist for California State Parks’ Orange Coast District, will discuss the motivations behind the creation of the first state beaches in the California State Park System: Doheny State Beach (in Dana Point) and San Clemente State Beach. They will also highlight the legacy of natural and cultural preservation at nearby San Onofre State Beach and beyond.

California’s first state beach was donated for public use by oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny in 1931. It was officially named Doheny State Beach in 1963.

San Clemente has been a California state beach since 1937 and has long been a favorite spot for busy Orange Countians looking to escape for a while.

Governor Ronald Reagan established San Onofre State Beach in 1971. This state beach has three distinct areas: the San Onofre Bluffs, the San Mateo Campground and the San Onofre Surf Beach.

These California State Parks play a significant role in maintaining the coastal environment and providing important connections with our past.

Steve Long spent the last four years of his career with California State Parks as a Park Superintendent, responsible for all aspects of park operations at Doheny, San Clemente and San Onofre State Beaches. In that capacity, he identified groups and individuals who held these parks dear, and who would ultimately unite as the non-profit San Onofre Parks Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to educate and interpret the natural, cultural, historical and biological diversity of San Onofre and San Clemente State Beaches; to promote environmental awareness and ethics; and to enhance the recreational experience at these coastal parks.

Blythe Wilson has worked for California State Parks since 2003 as an interpretive planner, historian, and district interpretive and educational leader. Blythe grew up in Southern California and holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies from California State University, San Marcos and an M.A. in Public History from California State University, Sacramento. She is currently working as a Regional Interpretive Specialist in San Clemente overseeing the education, community outreach, and volunteer program for six park units within coastal Orange County. Blythe serves as the cooperating association liaison with the San Onofre Parks Foundation.

Come spend an evening in a garden by the sea and learn the story of our historic beaches.

May 2018 Meeting – Preserve Orange County: Current Progress and Future Plans – Speaker: Krista Nicholds

Krista Nicholds

We all know the feeling of sadness when a beloved local landmark loses its battle with the wrecking ball. Preserve Orange County was founded to raise awareness and advocate the preservation of our architectural heritage, so that in the future, we won’t have to look back and say with regret, “Why didn’t someone save that wonderful old building?”

The county’s non-profit historic preservation organization- Preserve Orange County- is now in its second year. The young, volunteer-run organization has done some advocacy, some outreach and education, and some organization building.

Our guest speaker will be Krista Nicholds, who will discuss Preserve Orange County’s accomplishments to date, and goals for 2018. Krista will also share the organization’s point of view about the state of preservation in the county. This will be a bit of a Homecoming for Krista since POC’s roots are in the Orange County Historical Society.

Krista is founding president of the Board of Directors of Preserve Orange County. She’s a former business executive now studying toward a Master of Heritage Conservation at the University of Southern California. Krista also serves as preservation consultant for Kelly Sutherlin McLeod Architects in Long Beach.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear about this important local preservation group and to find out how you can join.

Our meeting will be held on Thursday, May 10th beginning at 7:30 pm at the Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange. As always, members and the general public are cordially invited to attend.

 

April 2018 Meeting – O.C. Artifacts & Stories from the Homestead Museum – Speaker: Paul R. Spitzzeri

While we may think that events in Orange County have, and do happen in a vacuum, sometimes we have to look beyond the geographic boundaries to fully understand our county’s history and those who have lived here. Keeping this in mind, it’s no surprise that we find Orange County stories about people and events — and artifacts — in museums or archives that may surprise us.

The Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum has an artifact collection of roughly 30,000 objects pertaining to greater Los Angeles, including Orange County, from 1830 to 1930. Members of the Workman and Temple families were involved with Orange County areas, such as the Anaheim Landing project in the late 1860s and early 1870s and oil prospecting at Huntington Beach in the 1920s, but the museum has other material relating to the county and its place in the region.

Paul R. Spitzzeri, the Homestead’s director, will discuss a selection of museum-owned objects dealing with Orange County, including a PowerPoint presentation and a small display of artifacts.

Our meeting will be held on Thursday, April 12th beginning at 7:30 pm at the Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange. As always, members and the general public are cordially invited to attend.

March 2018 Meeting – Saving and Restoring Historic Properties in Orange County – Spsaker: Don Krotee

4th Street Renovation

Preservation and adaptive reuse of Orange County’s wonderful historic commercial and public buildings is always a topic of interest for those who want to save and celebrate our county’s history.  We’re honored to feature long-time, local architect Don Krotee at our March meeting to speak about his work over the last 45 years in restoring and saving many historic properties in Santa Ana and other parts of Orange County.

Don and his company, the Don Krotee Partnership (DKP), usually do the entire planning and design work on projects – ensuring that it adheres to the Secretary of State requirements for National Register of Historic Places.  Sometimes this includes a real property easement around the front elevation of the building (later administering the sale of the easement to a Historic Trust).  In addition, they often coordinate the structural, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical engineering of the project itself.

Over the years, their projects have included the Arcade, Fogelman, and Yanez buildings in central Santa Ana.  He’s also worked on the Musselman Block buildings, YMCA building, and Old OC Court House, among just a few.  Under Don’s guidance, DKP has provided architectural and engineering services on over 550 publicly-bid projects serving more than fifteen municipalities, and multiple school districts and college campuses.

Don is also a recognized artist in both watercolor and line drawings.  He’s had the opportunity to use his talents to show off the beauty of many of his historic projects.  Some of those will be shown as part of his presentation.

Our meeting will be held on Thursday, March 8th beginning at 7:30 pm at the Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange. As always, members and the general public are cordially invited to attend.

Emigdio Vasquez, The Legacy of César Chávez (1997)

February 2018 Meeting – Emigdio Vasquez: Orange County Art Treasure – Speaker: Rosemary Vasquez Tuthill

Emigdio Vasquez, The Legacy of César Chávez (1997)
Emigdio Vasquez, The Legacy of César Chávez (1997)

Orange County artist and muralist Emigdio Vasquez created over 400 oil paintings and 32 murals in the cities of Orange, Santa Ana, Fullerton, Anaheim, Irvine, and Placentia.  At a young age, Emigdio began illustrating comic books and painting murals expressing his observations and studies. His paintings and murals evolved and primarily focused on working people, family, culture, and society.  He embodied his observations of the essence of everyday life and memorialized the Chicano working class struggle for survival and dignity.  Emigdio was often credited as the Godfather of Hispanic Art as a painter of reality and social commentary with universal themes, freezing a period of time which resonates even today.

Emigdio’s murals include the “Legacy of Cesar Chavez” at Santa Ana College and he was featured in a recent Getty-sponsored art show at Chapman University’s Guggenheim Museum which featured twenty of his paintings and his mural, “Proletariado de Azlan,” that is located on Chapman property.  Some of Emigdio’s murals were in excess of one hundred feet in length; and many of his murals can still be seen today.   Emigdio passed away several years ago, but his legacy lives on through his work and his children.

For the February meeting, his daughter, Rosemary Vasquez Tuthill, an oil painter and muralist in her own right, will present a video she and her husband created that highlights each of Emigdio’s murals.  In addition to answering questions, she will bring a few of her father’s artworks for audience viewing

The meeting will be held on Thursday, February 8th, beginning at 7:30 pm at the Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange.  As always, members and the general public are cordially invited to attend.