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.

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.  

April 2019 Meeting: Hippolyte Bouchard’s Raid on Capistrano!

Way back in 1818, privateers fighting on the behalf of Latin American revolutionaries against the Spanish invaded Mission San Juan Capistrano. Their aim was to obtain supplies to assist in further attacks on Spanish targets, but many of them instead got drunk on the mission’s stores of wine, leading them to cause general mayhem throughout the mission. After wildly ringing the bells and setting fire to some of the Indian dwellings, they sailed southward beyond the horizon, leaving a legacy of buried treasure stories throughout Orange County. Though historians have largely focused on the compelling story of the privateers’ French captain, Hippolyte Bouchard, the stories of the Spanish Californians and Indians at San Juan Capistrano have yet to be thoroughly explored. This talk will examine the strategic challenges the Spanish military and padres faced in defending the mission and highlight the experiences of the mission’s primary inhabitants, the Indians. It will also examine the invasion’s aftermath, which provoked an intensification of long-standing conflicts between the Spanish military and missionaries. At the end of the talk, the speaker will reveal the location of the buried treasure!

Speaker Eric Plunkett is a math and social studies teacher at Travis Ranch Middle School in Yorba Linda. As an Orange County native, he developed an interest in the history of the county and California through his love of hiking. He has recently been researching and writing about the Portolá Expedition with his friend and fellow historian, Phil Brigandi.

Meeting information:

7:30 p.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church
2400 N Canal St, Orange, CA 92865

 

 

March 2019 Meeting: Portolá’s Expedition Through Orange County

In 1769, Captain Gaspar de Portolá led the first Spanish overland expedition through what is now Orange County. It marked a turning point in the history of California, and provides us with our first written descriptions of the area and its native inhabitants.

Historian Phil Brigandi will present a description of the expedition, discuss their encounters with the Indians, and trace the trail through Orange County at the next Orange County Historical Society meeting, March 14, 7:30p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

Brigandi is also coordinating our bus tour this summer along the Portolá trail, which will feature stops near several of the campsites and talks by local historians. Reservations are now open on our website or you can sign up at the meeting.

 

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.