January 2018 Meeting – 1868, The Year that Made Orange County – Speaker: Phil Brigandi

Westminster 1886

The transition from Mexican ranchos to American communities came very quickly to the Santa Ana Valley. In fact, in just one year, 1868, most of central and northern Orange County all went on the market, as drought and debt forced the subdivision of the old ranchos.

In less than five years, half a dozen new towns were born, irrigation ditches dug, hundreds of farmers put the land to the plow, railroad surveyors were at work, and the drive had begun to create Orange County. Many of the cities we know today – Santa Ana, Orange, Tustin, Westminster, Garden Grove – were all born in that rush to subdivide and build, and the foundations were laid for Newport Beach, Placentia, Fountain Valley, and other communities. This sudden burst of population and prosperity set the stage for modern Orange County.

For our January meeting, historian Phil Brigandi will describe these momentous events, and discuss the different ways these towns were founded. Some began as real estate investments, pure and simple. Some were founded by men who dreamed of building a city. Some were organized as colonies, with settlers working together for the common good. And some of them just sort of happened as a growing population sought schools, stores, churches, and community.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, January 11th, 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.