Orange County Chronology

Orange County Chronology

2013

2013

Children’s Hospital of Orange (CHOC) triples in size with the construction of a seven-story tower.
2012

2012

Following the bankruptcy of Crystal Cathedral Ministries in 2010, Crystal Cathedral is sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange which announces the church will be renamed Christ Cathedral.
2010

2010

Federal census sets county population at more than three million.
2008

2008

National mortgage crisis sends local home prices plummeting.
2007

2007

The Anaheim Ducks win the Stanley Cup.
2006

2006

Villa Park Orchards Association closes, Orange County’s last citrus packing house.
2005

2005

Auction of former Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro closes, and construction of the Orange County Great Park begins on this site.
2002

2002

The Anaheim Angels win the World Series.
2001

2001

Disney’s California Adventure opens.
1999

1999

The El Toro Marine Corps Naval Air Station is closed. After a long public debate and several elections, part of the area is set aside to form the “Great Park.” The rest will be developed.
1997

1997

The Knott family sells Knott’s Berry Farm to Cedar Fair LP of Ohio.
1994

1994

Orange County files for Chapter 9 bankruptcy after a $1.5 billion investment pool loss. The county emerges from bankruptcy 18 months later, but it will be years until the debt is paid.
1993

1993

The first stretch of the Foothill (241) toll road opens.
1986

1986

The Orange County Performing Arts Center opens. Rancho Santa Margarita is founded.
1981

1981

Orange County’s population reaches 2,000,000.
1980

1980

The Crystal Cathedral is completed.
1978

1978

Villa Park Orchards Association packs its last crop of oranges.
1977

1977

Irvine Ranch sold for $337 million.
1975

1975

With the fall of Saigon, thousands of Vietnamese refugees arrive in Southern California. Many later settle in Westminster and Garden Grove.
1971

1971

The first portion of Dana Point Harbor opens.
1970

1970

University of California, Irvine takes over Orange County Hospital.
1969

1969

Major flooding in the Santa Ana Mountains and downstream areas.
1968

1968

Yorba Linda native Richard M. Nixon is elected President of the United States.
1967

1967

South Coast Plaza opens. Last commercial walnut groves torn out.
1966

1966

Anaheim stadium opens.
1965

1965

The University of California, Irvine opens for classes.
1964

1964

Laguna Hills Leisure World opens (now the City of Laguna Woods). St. Joseph Hospital completes its expansion to 290 beds along with Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).
1963

1963

Orange County’s population tops 1,000,000.
1961

1961

Rossmoor Leisure World at Seal Beach opens.
1959

1959

Classes begin at Orange County State College (now California State University, Fullerton).
1958

1958

Hughes Aircraft, Orange County’s first major aerospace plant, opens in Fullerton. The Santa Ana (I-5) freeway is completed through Orange County.
1955

1955

Disneyland opens.
1954

1954

Chapman College moves down to Orange from Los Angeles. Newport Harbor Buffalo Ranch opens on Irvine Ranch.
1953

1953

The third national Boy Scout Jamboree is held on the Irvine Ranch.
1951

1951

The Municipal Water District of Orange County is formed.
1950

1950

Pacific Electric (Red Car) passenger service ends in Orange County.
1948

1948

Orange Coast College opens on the site of the former Santa Ana Army Air Base.
1947

1947

The case of Mendez v Westminster ends school segregation in California.
1943

1943

El Toro Marine Corps base and lighter-than-air blimp base in Tustin are established.
1942

1942

The Santa Ana Army Air Base and Los Alamitos Naval Air Station are established.
1941

1941

The Orange County Airport opens at its current location. Prado Dam completed.
1938

1938

Major flooding sweeps across Southern California.
1936

1936

Newport Harbor dedicated following extensive dredging program. San Juan Hot Springs closed.
1934

1934

Ortega Highway opens.
1933

1933

The Long Beach earthquake causes serious damage and loss of life in Orange County.
1932

1932

First Festival of the Arts held in Laguna Beach; Pageant of the Masters added for second season.
1931

1931

The Santiago Dam is built, creating Irvine Lake.
1929

1929

Santiago Orange Growers Association in Orange is the largest Valencia packing house in the nation. St. Joseph Hospital opens.
1927

1927

Orange County Flood Control District formed.
1926

1926

The Coast Highway opens.
1925

1925

San Clemente is founded by Ole Hanson.
1922

1922

First commercial radio station (KFAW) established in Santa Ana.
1920

1920

The first oil well comes in at Huntington Beach. Walter Knott moves to Buena Park to go into the berry business with his cousin, Jim Preston.
1919

1919

Oil discovered on Chapman Ranch in Placentia. The Orange County Free Public Library is established. Orange County Historical Society formed.
1917

1917-18

Some 1,600 local residents serve in the armed forces during World War I.
1916

1916

The Joy Zone amusement park opens in Seal Beach.
1914

1914

The Orange County Hospital and Poor Farm opens.
1913

1913

Fullerton Junior College opens. The first Fuerte avocado orchard is planted in Yorba Linda.
1911

1911

City of Stanton incorporates to block Anaheim’s plans for a sewer farm in the area. Dis-incorporates 13 years later.
1910

1910

Glenn L. Martin of Santa Ana builds and flies his own airplane. Santa Ana Co-Operative Sugar Co. plant built at Delhi.
1905

1905

Cypress and Stanton are founded along new Pacific Electric line.
1904

1904

Pacific Electric “Big Red Cars” first reach Orange County. Three rail lines are eventually—built down the coast to Balboa, through the center of the county to Santa Ana, and across the northern end of the county to Yorba Linda.
1901

1901

Huntington Beach is founded. Originally known as Pacific City, it was renamed two years later after it was acquired by a group of investors led by Henry Huntington. The new Orange County Courthouse opens for business.
1897

1897

James Irvine donates Irvine Park to the county.
1896

1896

The first sugar beet factory in Orange County is built at Los Alamitos.
1893

1893

The Southern California Fruit Exchange (Sunkist) is formed. The first co-operative packing houses are organized. Trabuco Canyon Forest Reserve is created (becomes part of Cleveland National Forest in 1908).
1891

1891

Santa Ana & Newport Railway begins service. The first commercial celery crop is raised in Orange County.
1890

1890

First Orange County Fair held.
1889

1889

Orange County is formed out of the southern portion of Los Angeles County. Santa Ana is selected as the county seat.
1888

1888

The Newport Beach wharf is built by the McFadden brothers. Shakespearean actress Helena Modjeska builds home in upper Santiago Canyon.
1887

1887

The Santa Fe Railroad arrives, breaking the monopoly of the Southern Pacific. A real estate boom follows. Fullerton is founded by the Amerige brothers. Buena Park is founded by James Whitaker.
1886

1886-87

A mysterious grape disease devastates the local wine and raisin industry.
1882

1882

The first successful oil well in the area is drilled near junction of Brea Canyon and Tonner Canyon.
1878

1878

Mining boom in the Silverado area.
1875

1875

The Southern Pacific extends their railroad from Los Angeles down to Anaheim. The rails reached Santa Ana two years later.
1871

1871

Orange is founded by Alfred Chapman and Andrew Glassell.
1870

1870

Santa Ana is founded by William Spurgeon. Tustin is founded by Columbus Tustin. Westminster is founded by Rev. Lemuel P. Webber. The first attempt is made to create Orange County. The first English walnut trees are planted. The Anaheim Gazette, the first local newspaper, is founded. Newport Bay becomes a shipping point.
1868

1868

The Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana is partitioned. The Stearns Ranchos, west of the Santa Ana River, are placed on the market, opening that area to settlement.
1864

1864

Anaheim Landing is established on Alamitos Bay. It is moved to Anaheim Bay three years later.
1864

1864

James Irvine and his partners buy two old Mexican ranchos and a part of third for a sheep ranch. Irvine buys out his partners in 1876, giving him some 110,000 acres.
1863

1863-64

Two-year drought devastates the local cattle industry.
1857

1857

Anaheim is founded as a wine growing community. The first settlers arrived two years later, after the first grapevines were planted.
1850

1850

California becomes a state. Los Angeles County is formed. It included what is now Orange County.
1846

1846

War breaks out between the United States and Mexico. California is captured, and ceded to the United States by treaty two years later.
1845

1845

Juan Forster is granted the Rancho Mission Viejo.
1837

1837

Rancho San Joaquin, later part of the Irvine Ranch, is granted to José Sepulveda.
1834

1834

The secularization of the missions opens vast areas to be granted as private ranchos.
1821

1821

Mexico breaks away from the Spanish Empire, taking California with it.
1818

1818

Argentine pirate Hipólito Bouchard raids San Juan Capistrano.
1806

1806

Great Stone Church at Mission San Juan Capistrano is dedicated after nine years of construction. It was destroyed by an earthquake six years later.
1801

1801

Juan Pablo Grijalva establishes a rancho south and east of the Santa Ana River. It was later granted to his heirs, the Yorba and Peralta families, as the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana.
1784

1784

Manuel Nieto is given grazing rights between the Santa Ana and San Gabriel Rivers, the first rancho in Orange County.
1776

1776

Mission San Juan Capistrano is founded. It was moved to its current site two years later.
1769

1769

Gaspar de Portolá leads first Spanish overland expedition into Orange County.