November 2017 Meeting – The History of Motels in the Golden State – Speaker: Heather M. David

Remember when a vacation stay meant an overnight escape to sparkling blue swimming pools, flashing neon signs, automatic ice machines and bleached white towels?  There was a time when these colorful road-side gems encircled Anaheim’s Disneyland and motels were more than just a place to check in for the night.

This month’s speaker is Heather M. David, a cultural historian and freelance writer. She is the author of the book “Mid-Century by the Bay” and numerous articles on American popular culture and historic preservation. She is an advocate for the preservation of mid-century architecture, art, and signage – with a focus on California Modernism.

Her latest book, “Motel California: A Pictorial History of Motels in the Golden State”, is the story of the rapid rise and subsequent decline of the individually owned mom-and-pop motel in The Golden State. Heather will have books available at the meeting for sale and signing.

Join us for a trip back to the days when Orange County’s roadside was a wonderland of colorful themed motels, restaurants, rooms, pools and signs.

Our meeting will be held on Thursday, November 9 beginning at 7:30 pm (back to our normal time) at the Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange.

Photo of Ruth Ann and Henry Segerstrom

October 2017 Meeting – The Segerstrom Family in Orange County – Speaker: Ruth Ann Moriarity

Photo of Ruth Ann and Henry Segerstrom
Photo of Ruth Ann and Henry Segerstrom

October is the traditionally the month of harvest, so it’s the perfect time to feature one of Orange County’s most important agricultural pioneering families: The Segerstroms. From lima bean fields to a luxury shopping destination, The Segerstrom family has left an indelible impression on local history.

This month, we are honored to have Segerstrom Family matriarch, Mrs. Ruth Ann Moriarity as our guest speaker.  Mrs. Moriarity is the only sibling of the late Henry Segerstrom, developer of  South Coast Plaza and generous patron of the arts.  Our meeting will be held on Thursday, October 12 beginning at 7 pm at the Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange.

Photo of Henry Segerstrom in front of the South Coast Plaza sign in the early 1960s as construction had just begun.
Photo of Henry Segerstrom in front of the South Coast Plaza sign in the early 1960s as construction had just begun.

Born in Santa Ana in 1923, Mrs. Moriarity has witnessed many changes in Orange County. As family historian, she was the major contributor to this summer’s exhibit during South Coast Plaza’s 50th Anniversary celebration: “Segerstrom Pioneering Spirit: An American Dream”

Mrs. Moriarity will share her personal recollections and show rare images from her vast collection of family photographs.

Don’t miss this special opportunity to hear a first-person account of Orange County’s early days! As always, our general meeting is free and open to the public. Hope to see you there!

September 2017 Meeting – Newport Beach Historical Treasures at the Sherman Library – Speaker: Paul Wormser

The Sherman Library director Paul Wormser will present “Newport Beach Historical Treasures at the Sherman Library” at the Orange County Historical Society’s season kick-off program, Friday September 15th at Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Hwy, in Corona del Mar. (Note that due to calendar conflicts, the meeting day is Friday and not our normal Thursday.)

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.  The event is also open to the public.  (Potluck food items are encouraged but not required.)

For more than fifty years, Sherman Library has sought to preserve the history of Newport Beach, a community that has gone from a sparsely populated beach town to a commercial center. The documentary history of the city is a testament to this transition.  Drawing upon Sherman Library’s extensive collections, of photographs, maps, postcards, documents and publications, Paul Wormser will share examples of items from Sherman Library’s collections to illustrate episodes in the history of Newport Beach.

Paul Wormser is the Library Director at Sherman Library & Gardens.  The Sherman Library is a non-profit research library, which holds an extensive collection of books and manuscripts related to the history of the Pacific Southwest.  Prior to working at Sherman Library, he worked for the National Archives for more than twenty years in a number of positions, including Archives Director for the National Archives’ Pacific Region, and Deputy Director of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in history from the University of California, Riverside.  He has been active in professional organizations, especially the Society of California Archivists, in which he has held a number of leadership positions, including President. He is currently a member of the California Historical Records Advisory Board, which acts as coordinating body for historical record activities statewide.

The Orange County Historical Society’s 2017 Annual Dinner – Disneyland, Orange County, and the Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow – Thursday, June 8th with Alan Hess

June 8th marks the date for our annual dinner. This dinner event is open to OCHS members and non-members alike, so bring your friends. Disney attire welcome but not mandatory. Register by May 26th by mailing in a completed form or by using the below PayPal form.  For more information, email ochsdinner@gmail.com or call 714-707-7425. Confirmations will be made by email.

Click here for our flyer with addtional details of the event, as well as a registration form.

To register via PayPal, please use the Paypal form below. In order to mix and match ticket types, add a member ticket and select “Buy Now”, then select “Continue Shopping” on the next page. This will return you here to the OCHS homepage.  Please then add a nonmember ticket, upon which both ticket types will appear in your PayPal cart.  The number of tickets of each type can be adjusted from the cart itself

Spring 2017 – Early Days of California History Tour – Saturday, April 29th

AS OF 4/14/17: TRANSPORTATION AND DEADLINE CHANGES

 

Join us for a fun day in San Juan Capistrano, learning about early California. This excursion includes a walking tour of downtown Capistrano and parts of the Los Rios District, a historic reenactment at Los Rios Park, a tour of the newly renovated Blas Aguilar Adobe and its wonderful California Indian artifacts, Ballet Folkloric dancers and music, and a traditional homemade Capistrano pork guisada lunch at the adobe. Lunch includes pork quisada (stewed/ marinated), rice, beans, tortillas, fruit and beverage. (Last year’s tour attendees may remember Capistrano Historical Alliance Committee president Jerry Nieblas inviting us back for this traditional meal.) Sign-ups limited to 45, so register today!

EXCURSION INFORMATION

  • All activities, traditional guisada lunch, and gratuities are included.

  • Participants will be carpooling and/or driving themselves to San Juan Capistrano. Must be in San Juan Capistrano before 10:00 a.m. at designated parking location.  Meet up no later than 10:00 a.m. at first meeting location on tour.  Details of parking and meet up location will be given after new excursion deadline. (See Below)

  • A $10.00 refund will be given to all participants due to no bus transportation. Refunds will be given the day of the excursion.

  • Outdoor excursion, so dress appropriately and wear comfortable walking shoes.

  • You may bring your own snacks and beverages.

  • Registrations must be postmarked on or before April 21 deadline. Alternately, you may also pay by PayPal at OrangeCountyHistory.org. No refunds and/or registrations accepted after the deadline. You’ll receive confirmation and more information via email after April 21.

  • Questions? Contact Monica Ortez: 714-707-7425.

Click here for a flyer for the event, along with registration form.

Register online by entering your information below and clicking “Add to Cart”.

March 2017 Meeting – From Colony to Community: 150 Years of St. Boniface Church, Anaheim – Stephanie George

St. Boniface

Historian and archivist Stephanie George will present “From Colony to Community: 150 Years of St. Boniface Church, Anaheim,” at the March 9, 2017 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society (OCHS). The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

Often considered an intercity parish, St. Boni-face—located in down-town Anaheim—was once the only Catholic parish in all of what’s now Orange County. From its beginnings, it’s been the worship community of regional and nationally-recognized individuals, provocateurs, immigrants, the devout, and the profane.

This presentation traces the roots of the parish through modern times within the context of Orange County history, including its relationship with Rancho Cañón de Santa Ana and early city pioneers Theodore Rimpau and Augustus Langenberger, its shifting ethnic profile, the influ-ence of culture and Church tradition on its members, music, architecture, and practices, and its impact on and in the city of Anaheim and surrounding communities.

Stephanie George is Secretary of the OCHS, a local historian and author, and is the Special Collections and Archives Librarian at Chapman University’s Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives. Many also know her for her fourteen years at California State University, Fullerton and the Center for Oral and Public History.

She is a member of many local, regional, and national organizations, including the Society of American Archivists, Society of California Archivists, American Association for State and Local History, American Library Association, and the Historical Society of Southern California; and serves on the board of the California Council for the Promotion of History.
By researching and writing about local history, she’s curated several award-winning exhibits, published Sowing Dreams, Cultivating Lives: Nikkei Farmers in Pre-World War II Orange County, and has written several articles about Orange County events. When she’s not involved in Orange County history, she’s a passionate genealogist and traveler.

February 2017 Meeting – Nixon’s New and Improved Museum – Speaker: Jason Schultz

The museum at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library just underwent a $15-million renovation of the permanent galleries. This is the first large-scale renovation since opening as a privately operated institution in 1990. Supervisory Archivist Jason Schultz will discuss this new, highly interactive, thematic, and immersive museum at the next meeting of the Orange County Historical Society. The program will be held Feb. 9, 2017, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. This event is open to the public at no charge.

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum is one of 14 Presidential Libraries operated by National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). In addition to the exhibit spaces, the President’s birthplace, and the helicopter, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library is home to 46 million pages of textual materials, hundreds of thousands of photographs, and thousands of hours of audio and video recordings.

Richard Milhous Nixon – one of the most fascinating and controversial figures of the 20th Century – was born January 9, 1913, in the small town of Yorba Linda. Today, the area’s rolling hills, unassuming downtown, occasional patches of open land, and tinges of rural roots remind us of the agricultural Orange County of Nixon’s youth. Nixon’s favorite items are still marked on the menus of local Mexican restaurants, and surfers still point out the old “Western White House” in San Clemente. And of course, the Nixon Library is the primary place where researchers and the general public come to better understand the 37th President of the United States. However you may feel about him, Nixon’s imprint on Orange County is everywhere.

Also born and raised in Orange County, our speaker, Jason Schultz wanted to be an archivist after learning as a teenager of the existence of the Walt Disney Archives. After working in Disneyland Guest Relations while majoring in History at the University of California, Irvine, Jason co-authored several books about Disneyland. He joined NARA while a student at the University of Maryland, earning master’s degrees in History and Library & Information Science.

In 2009 he transferred to the Nixon Library in College Park, Maryland, as an archivist, overseeing the details of moving 26,000 boxes of Nixon Presidential Materials across the country. Jason returned to Orange County in 2010 and was promoted to Supervisory Archivist in July 2014.

We hope you’ll join us for fascinating look at the transformation of one of Orange County’s most important historical institutions.

January 2017 Meeting – Whaling Along The Orange County Coast – Speaker: Bob Minty

Nautical historian Bob Minty will discuss whaling off the coast of Orange County in his presentation, “19th Century Legends: Whalers, Scrimshanders, and California Shore Whaling” at the Jan. 12, 2017 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

“There is slight mention in our California public schools on the economic and social importance of California’s Whaling Industry during the 19th and 20th centuries,” says Minty. “Instead, we learn romantic tales of the life of the sailor and accounts of barbarous whalers that ransacked our seas.”

Minty plans to provide a clearer picture of this historic industry and scotch a variety of misconceptions and myths about the “Romance of the Sea.” Attendees will also learn…
• How folk art sheds light on the lives and mental make-up of whalers
• The connection between Richard Nixon and the original Nantucket whalers
• How Orange County played a key role in our nation’s whaling industry
• What whales, legislation, and Conquistador Hernán Cortés have in common

Bob Minty

The program will conclude with the film clip “Nantucket Sleigh Ride” from Elmer Clifton’s 1922 silent film, “Down to the Sea in Ships,” filmed on the 19th century whaleship, Charles W. Morgan, out of New Bedford.

Bob Minty is the Program Chair of the Dana Point Historical Society, and has been a member of Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano “living history” groups – portraying Richard Henry Dana, Jr. – for more than twenty years.

For the past several years Bob has also prepared exhibits and lectures for the Ocean Institute on the history of California shore whaling and scrimshaw. His next scheduled exhibits will be held in March at the Dana Point Festival of Whales and in September at the Dana Point Tall Ships Festival.

December 2016 Meeting – Show and Tell!

It’s time again to rack your brain and rummage through your garage and your scrapbooks in preparation for the Orange County Historical Society’s annual Show & Tell and holiday gathering! Save the date for Dec. 8, 2016 at 7:30 p.m at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. Plan to bring a choice artifact, photo, or a bit of memorabilia that connects to an interesting story or fact about Orange County’s past.

Maybe it’s an orange crate from the packing plant mom worked in. Or maybe it’s great-grandpa’s branding iron, an early redwood surfboard, a plate from an old local restaurant, or a one-of-a-kind photo of Walt Disney giving Water Knott a “noogie.” Everyone’s looking forward to seeing and hearing about the item you bring.

We’ll have a sign-up sheet when you enter and participants will be called up one at a time. The public is welcome and refreshments will be served.

November 2016 Meeting – Garden Grove: A History of the Big Strawberry – Speaker: Jim Tortolano

Author Jim Tortolano will discuss the colorful history of Garden Grove at the next meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, Nov. 10, 2015, 7:30 p.m at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. Tortolano’s book, Garden Grove: A History of the Big Strawberry, was published in 2015. This event is open to the general public at no cost.

The first pioneers began settling the Garden Grove area in the late 1860s – the era when the ranchos were breaking up and parcels of land were being sold to farmers and developers alike. In 1876, Alonzo Gerry Cook laid out the small crossroads townsite of Garden Grove – a name first applied a year earlier to the local school district. This section of the Santa Ana Valley was largely barren land, with barely a tree to its name, much less a garden. But Cook was determined that through hard work the town would soon live up to its name. And indeed, it would.

Over the decades, the community would reinvent itself numerous times, adapting to changes in agriculture and population, decline and development, disaster and triumph. When the railroad arrived in 1905, the population doubled. The town flourished as an agricultural hub thanks to the bounties of oranges, walnuts, chili peppers and the crop that earned the city’s nickname—the strawberry.

The resilient little town bounced back after extensive damage in both the Long Beach earthquake of 1933 and the flood of 1938. During the post-WWII years Garden Grove was among the fastest growing communities in America, and it finally incorporated as a city in 1956. Today, the city has a diverse population of over 170,883.

Our speaker, Jim Tortolano, is a Garden Grove resident and veteran journalist, who has worked at the Long Beach Press-Telegram, Orange County Evening News and Los Angeles Times in editing and reporting jobs, and served as editor and co-owner of Garden Grove Journal for 30 years. He is currently a professor of journalism at Golden West College, and was previously a military reservist and television sports broadcaster.