Memorial for Jim Sleeper – Friday, October 12, 2012, noon – Waverly Chapel at Fairhaven Memorial Park, Santa Ana

A memorial service for Orange County’s premier historian, Jim Sleeper, at noon, Friday, October 12, 2012 at Waverly Chapel at Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana. Jim passed away on September 27, 2012. Either directly or indirectly, he impacted everyone who cares about Orange County’s history. We hope to see you at his memorial service, which will be open to the public.

More than just the author of at least eight of our best history books and hundreds upon hundreds of well-researched and startlingly well-written articles, Jim was also a hero and a friend to many.

Jim was active in the Orange County Historical Society for more than 70 years. In 1970, he served as our president. He was also the co-founder of our County Courier newsletter, and was still on the Editorial Board of our Orange Countiana historical journal at the time of his death. He will be greatly missed.

For more information see “Jim Sleeper, Orange County Historian, 1927-2012.”

October 2012 Meeting Program – Anaheim Halloween Festival, “The Greatest Night Pageant West of the Mardi Gras” – Speaker: Stephanie George

Courtesy Anaheim Public Library

Stephanie George will speak on Anaheim’s Halloween Festival at the Orange County Historical Society’s next meeting, Thursday, October 11, 2012, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

Once called the biggest Halloween celebration west of the Mississippi, the Anaheim Halloween Festival began in 1924 and grew to capacity crowds in the late 1950s, with estimates of more than 150,000 people traveling from all over the Southland to attend this city’s celebration. These days, the Anaheim Fall Festival and Halloween Parade bears only a slight resemblance to its predecessor, but rest assured, this month’s presentation will conjure up the sprites, hobgoblins, and broom-tooting witches of the past. We promise, you’ll be spellbound in discovering the Festival’s disputed origins, bewitched by the Slick Chicks, and howling after learning who was behind the ousting of the Steve Allen, the 1970 parade’s grand marshal. Eek! Finally, the unexplained will be explained as we explore this city’s long tradition of Spooktacular!

Stephanie George, an Anaheim native, is the archivist at the Center for Oral and Public History at California State University, Fullerton, as well as the recording secretary for the Orange County Historical Society, president of the California Council for the Promotion of History —and second place costume contest winner at the 1962 Anaheim Halloween Festival Pancake Breakfast.

Member Year 2012-13 Kick-Off Meeting Program – California Style Watercolor Painting in Orange County – Speaker: Gordon T. McClelland

Gordon McClelland at OCHS meeting Photo by Daralee Ota

Orange County’s role in California Style watercolor painting will be the subject of the Orange County Historical Society’s season kick-off program on Thursday, September 13, 2012, at Sherman Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Highway, in Corona del Mar. If you’d like to participate in the Society’s appetizer and dessert potluck beforehand, arrive at 6:30 p.m. with a plateful of goodies. Otherwise, arrive in time for the 7:30 lecture by author, historian, exhibition curator and art dealer Gordon T. McClelland.

From the 1930s through the 1970s, an innovative approach to watercolor painting called the California Style, flourished in Southern California. Artists like Rex Brandt, Phil Dike, and Emil Kosa, Jr. were considered part of the American Scene or Regionalist movement and often painted scenes of everyday city and suburban life. Their work featured bold design, creative use of the white paper as a “color,” and highlighted the transparency of their unique medium. One of the key schools that taught this approach to creating art was the Brandt-Dike Summer School of Painting in Corona del Mar.

The presentation will feature outstanding examples of California watercolors inspired by scenes in Orange County, with an emphasis on works painted in and around Newport Beach. McClelland will also address the historical and artistic importance of these works both locally and nationally.

June 2012 Annual Dinner Program – History of Knott’s Berry Farm – Speaker: Eric Lynxwiler

Eric Lynxwiler at OCHS dinner Courtesy Chris Jepsen

The history of Knott’s Berry Farm will be the theme of this year’s Orange County Historical Society annual dinner, to be held at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, on Friday, June 15, 2012.

Featured speaker, Eric Lynxwiler, co-author of the book, Knott’s Preserved, will share the Farm’s colorful history and will debunk a number of myths along the way. In addition, the Orange County Archives will present never-before-seen film footage from Knott’s past.

Social hour (with a cash bar) begins at 5:30 p.m., and your choice of Mrs. Knott’s Famous Chicken or vegetarian lasagna, with farm fresh salad, rolls, boysenberry pie, and beverages, will be served at 6:30. Cost is $30 for OCHS members; $35 for non-members.

This dinner is open to OCHS members and non-members alike. Western attire is encouraged but not required. Reservations are a must, so please RSVP by June 5, 2012. We cannot accept walk-ins at the door.

Historic Tour 2012 – Anaheim Cemetery – Guide: Cynthia Ward

Anaheim Cemetery Photo by Daralee Ota

The Anaheim Cemetery, founded in 1866, is the final resting place of thousands of early Orange County settlers, over 500 war veterans, and members of families still living in the area. On Saturday, May 12, 2012, local historian Cynthia Ward will lead a tour of this landmark cemetery, sponsored by the Orange County Historical Society and the Orange County Cemetery District. The tour is free and will begin, rain or shine, at 11:00 a.m. in front of the cemetery’s office at 1400 E. Sycamore St. No reservations are required.

A visit to this 15-acre park-like cemetery is a great way to learn more about Anaheim and Orange County pioneers. Beneath the majestic camphor trees are the oldest mausoleum on the west coast (1914), four private family mausoleums of prominent local families, a Chinese section, and many upright monuments,

May 2012 Meeting Program – Historical Preservation – Thinking Outside the Box – Speaker: Cynthia Ward

Cynthia Ward at OCHS meeting Courtesy Chris Jepsen

Local historian Cynthia Ward will speak on “Historical Preservation: Thinking Outside the Box,” at the OCHS’ next meeting, Thursday, May 10, 2012, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

As California’s economy shifts, and local governments lose redevelopment funds, preservationists must find new avenues to maintain and restore our historic legacy. Join us for an open discussion of how communities and non-profit groups may be moving forward in the future. Cynthia will also present examples of how others have used creative thinking to preserve our built environment.

Cynthia Ward is a preservation consultant, and owner of Cynthia Ward Historic Preservation Consulting. She specializes in research and documentation of historic homes for Historic Register applications, and Mills Act tax reduction program filings. She also designs restorations and adaptive reuse for both interior and exterior changes to vintage homes. She and her husband Richard are currently restoring their own second historic home, the 1908 era Owens House, in the Anaheim Colony Historic District.

Spring 2012 History Hike – Exploring the Olinda Oil Museum and Trail

Olinda oil well Courtesy Tom Pickett

Join us for our second hike as we continue to kick off this exciting new public program!

To help expose, educate and connect people to Orange County’s fascinating history, the Orange County Historical Society launched a new program last November: Orange County History Hikes. These hikes will take place at least a couple times per year, and are open to the public. Each hike will showcase an Orange County historical destination, allowing history and hiking enthusiasts to see some of these destinations in a new way. Hikes will vary in distance, topography and difficulty, but will stay within a range that most reasonably fit people can accomplish.

Learn about the cultural history and geological significance of the Olinda Oil Fields in Brea.

Historical Significance

According to Phil Brigandi’s Orange County Place Names A to Z:”The Olinda Tract was laid out in 1887 on several hundred acres north of Yorba Linda and east of Brea.” Brigandi explains that the town of Olinda was established shortly after oil was discovered in 1897 in the Carbon Canyon area of the tract. What is particularly significant about the Museum is that it houses the oldest Orange County oil well in continuous operation.

Directions

Take the 57 Freeway to Exit 10 (Lambert Rd) in Brea. Head east on Lambert Road for 1.8 miles, where it turns into Carbon Canyon Rd. At 0.6 miles, turn left onto Santa Fe Rd. (into a housing tract). Turn right on the second residential street (after Merrifield Dr.). This dead-ends at the parking lot for the Museum.

Hike Instructions and Olinda Oil Museum and Trail Information

Date & Time: Sunday, April 15, 2012 (9am-11:30am)*
9:00am: Parking Gates Open
9:15am: Orientation in front of Field House Museum
9:30am: Docent-led tour of the museum (includes a video) and museum grounds
10:15/10:30am: Interpretive hike

Meeting Spot: Olinda Oil Museum

Location: The Olinda Oil Museum and Trail, 4025 Santa Fe Road, Brea, CA
Distance: 1.94 miles round-trip (very exposed, mostly single-track dirt trail)
Elevation: 390 foot total elevation gain

Event Fee: None (limited to 25 people), but the Museum accepts donations.
Parking Fee: None (but limited to 20 vehicles, so carpooling by 2 or more is necessary).

Special Instructions: Must be 7 years of age or older. People-friendly dogs are permitted, on a leash. Please bring water, sunscreen, a hat and sturdy closed-toe shoes. If your dog is joining us, please bring water and waste bags.

Reservations Required

Please use our online Reservation Form to RSVP for your spot at this event. You may submit one RSVP for your entire party.

Please feel welcome to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in the picnic area after the hike. There are two covered picnic tables and restrooms available.

If you want to extend your hiking mileage (weather permitting) after the official History Hike is done, you might want to:

Drive down the street to tackle any number of trails at Chino Hills State Park or visit the new Discovery Center (no dogs). Parking is $5 per vehicle or a State Parks Pass.

Join Jeff and Colleen Greene for an additional 3.4 mile (90 foot elevation gain) scenic kid-friendly loop hike through Carbon Canyon Regional Park—right across the street—and a picnic in the redwoods grove (dogs allowed). Parking is $5 cash per car or an OCParks Pass.

April 2012 Meeting Program – O.C. Authors Night – Speakers: Juanita Louvret, Ellen Bell, Phil Brigandi, Diane Oestreich, Allan A. Schoenherr

Jim Sleeper at Authors Night 2011 Courtesy Chris Jepsen

Hear the authors of the latest Orange County history books discuss their work, and then have a chance to meet them, buy their books and have them signed at our annual “Authors Night” program, Thursday, April 12, 2012, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. Here’s a look at some of the authors and books scheduled:

Tustin As It Once Was, by Juanita Louvret

In an era when the heart of Tustin was the intersection of Main and D, folks flocked to town to get supplies and swap stories. Some of these stories featured Tustin notables like C.E. Utt, who tried his hand at every local crop; Sam Tustin, whose Buick touring car became the town fire truck; Big John Stanton, who formed the one-man police department; and Dr. William B. Wall, who found inspiration for his orange crate label in a rooster painting from Grover Cleveland. Drawing from her Tustin News column “Remember When,” third-generation Tustin resident Juanita Lovret recalls Tustin’s small-town ranching roots.

Images of America: Irvine, by Ellen Bell

Ellen Bell and her family have lived in Irvine for more than 20 years. Most of the photographs in this book are from the collection of the Irvine Historical Society. Ellen also writes the local travel blog, SoCal Day Tripper. On the OCRegister.com sports page, she is known as “The Afternoon Angel,” and writes about her passion for Angels baseball. She is a contributing writer for Orange Coast Magazine, OC Family and Orange County Register Travel. In a recent Register interview, she wrote, “History gives us a sense of community. …In a time of constant change, history is not self-sustaining. It takes effort to keep it alive.

A Brief History of Orange, California: The Plaza City, by Phil Brigandi 

Orange started small but grew big on the promise, sweat and toil of agriculture. Born from the breakup of the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana, its early days were filled with horse races, gambling and fiestas. Citrus was the backbone of the economy for more than half a century, though postwar development eventually replaced the orange groves. Historian and Orange native Phil Brigandi traces the city’s roots back to its small-town origins: the steam whistle of the Peanut Roaster, the citrus packers tissue-wrapping oranges for transport, Miss Orange leading the May Festival parade, and the students of Orange Union High celebrating Dutch-Irish Days.

The History of Fullerton Union High School 1893-2011, by Diane Oestreich 

The story of one of Southern California’s oldest high schools is captured by Diane Oestreich, who looks at her alma mater (Class of 1964) and former workplace (she was the school’s teacher librarian from 1994 to 2010), from a variety of perspectives. The book examines the early days of Orange County and the growth of the school and community during its 118-year history. Topics include notable faculty and alumni, the Mission Revival campus, clubs and organizations, student activities, and an overview of curriculum. A chapter on athletics looks at various sports, facilities, and leagues over the years.

Wild and Beautiful: A Natural History of Open Spaces in Orange County, by Allan A. Schoenherr 

Dr. Schoenherr’s new book explores the natural history of the creatures, plants, habitats, and landscapes that constitute the open spaces in Orange County. The Register described his book as, “packed with facts and stunning photos of wild land, habitat and species, as well as full-color maps. There are sections on climate, weather, seasons, wildfire, geology, earthquakes and the subtle intricacies of the tidal zones. And Schoenherr carefully untangles the web of federal, state, local and private wild land to make sense of the many overlapping jurisdictions.” Schoenherr is a retired Professor of Ecology from Fullerton College, and has written extensively about California’s natural history.

Orange County’s favorite historian, Jim Sleeper has also been invited to attend. Whether or not he can be there, his books will be available for sale. Jim has been exploring the back country and writing and since he was fourteen years old. He also spent two years in the Army Air Force, eight in college, six as a reporter and script writer, ten with the Forest Service, and four as staff historian for the Irvine Co. He also served as historian for the Rancho Mission Viejo Co. and a consultant to both the Register and the Los Angeles Times. Since he began freelancing in 1969, he has written eight books and more than 500 articles. Jim will sell and sign copies of his Third Orange County Almanac of Historical Oddities, the first volume of Great Movies Shot In Orange County, and whatever earlier titles he may have stored away.

March 2012 Meeting Program – The History of the Town of Olive – Speaker: Daralee Ota

Graphics by Daralee Ota

The history of the town of Olive will be the topic of the Orange County Historical Society’s general meeting on Thursday, March 8, 2012. Speaker and OCHS board member Daralee Ota will discuss the area’s early pastoral days; the rancho lifestyle of the Yorbas; the bustling, boomtown era when Olive boasted a lucrative flour mill; the citrus era; and Olive’s development into a modern residential community. Daralee’s program will be based, in part, on her Web site, “Olive Through the Ages,” (http://dragoon1st.tripod.com/olive/). The program will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St. in Orange, and is free to the public.

In the 1800s, the area below the bend of the Santa Ana River (what is now a part of northern Orange), was known by several names, including Yorbas, Santa Ana (before the modern community of Santa Ana was founded), Old Santa Ana, Burruel Point, Olive Ranch, and eventually Olive. Although Olive never became its own city, many still identify themselves as Olive residents.

Daralee launched her Olive Web site when she found very little information about the community online. Having grown up near the area and wondering about this town that faded away over the decades, Daralee began researching Olive in 2004, amazed to discover its rich and vast history.

A few years ago, she added “The Living Branch” section to her Web site to share even more information about Olive’s history, including stories, maps, and images contributed by individuals with a personal interest or connection to Olive. Submissions of photos and other relevant content are welcomed for possible inclusion in this portion of the Web site.

February 2012 Meeting Program – The Creation of Mission Viejo & Aliso Viejo – Speaker: Bob Bunyan

Bob Bunyan at OCHS meeting Courtesy Chris Jepsen

The birth and early development of the communities of Mission Viejo and Aliso Viejo will be the topic of the Orange County Historical Society’s general meeting on Thursday, February 9, 2012. Bob Bunyan, President of the Aliso Viejo Community Foundation (AVCF), and former executive with the Mission Viejo Company, will give us his first-hand account of the creation of these master-planned communities that once were grazing lands for cattle. The program will begin at 7:30 pm, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. The free program is open everyone interested in history, so invite a friend.

Mr. Bunyan has served as President of the AVCF since 1999. Previously, he was a vice president in charge of sales and marketing with the developer during the acquisition, planning, and development of properties within Aliso Viejo. Prior to that he worked with the Mission Viejo Company helping to plan and build the Mission Viejo community. He continues to be engaged in the completion of the Aliso Viejo master development plan, and through the AVCF, is also involved in the city’s affairs and activities.

Like Mission Viejo, not too many years ago, the area now called Aliso Viejo was a working ranch. The land had changed little since Mexico granted it to Don Juan Avila in 1821. The Moulton family bought it over 100 years ago and formed the Moulton Ranch. In 1976, the Mission Viejo Company, purchased the last acres of the ranch for the planned Aliso Viejo community. The first residences were sold in 1982 and the burgeoning area became Orange County’s 34th city in 2001.

This is a unique opportunity to hear from someone involved in the evolution of both Mission Viejo and Aliso Viejo. The story of how they went from ranchos to growing towns to modern cities should be fascinating.