Duke Kahanamoku in Orange County

Author Mark Zambrano will discuss the life, legacy, local impact of the “father of surfing” – Duke Kahanamoku – at the Feb. 10, 2022 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, 7:30p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. The public is welcome.

While surfing defined much of his history, Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku also led a storied life as a lifeguard, Olympic athlete, Hollywood actor, Hawaiian sheriff, and world ambassador. A Native Hawaiian, he played a key role in spreading the popularity of his homeland and its culture. He left a significant positive impact most places he traveled, and particularly in Orange County. Our speaker will discuss this impact, which spanned nearly fifty years and which continues today. “It all started when Duke ignited the surf craze in Orange County and rode the wave from there,” says Zambrano, “leaving an indelible mark on our history.”

 

Mark Zambrano lives and works in Huntington Beach. He is the author of Surfing in Huntington Beach, an in-depth visual history of the generations of surfers who helped make this community one of America’s most iconic surf towns. He is an avid advocate for the preservation and education of surfing throughout Orange County, working with museums and archives throughout the area to that end, and as a member of the Huntington Beach Historic Resources Board. He also works with Corky Carroll’s Surf School and Board Members surf shop, helping visitors and locals alike learn to surf and “get stoked on surfing.” When not working and writing, Mark spends his time free surfing around Orange County.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A. Otis Birch: The Strange Saga of Santa Ana’s Oil Tycoon

Historian Paul Spitzzeri will discuss “A. Otis Birch: The Strange Saga of Santa Ana’s Oil Tycoon” at the January 13, 2022 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, 7:30p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange.

Albert Otis Birch was an early Santa Ana resident who became an oil tycoon during the early 20th century, with gushers in Brea Canyon. 

He also owned a furniture company in Los Angeles and was an insurance company executive, among other business endeavors. After living many years on a hilltop estate in South Pasadena, an aging Birch and his wife Estelle fell into the clutches of Pearl Choate, a Texas-born nurse with a penchant for having older husbands die not long after marriage and who served prison time in one instance. Not long after she began “taking care” of the Birches in the mid-1960s, Choate spirited them off to Texas where both died within a short period of time. But that’s just part of their strange story.

Paul R. Spitzzeri is Museum Director at the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum in the City of Industry, was raised in Orange County, and lives in Carbon Canyon, a stone’s throw from the county line in Chino Hills. He has written extensively on the history of greater Los Angeles through articles, a national award-winning book on the Workman and Temple families, and blog posts and has spoken several times to the OCHS.