March 2020 General Meeting: Early Motorcycling in Southern California

“Outdoor Motorcycle Recreation in Pre-World War II California” will be the topic of historian and OCHS member Paul Clark’s presentation at the March 12, 2020 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society.

7:30p.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church
2400 N. Canal St., Orange.

The public is welcome to this free event.

(Please note that this program replaces a previously planned program on Cinderella Homes, which will likely be rescheduled at a later date.)

Horse power took on new meaning around 1900, with motorized vehicles transforming transport and life throughout California and the world. Motorcycles were part of this movement away from the horse and buggy, leaving many (literally and/or figuratively) in the dust. Southern California’s climate welcomed outdoor sports, and soon motorcycling attracted the interest of newspapers, radio, and eventually motion pictures. Local motorcycling events began to draw tens of thousands of spectators.

Not only were there massive group rides down the coast and races, but also wildly-popular “hill rides” where riders pitted their stamina and engines against gravity. The 1923 Capistrano Hill Ride, for instance, drew 50,000 spectators.

Paul Clark, as a graduate student at CSU Fullerton, co-authored a report in 1978 to the Federal government spanning the wide range of outdoor recreation in the California desert. Since then, he completed his MA in history and has published extensively on recreational history. The recent Brand Book 23 of the Los Angeles Corral of Westerners features Clark’s article focusing on outdoor motorcycle recreation in California from 1900 to 1945.

CANCELED due to covid-19. Portola Hike through O’Neill Park and Lone Hill – In Honor of Phil Brigandi

Join Orange County Historian Eric Plunkett and Trail Guide Paula Dilsaver on a hike exploring several sites along Gaspar Portola’s 1769 expedition in south Orange County. Included will be interpreted talks at Portola’s campsite on the mesa, the former Indian village site of Alauna, and at the top of Lone Hill from where Portola Expedition members could spot San Clemente and Santa Catalina Islands. Along the way, you’ll be introduced to the flora and fauna of the area.

This particular hike was one that Orange County historian Phil Brigandi had planned to lead this spring; we’ll be conducting it in his honor.

This hike is divided into two parts:

Leg One. This is a gentle hike on a trail that’s partially paved/hard-packed, with little elevation gain in 2.5 hours. It will include two interpretive stops.

Leg Two. Please be advised that this is considered a moderate climb (with a few steep and rough portions) with an elevation gain of 400’ in three-quarters of a mile up to the top of Lone Hill. The total loop is about one and one-half miles and will take about an hour.

It’s not necessary to participate in both legs of the hike. When you register, please indicate if you will be continuing with Leg Two of our hike.

** There are no restrooms on this route. **

Date: Saturday, April 25, 2020

Meet at 8:45 a.m.
Hike leaves at 9:00 a.m.

Additional information (directions, parking meeting location, etc.) will be provided as part of your email confirmation.

To register for this hike, please follow this link: https://tinyurl.com/OCHSportola

Any other questions, please contact hikes@orangecountyhistory.org

 

February 2020 General Meeting: The Assault Trial of Alexander Pantages, 1929-1931

It seems there’s a sensational “trial of the century” about every ten years or so. And from the Overell Trial to O. J. Simpson, Orange County has played a role in a surprising number of these nationally covered legal dramas. Among these is the attack by powerful theater impresario Alexander Pantages on 17-year-old Eunice Pringle of Garden Grove. The stories of Pringle, Pantages, and the famous trial will be the subject of the next Orange County Historical Society meeting. Historian Paul R. Spitzzeri and Pringle’s daughter, Marcy Worthington, will present “The Value of a Girl’s Honor: The Assault Trial of Alexander Pantages, 1929-1931” on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. The event is free and open to the public.

When wealthy entertainment tycoon Alexander Pantages attacked a young dancer at his opulent Pantages Theater in Los Angeles, two criminal trials were held with polar opposite outcomes. Both trials emphasized discussion of the teen’s image and honor. The story has special resonance in this era of Harvey Weinstein and the “Me Too” movement.

Spitzzeri will focus on the story of the assault and trials, and Worthington will talk about her mother’s life before and after the attack. Eunice Pringle’s resilience in the face of relentless public exposure and courtroom grilling from the theater mogul’s attorneys was truly remarkable. She went on to live a full life which lasted almost 70 years beyond the incident.

Paul R. Spitzzeri, who grew up in Orange County, is the director at the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum in City of Industry, California, where he was worked since 1988. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from California State University, Fullerton. He has published extensively on California and regional history, including a biography of the Workman and Temple families which won an award from a national history association. Paul has given presentations to the historical society on several topics in the past, including on Carbon Canyon and the killing of Los Angeles County Sheriff James R. Barton and posse by the Flores-Daniel gang.

Marcy Worthington is the only child of Eunice Pringle-Worthington and Richard Worthington. She is a professional photographer and teaches photography, forensics, and criminal justice at the regional police and sheriff’s academy in San Diego and at a local community college. She has a M.A. in Forensic Science and B.A. in Behavioral Science, with an emphasis in Criminal Justice. Worthington has served as a reserve police officer and is a member of the San Diego Police Chief’s Advisory Board for the Disabled Community. She is writing a book about her mother which “will set the record straight, and show her to be a lady… of great character and intelligence.”

January 2020 General Meeting: Phil Brigandi: The Historian, his Work, and his Legacy

We begin this new year by saying goodbye.

There are no words to accurately sum up the loss of beloved historian and friend, Phil Brigandi, but coming together and sharing mutual memories seems to be the best way to remember him. In response, we have decided to dedicate our January meeting in his honor.

Please join us on January 9, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. (note the special time) as we review Phil Brigandi’s numerous writings of and contributions to understanding the history and cultural landscape of Orange County. A panel of those who knew him and his work will share their insights. Participants include Dr. Arthur Hansen, Mark Hall-Patton, Eric Plunkett, Chris Jepsen, and Stephanie George.

A small reception will follow.

Phil began researching and writing as a 16-year-old growing up in the city of Orange. Focusing on what and who he found interesting, those topics eventually expanded to include Orange County and southern California, and most recently, a foray into the entire Portola Expedition would have included his first publication about a statewide event.
A prolific author, he wrote more than thirty books, countless articles for newspapers, magazines, and journals, and served as editor on multiple publications.

Thursday, January 9, 2020
7:00 p.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church
2400 N. Canal St.
Orange, CA

December 2019 General Meeting: Show and Tell (and Give!!)

It’s time again for the Orange County Historical Society’s popular annual “Show & Tell” program!

Thurs., Dec. 12, 2019
7:30 p.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church
2400 N. Canal St. Orange, CA

This year, in honor of our Centennial, we’re changing things up a little. We’re encouraging you to not only bring and show us a vintage Orange County item or collection, but also to consider donating it to the Society’s archives as part of our new Centennial Collection.

Donations are entirely optional, but we’re hoping you’ll run across some great local historical material that might do more good in a research collection than in your garage or junk drawer.

Whether you donate anything or not, we hope you’ll participate in this fun evening by searching your home or office for a choice artifact or bit of ephemera that tells us something about Orange County’s past. Maybe you have an original brochure for an old housing tract. Or maybe great-grandpa’s branding iron is stored in your attic. Or maybe you have an outstanding photo that hasn’t seen the light of day in many years. Now’s your chance to trot out those curiosities you’ve had stashed away.

There will be a sign-up sheet for speakers when you arrive at the meeting. People will be called up to the podium in order of their position on the list.

We look forward to whatever surprises you may have in store for us!

November 2019 Meeting: Richard Henry Dana and Dana Point

Local historian Eric Plunkett will discuss his research on Richard Henry Dana, Jr., Dana Point’s early use as an anchorage, and the specific South Orange County locations featured in Dana’s book, Two Years Before the Mast, at the next meeting of the Orange County Historical Society.

Nov. 14, 2019
7:30p.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church
2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

Eric graduated with a degree in history from Cal State University Fullerton in 2008. His article, “Richard Henry Dana at Dana Point,” appeared last year in The Branding Iron, published by the Los Angeles Corral of Westerners.

Eric co-planned OCHS’ day-long Portola tour earlier this year and recently spoke to the Society on the subject of Hippolyte Bouchard’s raid on San Juan Capistrano. His blog, Visions of California, explores “the story of Orange County in the greater context of California history during the Spanish, Mexican and early American eras.” (visionsofcalifornia.blogspot.com)

October 2019 Meeting: One Million Years Ago, O.C.

What was Orange County like a million years ago? Find out at the next general meeting of the Orange County Historical Society when noted geologist (and OCHS member) Eldon Gath tells us “this is the way it was.”

Oct. 10th, 2019
7:30p.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

Learn how the place that’s now Orange County rose from the ocean, grew, changed, returned under the sea, and then rose again – becoming (sometimes gradually, sometimes violently) the place we now know, with all its familiar landmarks. Until Gaspar de Portola came along, there was no one to write down what was happening here. But the rocks kept a detailed record of all that went before. Eldon Gath will unlock that story and share it with us.

Gath is the president of Earth Consultants International, a geological consulting firm he co-founded in 1997, following twelve years with Leighton Consulting in Southern California. He has considerable international experience including field projects in such far-flung locales as Turkey, Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica, Papua New Guinea and Los Angeles.

Eldon has received several research grants from the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Hazard Research Program, the Southern California Earthquake Center, and the National Science Foundation for earthquake geology research in California, including paleoseismology of the Whittier fault, tectonic development of the San Joaquin Hills, tectonic geomorphology of the Eastern Los Angeles Basin, and the seismic hazards of the Santa Ana Mountains.

JUNE 13: SANTA ANA BEFORE 1900

  Celebrate Santa Ana’s 150th birthday with a special presentation, “Santa Ana Before 1900,” by local historian Manuel “Manny” Escamilla at the next meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, June 13, 7:30p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

In 1869, William H. Spurgeon and Ward Bradford bought 74 acres of the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana. The town grew quickly after Spurgeon platted the townsite the following year. It grew even faster when the Southern Pacific Railroad arrived in 1877, opening up commerce, transportation and opportunities for agriculture. Santa Ana incorporated as a city in 1886 and – after a battle with Anaheim — became the seat of the new County of Orange three years later. By any standard, Santa Ana’s first several decades were an exciting time. Opportunities seemed limitless, success was never assured, and the Wild West was reluctantly giving way to a more modern and civilized era.

Former OCHS board member Manny Escamilla is writing a history of his hometown of Santa Ana and has presented a number of related historical programs throughout the community during this sesquicentennial year. He served as a City representative on the Santa Ana Arts & Cultural Master Plan and remains on staff in the City of Santa Ana’s Planning Department. He volunteers as a consultant to local artists incorporating historical themes and site-specific considerations across the city and as a board member of the Makara Art Center. Manny received a BA in History from UC Berkeley, a Masters in Library & Information Science from UCLA and is currently working on Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.

Orange County History Roundup

The Orange County Historical Society, in cooperation with
Heritage Museum of Orange County presents:

Orange County History Roundup

Saturday, June 8, 2019
11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Heritage Museum of Orange County

  • A chance to interact with costumed interpreters, reenactors, historical societies, and genealogical societies.

  • Tours of the H. Clay Kellogg House
  • Orange County History Talks
  • Storyteller Corners (hear about OC history in their own words)
  • Live music, presented by Lilies of the West string band. 
  • Open House at the OCHS Archives
  • Artist on the Go, silhouette artist Leslie Stone
  • Nature Tours by Orange County naturalists
  • Food Trucks
  • Fruit and vegetables from the Museum’s Farm

                            

For additional information, email roundup@orangecountyhistory.org   Download the Flyer! OC Roundup Flyer

This is a free event open to the public, part of the Centennial Celebration of the Orange County Historical Society (1919-2019).

250th Anniversary Portolá Trek

THIS TOUR IS FULL! If you’d like to be put on a waiting list, please let us know via email.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

In 1769, Captain Gaspar de Portolá led the first Spanish overland expedition through what is now Orange County. In honor of this important anniversary, the Orange County Historical Society will present a guided bus tour along the Portolá route featuring stops at points along the trail and talks by local historians. The cost for the tour (including lunch—options are available—and a souvenir booklet) will be $80 for Orange County Historical Society members and $90 for non-members.

The tour starts in Tustin at 9:00 a.m. and will return to the same location about 3:30 p.m. Expect some walking and standing (30 minutes). Sign up by completing the form found here , or you can sign up and pay via Paypal below.  (You do NOT need to have a PayPal account to use this option!)

You will receive an email confirming your reservation and all additional information regarding where to meet and park.  No refunds will be available after May 1, 2019. For more information, please email us at 2019Portola@gmail.com.

To purchase tickets for multiple people, first add the ticket for your Primary Registrant to the cart, then return to this page before completing your purchase and add additional tickets for the remainder of your party.

THIS TOUR IS FULL. If you’d like to be put on a waiting list, please email us at the address above.