Treasures of CSUF’s Local History Collections

Photo courtesy of Patrisia Prestinary

Archivist Patrisia Prestinary will present a special look at “Highlights from Cal State Fullerton’s Local History Collections” at the May 9, 2024 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, 7:30 pm, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange.

Cal State Fullerton (CSUF) boasts expansive archives and special collections that enable researchers, students, and the community to uncover forgotten stories and study the forces that shaped our region over time. Attendees will learn about the breadth of the university’s unique local history holdings.

CSUF’s collections document Orange County’s evolution from agricultural powerhouse to suburban sprawl, including trade journals, packing house records, and ephemera. Researchers can also explore the experiences of marginalized groups, including Japanese American WWII internment through oral histories and camp artifacts, as well as Vietnamese refugee resettlement preserved in photographs, newspapers, and manuscripts. Additional collection highlights include the records of the Orange County Press Club, materials from the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s Orange County chapter, subject files covering major industries like water, energy, and aerospace, decades of regional periodicals and ephemera, and the Smart Studio collection containing thousands of photographic negatives chronicling everyday life.

As the Archivist at CSUF’s Pollak Library, Patrisia enables the use of special collections through primary source instruction, research consultations, processing acquisitions, and student supervision. She served on the OCHS Board and as Editor of the County Courier from 2014 to 2016. Driven by a passion for connecting scholars to historical materials, Patrisia co-founded the Orange County Archives Bazaar, bringing heritage institutions together to engage the public.

Please join us on May 9, 2024 at the meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, 7:30 pm, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange. The public is welcomed!

History Hike: Flores Peak

Flores Peak
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

4/12/24- This hike is full!

Join local historian, Eric Plunkett on a hike to the top of Flores Peak (California Historical Landmark #225) located in the beautiful confluence of Harding and Modjeska Canyons. Flores Peak rises 1,834 feet tall and is named for notorious criminal Juan Flores. In 1857 Flores and his gang escaped from Los Angeles after killing Sheriff James Barton and three of his deputies and hid out on top of this peak. It is an incredible story that includes Flores’ escape down the steep cliff of Flores Peak on horseback and his eventual capture by a Los Angeles posse.

The route is 1.5 miles in length with an elevation gain of 465’ and considered a moderate to strenuous climb. The trail is clearly marked; in addition, there are some steep sections with loose dirt. The entire hike should take about 2-2.5 hours including top of the mountain historical interpretation. If you went on the last History Hike in Weir Canyon, this will be similar.

You’ll need to complete and submit a liability waiver (sent with your confirmation) in order to participate.

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

Date: Saturday, April 20, 2024 (if it rains the hike will be held on April 27th)

Meet at 8:30 a.m. Hike leaves promptly at 9:00 a.m.

Additional information (directions, parking meeting location, liability waiver) will be provided as part of your email confirmation. The hike is limited to 20 vehicles max due to private residence parking limitations. Carpooling is strongly advised!

This hike is recommended for ages 13+.

HIKE IS FULL as of 4/12/24 (if you register now you are on a waiting list).  Priority will be given to OCHS members. To register for this hike, please follow this link:

Any other questions, please contact:

La Vida Mineral Springs of Carbon Canyon

Beautiful pool at La Vida Mineral Springs, courtesy of Paul Spitzzeri

Historian Paul R. Spitzzeri will present “’This Miraculous Health and Curative Wonder Water’: The La Vida Mineral Springs of Carbon Canyon,” at the March 14, 2024 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, 7:30pm, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange. The public is welcome!

Historic La Vida Mineral Springs, circa 1920, courtesy of Paul Spitzzeri

For most of the 20th century, La Vida Mineral Springs was a popular resort in the Brea portion of Carbon Canyon, offering hot mineral water baths and pools, a motel, cabins, a café and more. Its carbonated water was widely sold in many flavors and was promoted for its many purported health benefits. Today, little is left of La Vida, but Paul R. Spitzzeri will share with the OCHS some of the fascinating history that has flowed from the site.

La Vida Mineral Springs picnic benches,
Courtesy of Paul Spitzzeri

Born in Chicago, raised in Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach and Placentia, and with a B.A. and M.A. in History from CSU Fullerton, Paul R. Spitzzeri is Museum Director at the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum, where he’s been since 1988. In addition to writing extensively about greater Los Angeles history, Paul, a resident of the Carbon Canyon neighborhood Sleepy Hollow in Chino Hills (2/10 of a mile from the O.C. border), has delved deeply into the history of the Canyon over the last twenty years and maintains the Carbon Canyon Chronicle blog.

We look forward to you joining us on March 14, 2024 to discover the history of the La Vida Mineral Springs,7:30pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange.

Richard Henry Dana

Richard Henry Dana, Jr in 1842

“The Life and Times of Richard Henry Dana, Jr.” will be the subject of local historian Bob Minty’s presentation at the February 8, 2024 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society (OCHS), 7:30p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange.


Locals know Richard Henry Dana as the namesake of Dana Point and the author of Two Years Before the Mast — a treatise on the harsh life of sailors, which happened to also describe his 1835 visit to what’s now Dana Point. But Dana was far more a merchant seaman and memoirist. He was a lawyer, a politician, a student of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a friend of Herman Melville, a prominent abolitionist, and a champion of the downtrodden. As U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts during the Civil War, he even went before the U.S. Supreme Court, defending President Lincoln’s blockade of Confederate ports.

The Brig Pilgrim, photo from 1989

Bob Minty has been the program chair of the Dana Point City Historical Society for several years, is a Life Member of OCHS, and has been portraying Richard Henry Dana, Jr. as a reenactor for the Pilgram Program at the Ocean Institute since the 1980s. He is the go-to person for anything relating to Richard Henry Dana and has given presentations to members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors and numerous professional organizations. Some OCHS members will also recall Bob’s memorable presentation before the Society in 2017 regarding the whaling industry that once existed off the coast of Orange County.

Westminster’s History and Its Influence on Orange County

This history of Westminster, California will be the subject of local historian and author Nick Popadiuk’s presentation at the January 11, 2024 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, 7:30p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St. in the City of Orange. The public is welcome.

Celery fields, Westminster, circa 1900. Photo courtesy First American Corp

The founding of Westminster Colony in 1871 marked the appearance of a third sizable settlement in what was then southeast Los Angeles County. Many of its early residents had close ties to Anaheim and during the colony’s first decade its population rivaled that of Santa Ana. This program focuses on seven individuals and families whose influence was felt beyond the agricultural community in which they lived. It will feature photos of Westminster from the Westminster Historical Museum that haven’t been available or widely seen before.

Odd Fellows Hall, Westminster, 1920s, Photo Courtesy Don Dobmeier

Westminster’s famous Post Brothers Plow, photo from 1938, photo courtesy OC Archives

Nick Popadiuk first moved to Westminster with his parents in 1958. He attended Blessed Sacrament School during the 1960s and graduated from Evergreen State College in Washington in 1975. Following a career in the sign business, he has dedicated his time to researching local history. He is on the Westminster Historical Society board of directors and is assistant archivist at the Westminster Historical Museum. He and his wife raised their family in Westminster and still live there. He recently authored the book, Images of America: Westminster. 

Please join us to learn more about Westminster on January 11th, 7:30pm Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St. in the City of Orange!

Asian Garden Mall, Westminster, photo by Chris Jepsen