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.