Orange County Chronology
Children’s Hospital of Orange (CHOC) triples in size with the construction of a seven-story tower.
Following the bankruptcy of Crystal Cathedral Ministries in 2010, Crystal Cathedral is sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange which announces the church will be renamed Christ Cathedral.
Federal census sets county population at more than three million.
National mortgage crisis sends local home prices plummeting.
The Anaheim Ducks win the Stanley Cup.
Villa Park Orchards Association closes, Orange County’s last citrus packing house.
Auction of former Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro closes, and construction of the Orange County Great Park begins on this site.
The Anaheim Angels win the World Series.
Disney’s California Adventure opens.
The El Toro Marine Corps Naval Air Station is closed. After a long public debate and several elections, part of the area is set aside to form the “Great Park.” The rest will be developed.
The Knott family sells Knott’s Berry Farm to Cedar Fair LP of Ohio.
Orange County files for Chapter 9 bankruptcy after a $1.5 billion investment pool loss. The county emerges from bankruptcy 18 months later, but it will be years until the debt is paid.
The first stretch of the Foothill (241) toll road opens.
The Orange County Performing Arts Center opens. Rancho Santa Margarita is founded.
Orange County’s population reaches 2,000,000.
The Crystal Cathedral is completed.
Villa Park Orchards Association packs its last crop of oranges.
Irvine Ranch sold for $337 million.
With the fall of Saigon, thousands of Vietnamese refugees arrive in Southern California. Many later settle in Westminster and Garden Grove.
The first portion of Dana Point Harbor opens.
University of California, Irvine takes over Orange County Hospital.
Major flooding in the Santa Ana Mountains and downstream areas.
Yorba Linda native Richard M. Nixon is elected President of the United States.
South Coast Plaza opens. Last commercial walnut groves torn out.
Anaheim stadium opens.
The University of California, Irvine opens for classes.
Laguna Hills Leisure World opens (now the City of Laguna Woods). St. Joseph Hospital completes its expansion to 290 beds along with Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).
Orange County’s population tops 1,000,000.
Rossmoor Leisure World at Seal Beach opens.
Classes begin at Orange County State College (now California State University, Fullerton).
Hughes Aircraft, Orange County’s first major aerospace plant, opens in Fullerton. The Santa Ana (I-5) freeway is completed through Orange County.
Chapman College moves down to Orange from Los Angeles. Newport Harbor Buffalo Ranch opens on Irvine Ranch.
The third national Boy Scout Jamboree is held on the Irvine Ranch.
The Municipal Water District of Orange County is formed.
Pacific Electric (Red Car) passenger service ends in Orange County.
Orange Coast College opens on the site of the former Santa Ana Army Air Base.
The case of Mendez v Westminster ends school segregation in California.
El Toro Marine Corps base and lighter-than-air blimp base in Tustin are established.
The Santa Ana Army Air Base and Los Alamitos Naval Air Station are established.
The Orange County Airport opens at its current location. Prado Dam completed.
Major flooding sweeps across Southern California.
Newport Harbor dedicated following extensive dredging program. San Juan Hot Springs closed.
Ortega Highway opens.
The Long Beach earthquake causes serious damage and loss of life in Orange County.
First Festival of the Arts held in Laguna Beach; Pageant of the Masters added for second season.
The Santiago Dam is built, creating Irvine Lake.
Santiago Orange Growers Association in Orange is the largest Valencia packing house in the nation. St. Joseph Hospital opens.
Orange County Flood Control District formed.
The Coast Highway opens.
San Clemente is founded by Ole Hanson.
First commercial radio station (KFAW) established in Santa Ana.
The first oil well comes in at Huntington Beach. Walter Knott moves to Buena Park to go into the berry business with his cousin, Jim Preston.
Oil discovered on Chapman Ranch in Placentia. The Orange County Free Public Library is established. Orange County Historical Society formed.
Some 1,600 local residents serve in the armed forces during World War I.
The Joy Zone amusement park opens in Seal Beach.
The Orange County Hospital and Poor Farm opens.
Fullerton Junior College opens. The first Fuerte avocado orchard is planted in Yorba Linda.
City of Stanton incorporates to block Anaheim’s plans for a sewer farm in the area. Dis-incorporates 13 years later.
Glenn L. Martin of Santa Ana builds and flies his own airplane. Santa Ana Co-Operative Sugar Co. plant built at Delhi.
Cypress and Stanton are founded along new Pacific Electric line.
Pacific Electric “Big Red Cars” first reach Orange County. Three rail lines are eventually—built down the coast to Balboa, through the center of the county to Santa Ana, and across the northern end of the county to Yorba Linda.
Huntington Beach is founded. Originally known as Pacific City, it was renamed two years later after it was acquired by a group of investors led by Henry Huntington. The new Orange County Courthouse opens for business.
James Irvine donates Irvine Park to the county.
The first sugar beet factory in Orange County is built at Los Alamitos.
The Southern California Fruit Exchange (Sunkist) is formed. The first co-operative packing houses are organized. Trabuco Canyon Forest Reserve is created (becomes part of Cleveland National Forest in 1908).
Santa Ana & Newport Railway begins service. The first commercial celery crop is raised in Orange County.
First Orange County Fair held.
Orange County is formed out of the southern portion of Los Angeles County. Santa Ana is selected as the county seat.
The Newport Beach wharf is built by the McFadden brothers. Shakespearean actress Helena Modjeska builds home in upper Santiago Canyon.
The Santa Fe Railroad arrives, breaking the monopoly of the Southern Pacific. A real estate boom follows. Fullerton is founded by the Amerige brothers. Buena Park is founded by James Whitaker.
A mysterious grape disease devastates the local wine and raisin industry.
The first successful oil well in the area is drilled near junction of Brea Canyon and Tonner Canyon.
Mining boom in the Silverado area.
The Southern Pacific extends their railroad from Los Angeles down to Anaheim. The rails reached Santa Ana two years later.
Orange is founded by Alfred Chapman and Andrew Glassell.
Santa Ana is founded by William Spurgeon. Tustin is founded by Columbus Tustin. Westminster is founded by Rev. Lemuel P. Webber. The first attempt is made to create Orange County. The first English walnut trees are planted. The Anaheim Gazette, the first local newspaper, is founded. Newport Bay becomes a shipping point.
The Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana is partitioned. The Stearns Ranchos, west of the Santa Ana River, are placed on the market, opening that area to settlement.
Anaheim Landing is established on Alamitos Bay. It is moved to Anaheim Bay three years later.
James Irvine and his partners buy two old Mexican ranchos and a part of third for a sheep ranch. Irvine buys out his partners in 1876, giving him some 110,000 acres.
Two-year drought devastates the local cattle industry.
Anaheim is founded as a wine growing community. The first settlers arrived two years later, after the first grapevines were planted.
California becomes a state. Los Angeles County is formed. It included what is now Orange County.
War breaks out between the United States and Mexico. California is captured, and ceded to the United States by treaty two years later.
Juan Forster is granted the Rancho Mission Viejo.
Rancho San Joaquin, later part of the Irvine Ranch, is granted to José Sepulveda.
The secularization of the missions opens vast areas to be granted as private ranchos.
Mexico breaks away from the Spanish Empire, taking California with it.
Argentine pirate Hipólito Bouchard raids San Juan Capistrano.
Great Stone Church at Mission San Juan Capistrano is dedicated after nine years of construction. It was destroyed by an earthquake six years later.
Juan Pablo Grijalva establishes a rancho south and east of the Santa Ana River. It was later granted to his heirs, the Yorba and Peralta families, as the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana.
Manuel Nieto is given grazing rights between the Santa Ana and San Gabriel Rivers, the first rancho in Orange County.
Mission San Juan Capistrano is founded. It was moved to its current site two years later.
Gaspar de Portolá leads first Spanish overland expedition into Orange County.