June 2014 Annual Dinner – Program: Orange County’s 125th Birthday Party – Speakers: Phil Brigandi and Chris Jepsen

OCHS invites you to join us at Orange County’s birthday party

Put another candle on the birthday cake; Orange County turns 125 years old this summer! Our fair county was born in 1889 when the southern part of Los Angeles County broke away to become Orange County.

Accordingly, OCHS’ 2014 annual dinner will be an old-fashioned birthday party, to be held on Friday, June 13 at the historic Santa Ana Ebell Clubhouse—listed in the National Register of Historic Places—on 625 N. French Street in Santa Ana. Our speakers, historians Phil Brigandi and Chris Jepsen, will present a look back at our county’s struggle for independence and more than twelve decades of growth.

The festivities will commence at 6:00 p.m. with a social/no host bar. Dinner buffet includes baron of beef, poached salmon, chicken piccata, butter parsley new potatoes, glazed carrots, baby green beans, bread and rolls, dessert, a vegetarian entrée. And of course there will be BIRTHDAY CAKE and party favors for everyone!

Attendees will enjoy a silent auction featuring items like Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm tickets, and much more; the “O.C. History Trivia Game,” and great old-time music from the collection of Josh McIntosh.

This event is open to OCHS members and non-members alike, so bring your friends.

Be sure to RSVP by June 3 to Lynne Yauger. Confirmation will be made by email.

Cost: $40 OCHS members; $45 non-members.

Spring 2014 History Hike: Silverado’s Blue Light Mine – Guides: Mike Boeck, Phil Brigandi

Blue Light Mine crew
Photo courtesy Orange County Archives

Join us for a trip into the Santa Ana Mountains through Pine Canyon to visit the ruins of the Blue Light Mine, founded by Santa Ana residents Hank Smith and William Curry after they discovered silver (which gave the canyon its name) in 1877. After staking their claim, digging commenced and didn’t stop until the mid-twentieth century, during which time zinc, lead, and gold were mined, as well.

This isn’t for the faint of heart. The hike to the lower Blue Light Mine is a reasonably easy mile each way with a gain of 100-200 elevation. However, the hike to the upper mine, where guide Mike Boeck claims, “the views are grand and the look-see into the mine is more interesting,” doubles the distance and more than triples the elevation gain. (If you arrive at the lower mine and don’t feel as if you can continue, someone will take you back to the trailhead while the rest of the group continues.) Phil Brigandi will offer the history of the area along the way.

Date: Saturday, April 12, 2014
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Length: 4 hours
Bring: plenty of water, snacks, and a lunch

This is a very rare opportunity, but the hike is limited to 20 people.

Reservations are a MUST. Confirmation will be made by email and will include additional information regarding the trek.

This hike sponsored by the Orange County Historical Society in partnership with the Silverado Modjeska Recreation and Park District (SMRPD).


Follow up to the History Hike:

March 2014 Event: Field trip to Calico Ghost Town – Lecturer: Phil Brigandi – Town Guide: Serena Steiner

Calico Ghost Town, photo courtesy O.C. History Roundup Blogspot by Chris Jepsen

On Saturday, March 22, 2014, OCHS will take a day trip to the fascinating Calico ghost town in San Bernardino County. Our group will be escorted by motorcoach and provided an onboard lecture by Phil Brigandi. Once arriving at our destination, Calico historian Serena Steiner will give us a walking tour of the town. After the tour, we will have free time to wander and explore the town, visit the Lane Museum, and maybe even see Boot Hill.

Lunch is on your own, so be sure to bring additional cash for your meal at the Calico House Restaurant, as well as some optional attractions you may want to check out:

  • The Maggie Mine – Tour this 1890s mine ($2.00)
  • Pan for Gold ($2.00)
  • Mystery Shack – Cousin of Knott’s Haunted Shack ($2.00)
  • Calico-Odessa Railway – Tour Calico on the type of train that used to haul at the mines ($4.00)


Follow up to the Calico Ghost Town field trip:

OCHS 2013 Fundraiser – Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Ruby’s Diner in Anaheim – Members to meet for dinner on Friday, November 22nd

From November 17th through the 23rd, have breakfast, lunch, or dinner at Ruby’s Diner on 1128 W. Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim and 20 percent of your bill will be donated to OCHS when you bring in our Ruby’s Diner flyer.

If you would like to join us, several OCHS members plan to meet for dinner on Friday the 22nd from 6 to 9 p.m.

Happy dining, and thank you in advance for supporting OCHS!

OCHS 2013 Fundraiser – Tickets to this year’s Pageant of the Masters production – Festival of Arts, Laguna Bowl

Festival of Arts

You’re invited to this year’s production of the Pageant of the Masters, the annual festival held by the Festival of Arts! Known for its tableaux vivants or living pictures, classic and contemporary artwork is recreated by a cast who are made to look nearly identical to the original pieces.

This year’s theme, The Big Picture: A Salute to Art that Inspired the Movies, should be great fun on a warm summer evening in the Laguna Bowl. Seats are located in the Director’s Tier Side and normally cost $30, but we are offering them to our members at a discounted cost of $25. Meet up with friends for a picnic dinner, arrive early to wander around the festival art show, and get ready for your close up!

Date: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Curtain: 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $25 OCHS members; $28 non-members
Tickets will be available at OCHS’s general meetings until they’re sold out.

June 2013 Annual Dinner – Program: The Big Red Cars in Orange County – Speakers: Steve Crise & Michael A. Patris

Pacific Electric Railway Car, Santa Ana Line, circa 1943

The Society’s Annual Dinner is Friday, June 21, 2013 at the Santa Ana Ebell Clubhouse (listed in the National Register of Historic Places) on 625 N. French Street in Santa Ana. This year’s topic “The Big Red Cars in Orange County” will be presented by speakers Steve Crise and Michael A. Patris, co-authors of Pacific Electric Railway: Then & Now.

The event commences with Social Hour (including a no-host bar) at 5:30 p.m. and walking tours of an historic Santa Ana neighborhood, courtesy the French Park Neighborhood Association. The buffet dinner at 6:30 includes baron of beef, poached salmon, chicken picatta, butter parsley new potatoes, glazed carrots, baby green beans, bread and rolls, dessert, and a vegetarian entrée (the latter by reservation request).

The program starts at 7:30 p.m. Steve Crise and Michael A. Patris will give a colorful and enlightening presentation on the P.E.’s “Big Red Cars” which were once as much a part of Southern California life as freeways are today. Rare footage of the Red Cars traveling through Orange County will be shown.

Additionally, attendees will enjoy a raffle and great music of the 1920s, courtesy Josh McIntosh and his outstanding historical record collection.

This event is open to OCHS members and non-members alike, so bring your friends.
Reservations are a must, so please RSVP by June 11 to Lynne Yauger. Confirmation will be made by email.

Cost: $35 OCHS members; $40 non-members.

Spring 2013 – History Hike: Pioneers of Live Oak Canyon – Guides: David McIntosh, Phil Brigandi

David McIntosh

Learn about the early settlers in what is now O’Neill Regional Park. Our guide will be David McIntosh (pictured left in the image—click the image to view it larger), a descendant of one of the old time homestead families. This is an easy one-mile hike.

Afterwards, more adventurous hikers (who can handle steep grades and switchbacks) can join historian Phil Brigandi for a climb to the vista point above the canyon (1½ miles roundtrip).

Date: Sunday, April 14, 2013
Time: 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Parking Fee: $5 per vehicle

This hike is limited to 30 participants. Reservations are a MUST. Additional information about the hike will be provided as part of your confirmation.

Autumn 2012 History Hike – Arroyo Trabuco and Trabuco Adobe – Guide: Phil Brigandi

Trabuco Adobe
Courtesy Santa Ana Public Library

Join us on Saturday, November 3, 2012 for a trip along the Arroyo Trabuco to visit the ruins of the Trabuco Adobe, a mission outpost and later rancho headquarters. Historian Phil Brigandi will discuss the history of the adobe and the arroyo along the way. The 1-1/2 to 2 hour hike begins at 8:30 a.m.

This is about a two-mile roundtrip, moderately easy hike, but with one steep grade in and out of Trabuco Creek.

Where: Meet at the Arroyo Vista Trailhead, O’Neill Regional Park, Arroyo Vista and Paraiso in Rancho Santa Margarita. Parking is available on the street.

Reservations are a MUST. Additional information about the hike will be provided as part of your confirmation.

June 2012 Annual Dinner Program – History of Knott’s Berry Farm – Speaker: Eric Lynxwiler

Eric Lynxwiler at OCHS dinner Courtesy Chris Jepsen

The history of Knott’s Berry Farm will be the theme of this year’s Orange County Historical Society annual dinner, to be held at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, on Friday, June 15, 2012.

Featured speaker, Eric Lynxwiler, co-author of the book, Knott’s Preserved, will share the Farm’s colorful history and will debunk a number of myths along the way. In addition, the Orange County Archives will present never-before-seen film footage from Knott’s past.

Social hour (with a cash bar) begins at 5:30 p.m., and your choice of Mrs. Knott’s Famous Chicken or vegetarian lasagna, with farm fresh salad, rolls, boysenberry pie, and beverages, will be served at 6:30. Cost is $30 for OCHS members; $35 for non-members.

This dinner is open to OCHS members and non-members alike. Western attire is encouraged but not required. Reservations are a must, so please RSVP by June 5, 2012. We cannot accept walk-ins at the door.

Historic Tour 2012 – Anaheim Cemetery – Guide: Cynthia Ward

Anaheim Cemetery Photo by Daralee Ota

The Anaheim Cemetery, founded in 1866, is the final resting place of thousands of early Orange County settlers, over 500 war veterans, and members of families still living in the area. On Saturday, May 12, 2012, local historian Cynthia Ward will lead a tour of this landmark cemetery, sponsored by the Orange County Historical Society and the Orange County Cemetery District. The tour is free and will begin, rain or shine, at 11:00 a.m. in front of the cemetery’s office at 1400 E. Sycamore St. No reservations are required.

A visit to this 15-acre park-like cemetery is a great way to learn more about Anaheim and Orange County pioneers. Beneath the majestic camphor trees are the oldest mausoleum on the west coast (1914), four private family mausoleums of prominent local families, a Chinese section, and many upright monuments,