Architect and historian Alan Hess will discuss Dana Point Harbor’s architectural design and development at the Orange County Historical Society’s season kick-off meeting on Thursday, September 12, 2013 at the Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Highway, in Corona del Mar. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with an optional appetizer and dessert potluck, followed by the program at 7:30 p.m. (Everyone participating in the potluck is asked to bring a dessert or appetizer for six people.)
Dana Point Harbor is one of the most successful mid-century master-planned developments on the West Coast. Alan Hess will speak on “why it is such an important example of 1970s architecture, how it captures a unique time in Orange County history, and why its integrity is worth preserving.”
Hess is the architecture critic for the San Jose Mercury News and a contributor to The Architect’s Newspaper. He has written nineteen books on Modern architecture and Urbanism in the mid-twentieth century, the most recent one being Frank Lloyd Wright: Natural Design, Organic Architecture. Hess was a National Arts Journalism Program Fellow at Columbia University and has a M.Arch degree from the Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning, UCLA.
This program will be followed with a related lecture and a self-guided tour of Dana Point Harbor on Saturday, October 5th, sponsored by Docomomo Socal.
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.
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.
Lorraine Passero, author of Clara Mason Fox: Pioneer, Painter, and Poet of Orange County, will present the story of the O.C. pioneer on Thursday, May 9, 2013, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.
More than 50 years after Clara’s death, a box found in an attic helped to piece together the narrative of this remarkable woman. Clara’s story, expressed through her art, poetry, and writings tells us that the Mason family left Illinois in the 1880s and were among the first settlers of Silverado Canyon. A true pioneer of her era, Clara served as perhaps the first schoolteacher in the canyon, and became an early Laguna Beach artist. She eventually travelled alone to New York City to study art at Cooper Union. After marrying local rancher George Fox and moving to El Toro, Clara was the first to write a book chronicling the history of that town.
Lorraine Passero’s book offers readers insights about Orange County’s homesteading days, life during turn-of-the-century New York City, and a young woman’s personal challenges. Excerpts from Clara’s letters and poetry, as well as her art, give us insight into her talents and observations of life.
In 2010, a serendipitous discovery of more than 150 of Clara’s botanical watercolors—some dating back to 1894—were discovered in cabinets filled with plant specimens at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, California. These watercolors are currently part of the exhibit “When They Were Wild: Recapturing California’s Wildflower Heritage” (March 9 – July 8) in the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery at the Huntington Library in San Marino. The exhibit also includes work by other artists, including Alice Brown Chittenden (1859–1944), Ethel Wickes (1872–1940), and Milford Zornes (1908–2008).
A native of New York City, Lorraine Passero earned her elementary education degree at Long Island University. While attending San Diego State University she met her future husband, Jon Seeman, a sculptor and a great-great nephew of Clara Mason Fox. Lorraine received a master’s degree at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Los Angeles. During the course of her teaching career, Lorraine was the recipient of numerous awards including the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund and The New York Historical Society National Teachers Institute Award. The Orange County resident is currently developing a second career as an artist and author.
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.
Learn about grass-roots historical preservation efforts currently underway throughout Orange County at our next meeting on Thursday, April 11, 2013, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. Pictured left is the Furuta home of Historic Wintersburg, photographed in 2011 by Chris Jepsen.
Speakers will include Ilse Byrnes (SDG&E Station, San Juan Capistrano), John Linnert (Mariners Medical Arts, Newport Beach), Jeannie Gillett (Old Orchard Conservancy, Santa Ana), and Mary Adams Urashima(Historic Wintersburg, Huntington Beach).
This program will not only shine a light on a variety of important grass-roots campaigns, but will also serve as an unofficial introduction to preservation for those who may wish to attend the 2013 California Preservation Foundation Conference, which will be held in Garden Grove in May.
Ilse Byrnes has worked diligently and successfully to preserve San Juan Capistrano’s historic sites since the early 1970s, when she became involved with the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society. She has been instrumental in placing 13 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and is currently working to make the first school site in L.A./O.C. an official California Point of Historical Interest, and to save the threatened 1917 San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) power station north of Downtown.
Architect John Linnert is a third generation City of Orange native and has practiced architecture throughout Orange County for more than 20 years. Recently he has become involved with the preservation efforts for Mariners Medical Arts—an architecturally and culturally significant medical office complex at 1901 Westcliff Dr. in Newport Beach. This complex, designed in 1963 by world-renowned modernist architect Richard Neutra, has been threatened in recent years with demolition and/or terribly incompatible alterations and expansions. Mariners Medical Arts consists of three structures connected by serene gardens and covered walkways.
Jeannie Gillett, President of The Old Orchard Conservancy will tell us about her group’s efforts to purchase, restore, renovate, and operate for public benefit. She will also share the history of the Sexlinger Home and orange grove at 1584 E. Santa Clara Ave. in Santa Ana. Although the five-acre property is on the city’s Register of Historical Properties, the current owners plan to demolish the Craftsman-style farmhouse and 230 Valencia orange trees for new development. Gillett, a certified pediatric nurse at CHOC, is an Associate Board Member of the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society.
Mary Adams Urashima
Mary Adams Urashima, author of HistoricWintersburg.blogspot.com, researches oral histories, old newspapers and documents to find and share stories relating to Historic Wintersburg, now threatened with a zone change and demolition by the current landowners. As the most prominent figure driving preservation efforts for the historic community, she will provide us with an update on the current status of the situation, as well as a brief overview of the site’s history. Wintersburg came to greater public attention two years ago after OCHS held a panel discussion on the fate of the remains of the historically significant Japanese-American community (now part of north Huntington Beach). Still standing on the five-acre property is the original barn and 1912 bungalow of Charles Mitsuji and Yukiko Furuta—a rare, Japanese-owned property, purchased before California’s Alien Land Law of 1913; the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission (founded 1904, constructed 1910)—the oldest Japanese church in Southern California; the 1910 manse (clergy home), and the Depression-era 1934 Church.
Come learn about popular music groups and artists who got their start in Orange County, and the clubs and venues (like the Golden Bear—pictured left; click image to view it larger—and the Prison of Socrates) that helped launch them. OCHS will present “Orange County: Cooler Than It Knew How To Be,” on Thursday, March 14, 2013, 7:30 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange.
Longtime O.C. journalist and cub historian Jim Washburn will look at O.C.’s musical past to explain how, “despite prevailing perceptions, culture wasn’t hurtin’ behind the Orange Curtain.”
For more than 30 years, Jim has written about music and popular culture in the O.C. Register, the L.A. Times, the OC Weekly and other publications, as well as curating several exhibits about same at the Fullerton Museum Center.
Our monthly program, a tribute to the late Huell Howser, will be delivered on Thursday, February 14, 2013, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. (Photo at left from the Anaheim Historical Society Flickr site shows Huell Howser posing with the statue of Madame Modjeska at Pearson Park in Anaheim. Click the image to view this page at Flickr.)
This event will feature a panel of local historians who will share experiences of giving the enthusiastic public television host a tour of their community in a “California’s Gold” episode: Cynthia Ward (Anaheim), Phil Brigandi (Orange), Linda Jennings (Tustin), and Stephen M. Rios (San Juan Capistrano). Also included in the panel will be Rand Boyd, Special Collections & Archives Librarian at Chapman University’s Leatherby Library, where Huell donated his notes and digitized collection of “California’s Gold” episodes filmed between 1991 and 2001.
On this special evening, we’ll not only find out what the personable show host was like off camera, but we’ll also view never-before-seen footage of Huell in Orange County, and perhaps revisit a few “golden” moments from local episodes we watched on t.v. years ago.
Among the places explored in the “California’s Gold” series were: Tustin, San Juan Capistrano (twice), Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Orange, Anaheim, Madame Modjeska’s home in Modjeska Canyon, Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, the Irvine Ranch Land Conservancy, and the Starr Ranch Conservancy in southeastern Orange County.
So join us on Valentine’s Day, on a trip back in time to remember Huell and his contributions to our own history, and to revisit places in Orange County that will always be a part of “California’s Gold.”
Join us the day after Richard M. Nixon’s 100th birthday for a thoughtful discussion of his life and legacy by The Reverend Canon John H. Taylor. The program will be held Thursday, January 10, 2013, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.
Richard Nixon – one of the most fascinating and controversial figures of the 20th century – was born January 9, 1913 in the small town of Yorba Linda. Today, the area’s rolling hills, unassuming downtown, occasional patches of open land, and tinges of rural roots remind us of the agricultural Orange County of Nixon’s youth. Nixon’s favorite menu items are still marked at Mexican restaurants like El Adobe in San Juan Capistrano and Olamendi’s in Capistrano Beach. Surfers still point out Nixon’s “Western White House” in San Clemente. And of course, the Nixon Library and Birthplace is the primary place where researchers and the general public come to better understand the 37th President of the United States. Although he moved back East in 1980, Nixon’s imprint on Orange County is everywhere. (Pictured above is a recent photo of the Nixon Library and Museum taken by Chris Jepsen; click the image to view it larger.)
Our guest speaker John Taylor joined the staff of former President Richard M. Nixon in 1979, becoming his chief of staff in 1984. He traveled with Nixon to the Soviet Union, China, and many other countries, helped with six of his books, and assisted in planning the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda. Named the library’s director in 1990, Taylor oversaw President and Mrs. Nixon’s funerals in 1994 and 1993. As co-executor of Mr. Nixon’s estate, he helped pave the way for the opening of the Nixon White House tapes and other historical materials. And in 2007, he coordinated the library’s entry into the federal government’s system of presidential libraries.
Taylor received his Master of Divinity degree in 2003 from the Claremont School of Theology. He was ordained to the diaconate in 2003 and to the priesthood in 2004, and is now the full-time vicar of St. John Chrysostom Episcopal Church and St. John’s Episcopal School in Rancho Santa Margarita. For the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, he currently serves on the Commission on Ministry, Commission on the Middle East, and Committee on Constitution and Canons. He is chair of the Committee on Resolutions.
Time to start going through your garage or attic to get ready for “Show & Tell” night on Thursday, December 13, 2012, 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.
This is the third time this popular and crowd-pleasing event is being hosted, but each one is unique since attendees share historical artifacts, heirlooms, and memorabilia from their personal collection with members of the Society and other guests.
What will we uncover at this month’s meeting? Perhaps a tool used for picking oranges or avocados? Or a name badge from your employment at Disneyland that you wore on opening day. Maybe your great-grandfather’s branding iron? Or an outstanding photo of Orange County that few have seen before.
A sign up sheet will be posted at the front door, and those who brought an item to share will be called forth—in the order on this list—to share their item.
Whatever the night will bring, we look forward to the surprises in store for us!