Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Architectural historian extraordinare Alan Hess has two upcoming speaking engagements you can attend. First, tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. at the Laguna Art Museum, Alan will discuss California Modern architecture. Next month, to celebrate the City of Irvine's 50th Anniversary, Alan will speak at the Great Park Gallery, Sept. 19, 1:00 p.m. You may still have trouble saying "Great Park" with a straight face, but this is a darn good reason to drive out there.
I noticed two more articles on the Bowers Museum Blog that I hadn't noticed before. One is about the amazing coffered ceiling in their Rancho Room. The other describes the background on a photo of a burst solar heater during the "Big Freeze" of 1937. Yes, that "technology" has been around since at least 1891.
And you thought Al Gore invented solar panels! He did not. That's the Internet you're thinking of.
Posted by Chris Jepsen at 8/26/2015
Saturday, August 22, 2015
|Book cover art appealing to a, um, ... niche audience.|
The section of the book that's retold most often in O.C. is the part where Dana described his visit to the cove below San Juan Capistrano that we now call Dana Point. He arrived as a crew member aboard the Pilgrim, which had come to collect cow hides from the mission. He described the area and recounted the process of flinging hides down from the bluff-tops to the beach below, where they were gathered and taken by rowboat to the waiting ship. He famously called this cove "the only romantic spot on the coast."
Every year, the Dana Point Historical Society does a nonstop public reading of Dana's book. In Dana Point Harbor, there's a replica of the Pilgrim, which is visited by thousands of school children each year. The harbor also hosts an annual Tallship Festival. And a larger-than-life statue of Dana (which looks nothing like him) seems to gaze out toward the horizon. But seldom do you see the Chamber of Commerce using the sort of language you find on this book cover:
|The back cover. Only slightly less lurid than the front..|
My thanks to Mark for sending this copy along to the Orange County Archives. One never knows what amazing O.C.-related curiosities he's going to send our way. Just when I think I've seen every form of Orange Countiana, he or one of our other friends/patrons surprises me with something obscure. And that's a very good thing. It's a slow day when you don't learn something new.
|Promotional slug from inside the book.|
Posted by Chris Jepsen at 8/22/2015
Friday, August 21, 2015
|Motoring in Orange County, 1910s|
Abel “Horse Face” Stearns (and his Stearns Rancho Company) was once the largest landholder in Southern California. He had vast holdings across today’s Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange Counties. Here in O.C., his lands included the following ranchos: La Habra, Los Coyotes, San Juan Cajón de Santa Ana, Las Bolsas and Bolsa Chica. But the drought of the 1860s devastated the cattle industry and Stearns was forced to throw in with a real estate partnership to get out from under crushing debt. The partnership, called the Robinson Trust, successfully brought Stearns back into the black by selling land. Stearns died in 1871, but his company went marching along.
The following article, from the May 13, 1918 Santa Ana Register, refers to a document in Orange County’s Book of Deeds 324, page 193:
DEEDS COUNTY ALL OLD TIME RIGHTS IN COUNTY ROADS
The county has received an unusual, rather remarkable deed. It covers strips of property from Yorba to the sea, and it slides into deeds given as far back as 1868. The deed, presented to the Board of Supervisors today by the Stearns Rancho Company, is for all interest that the company has in strips of land reserved for road purposes.
As deeds were given by Alfred Robinson, trustee for the ranch company, from 1868 on down to the present day, there were reservations made for sixty-foot roads at township and section lines and for forty-foot roads at quarter-section lines. These reservations left title in the ranch company. Since then, whenever a new road was needed to which the county did not have a deed, the ranch company has been called upon to give deeds.
The matter has been of considerable annoyance to the ranch company as well as to others. The ranch company decided to give over to the county every right it has in the reservations, and to that end it has offered the county a deed. That deed is a blanket deed. It merely says that to the county it deeds all of its reservations for road, natural stream and ditch purposes.
|Whittier Blvd. in the La Habra area, looking west, circa 1918|
Posted by Chris Jepsen at 8/21/2015
Sunday, August 09, 2015
|Fashion Island, Newport Beach.|
|Westminster Mall sits on a 93-acre triangular site.|
Little inspires more nostalgia in Orange Countians than the shopping malls and shopping centers they grew up with. For me, it's memories of The Broadway, B. Dalton Books, Big Boy Jr., and the fresh-squeezed lemonade stand at Huntington Center (before it became the mess that is "Bella Terra"). It's also Silverwood's, koi ponds, Modernist playgrounds, and tostadas in the Robinson's lunchroom at Fashion Island. For you, it may be fond memories of shopping with your parents or friends at the Mall of Orange, the Laguna Hills Mall, or Fashion Square.
|La Paz Plaza, Mission Viejo|
I hope at least a few of our local malls survive. It's hard to get nostalgic over cookie-cutter big box stores.
Posted by Chris Jepsen at 8/09/2015
Thursday, July 30, 2015
What? You didn't know that the Mission Viejo Co. was once owned by an enormous tobacco company?
The Mission Viejo Co. was founded in 1963 by Donald Bren and the O'Neill family. Later, Bren sold his part of the company and bought the Irvine Co. instead. In 1969, Philip Morris invested in the Mission Viejo Co. and in 1972 they bought it outright. The company developed Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo, and some communities in other states. The cancer people finally sold the company to developer J.F. Shea Co. in 1997.
(Previous Mission Viejo film posted here.)
Posted by Chris Jepsen at 7/30/2015
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
|Fruit crate art (1920s), extolling twin miracles: Oranges and California.|
Author David Boulé will speak on “The Orange and the Dream of California” at the Orange County Historical Society’s season kick-off program, Sept. 10, 2015, at Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Highway, in Corona del Mar. A social hour and optional potluck of appetizers and desserts will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by the program at 7:30 p.m. The event is free to the public, and I hope to see you there!
In his presentation, Boulé will explore the five hundred year, intertwined history of the orange and California and how these two iconic entities have built upon one another to feed the imagination and conjure both a compelling fantasy and a remarkable reality.
A third generation Californian, Boulé has a lifelong fascination with the history, culture, achievements and uniqueness of the region. For decades he has scoured paper ephemera shows, flea markets, antique stores, the Internet, libraries, museums and bookshops to collect items and information relating to the California citrus industry. A career in marketing communication has given him particular interest and insight into how the orange helped enhance the popular image of California as a place of potential, reinvention and fulfillment.
|1915 brochure promoting Orange County|
David’s collection includes historic photographs, hundreds of postcards, rare advertising and marketing materials, books, phonograph records, posters, journals and personal papers, newspapers and press clippings, and many California orange-themed souvenirs and promotional items. His collection has been featured in exhibits, he has given numerous presentations. His book, The Orange and Dream of California, was published in 2014 by Angel City Press and will be available for sale at the event.
Posted by Chris Jepsen at 7/29/2015
Saturday, July 25, 2015
The film footage here includes La Paz Plaza, schools, parks, rolling hills, grazing sheep, Mission Viejo's first church (Lutheran), the then-new Orange County Airport terminal, UCI, Fashion Island, Newport Harbor, and aerial views of the contruction of Dana Point Harbor. For further memories of childhoold there's a shot of the contruction of Old MacDonald's Farm and an Indian Guides pinewood derby. Interior views of "Spanish Modern" (or perhaps Man of La Mancha Modern?) tract homes will also take you back.
Observant viewers will notice both Richard O'Neill and Tony Moiso of the Rancho Mission Viejo in planning meeting scenes. And just to make sure you know it's the late 1960s, it's backed with easy listening version of Beatles hits. My thanks to Hedy Henderson for pointing out this great footage!
Posted by Chris Jepsen at 7/25/2015
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Heritage Museum of Orange County (3101 W. Harvard St., Santa Ana) has been hosting some great historical programs in their speaker series. These Saturday events begin with refreshments at 9am, followed by a program at 10am. The next two are,...
- July 25, 2015: Dalia Taft, Archivist, Orange County Jewish Society — “Celebrating 158 Years of Jewish Orange County: The Early Years”
- Aug. 15, 2015: Luis Fernandez, Professor of History, Santa Ana College - “America’s Favorite Passtime: Early Orange County Baseball”
Posted by Chris Jepsen at 7/22/2015