Monday, October 22, 2007

Brush fires, home tours, Old Courthouse, etc.

In his first Orange County Almanac (1971) historian Jim Sleeper wrote,
“…Nothing can compare to the devastation wrought by a santana pushing a brush fire. Indelibly seared on the memory of countians are such incendiary nightmares as the Green River Fire (1948), which blackened 46,000 acres and consumed 22 homes; the Stewart (1958), 66,400 acres and 16 homes; and… the Paseo Grande (1967), 47,639 acres and 66 homes.”
Of course, there have been more major brush fires since then, including the current blaze running through Santiago Canyon, Limestone Canyon Park, Foothill Ranch and the Tomato Springs area. As of 7pm tonight, the fire had burned about 15,800 acres and destroyed one outbuilding.

The photo above shows the Green River fire in 1948, bearing down on the canyon town of Silverado. (Photo courtesy Orange County Public Library.)
The historic Courtroom 1 in the Old Orange County Courthouse will be closed through Oct. 25th for painting. The rest of the building, including the County Archives, will remain open for business.
Local historian and Coastline Community College instructor Diane Ryan will present a two-part historical tour in early November. On Nov. 2nd, Diane will present a history of the Homestead Museum, which includes a 1920s Spanish Colonial mansion, the Workman House, and a private cemetery. Also, you'll learn about Hiram Clay Kellogg and the Victorian house he built in 1898. This information will enhance the second day of the program – Nov. 9th – which will feature docent led tours of the aforementioned sites. Fee of $65 includes both days, and a chartered bus and lunch at Brennan's Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney on Nov. 9th. To register or for more information, call (714) 843-5061 before Oct. 30. This event is co-sponsored by the Huntington Beach Adult School and Circle of Friends.
The California Council for the Promotion of History will hold its annual conference Oct. 25-27, in Arcadia.


Anonymous said...

Dear Chris,
Just found your website and its GREAT for an old timers like me. The Green River fire of 1948 was the first fire I was evacuauted from. I was 6 months old. I can't say I remember it, however my Mother retold the story many times. My Father was on duty at El Toro Marine base, so she went out of Silverado Canyon with me in just a diaper in the rumble seat of our neighbors car. Fire was on both sides of the road. Water was trucked into the canyon in those days for the residents. She did that twice and said, "no more". We moved to the flatlands of Santa Ana by The old Prentice House on First St. My Father hated to leave the "canyon lifestyle", but realized the danger. I currently live in Cowan Heights and have for 30 years. We prepared for this evauation, but luckily didn't have to go. Still love my canyons!

Anonymous said...

Chris, your photo of the Green River fire shows the ridge between Silverado and Ladd canyons ablaze. The building in the center lower right is now the Silverado post Office. The structures on each side of that building still stand today.
-Mike in Silverado