Sunday, December 30, 2007

Natural history, genealogy, architecture & Mr. Toad

Today's photo is an example of "programmatic architecture" (buildings that look like other objects or other kinds of buildings.) In this case, it's Walker's Richfield Gas and Service Station at the corner of First St. and Harbor Blvd in Santa Ana, in 1957.
The O.C. Natural History Museum is continuing the process of making the old United Presbyterian Church of Santa Ana (1911) their new home. Although the parking may be a problem, it's otherwise in a great location -- between Main and Bush St, on Santa Ana Blvd. There's a disputed rumor floating around that the builiding itself (which needs extensive work) may have been designed by noted local architect Frederick Eley. Click here for a pdf of the building's historical survey information.
Yesterland is waxing nostalgic for the original Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland. As Brodie Bruce once said, "...EVERYONE wants Mr. Toad's Wild Ride."
The next meeting of the Orange County California Genealogical Society will be held the morning of Jan. 5th. These meetings always feature a variety of programs that are helpful to both new and longtime genealogists. For meeting and seminar times and details, visit the OCCGS website.


colony rabble said...

Frustratingly, I now hear from Rob Richardson, the Eley expert and local author, that there is no evidence for the church being an Eley commission, and he has no idea where the consultant got the info for the district listing! Those inventories are why I stay employed! In all fairness they are frequently trying to save a neighborhood from an imminent threat, and they write them up in a hurry, repeating anything they have heard in the urban legend grapevine. So I will post as soon as I can confirm or deny the Eley connection. Sorry to get us all excited prematurely. But 30th Street Architects is doing a FABULOUS job on the plans, retaining character defining features while creating an adaptive reuse to bring the structure back to life. It is a very exciting project, and I think it will add much to Santa Ana's revitalization.
Cynthia Ward

itsnotaplace said...

It is interesting in that photo-- the corner street sign says "Bolsa" and "Harbor" rather than "First Street" and "Harbor".

I know that First street in Santa Ana turns into Bolsa when it hits Westminster, but I wonder where (or if) the street changed names back then. Was called Bolsa all the way through Santa Ana before it was know as First Street? I would have assumed that first street was first street from the first!


Viewliner Ltd. said...

I would like to wish you and yours a very Happy New Year. Looking forward to all the great 2008 posts and appreciating them all.

Chris Jepsen said...

Re Bolsa/1st St.: First St has indeed always been First St in Santa Ana, but the road that alligned with it and was ultimately conntected to it, has long been called Bolsa. I wouldn't be surprised if Santa Ana was encouraged to change the name to Bolsa during the street unification efforts of the 1960s. If so, Santa Ana won that round.

Cynthia: I'll re-write my entry to hedge a bit. I'll be happy to share more info about this project as it moves forward.

Viewliner: Thanks and a happy new year to you too!

Anonymous said...

Regarding the United Pres. Church. Troop 19 of the Boy Scouts met in the basement for many years until we could build our Scout House at the end of South Broadway, just before it curved into Main. I was one of the scouts that was "selected" to go to the jamboree in Newport. Our scout house was just across from the empty field used by the Ringling Bros. Circus, and we helped set up the tents (or at least pretended), and we help feed the elephants too.

Chris Jepsen said...

Anonymous: How cool! You got to go the the Jamboree AND feed elephants! Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

I haven't been down in the basement of the church to see what it looks like down there. But I have wandered around the ground floor and the choir loft. The museum certainly has their (restoration) work cut out for them.