Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Update: Doug McIntosh sent me this great image of a Pacific Electric token to go with this post. Thanks, Doug!
Monday, December 29, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The next photo shows the Irvine family home (current site of the Katie Wheeler Branch Library) at Christmas 1944. James Irvine's beloved hunting dogs are asleep under the tree.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
A few days ago, yet another O.C. book from Arcadia Publishing hit the shelves: Images of America: Silverado Canyon, by Canyon resident and Silverado Branch Library volunteer Susan Deering.
A rough-cut of Nick Spark's documentary, "The Legend of Pancho Barnes" will be shown at the Planes of Fame Air Museum at the Chino Airport, Jan. 22, 5:30pm, as a fundraiser to complete the project. The "suggested donation" to KOCE Foundation is $50-$100 at the door. Contact Andrea Eldridge to reserve seats. Barnes had a home and private airport in Laguna Beach.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I recently discovered that KOCE-TV has posted The Story of Orange County on YouTube. This series was created for the County's centennial in 1989, and features an interesting mix of historians and other experts. Here are the segments, in order:
Episode One: "Birth of a County"
- Part 1: With Paul Apodaca, Norman Neuerburg and Harry Francisco
- Part 2: With Bernardo Yorba, Tony Forster, Richard J. O'Neill, Tony Moiso & Florence Mitchell
- Part 3: With Steve Donaldson, Glenn Dumke & Pam Hallan-Gibson
Episode Two: "Dawn of a New Era"
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Anthropologist Steve O’Neil of the Pacific Coast Archaeological Society told me that the rock’s placement has parallels to rock art sites in the south half of the Santa Ana Mountains. However, he said, “It’s strange. It doesn’t fit with anything else known in Native American or Hispanic design. It doesn’t compare to anything else.”
Historian Phil Brigandi told me that the “shallow grinding pits” he found near the rock are “similar to those used to grind pigments.” I’m told there are also some deeper grinding pits near the rock, like those used to grind meal, but we didn’t see them on our visit to the site.
I've been asked to not give the location of this site, except to say that it's on Conservancy-owned land. (If you know where it is please DON'T post about it here.) Access to the site is controlled, which should hopefully prevent vandalism.
Herman Frederick Strandt was born in Germany in 1884. He grew up in Hamburg and was fascinated by tales of American cowboys and Indians. His interest in archaeology began while helping his father drill wells. He emigrated to the U.S. and lived in Milwaukee where he worked as a janitor at a manufacturing company and began to do archaeological work in his free time. But it was not until he moved to Orange County, in 1921, that he fully immersed himself in the world of pre-history, working many archaeological sites throughout Southern California and Arizona.
Although the newspapers sometimes referred to him as “Dr. Strandt” or “Professor Strandt,” his day job was actually in the cement business. And as Sleeper points out, Strandt’s unprofessional habit of “’pot hunting’ earned him a poor reputation among Indian experts.” And yet, Strandt developed a well-known map of Indian village and burial sites in Orange County (seen in the photo above), documented sites for the WPA during the 1930s, and added considerably to our knowledge of pre-historic Southern California.
When he retired in 1947, his avocation became a nearly full-time job. He sold many of his better finds to major museums, but he also kept many relics. In fact, he had his own large museum, with about 10,000 displayed items, in the backyard of his home at 1025 S. Broadway, in Anaheim. He also owned many more artifacts which were not displayed.
Herman and his wife Minnie had at least three children: Esther, Ruth and Herbert. Herman Strandt died in 1963. His personal collection was purchased by Bowers Museum in 1953.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
If you enjoyed last week’s posts about my recent Irvine Ranch Conservancy trip, you should tune in Real Orange on KOCE-TV 50 on Friday night. They’ll be airing a segment with Chris Epting and Maria Hall-Brown that was shot during that trek. Presumably, you'll get to see more of what we saw that day. For my part, I have one more installment of my Conservancy blog series left to post (soon).
Someone is angry that the Orange County Archives provides free access to historical photos. The complaint and many excellent responses are posted on the Register’s website. The anonymous complainer is afraid that the Archives will cut into his historical society’s business of selling photos.
Speaking for myself as a local historian, this seems strange on several levels. First of all, public collections obviously belong to the public. Secondly, each historical collection has different materials, meaning their society will always have something unique to offer. And finally, historical societies should be (and most are) thrilled to have easier access to historical images. The key function of a historical society, after all, is to promote an understanding and appreciation for history among the public. Local history is a small pond, and it behooves us to work together toward our common goals.
The Register also has a brief interview with Phil Brigandi about his new book, Images of America: Orange. Phil will be signing his book tonight at the Orange County Historical Society meeting and also on Friday, 6-8pm at Barnes & Noble, 791 S. Main St., Orange.
The public is invited to a Victorian Christmas Open House at Anaheim's historic Woelke-Stoffel House (a.k.a. the “Red Cross House”) 418 N. West. St., on Dec. 13, noon to 3pm. This event will also be sort of a rededication of this beautiful building, which has recently undergone a great deal of restoration. The Mother Colony House Museum next door will also be open. (And yes, the house is also adjacent to the giant ficus which provided Imagineers with inspiration for the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House at Disneyland.)
Monday, December 08, 2008
1900 – “We… recommend that a complete list of all county indigents, together with the amounts drawn from the county by them, be published in the weekly papers of the county each month.”
1901 – “The [Orange County Board of] Supervisors, we think, should receive special commenation for their manner in spending the public money for a new court house.”
1902 – “We recommend that the City of Santa Ana vote bonds and secure their own electric light service.”
1905 – “In regard to the county library, we recommend that an inventory be taken of all books, amounting to near four thousand volumes.”
1906 – “We recommend/demand the re-establishment of the county rock pile, with a penalty that any one who will not do a fair days work shall be confined to the dungeon upon a ration of bread and water.”
1908 – “At Fairview [School], the scholars have been allowed to dig a hole some ten or twelve feet deep on the playground,… offering an opportunity for serious injury.” (Fairview is now part of Costa Mesa.)
1909 – “[The] Serra School [is] situated in an old house and but for the flag we would have passed it by. It is in good condition.” (Serra is now called Capistrano Beach and is now part of Dana Point.)
Sunday, December 07, 2008
The historic Newland House in Huntington Beach will have a Christmas Open House this Friday, Dec. 12, 4-9pm. A handbell choir will perform beginning at 5:30. This event will be held concurrantly with a meeting of the Huntington Beach Historical Society. (Their first meeting in a LONG time.) The Society will meet in the "barn" behind the Newland House at 7pm. There will be a short business meeting, including nominations of officers, and a "Pie Party" with lots of different pies to sample. A bluegrass band will also perform. Both the Open House and the meeting are open to the public.
On a related note, Idelle Jungbluth-Canaga, one of the founding members and past presidents of the Huntington Beach Historical Society passed away recently. She was also the founder of the Order of the Newland Rose.
The Orange County Historical Society's annual Author's Night will be held this Thursday, Dec. 11, 7:30pm, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. Featured authors who will be speaking, signing, and selling their books include Phil Brigandi (Orange), Roberta Reed (Santa Ana, 1940-2007), Chris Epting (Vanishing Orange County), Richard Harris (Early Amusement Parks of Orange County), and Kai Weisser (Huntington Beach Lifeguards). Consider it a painless way to do a little holiday shopping. (Although authors will also sign books that were purchased prior to the event.)
Friday, December 05, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
El Viaje de Portola equestrian group formed in 1963. Their annual ride, which began in 1964, follows undeveloped portions of explorer Gaspar de Portola's historic trail through Orange County.
This 3-day weekend horseback camping trip is a men-only event. (Wives and girlfriends traditionally head for the Swallows Inn in San Juan Capistrano.) Members include big landowners, developers, bankers, politicians, a few real cowboys and a bunch of would-be ones. The event raises money for the restoration work at Mission San Juan Capistrano. In recent years, their annual trek has been a 30-mile round trip. The ride has gotten shorter over time, as Orange County’s wilderness is paved. El Viaje de Portola also regularly ride in Capistrano’s Fiesta de las Golondrinas parade.
Today’s photo comes from Doris Walker and shows part of the group in 1969. Normally, they don’t dress this way, but that year marked the 200th anniversary of the Portola Expedition.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Meanwhile, today's image is a sneak peek at the Huntington Beach Centennial shirt from Reyn-Spooner, which should be available around March 2009. The shirt is 100% cotton and depicts scenes of the City from as far back as the 1930s, including the Golden Bear, oil fields, and the double-arches that once graced the intersection of PCH and Main St. Yes, Reyn-Spooners are expensive, but they last forever. I'd wear their shirts every day if I though I could get away with it.
Mike Haywood’s new book is Century of Service: A History of Huntington Beach, published by the Huntington Beach Kiwanis. The book has a special focus on the people and groups who have served the community over the decades. Special thanks to Mike for donating a copy to the Orange County Archives.
It’s also come to my attention that a few copies of Steve Holden’s History of the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce may still be available through the Chamber’s offices. If you’re interested, you might get in touch with them at (714) 536 8888.
Dana Point has added the historic Woodruff Home (1930) at 33872 Valencia Place to their City Historic Register. Their Planning Commission has also recommended it for Mills Act designation.
Speaking of Dana Point, a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed destruction of the “Doheny House” at 35101 Camino Capistrano is now available online. This document never would have been issued unless the Dana Point Historical Society had demanded (repeatedly) that the City and developer do the right thing. The newly minted DEIR cites the effects of the proposed project as a “significant impact” to the community’s historic resources. Although this won’t save the house by itself, it is a step in the right direction and makes the process a bit more transparent. If you’d like your comments about house included in the Final EIR, email them to email@example.com and put “35101 Camino Capistrano” in the subject line.
Monday, December 01, 2008
The embarcadero was called Bahia de Capistrano. In modern terms, it ranged from the Dana Point headlands to Doheny State Beach. This is where trading ships came to trade with Mission San Juan Capistrano. People sometimes hauled cow hides (a.k.a. "California bank notes") and other goods more than 75 miles to do business here. Hides were the heart of Southern California's economy.
Althought it seems rugged and round-about today, Cañada de los Bueyes was considered a quick route to Capistrano for those living in inland areas like the Santa Ana Canyon and Riverside. As historian Phil Brigandi put it, "We look at this today and say, 'THIS is a shortcut?'"
Sunday, November 30, 2008
At 1:35 a.m. on June 25, 1965, under fog and light drizzle, an Air Force C-135A transport jet, (see contemporary photo above), took off from MCAS El Toro. (The C-135 is the military equivalent of a Boeing 707.) The plane was en route from McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey to Okinawa, with another scheduled stop at Hickam AFB in Hawaii. Aboard were 71 Marines on their way to Vietnam, along with 12 U.S. Air Force crew members.
At 1:46 a.m., about 4 miles from the control tower, the jet disappeared from radar. For reasons unknown, the pilot did not (or could not) make a planned left hand turn and flew directly into Loma Ridge. The plane was destroyed, killing all 83 people on board.
.Navy sailor Steve Bedunah was scheduled to take the flight as far as Hawaii. However, a family emergency waylayed him. He arrived at El Toro just in time to see the plane heading down the runway. Seconds later, he saw a huge orange fireball. "I was supposed to be on that plane," he said in a 2005 O.C. Weekly interview, "I've spent 40 years trying to live that down."
Here you see Greg from KOCE-TV filming Mike Bornia, Chris Epting, and Maria Hall-Brown at the crash site. It was fitting (although unplanned) that we visited this site on Veteran’s Day. A group called Project Remembrance is planning to put a stone memorial here in the near future.
The jet was about 1,150 feet up and traveling at 300 mph when it impacted the hill, scattering wreckage and bodies across at least a mile. The bodies and all the large plane parts were recovered after the crash, but small bits of the jet are still strewn everywhere. Although mangled in the crash, many metal parts are still in remarkably good condition after 43 years of exposure to the elements. Just last year, a readable set of dog tags were found in the brush.
It turned out that our traveling companion Jim had once been part of a search/clean-up crew after a different MCAS El Toro crash on the Irvine Ranch. He had some very sobering tales to tell that I won't relate here.
Update (11-3-2013): Chris Hoctor sent me the following message and list:
"For the benefit of your readers, this is the complete list of the crew and passengers based on everything I could find (all 84). Many little details added, a number of names, middle names, and places corrected here. Some missing rank, could not find that."
The twelve crew:
Pilot: Capt. William F. Cordell, JR., 27, GA
Copilot: First Lt. John A Zietke, JR., 27, MI
Copilot: First Lt. Gary M. Rigsbee, 23, CA
Navigator: Capt. Jacques G. Senecal, 32, CA
Navigator: First Lt. Robert H. K. Shannon, 29
Flight Engineer: S/Sgt James E. Burns, 29, IL
Load Master: S/Sgt Bobby L. Calhoun, 28
Flight Engineer: M/Sgt William H. Meredith, 34, KY
Flight Engineer: T/Sgt Marlin W. Tatom, 41, MI
Load Master: Airman 3/C Elwood C. Van Nole, Jr., 19
Flight traffic specialist: Airman 1/C Charles A. Reives, 23
Cadet Gary L. Zimmerman, 20, class of 1967, Air Force Academy
Passengers killed (alphabetical by last name):
Dwight L. Aldridge, 18, AR
PFC Russell J. Babcock, JR., 19, Tomkins Cove, NY
PFC Roger J. Beiter, 18, W. Seneca, N. Y.
Lance Cpl William B. Breen, 20, Bellefonte, Penn.
Cpl James Harold Brock, 25, Birmingham, Ohio.
Cpl Emerson K. Brown, 24, Kent, Wash.
Lance Cpl John G. Brusso, Jr., 22, Ontario, N. Y.
Cpl George C. Burrow, 20, Norman, Ark.
Cpl Tucker Ross Burt, 24, Mt. Vernon, Ohio.
Phillip V. Caraccio, 24
Cpl Paul T. Chapin, 21, Coronado, Calif.
Cpl George E. College, 21, Davisburg, Mich.
Donald A. Davidson, 19, MI
Lance Cpl Douglas D. Everett, 19, Allentown, Pa.
PFC Rosco Ford, 24, Miami, Fla.
Capt Victor M. Girodengo, 28, San Diego, Calif.
Cpl Thomas Barton Gladstone, 25, Largo, Fla.
PFC Dickie L. Glover, 32, Muskegon, Mich.
PFC Gerald Griffith, 18, Jackson, Miss.
Henry D Grimm, 18
Lance Cpl Howard D. Hall, 18, Winfield, Kan.
Lance Cpl Gail K. Haning, 23, Albany, Ohio.
Cpl Charles Harmon, 21, Estill, S. C.
Lance Cpl Robert E. Harvey, 18, Upland, Calif.
PFC Harry R. Hawk, 20, Oberlin, Penn.
PFC Gerald G. Hawkins, 18, Mableton, Ga.
Kenneth J Haywood, 21
Thomas K Heacox, 18
Lance Cpl Danny E. Holder, 18, Nashville, Tenn.
Joseph M Kelly, 18
PFC James T. Kitchens, 19, Madleton, Ga.
Cpl William R. Kittel, 28, Suisun City, Calif.
Sgt James E. Lee, 28, Compton, Calif.
Richard W Leeman, 19
Robert C Lisicki, 23
Cpl Michael J. Mando, JR., 22, Tayler, Pa.
Lance Cpl Brian Elvin Martin, 20, Minersville, Pa.
Cpl James V. Matruski, 23, Johnson City, N. Y.
Henry B McKine, 18, CA
James D Meade, 21
PFC Joseph D Mogelinski, 18, Greenfield, Mass.
Capt Edward M. Morehead, 27, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Sgt James C. Moultrie, 18, Moza City, Okinawa.
Cpl Anthony E. Nelson, 22, Wilmington, Calif.
PFC Franklin Newman, 20, Loomis, N. J.
Cpl Rich G. Pacheco, 20, Portland, Ore.
Lance Cpl Enrique Danny Padilla, 20, Santa Rosa, N. M.
Cpl Michael A. Palmieri, 28, Elmira, N. Y.
Lance Cpl Alfred Eugene Peterson, 20, Littleton Commons, Mass.
Cpl Edward P. Ray, 23, no hometown listed.
PFC Robert J. Rhodes, 19, Patterson, N. J.
PFC Ronald Richard Richert, 18, Pontiac, Mich.
Cpl Lawrence O. Rohde, 22, Las Vegas, NV
PFC Gerald W. Ross, 19
Pvt. Robert S. Shedis, 22, Calumet Park, Ill.
PFC Joseph B. Sheppard, 18, Philadelphia, Pa.
Sgt Jackson Sinyard, Jr
Pvt. Gerald Skidmore, 18, Cincinnati, Ohio.
PFC Arthur Slaughter, 23, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Quinton Smith, 22
Theodore Eugene Stark, 24, Louisville, KY
Lance Cpl Charles L. Stevens, 18, Cambridge, Ohio.
Jimmie I. Swink, 26
Lance Cpl James C. Tischer, 20, Hannibal, Mo.
Cpl Timothy M. Treweek, 24, Los Angeles
PFC Lawrence R. Vanness, 19, Rochester, N. Y.
Elwood C Vannote, 19
Cpl Harrison Wallace, 25, Clemens, Ala.
David E. Walsh, 18
Ralph E White, 23, IN
James R. Wilson, 24, IN
William J Wilson, 29, MO
(To be continued...)
Friday, November 28, 2008
- Searching for the Hanging Tree (June 2008)
- Hanging Tree history and old photos (June 2008)
- Mike Bornia at the Hanging Tree (Sept. 2008)
Today's first photo (above) shows me standing under the tree. Although fires have swept through the area in recent years, the tree is only a little scorched and seems pretty healthy. You might be able to see the tree from the right lane of the southbound 241 Toll Road, if you knew exactly where to look, and were on the passenger side of a high-profile vehicle. Our trip came about when author Chris Epting read my blog entries about the tree, and wanted to do a segment about it with Maria Hall-Brown for KOCE-TV. Mike Bornia of the Irvine Ranch Conservancy organized the trek and added some other sites of interest to the itinerary. When Epting asked if I wanted to come along, I immediately answered "Yes!," followed by, "and can I bring two other people?"
The other two were Orange County historians Jim Sleeper and Phil Brigandi who have both wanted to see this site again for many years. In the photo above, Jim stands under the tree and shows Phil and Mike Boeck photos of the area that he took in the 1960s.
Mike is a docent for the Conservancy and was one of our drivers for the day. He really knows the back country and was as enthusiastic as we were.
This last photo shows (left to right) Dave Raetz (also from the Conservancy), me, Jim and Phil, in front of the tree's historical marker. It reads, "Under this tree General Andres Pico hung two banditos of the Juan Flores gang in 1857." Below that, in smaller print, it reads, "Dedicated El Viaje de Portola Ride, April 1967." The annual El Viaje de Portola equestrian ride used to follow the trail of Gaspar de Portola's expedition through much of Orange County. Today, however, very little of that land is accessible to the public.
(To be continued...)
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Phil Brigandi will hold a signing for his latest book, Images of America: Orange, on Dec. 12, 6-8pm at the Barnes & Noble, 791 S. Main St., in Orange. Phil writes, "This is my ninth book on the history of Orange, and features more that 200 pre-1950 images of the community and its residents."
Heritage Hill Historical Park in El Toro has a number of public holiday events on tap next month. First they'll host a Victorian Christmas , Dec. 6, 11am-3pm, which will include live entertainment, children’s crafts, living history demonstrations, historical exhibits, Santa Claus, and tours through decorated historic buildings. This will be followed by Candlelight Tours, on Dec. 13 & 14, 5:30-8:30pm. These evening events will include luminaria lit paths, historic buildings aglow with holiday lights and decorated with period décor. Also expect Victorian carolers, storytellers, and visits with Santa. Admission is $4.