Saturday, April 25, 2009

El Toro

Here are two of my favorite things, mashed together: Local history and "California School" watercolor painting. This painting hangs on the wall at the Saddleback Area Historical Society's library, which I had the pleasure of visiting yesterday. (More about that at a later date.)
A paper tacked up next to this painting reads, "Edgar Gerry Starr (1908-1971) was born in Imperial, CA on Sept. 8, 1908. He graduated from high school in Oakland and then atteneded the CCAC [California College of Arts & Crafts] and PAFA [Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts]. Returning to Los Angeles, he studied with Lawrence Murphy and Millard Sheets at the Chouinard School of Art. During the 1930s he was employed at Disney Studios while exhibiting in juried shows in California and Arizona. He made many sketching trips with Sheets to Mexico. After 'discovering' Puerto Vallarta, he and his wife settled there in 1954. His Disney work includes 'Pinocchio,' 'Fantasia,' and 'Song of the South.'"
The painting depicts the old Santa Fe depot at El Toro, which was built in 1887. Sadly, it is long gone.
Recently, someone called me out (in a "mostly kidding" way) for referring to Lake Forest as El Toro. I do so because it was called El Toro for over 153 years (since at least 1838). It's only been Lake Forest since 1991. The only lakes or forests in the area are completely manmade.
As my friend Jeremy Tweet points out, "There's another Lake Forest, CA. It's located at Tahoe. Where they have things like lakes and forests."
On the other hand, perhaps we should rename Anaheim "Alpine Falls, California." After all, they have a fake Matterhorn with a fake waterfall on it. And the name Anaheim has only been in use since 1857. The new name would probably help developers sell more condos, too. (I shouldn't give them ideas!)


Kelson said...

It seems obvious to me: if you're talking about the city before 1991, call it El Toro. If you're talking about the city since 1991, call it Lake Forest. After all, it's been 18 years since they changed the name. For this year's high school graduates, it will have been Lake Forest all their lives.

Chris Jepsen said...

Yes, I know. My obstinate stance is mostly a futile dig at the corporations that replaced South County's wide open spaces with beige stucco, purposely convoluted roads, and fascist HOAs. Besides, I need to hone my "old curmudgeon" skills before my hair turns grey.

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting and I like this painting. Thanks for posting! - Daralee

Bob said...

I personally prefer the town name of "Fake Forest".

Chris Jepsen said...

Wow! I had not heard that one before. I knew Anaslime, Garbage Grove, GuadaLaHabra, Goonie Beach, and a number of other derrogatory nicknames for O.C. cities. But "Fake Forest" was a new one on me!

colony rabble said...

The Los Angeles Anaheim of Los Angeles...nah, too stupid. Nobody in their right mind would EVER use Los Angeles as a marketing device. Right?

Stephanie said...

Hey, don't forget Klan-aheim!

And, no doubt, you'd be petitioning to get the name Annagau back on the ballot, which only lost to the name "Anaheim" by one vote. ;-)

Captain said...

It'll always be El Toro to me. Once we long-time residents die off, then it'll become Lake (Fake) Forest.

So there. Nyeah.

I also can't bring myself to call Capistrano Beach (which is where I grew up) "Dana Point", so I'm not singling out LF.

I'm sure there were similar folks, now long dead, who insisted on calling La Palma "Dairyland" and part of what would become Westminster "Barber City", long past each places official time of name change.

Julie Hibbard said...

It is and will always be El Toro to me. Born and raised there. And, Kelson, no matter what this year's graduates know the city as, the high school is still ETHS--El Toro High School!!
I went to the opening of the ThrifyMart...the KMart...Rod's Liquor!
I'm gonna be on this site all night!!