In his 2006 book, Orange County Place Names, A to Z, historian Phil Brigandi writes, “Andrew Jackson Cook settled here in the 1880s, and gave his name to the area. In the 1930s, his son, Jack Cook, started a lunch counter and bar at the junction of El Toro Road and Live Oak Canyon Road. Today, it is a popular watering hole for motorcyclists and other canyon travelers.”
Andrew J. Cook was born in Missouri on May 9, 1846 to Hyram and Roseana Cook. Voter records show him having a fair complexion and blue eyes. In 1850 he lived in Tomlinson, Arkansas. In 1870 he lived in Los Nietos in Los Angeles County. He married Mary Ann Barker in Downey, California on Oct. 12, 1871. He and Mary (shown in the photo above), and their many children lived in Phoenix, Arizona prior to moving Orange County. Andrew died April 20, 1905 here in Orange County.
The photo above (courtesy the Orange County Archives) shows Cook's Corner during the flood of 1969.
In his 1976 book, A Boys’ Book of Bear Stories (Not for Boys): A Grizzly Introduction to the Santa Ana Mountains, historian and longtime Holy Jim Canyon resident Jim Sleeper wrote, “Distinguished equally for its excellent cuisine and quaint décor, this roadside rest stands as the gate house to the Santa Ana Mountains. For nearly 30 years the author has found Cook’s Corner a wellspring of inspiration for distilling the truth about these mountains.”
The website by the current owners of Cook’s Corner claims that, “...Andrew Jackson Cook... got about 190 acres of Aliso Canyon in a land trade in 1884. In 1926, his son, Earl Jack "E.J." Cook converted a cabin into a restaurant for miners and local ranchers. After Prohibition ended in 1933, alcohol begain being sold, and Cook's Corner became a full-fledged bar. In 1946, Cook bought an old mess hall from the Santa Ana Army Air Base and the tavern was born. In 1970, a Santa Ana motorcycle accessories owner purchased it and Cook's Corner was molded into what it represents today…an old-fashioned roadhouse. Cook's (as it is normally referred) is still as rugged-looking as a World War II-era-mess-hall-turned-biker-bar should look.”