Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Old El Toro and photographer Ed Cochems


Jane Norgren brough in these photos of El Toro on the cusp of suburban development. (Probably the late 1960 or early 1970s.) The Old West was rapidly being overtaken by tract housing. A number of the old buildings in El Toro, including St. George's Episcopal Mission (seen in the first photo), were saved by moving them to Heritage Hill Historical Park.

Correction: Sue McIntire of OC Parks' South County Historical Parks division writes that the building with the cross on top "is actually the El Toro School.  When the new two-room school house was built in 1914 this one was purchased and moved to El Toro Road and was used as St. Anthony’s Catholic Church until 1968.  It sat vacant and took a licking from 1968 to 1976 when the County got it.  This picture says so much to me with the 1970s houses in the background and the school left to die. The actual end of the era…."

One of Orange County's best-known early photographers, Edward Cochems, will be the topic of a lecture by Michelle Light of UCI's Special Collections and Archives at a special event at the Old Orange County Courthouse, Nov. 19, 7-8:30pm. The program will feature Cochems work between 1920 and 1945, including many unpublished, unique images from UCI's collection. There will be a reception after the talk. RSVP to (714) 973-6610.

11 comments:

Evan said...

Was that the same liquor store on El Toro Road and Rockfield Boulevard? I can't recall the name... It had a tall 1960s-era sign, one side reading "LIQUOR" and the other reading "GROCERIES". It was a victim of the recent redevelopment and widening of El Toro Road.

Lyght55 said...

Was that the same liquor store on El Toro Road and Rockfield Boulevard? I can't recall the name... It had a tall 1960s-era sign, one side reading "LIQUOR" and the other reading "GROCERIES". It was a victim of the recent redevelopment and widening of El Toro Road.

Anonymous said...

I believe it was called "Jim's Liquor."

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected...it was called: "Rod's El Toro Liquor...sorry about that!

ockid said...

I believe that's the old Osterman Store. It was located at El Toro Road and the railroad tracks. According to Joe Osterman (son of George, the longtime proprietor) it was torn down around 1967 when the railroad underpass was put in. It stood north of the railroad, and west of El Toro Road -- the heart of old downtown El Toro.

See any of Joe's books ("50 Years in 'Old' El Toro," "Stories of Saddleback Valley," "Recuerdos de El Toro Viejo") for more on the store.

Julie Hibbard said...

Your site is fantastic! I was born at St. Joseph's in Orange and moved to El Toro with my family in 1965--I was two years old! I went to church at that church!!! I remember that liquor store..it was the ONLY store out there...right out of Hooterville!
My parents are still there, tho I am in Aliso Viejo now. I LOVE these old photos...have such memories of Disneyland, Knotts, Japanese Village, Lion Country Safari...
this is GREAT stuff!
SO many memories!!!

Anonymous said...

It was "Rod's Liquor", a black and white sign. My dad used to stop there ALL the time.

Anonymous said...

Rod's Liquor. The Best news rack around, plus up-to-the-minute lotto results for the "deli" sitters. Hours of fun, gang.

Anonymous said...

Great site. I am trying to find pictures of the old shopping center on El Toro road that was farm like when there were 3 different movie theaters within walking distance, and there was bird cages! The koi ponds also next to one of the movie theaters! does any body else remember something like this?

Anonymous said...

My grandparents lived in El Toro for years. Their last name was whisler. The house was just off rockfield i believe.My brother and i used to walk from the house to the old market on El Toro road. Got a ice cream. It was great. Always loved the walk, and to watch the amtrak train go by. So peaceful and so country back then. Wish it were like that today. A great time to grow up and a great time period.

Anonymous said...

That picture is of the Osterman general store on old El Toro rd. just east of the railroad tracks. My Grandfather, Frank Serrano and his brother, Ray, were cowboys
on the Moulton Ranch (from 1920's to 60's) and sat right there on that deck drinking beer & smoking cigars with other cowboys and El Toro folk!! My Great, Great Grandfather, Don Jose Serrano, had the original land-grant
called the Los Alisos de Canada, which was about 11,000 acres. It covered what is now
Lake Forest, El Toro, Laguna Hills, and parts of Aliso Viejo.