Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Buena Park, Brea, and O.C. Railroads

This map of Buena Park's Japanese Village & Deer Park appears on a number of websites, but I did at least clean it up a bit in Photoshop. This tourist attraction had a fairly short life, opening in 1967 and closing in 1974. It was north of Knott's Berry Farm, near the intersection of Manchester and Stanton Ave.
The Brea Museum & Heritage Center, 495 S. Brea Blvd, will host an exhibit July 3 to Sept. 18 on early U.S. aviation history – with an emphasis on Southern California. The exhibit includes historical photos and documents and a walk-in diorama booth featuring the famous Jan. 1910 Air Meet at Rancho Dominguez Field. The Museum is open on Saturdays, 10am to 3pm.
Rob Richardson will discuss and sign his new book, Railroads and Depots of Orange County, at the Old Orange County Courthouse on July 1, from noon to 1pm.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Izaak Walton League, Orange Chapter

Today I'm posting a few more photos from the cabin/clubhouse of the Izaak Walton League's Orange Chapter. The cabin is located at 1714 W. Santa Clara Ave., in Santa Ana. I have no solid information on these photos. I just photographed photos that were hanging on the walls there. The one above was clearly taken inside the cabin -- probably in the 1950s.
The photo above shows the groundbreaking for one of a couple additions that have been made to the cabin over the decades. It appears to be sometime in the 1960s.
The photo below shows some of the members with their catches at Newport Harbor on August 11, 1947. They've just gotten off the Lorna Pat or the Lorna Pat II, day fishing boats that were operated by J.H. "Bert" Mills. I'm admiring how empty the San Joaquin Hills are in the distance behind them.
Sorry I don't have more information on these, but I thought they were interesting and wanted to share them.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Metal egret stolen from old Orange fountain

Our lovely Orange correspondent (Orange is her city of residence, not her color) writes, "...One of the egrets on the original 1880s Plaza fountain, now installed next to the library, was stolen Tuesday (6/22)! ...Security cameras captured the shadowy image of three young men detaching it from the fountain base and running off into the nearby neighborhood. Scrap metal hounds? College prank? We don't know. However, if you see anything or hear anything... please alert the Orange Police Dept."
This is pretty sad. By all accounts, crime and delinquency has been on the rise in Downtown Orange over the past couple years. Maybe it's time for a few more police patrols in Old Towne.
The photo above shows the fountain at its original home in Plaza Park in the 1920s. The image below is a close-up of the egrets. Today, the egrets are painted white all over, rather than the more realistic paint job of yore. (Egrets? I've had a few. But then again,... Too few to mention.)

Remembering the Loma Ridge crash

Today is the 45th anniversary of the crash of an Air Force C-135A transport jet at Loma Ridge. The plane was flying out of MCAS El Toro, with most of the 83 men on board headed for Vietnam. There were no survivors.
In the two years since I wrote a blog entry about my visit to the crash site, a number of people have left thought-provoking comments. Please do go back and read them sometime.
The photo above was published the day after the crash in the L.A. Times, and shows a snapshot of a woman and child amid the plane's charred wreckage.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Native Sons of the Golden West

Here's a photo from a mid-20th-Century gathering of the Native Sons of the Golden West. (Click to enlarge.) The photo is on display in the Izaak Walton League cabin in Santa Ana, where the Santa Ana Parlor of the Native Sons currently meets.
The Native Sons were founded in 1875, and all members must be natives of California. Their goals include recognizing and preserving historic sites and buildings in our state. They also offer scholarships, do charitable work in their respective communities, host lectures, help other historical organizations, and of course socialize.
There is also a Native Daughters of the Golden West group, but today women are also welcome to join the once all-male Native Sons. Like many fraternal organizations, the Sons had some exclusionary membership policies in generations past. But for many years now they have welcomed any patriotic soul born in California.
I can recognize at least one Santa Ana Parlor member, printer and publisher J. J. Friis, in the photo above. I think I also see his dad, historian and attorney Leo Friis. Who else can you identify?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

McPherson, raisins, Orange, the Fair, etc.

Here's the McPherson Brothers' raisin packing house in lovely McPherson, California, circa 1886. Did you know Orange County briefly had a raisin industry? Did you know we had a town called McPherson here once? Raisin grape growers Robert and Stephen McPherson created the town for their employees, near what is now the intersection of McPherson Rd. and Chapman Ave. in Orange. A blight wiped out the town's grapes, nearby El Modena siphoned off some of their other business, and soon there wasn't much left of McPherson.
However, some reminders of the community lingered for a while. As Armor wrote in 1921, "...The place is surrounded by fine orchards and maintains an excellent packing house, extensive nurseries, a blacksmith shop and other conveniences for a rural community.".
(Photo above courtesy First American Corp.)
A 1916 tombstone, found under a porch in Downtown Orange, led to an interesting article in the O.C. Register.
Unless the California Latino Legislative Caucus finds a way to defeat the will of the people and the Governor, it looks like Orange County will continue to have a fair after all. See this Register article for details. We've had dedicated fairgrounds since the late 1940s and it would be a shame to see that end because of petty politics and the usual Sacramento stupidity.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Evalene Pulati, Disneyland, Gospel Swamp, RLDS

Guy Ball writes, "Evalene Pulati died this weekend. She was a long-time supporter of the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society – dating back to [founder] Adeline Walker. She saved pieces of the French mansion including one of the fireplaces [now] at the Howe-Waffle House. ...She was a pretty important person to the beginning of the Society. See our memoriam at http://www.santaanahistory.com/."
Disneyland Alumni Club will hold a gala celebration, "55 Years of Music Magic!" at the Disneyland Hotel on July 17. The event "will be a homecoming party filled with music, song, good food, and legendary entertainment." Featured guests will include Richard Sherman of the Sherman Brothers ("Mary Poppins," "Winnie the Pooh," "It's a Small World," etc.), original Mouseketeers Tommy Cole and Sherry Albaroni, Disneyland executive Ron Dominguez (whose family actually owned land on which Disneyland was built), Roy P. Disney, Coke Corner pianist Rod Miller, the Dapper Dans barbershop quartet, Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, Imagineer X. Atencio, and many others. The ticket price is $95 per person. Tickets will be available through Eventbrite.com, and special accommodation packages are available through the Disneyland Hotel. A percentage of each ticket will be donated to the Children's Hospital of Orange County. For more information, contact Jill Fletcher at (775) 835-3431 or at kanga662003@yahoo.com.
Gospel Swamp researcher Carolyn S. writes that she's looking for a 1937 article by Phyllis Carmichael, entitled, "A Brief History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." Although the title doesn't indicate it, the article focused on the history of the RLDS church in Orange County. The article is referenced in one of Dr. Doig's books about Garden Grove. If you know where to find a copy of this article, let Carolyn know my posting a response in the "comments" section for this blog post. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tiki wrap-up, bears, Santa Ana, P.E. & railroads

Thanks for being patient while I was getting my tiki program together for OCHS -- and then while I was recovering from it. Here are a couple photos from our sold-out (and then some) evening. The photo above shows the room as people were arriving. The photo of me speaking, below, is from Mike Skinner, who came all the way from Denver for the program. This topic obviously interested a lot of people, and I'm really amazed at the response we had. (If anyone out there took more photos on Thursday, I'd love to see them.)
We've all heard entertainers say, "You've been a great audience!" I figured that was so much bologna. But now I know what they mean. A great audience makes an enormous difference. And this was a great audience. I was very pleased to see so many friends, historians, and other people I respect in the crowd. I only wish I'd had more time to talk with people, rather than just talking at them.
After all this work, I'd really like to present this talk again -- especially since Don's ran out of chairs long before we ran out of people who wanted to attend. So if your local historical society needs a speaker (and you don't mind an hour-long talk), let me know.
The next photo, below, shows where I went the following evening. I attended the opening of the Bear In Mind: The Grizzly In California exhibit at the Old Courthouse Museum. The photo below shows author and featured speaker Susan Snyder with a stuffed bear (taxidermy again!?!,) and historian Jim Sleeper, whose work -- especially A Boy's Book of Bear Stories (Not For Boys) -- is heavily referenced in the exhibit. Susan shared some excellent bear yarns, and I enjoyed hanging out with Jim.
I hear the History Room at the Santa Ana Public Library will be closed down for the rest of this month. I assume this has something to do with some major remodeling/shuffling that's going on there now, but I don't have any details.
This weekend will be a "Pacific Electric Weekend" at the Orange Empire Railway Museum, in Perris, Saturday June 19, 9am - 5pm. "Ride the Big Red Cars of the Pacific Electric and enjoy a Father's Day BBQ for Dad! Though we operate selected PE cars throughout the year, this is the time of year when we have the largest group of them out to ride and photograph. Regular admission prices apply for entry, but advance paid reservations are required for the BBQ (Noon - 2 pm)."
Speaking of railways, Rob Richardson will be speaking of railways tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Old Courthouse Museum Society luncheon at the Old O.C. Courthouse in Santa Ana. I think it's too late to sign up for a boxed lunch, but guests are still welcome to come and hear the talk. I believe it begins around 11:45 am.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Tikis, Garden Grove, etc.

I'm just putting the finishing touches on my talk on 1950s/60s "Polynesian Pop" for OCHS on Thursday. I thought I'd share a few photos I took recently that didn't make the cut. All the photos in today's post come from the Kona Gardens apartment complex, at 9731 Acacia Ave. in Garden Grove. The place is totally amazing. Lava rock, tikis galore, gabled huts, thatch, tropical landscaping, nautical decor,... the whole schmeer!
If you'd like to see more, check out my tiki photo set on Flickr. For those attending my program, don't worry about spoilers. I don't think I'm using any of the photos I posted online.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg folks. My thanks to Mike Skinner for pointing this complex out, and for helping promote my program.
Two interesting articles in the Register recently: Sunset Beach voted to apply for cityhood, (can an Arcadia book be far behind?), and the swallows snubbed O.C. and headed to Vellano Country Club in Chino Hills. So much for tradition.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

My weekend of taxidermy

I can't remember when I've spent this much time with dead stuffed animals. It began Friday, when a grizzly bear, on loan from the L.A. Natural History Museum, made it's way past my office and into the elevator at the Old Orange County Courthouse to become part of their upcoming exhibit, "Bear In Mind: The Story of the California Grizzly." Susan Snyder, who wrote the book upon which the exhibit is based, will speak at the opening event, June 11 at 6pm.
And yes, it turns out that a grizzly bear DOES fit in a small elevator,... but with no room to spare!
My second encounter with stuffed dead critters came on Saturday morning when I addressed the West Floral Park Neighborhood Association on the subject of researching historic homes. It turned out they were meeting in the old cabin of the Orange Chapter of the Isaak Walton League. The cabin is located at 1714 West Santa Clara Ave., near the Riverview Golf Course in Santa Ana.
The home base for this conservation group is LOADED with dusty old animal heads and fish. Some have clearly seen better days. But it's a fascinating old place. The Orange Chapter got their charter in 1938, although I'd guess the cabin is newer. Probably built just after WWII?
Clearly, these folks take the Teddy Roosevelt approach to conserving nature, rather than the Al Gore approach. I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing. But I'm still not going to decorate my own home this way.
I'll post more on Izaak Walton League and Polynesian Pop (which took up the rest of my weekend) when I have more time.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Arnold's Farm House, Red Hill, Tustin, etc.

Someone asked me recently for an image of Arnold's Farm House, the restaurant that once stood at Manchester Blvd and Stanton Ave. in Buena Park. And look what I stumbled across in my postcard collection!
Sorry the posts are so few and far between right now. I've been scrambling to put together my "tiki" program for next week. Predictably, it's taken more time and effort than I predicted. But it'll be fun when it's finally 100% assembled and ready to roll.
Chuck N. writes, "Some years ago I came across a work song about the Red Hill [quicksilver/mercury] mine [in Tustin]. My recollection is that the song was part of an Orange County historical collection. Since then I have not been able to find it again. I believe [there was] a performance of it on a web site. If you could... point me at it... I would greatly appreciate it."
I haven't a clue. How about our alert readers? Anyone?...