Thursday, November 17, 2011

Orange, Don Meadows, Phil Brigandi, Irvine, books

Please note the fountain seen here behind Alfred Chapman and his unidentified associate in this 1887 photo of the Plaza in Downtown Orange. The fountain was later moved to the city's plunge at Hart Park, then was moved in front of City Hall, and today stands next to the Orange Public Library.

A couple great bits of video recently showed up on YouTube, one of which shows the re-dedication of this fountain when it was moved to City Hall in the 1980s. That doesn't sound all that great. But it is. Why? Because it's primarily a film of the late great Orange County historian Don Meadows, giving a talk about the history of the fountain and the early days of Orange. (Click here to see the video of Meadows.)

Sadly, Don Meadows was gone before I had the chance to meet him, but his presence is still very strongly felt throughout O.C.'s historical community, and his influence on generations of our local historians can't be overstated. As such, it's a great and very unexpected pleasure to have the opportunity to see and hear him talk about the history of the town he knew best.

Also posted on YouTube is a clip of video from a 1981 cable access TV show, featuring historian Phil Brigandi, still in his early 20s, but already comfortable giving a talk about the history of the Orange Street Fair. Unfortunately, we don't get to hear much of Phil's story, but we do get to appreciate just how little he has changed, except his hair style, which really has improved since 1981. (Click here to watch Retro Phil.)

(Speaking of Orange, the amazing photo below shows the Plaza, including the old fountain, in 1892. The camera was pointing northeast. Click the photo to embiggen.)
You say you don't even know Phil Brigandi? We can fix that. Phil will be selling and signing his brand new book, "A Brief History of Orange California," from Noon to 2pm, on Nov. 19th, at A & P Collectibles, 146 N. Glassell St., in Orange.

After you've bought a copy for yourself and some for Christmas presents, also shop around A&P and check a few more people off your holiday shopping list. If you want to support a local family business instead of Walmart this season, Downtown Orange is a good place to do it, and A&P is a great place to start.

Ellen Bell, who's book Images of America: Irvine just became available, will also be signing books soon. She'll be at Martha's Bookstore, 308 Marine Ave., on Balboa Island, 11am-1pm, and then later at Britta's Cafe, 4237 Campus Dr., Irvine, 4-6pm -- both on Nov. 20th. Also, she'll be signing her book at Barnes & Noble, 4600 Barranca Parkway, Irvine, 5-7pm, Nov. 22nd.

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