Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wintersburg, a movie premiere, La Habra, etc.

Information of premiere film screening. Click to enlarge image.
The short film "Lil Tokyo Reporter" -- based on the life of newspaper publisher and civil rights leader Sei Fujii -- is a page more from Los Angeles' history than from Orange County. But the premiere screenings in Huntington Beach in November will raise funds to help save what is likely the most important Asian-American historical site in Orange County: The Furuta/Japanese Presbyterian Church site at Wintersburg. Click the image above for more information about this event. Advanced ticket sales will be available soon at

Each screening will include the chance to meet the producers, directors and cast of the film. The cast includes  Oscar winner Chris Tashima (Visas and Virtue), Keiko Agena (Gilmore Girls), and Eijiro Ozaki (Letters from Iwo Jima).

For more information about Wintersburg, see or search my previous posts. For more information about the movie see  (I also heartily recommend a visit to "Little Tokyo" in Downtown L.A. -- it's a fascinating and extremely historic place that is too often overlooked.)
The La Habra Historical Museum, next door to the library.
The La Habra Historical Museum has opened a new exhibit, "Defenders of Our Freedom," in honor of our military, past and present.  The exhibit features uniforms from WWI through today, and memorabilia on loan from over 40 different individuals. It also features a tribute to Sgt. 1st Class William T. Brown, the La Habra Green Beret who was MIA in the Vietnam War and whose remains were only recently recovered.  The museum is open at 201 E. La Habra Blvd., Saturday, noon-4pm.  For special tours or more information call Suzette Eschberger at (562) 999-6453.  The exhibit runs through March 16, 2013.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Archives Bazaar, art history, Sandy Heaton, etc.

Just one room at the 2010 L.A. Archives Bazaar. And this year will be bigger!
 Are you interested in Southern California history? Of course you are! Otherwise, you wouldn't be reading this, right? So you need to check out the Archives Bazaar at USC's beautiful Doheny Memorial Library, (3550 Trousdale Pkwy), this Saturday, Oct. 27th, 9am-5pm! More than 80(!) historical archives, heritage organizations and special collections from around Southern California will be represented with booths, information, and experts who can answer your questions.

A variety of programs will also be held throughout the day, including a panel discussion on "Southern California Ranchos and Homesteads" and talks on subjects like the California Car Culture and "Getting Started in Oral History." Admission is free, although parking is $10. This event is organized by L.A. As Subject. (But organizations from outside L.A. will be there too.) For more information, see their website.
Another view from the 2010 Archives Bazaar.
Diane Ryan will speak on the history of California Impressionism and the artists who created it, from noon to 1pm, Nov. 13, at the Old O.C. Courthouse, 211 W. Santa Ana Blvd. (3rd Floor Gallery), in Downtown Santa Ana. The event is free and open to the public, but do bring quarters for the parking meters. To RSVP for Diane's talk or for more information, email
Artist Sandra Heaton with a mural she designed for an O.C. Fair exhibit.
Diane's talk will be held in conjunction with the exhibit, "Orange County Illustrated: Sandra Heaton," currently on display at the Old Courthouse Museum through Jan. 2012. As a longtime artist for the County, Heaton continues to capture the natural and architectural beauty of our communities.

Speaking of art history, Diane Ryan is also offering a class on California Regionalism (an outgrowth of American Scene Painting) on Thursdays, 1:30-3:30pm, Nov. 1 to Dec. 6, at the Oasis Senior Center in Corona del Mar, for $50. Register online (under "Recreation Classes") at, call (949) 644-3244, or email Diane at
Banning Branch Library, Huntington Beach
Some of you may remember my post last year about the Banning Branch Library in Huntington Beach (a.k.a. "The Enchanted Tiki Library.") If you're interested, I've updated that story over on my other blog, The Tiki Lagoon.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fairhaven, SAAAB, Marie Schmidt, Brea, etc.

 The old Howe-Waffle House in Santa Ana seems to reflect each season -- And with all that orange and white trim, Halloween is no exception. Note that the sign in the window now advertises the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society's annual Cemetery Tour, which will be held at Fairhaven Cemetery on Oct. 20th, 10am-3pm. A lot more information is available on their website.

Meanwhile, down at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, I'm told that one of the few remaining buildings from the Santa Ana Army Air Base (shown below) is scheduled to disappear. It appears that the veterans memorial garden that was once a fixture in front if this building has already disappeared, although the flagpole remains. It seems a shame to see the remnants of the SAAAB disappearing one by one.
Historical volunteer extraordinaire Marie Schmidt passed away Oct. 1 at age 94. It was only last year that Marie retired from her volunteer work at the Placentia Public Library’s History Room -- which she, along with Pat Irot and Pat Jertberg -- created in 1991. She was also an active member of the Placentia Historical Society, the Orange County Historical Society, the Yorba Linda Historical Society and the Placentia Library District Historical Committee, and was a docent at the historic Bradford House. Marie was one of the most productive volunteers in local history, and the Placentia History Room is a fine testament to her work in our field. Let us hope that future generations pick up where she left off. Marie leaves a large family and many friends and will be greatly missed.
The photo above shows crucibles and stirring rods found by archaeologists near historic mining sites in Orange County. I took this picture recently at the John D. Cooper Archaeological & Paleontological Center. Wish I had more information on these, but even without context they're pretty interesting. I'll post a few more photos from the Cooper Center soon.

The Brea Historical Society has unveiled a new publication, Brea, Then & Now, (shown below), which features hundreds of photographs of people, places, and events from throughout the community's history. The author is Tim Harvey, and the book is available for $30 at the Brea Museum & Heritage Center, the Brea Civic Center (Community Development office), That Frame Place, and Aljon Graphics.
Does anyone have any OLD pictures of the Huntington Beach City Jail, wedged into the alley between Main St. and 5th St? The building still stands (behind the Sugar Shack cafe), but modern photos won't help this time. We're trying to confirm that the big sliding doors indeed date back to the time of the structure's use as a jail.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Halloween mysteries demystified!

Preparing balloons for the 1950 Anaheim Halloween Parade.
Want to get into the Halloween spirit a little early this year? Historian Stephanie George will share the story of Anaheim’s Halloween Festival at the Orange County Historical Society’s meeting this Thursday, Oct. 11, 7:30pm, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. The event is free to the public, and YOU are invited.

Once called the "biggest Halloween celebration west of the Mississippi," the Anaheim Halloween Festival began in 1924 and grew to capacity crowds in the late 1950s, with estimates of more than 150,000 people traveling from all over the Southland to attend this wildly popular event. These days, the Anaheim Fall Festival & Halloween Parade bears only a slight resemblance to its predecessor, but rest assured, Thursday's presentation will conjure up the sprites, hobgoblins, and broom-toting witches of the past.
The Space Age invaded the Kiddie Parade at the Festival in the 1950s.
You'll be spellbound in discovering the Festival's disputed origins, bewitched by the Slick Chicks, and howling after learning who was behind the ousting of Steve Allen, the 1970 parade's grand marshal. Eek! Finally, the unexplained will be explained as Anaheim's long, Spooktacular tradition is explored.

Stephanie George, an Anaheim native, is the archivist at the Center for Oral and Public History at CSUF, as well as the recording secretary for the Orange County Historical Society, president of the California Council for the Promotion of History -- and second place costume contest winner at the 1962 Anaheim Halloween Festival Pancake Breakfast.
The Halloween Parade passes through the heart of Downtown Anaheim in 1928.
Members of the Anaheim Historical Society and the current Anaheim Fall Festival organizing committee will also be attending this OCHS event. Costumes are welcomed, but not mandatory.