Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Be part of the Nixon Centennial

Nixon campaigns at Laguna Beach City Hall, Oct. 30, 1952 (Photo courtesy OC Parks)
 As local history goes, it’s hard to beat having a President of the United States born in your midst. Tomorrow (Wednesday) would have Orange County native Richard M. Nixon's 100th birthday. The Orange County Historical Society welcomes you to join them for a special program the day after for a thoughtful discussion of his life and legacy by The Reverend Canon John H. Taylor: "
Richard Nixon: A Century in Perspective." The program will be held Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

In 1979, John Taylor joined the staff of former President Nixon, becoming his chief of staff in 1984. He traveled with Nixon to the Soviet Union, China, and many other countries, helped with six of his books, and assisted in planning the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda. Named the Library’s director in 1990, Taylor oversaw President and Mrs. Nixon’s funerals in 1994 and 1993. As co-executor of Mr. Nixon’s estate, he helped pave the way for the opening of the Nixon White House tapes and other historical materials. And in 2007, he coordinated the Library’s entry into the federal government’s system of presidential libraries.

Taylor received his master of divinity degree in 2003 from the Claremont School of Theology. He was ordained to the diaconate in 2003 and to the priesthood in 2004, and is now the full-time vicar of St. John Chrysostom Episcopal Church and St. John’s Episcopal School in Rancho Santa Margarita.
A young Richard Nixon, Yorba Linda native.
Richard Nixon – one of the most fascinating and controversial figures of the 20th Century – was born January 9, 1913 in the small town of Yorba Linda. Today, the area's rolling hills, unassuming downtown, occasional patches of open land, and tinges of rural roots remind us of the agricultural Orange County of Nixon’s youth. Nixon’s favorite menu items are still marked at Mexican restaurants like El Adobe in San Juan Capistrano and Olamendi’s in Capistrano Beach. Surfers still point out Nixon's San Clemente "Western White House" at the southern tip of Orange County. And of course, the Nixon Library and Birthplace are the primary place where researchers and the general public come to better understand the 37th President of the United States. Although he moved back East in 1980, Nixon's imprint on Orange County is everywhere. 
Nixon speaks near his old Yorba Linda home, 1952. Note the Yorba Linda Citrus Assoc packing house in the background
The following is an abbreviated timeline, highlighting just some of his local connections.

1912 – Nixon’s father, Frank, builds the house where Richard would be born.

1913 – Richard M. Nixon is born, January 9, 1913.

1916 – Frank Nixon helps build the first Friends Church in Yorba Linda.

1919-1922 – Richard Nixon attends Yorba Linda Elementary School.

1926-1928 – Attends Fullerton High School.

1931-1932 – Pat Ryan (later Pat Nixon) attended Fullerton College.

1939 – Richard Nixon opens his first law office (now demolished) in La Habra.

1940 – Proposes to Pat Ryan on the bluff tops of Dana Point. They marry, and make their first home in La Habra.

1946 – Elected to Congress.

1950 – Elected Senator

1952 – Elected Vice President. (Re-elected in 1956)

1959 – The Nixon family dedicates the Disneyland Monorail in Anaheim.

1962 – Nixon’s defeat in the California Governor’s race leads to the creation of the Lincoln Club – an Orange County Republican powerhouse.
Leonid Brezhnev and Nixon at La Casa Pacifica, San Clemente, 1973. (Photo courtesy NARA)

1968 – Elected President. (Re-elected in 1972.) Also in 1968, the Nixon family – friends of Walter and Cordelia Knott – visit Knott’s Berry Farm.

1969 – Buys a home, “La Casa Pacifica,” in San Clemente which would become known as the Western Whitehouse.

1973 – Holds summit with Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev at La Casa Pacifica. Nixon also throws the first pitch at Angels Stadium.

1974 – Resigns the presidency as a result of the Watergate scandal. The Nixons are flown back to California, landing at MCAS El Toro, where a crowd of supporters await them.

1977 – The famous Frost/Nixon interviews are held at a private home in Dana Point.

1975-1979 – Nixon is a regular at the Shorecliffs Golf Course in San Clemente.

1980 – Sells La Casa Pacifica to Allergan founder Gavin Herbert.

1988 – Ground broken by daughter Julie Nixon Eisenhower for the Nixon Library.

1990 – The Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace opens in Yorba Linda.

1993 – Pat Nixon dies and is buried at the Nixon Library.

1994 – Richard Nixon dies and is buried just feet from the house he was born in and next to Pat.
Nixon and his birthday cake, San Clemente, Jan. 9, 1974.

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