|President Harrison in Santa Ana, 1891. (Photo courtesy Orange County Archives)|
|FDR in Laguna Beach, 1938. (Photo courtesy Orange County Archives)|
|Hoover visits O.C. in the late 1930s. (Photo courtesy Fullerton Public Library)|
The image below shows Senator Richard Nixon, running for Vice President, speaking at the Old Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana during a whirlwind campaign tour of his old Southern California haunts. Pat Nixon sits at the lower right of the image. Nixon was born in what is now Yorba Linda but was then an unincorporated part of the Fullerton Township. Other communities strongly associated with Nixon include La Habra, where he opened his first law office; and San Clemente, the location of his “Western White House,” which he called “Casa Pacifica.”
|Nixon on the steps of the Old Courthouse in Santa Ana. (Photo courtesy OC Parks)|
As a photographer for the Daily Pilot, Cal State Fullerton, and the Whittier Daily News, Pat O’Donnell has captured countless historic moments including Orange County’s encounters with every U.S. president from Lyndon B. Johnson to George W. Bush.
O’Donnell’s career was launched in the late 1950s when he won the Kodak High School Photographer’s Contest while he was a senior at Whittier High School. In addition to a long career as a photojournalist and time as Cal State Fullerton’s Public Affairs Office photographer, O’Donnell has taught photography for more than 20 years at Cal State Fullerton and Orange Coast College. He is a past president of the California Press Photographers Association, the Greater Los Angeles Press Photographers Association, and the Orange County Press Club. Pat O’Donnell and his wife Peggy have lived in Fountain Valley since 1972. Together, they served for years as the official photographers for the Orange County Fair.
|A panel from the exhibit. For fun, I added campaign badges from my own collection.|
The Orange County Archives is open Monday through Friday, 9am to 4:30pm, on the first floor of the Old Orange County Courthouse, 211 W. Santa Ana Blvd., in Santa Ana. (If you visit, stick your head into the office and say hello!) The Archives will also be open for special Saturday hours on Feb. 8, 10am-3pm. And yes, we will be closed on Presidents Day.