Wednesday, March 04, 2015

The Mystery of the Sunshine Lodge

The Dana Point Historical Society was recently given fragments of an old sign (or two) from the "Sunshine Lodge." (See photo above.) The fragments were incorporated into the walls of the "Doheny House" (1928) in Capistrano Beach. That doesn’t mean the sign is from 1928, of course. It could have been added later, during repairs or renovations. In fact, based on the look of the sign, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was from the 1930s or 1940s.

So, what and where was the Sunshine Lodge?

Wherever it was, it had an “unequaled ocean view.” That lets out the old Sunshine Hotel in Orange, which is the only place with a similar name I can find in the South Orange County directories between 1899 and 1953. (Yes, I said "south." For most of our history, everything below Katella Ave. was considered "South Orange County.")

There was a Sunshine Lodge at 215 Wavecrest Ave. in Venice/Santa Monica from about 1903 through at least 1959. It was the headquarters for the local branch of the International Sunshine Society. But the sign in Dana Point seems to go with a hotel of some kind – not with the clubhouse of a social/charitable organization.

There was a hotel called the Sunshine Lodge at Coney Island in New York City around 1920. But that seems a little far to haul scrap lumber.

Do you have any thoughts on the origins of this sign? The Dana Point Historical Society and I would both appreciate any light you can shed in the comments section for this post.

[Note: Due to conflicting information from multiple sources, I initially cited the Dolph House as the source of this artifact. That information has now been corrected. My apologies for the confusion.]

Sunday, March 01, 2015

The Original Villages of Irvine

A preview brochure for Woodbridge Village, 1970s.
Historian Ellen Bell will discuss “The Original Villages of Irvine, 1960-1980” at the next meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, on March 12th, 2015, 7:00 p.m. (program begins at 7:30 p.m.) at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. This program is open to the public at no charge.

The City of Irvine did not appear by accident. The modern day metropolis, with more than 200,000 residents, was the result of well-designed Master Plan. Citrus groves and cattle grazing land became a collection of individual Villages, including the Village of Woodbridge, a model for urban planning nationwide. Ellen Bell will discuss the transition of Irvine, from a 100,000-acre blank slate to California's 15th largest city.

Orange groves are cleared at Jeffrey Rd. and Irvine Center Dr. during the construction of Woodbridge Village, 1975.
Ellen Bell’s father was a history teacher and she spent her childhood summer vacations riding in the back of the family’s Country Squire Station wagon, stopping at every historical marker or Civil War battlefield that they passed along the way. Her father had a great ability to make history come alive by making it vibrant and compelling. She grew up with a hunger for history and a passion for sharing what she learned.

30 years later, she moved to Irvine, traded the station wagon for a minivan, and began taking her own two kids on fun field trips all over her adopted home of Orange County. California provided a whole new landscape to explore and a whole new history to learn.

Ellen is the author of Irvine: Images of America, and is a member of the Irvine Historical Society. She writes about local history for the Orange County Register and Destination  Her website, OC Day Tripper, is filled with field trip suggestions for exploring Orange County’s historic treasures. Currently, she is producing a series of videos for the City of Irvine, entitled “Hidden Histories.”
The Irvine Dream, 1972: Cycling from home to office through a greenbelt.
I apologize for not consistently posting OCHS programs on this blog over the past six months or so. I'll try to get back to a regular schedule of doing that.