Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Logan Barrio book, the Skate Ranch, etc.

Today's photo is an April 1956 aerial view of the Skate Ranch in Santa Ana. As I understand it, chickens used to wander around the grounds. To read and share memories of the Skate Ranch, visit this thread at OCThen.com.

A book on the history and families of Santa Ana's Logan Barrio will be published in late September - in time for this year's Logan Reunion. Titled Santa Ana's Logan Barrio: Its History, Stories, and Families, the book will include many vintage family photos as well as stories and remembrances of many of the early families of the neighborhood. Local author Mary Garcia grew up in Logan and for the last few years has created a reunion memory book for the benefit of residents and those who grew up there. The Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society is publishing the expanded edition as part of its local history series. The book will be available at the reunion and through the Society.

The City of San Clemente recently received a Preserve America grant for $30,000 to pay for signs, kiosks and maps to showcase the community's historic landmarks. The city itself will match these funds with an additional $30,000 for the project.

The Santa Ana Black Historical Society has started a website. There's not much information there yet, but hopefully it will grow. I'll add it to the links column at right.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tell a friend!

Today's image is of the old Alpha Beta sign on 17th St., in Costa Mesa. The store itself had a very cool Mid-Century design. The wide front overhang had a big hole which allowed a palm tree to grow up through it. The building's prominent colors were turquoise and white. The front face of the store had a large neon sign, spelling out "Costa Mesa." The whole thing was torn out in the 1990s. (The photo here at right comes from quovadimus.org.)

Thanks again to the Anaheim Historical Society for having me as their speaker at their annual dinner on Friday. It was great fun! (And weren't those the best carrots you've ever eaten?!)

Mike Cotter of the San Clemente Historical Society just emailed out a valuable document which describes exactly how the California Environmental Quality Act is used to protect historic resources. As he puts it, "Please at least skim it, and you'll quickly become the neighborhood expert on historical preservation." Please link over to the PDF if this subject interests you.

Although the focus of Anaheim's new "Muzeo," isn't nearly as local as I'd hoped, there is good news. I'm VERY pleased that the traveling "Behind The Magic: 50 Years of Disneyland" exhibit will be there sometime in the next couple years. Everything I've seen and heard about this exhibit has been uber-positive. I will probably be among the first in line for this.

Speaking of the Muzeo, I've added a link to their new website in the column at right.

Members of the pioneer families of Santa Ana Canyon will hold their annual shin-dig at Yorba Regional Park on Aug. 4, beginning at 12:30pm. For information, contact Diana Robles at (714) 739-5716 or Tom Grijalva at (714) 579-7945.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Santa Ana, upcoming events, etc.

This week’s image is an old crate label for Bishop's Avocados from La Habra. I’m no expert on these, but I can admire the art anyway.

Sorry about the lag between updates. I could blame it on a lack of news (which is a legitimate claim), but it’s closer to the truth to say I’ve just been too busy. Between family stuff and prepping for tomorrow’s Googie talk in Anaheim, I just haven’t had much free time. Hopefully things will let up a bit in the near future.

The Santa Ana Historic Preservation Society (SAHPS) needs more space in the Howe-Waffle House, so the O.C. Historical Society (which has borrowed a corner of the house for many years) is now moving their library out and into a storage facility. It’s been a busy week over there for John Sorenson and company, packing and moving. Hopefully the storage facility will be a temporary solution, and better digs will become available soon. (Let me know if you have a good suggestion.)

Guy Ball writes, "...I posted a bunch of photos of the Santa Ana Naval Air Station (or Marine Corps Air Station Tustin, depending on your city of preference)... I'm also looking for more photos so if people have them, please let me know." He continues, “Also, I just added the National Register of Historic Places on the Santa Ana site.”

The Historic French Park Association, in Santa Ana, has announced the dates for their 2007 home tour: December 8th & 9th. There are many amazing houses in that neighborhood, so I’m really looking forward to this event.

Also, the next California Heights Home & Garden Tour, in Long Beach, has been slated for Oct. 21st. Details are available online.

The Costa Mesa Historical Society will hold it’s Old-Timers Day in Estancia Park (at the Diego Sepulveda Adobe) on Sept. 15th. This is a free event for folks whose families arrived in Costa Mesa prior to 1940. To contact the Society, call (949) 631-5918.
I hope to see some of you tomorrow at Anaheim Historical Society's annual dinner. If you're there, come up and say hello after the program.

Monday, July 16, 2007


The Anaheim Historical Society will hold their Annual Banquet at the Jagerhaus Restaurant, 2525 E. Ball Rd., on Fri., July 27, 6-9pm. There will be two speakers: Peter Cominsky, the new director of the Muzeo (formerly the Anaheim Museum), will discuss plans for this expanded cultural center. The other speaker will be me, Chris Jepsen. I'll be discussing Googie Architecture, with a special emphasis on the Mid-Century roadside architecture of Anaheim and Orange County. Dinner is $30 for members, $35 for non-members. RSVP by July 23 to the Anaheim Historical Society, PO Box 927, Anaheim, CA 92815.

And speaking of shameless self-promotion,... This month's issue of Coast magazine features an article about Googie. Jessica Forsythe interviewed me for the article, and included a lot of my thoughts, but she also wove in a lot of good information from other sources.

There were a couple minor glitches in the Coast article, one of which I'll clear up here and now. The article stated that I have been involved in local history for over 30 years. Now, I may have been a precocious toddler, but that's just ridiculous.

I also learned that the spooky image of me holding up an old article (about the burning of the Pacific Beach Club) is now the standard Freedom Communications file photo of me. Next time the press takes my photo, I'll try to have it be for a more cheerful story.

Today's photo (above) shows the elegantly outlandish Beach-Lin Car Wash, at 126 S. Beach Blvd, in Anaheim. It was built about 1960 and stands today as one of the better remaining examples of Googie architecture in Orange County. They still do a steady business, which is good. But the Beach-Lin is now in a redevelopment zone, which makes me nervous.

I scanned through the last month of my posts, and realized how heavy-handed I've been with Huntington Beach material lately. Sorry about that. Normally, I try to mix things up a little.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Troop 1, California Watercolor, new links, etc.

Today's photo is of the Troop 1 Scout Cabin on 11th St in Huntington Beach. It was built for the Boy Scouts in 1924 by the Lions Club, the Local Carpenters Union, and the Edison Co., and was renovated in 1974.

"Regionalist Paintings of California" will be exhibited in the Vi Smith Concourse Gallery at John Wayne Airport from now through Oct. 8th. These watercolor paintings depict California life from the 1930s to the 1970s. Northern California artists are displayed in Terminal A, across from Gates 12-14. Southern California artists are displayed in Terminal B, across from Gates 1-3. California regionalism and scene painting are, IMHO, the highwater mark for art in this state. I'm looking forward to another visit with the likes of Rex Brandt, George Post, and Emil Kosa, Jr. In fact, it sounds better than any of the big local museum shows I've heard about this year.

If you're interested in nostalgia, rather than just history, then click on over to OCThen.com, where there have been quite a few recent posts. It's always interesting to see which details of our past stick in people's memories. Perhaps some of these posts will jog your memory as well.

You may have noticed that I'm still on a link-adding binge. The latest are the Fullerton Railway Plaza Association, the Beckman Coulter Heritage exhibit, and the Laguna Beach Historical Society. See the column at right for these links and others.

Seems like any time I flip past PBS these days, I see Phil Brigandi showing Huell Howser around Orange. It's a good episode. It's also cool to see Lisa Ackerman and her mom in the segment on the A & P Antiques shop.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My 100th post should've been more exciting than this.

The man-made landscape surrounding Knott's Boot Hill was artist Paul Von Klieben's last big project before his death. It's being demolished this week. More of the charm of the original Ghost Town to be replaced by big ugly thrill rides. (The south end of the construction walls is seen in today's photo.)

It looks like another blow to mid-century roadside signs in O.C. The City of Buena Park is on a mission to buy up and demolish the old motels in their tourism corridor. Just last week, I was just admiring the cool sign at the Franklin Motel as I drove along Beach Blvd. And now it's slated for demolition. Yes, many of these motels are slimy mudholes and hives of scum and villany. But the continuing loss of colorful, funky signage from our highways is pretty sad. Read more about Buena Park's plans in the Register. I particularly enjoyed the police officer's quote about replacing the motels with something positive, like,... maybe... a wax museum!

Movies On The Fox will present Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Special Edition,” on Thursday, July 12, 2007. (I think the special edition is the one where Richard Dryfuss shoots first.) The evening begins at 8:00 pm and includes a cartoon and a preview. The event takes place outdoors in the parking lot behind the Fox Fullerton Theatre, 512 N. Harbor Blvd., with the movie projected onto the back wall of the historic Fox. Bring your own chairs or blankets. Admission is free; however the hat will be passed for donations for the Fox.

Dave at the Daveland blog asked if I'd add him to my links, which I was happy to do. However, this spurred me to also add several other sites that regularly offer interesting peeks at the park's history. They're all filed under "Disneyland." Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy Birthday America

Over at “Greetings from Huntington Beach,” I just posted an article about that city’s first big 4th of July celebration in 1904. It also includes photos from that era and links to some of the music played by the band that day.

Continuing the theme, it looks like the Huntington Beach Public Library has added a gallery of historical photos to their website. Most are still poorly captioned and pretty grainy, but it’s a big step in the right direction. Today’s photo (above right) is taken from this HBPL set, and (according to Diann Marsh) shows the “Goddess of Liberty” on a float in the 1908 H.B. 4th of July Parade.

The Planning Commission in Brea added the Van Ness House (1923), 120 S. Redwood Ave, to the Brea Historic Resources Register last week.

Since this is such a short update, I’ll throw in this link to a short video history of Disneyland’s Peoplemover, featuring original music from the attraction.

Speaking of Disneyland, July 9th will mark the 50th Anniversary of Disney’s patent on their “teacups” attraction. (See? I told you Disneyland’s three-year-long 50th Anniversary event would never end.)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Yesterland, Book Baron, Tustin, and updates

Werner Weiss of Yesterland.com (one of my favorite websites) stopped by the O.C. Archives on Friday. Werner grew up in O.C., which explains his fondness for defunct Disneyland attractions. He now lives halfway across the continent, but he took a few hours out of his family vacation to say hello and do some research. He is as friendly and enthusiastic as his website would suggest. (That's Werner on the left side of the photo.)
Just in time for Independence Day, Yesterland has added a section about Disneyland's "America On Parade," which celebrated America's bicentennial with a long procession of hydrocephalic historical heroes.
I reported earlier that The Book Baron in Anaheim is going out of business soon. Well, it looks like the end is near. Their 40%-off going-out-of-business sale starts Thursday.
The Tustin Area Museum and the Tustin Preservation Conservancy will host tours of the architecture and history of "Old Town" Tustin on July 7th and 21st, 10am-2pm. Each tour will last one hour and will leave from the Senior Center, 200 South C St. To make reservations for a seat on the tour trolley, call (714) 731-5701. More details available online.
I stopped by the old Reuben E. Lee in Newport Harbor on Saturday, and it still looked pretty much like its old self. However, the chain link fence and giant dumpsters around it mean it's not long for this world. I hope the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum has the sense to at least save a few iconic momentos (like the tops of the smokestacks) to place on display in their new facility. (I hope they also saved a few memorable props from the "Scary Dark Ride" at the Fun Zone.)
Speaking of the tearing things asunder,... Bear-yTales.net has an update on the changes to Ghost Town at Knott's. Looks like the world's first all-electronic shooting gallery may also be on its way out.
On a happier note, the Register recently provided an update on the plans to re-open The Parasol Restaurant in Seal Beach.
That's it for now. Happy 4th of July!