Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Here's an ad for the Pacific Electric Railway's "Red Cars" and buses, from the Dec. 31, 1950 issue of the Huntington Beach News. Today they'd also tell you that it was "green" to take mass transit.
Update: Doug McIntosh sent me this great image of a Pacific Electric token to go with this post. Thanks, Doug!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The man who saved Buena Park

Today's photos show what is now known as George Bellis Park, at 7171 Eighth St. in Buena Park. The first photo is undated but probably from the 1940s. The second photo is from 1956. I was curious to know who George Bellis was, did some digging, and found the answer interesting,...
The citizens of Buena Park were alarmed when they heard that the new Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) was going to cut their town in half. The plans showed a 27-foot-high berm bisecting the community, with only one pass-through, on Grand Ave., connecting the two halves. Moreover, the plans called for only one freeway exit for the city. By most accounts, it would have ruined the city.
The community fought tooth and nail for a better plan. Buena Park Chamber of Commerce president George Bellis was probably most responsible for getting the State to adopt a new below-ground-level plan for the freeway with three bridges connecting the north to the south, and improved freeway access.
Bellis spent most of his life in the automobile sales and tire business, and had served as president of the Southern California Automotive Dealers Association. He was also Buena Park's representative to the Associated Chambers of Commerce of Orange County. Perhaps his experience with these and other trade organizations gave him experience in dealing with Sacramento.
George Bellis was also responsible for organizing the creation of the ten-acre Buena Park Recreation Park and softball field on land rented from the Santiary District. In the 1940s, the Buena Park Lynx, the local womens softball team, was contending at national championships, and the community got behind the effort to give them a decent place to play. The park, which was later renamed in honor of Bellis, also served as the first home of Buena Park's Silverado Days festival.
Speaking of the "Center of the Southland", the Buena Park Historical Society's Annual Board Installation event will be held Jan. 26, 6pm, at the Stage Stop Hotel, 6601 Beach Blvd.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas in Orange County

Before I give myself a little Christmas vacation from blogging, I'm posting an assortment of images from Orange County Christmases past. The image above shows the parlour of the Keech House at 201 E. Washington St. in Santa Ana in about 1910. It remains one of the city's most attractive homes even today. Among his various accomplishments, E. E. Keech was one of Orange County's first prominent attorneys. He also founded the Orange County Law Library, was a president and founding member of the Orange County Bar Association, and trained a young Earle Stanley Gardner (creator of Perry Mason) in the law. I'm sure I'll be writing more about Keech and his interesting family in the coming year.
The next photo shows the Irvine family home (current site of the Katie Wheeler Branch Library) at Christmas 1944. James Irvine's beloved hunting dogs are asleep under the tree.
The third photo, (below,) shows the Church of Reflections (next to the Lake of Reflections) at Knott's Berry Farm at Christmas in 1963. Both the church and the lake were recently removed, although bits of the church have been incorporated into a new version of the building on the other side of Beach Blvd. This removal, along with the removal of the Little Chapel by the Lake, meets the Constitutional requirement of separation of church and theme park.
My final image for today, (below,) shows Santa Claus visiting the Orange County Board of Supervisors at the County Hall of Administration in December 1988. Supervisors Tom Riley and Don Roth are contributing gifts to a toy drive. Later, Roth resigned in a scandal that involved him accepting gifts.
If I don't post again before the 25th, I'd like to wish you all a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fullerton Police, bank robbers & the Frontier Motel

I just added about 100 images to the Orange County Archives' Flickr account. The two sample images above are both from Fullerton in 1927. The first (top) shows the entire Fullerton Police Department. (Back row, from left: Ernest Garner, Steve R. Mills, Frank Moore, Robert C. Mills. Front row, from left: John Trezise, Chief James M. Pearson, John Gregory, Jake Deist.)
The second image shows Fullerton P.D. Patrolman Ernest E. Garner with criminals W. Benjamin Morrison (left) and George Horine (right) of San Jose. The two 19-year-olds robbed a bank in Saratoga, California the week before and were on the run. The one at the wheel of the car fell asleep as they drove through Fullerton, and crashed near the corner of Spadra Rd. (now Harbor Blvd.) and Whiting Ave. These are the best dressed teenage criminals I've ever seen.
"Don't tell my mother," Morrison begged the police. "She had carbon monoxide poisoning a couple of years ago and lost her memory. If she finds out about this it will give her a setback."
On a completely unrelated note, the WalterWorld blog has a nice before-and-after post about the Frontier Motel in Anaheim. In the 1950s, this motel's promotial literature referred to it as a "New Ranch Style Motel," and stated, "We Aim at Pleasing You - and We Hope We Hit the Mark!" It was hard to go wrong marketing "Ranch Style" anything in the 1950s. And of course the Western theme tied nicely into both mid-Century pop culture (in general) and Frontierland at Disneyland.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rankin's, Santa Ana

In honor of all of those who are still doing their last-minute Christmas shopping, here are a couple photos of Rankin Dry Goods (a.k.a. Rankin's Department Store) around the time of its opening in 1917. The building still stands at 117 W. 4th St. (at Sycamore) in Santa Ana, but the business is long gone.

Friday, December 19, 2008

O.C. Fair, Silverado Canyon & Pancho Barnes

Reader Barry Kazmer sent me this photo of the 1962 Orange County Fair. He writes, "I also have a bunch of photos of the O.C. Fair Rodeo from 1964 as well. I did that for a summer school class in Anthropology I took. I used the RCA (Rodeo Cowboys Association) as a foreign culture and I managed to get an A in the class.”
A few days ago, yet another O.C. book from Arcadia Publishing hit the shelves: Images of America: Silverado Canyon, by Canyon resident and Silverado Branch Library volunteer Susan Deering.
A rough-cut of Nick Spark's documentary, "The Legend of Pancho Barnes" will be shown at the Planes of Fame Air Museum at the Chino Airport, Jan. 22, 5:30pm, as a fundraiser to complete the project. The "suggested donation" to KOCE Foundation is $50-$100 at the door. Contact Andrea Eldridge to reserve seats. Barnes had a home and private airport in Laguna Beach.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sunkist, KOCE, and the Story of Orange County

Today's image is the cover of a 1932 coloring book from the California Fruit Growers Exchange. The illustration isn't identified as Orange County, but it might as well be. The CFGE created the iconic "Sunkist" brand around 1907, and in 1952 they changed their name to Sunkist Growers, Inc. A marketing powerhouse, the CFGE even made orange juice a standard breakfast drink for most Americans. As Phil Brigandi likes to say, they "could have even taught Walt Disney a thing or two about marketing." (Thanks to Doug McIntosh for the image.)
I recently discovered that KOCE-TV has posted The Story of Orange County on YouTube. This series was created for the County's centennial in 1989, and features an interesting mix of historians and other experts. Here are the segments, in order:

Episode One: "Birth of a County"
  • Part 1: With Paul Apodaca, Norman Neuerburg and Harry Francisco
  • Part 2: With Bernardo Yorba, Tony Forster, Richard J. O'Neill, Tony Moiso & Florence Mitchell
  • Part 3: With Steve Donaldson, Glenn Dumke & Pam Hallan-Gibson

Episode Two: "Dawn of a New Era"

  • Part 1: With Irvin Chapman & William Myers
  • Part 2: With Doug Langevin, Esther Cramer & Barbara Milkovich
  • Part 3: With Eugene Hanson & SAAAB trainees

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Strandt's Indian Map

This is the map of Indian village and burial sites in Orange County that Herman F. Strandt created in 1921. This post is sort of an addendum to my Dec. 13th entry. (The map comes by way of Jim Sleeper, by way of Mike Boeck, by way of Mike Bornia. My thanks to all of the above.) More information about Strandt can be found in Paul G. Chace's paper on Locating the Buck Ranch Prehistoric Burial Ground, Huntington Beach, California -- which is an interesting bit of reading in its own right.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Santa Ana, Dana Point, Golden Bear, etc.

The 1909 postcard above makes me wonder what kind of person schedules a "stag party and smoker" for 10:00 Christmas morning. Out of curiosity, I drove past and photographed 506 S. Sycamore in Santa Ana.
Speaking of scurrilous doings in Santa Ana, here's the latest on the historic Basler-Twist House: The big pieces of the house have been moved to Cabrillo Park, mostly rejoined, and topped with a new roof. Unfortunately, I hear that the contractors didn't follow historical standards, the City didn't pay much attention to the plans, and extended exposure to the elements did the interior no good. I hear there's even a big stained glass window missing.
Also in Santa Ana, the Centennial Heritage Museum is changing its name to the Heritage Museum of Orange County, which is not to be confused with its earlier name, the Discovery Museum of Orange County.
On Jan. 3, the Dana Point Historical Society will celebrate the City's 20th Anniversary. The event will begin at 2pm aboard the brig Pilgrim in Dana Point Harbor. Former mayors Judy Curreri and Mike Eggers will speak about the founding of the city. Souvenir city history booklets and a Dana Point 2009 historical calendar will be available. The Historical Society will have a number of displays.
It comes to my attention that Robert Carvounas' history of Huntington Beach's landmark Golden Bear is almost ready to go to press. Once published, it will be available through the Huntington Beach Art Center on Main St.
This month's Atlantic Monthly has an article combining four of my favorite things: Disneyland history, Space Age architecture, retro-futurism, and P.J. O'Rourke. Check it out.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Irvine Ranch Conservancy: Altar Rock and Herman Strandt

Altar Rock, 2008 (Photo by author)
(Continued from 12-1-08)
The last stop on our Irvine Ranch Conservancy tour was at Orange County’s most mysterious archaeological site: Altar Rock. Historian Jim Sleeper describes it as "a peculiarly carved one-ton sandstone rock... [once at] the center of an Indian camp. Numerous 'pot hole' rocks surround the stone, which resembles an elfin throne." (Rancho San Joaquin Gazette, Vol. III, No. 1) . Anthropologist Steve O’Neil of the Pacific Coast Archaeological Society told me that the rock’s placement has parallels to rock art sites in the south half of the Santa Ana Mountains. However, he said, “It’s strange. It doesn’t fit with anything else known in Native American or Hispanic design. It doesn’t compare to anything else.” . Historian Phil Brigandi told me that the “shallow grinding pits” he found near the rock are “similar to those used to grind pigments.” I’m told there are also some deeper grinding pits near the rock, like those used to grind meal, but we didn’t see them on our visit to the site.
Altar Rock as photographed by historian Jim Sleeper, date unknown.
The rock was a well-known landmark to Irvine Ranch cowboys. According to Sleeper, it “was finally excavated and examined in 1954 by Herman Strandt, and amateur archaeologist from Anaheim… He carefully measured the three-foot high stone, calculated its eleven different planes… and chalked on its sides a number of unnoticed ‘dipper-like’ petroglyphs which have since disappeared. …At the time of Strandt’s study, the [rock] also bore the initials ‘RF’ on its top and front.” (Both this quote and the black and white photo above come from Jim Sleeper’s 3rd Orange County Almanac.) . I've been asked to not give the location of this site, except to say that it's on Conservancy-owned land. (If you know where it is please DON'T post about it here.) Access to the site is controlled, which should hopefully prevent vandalism.
Herman Strandt points out features on his famous map.
Having shared what little is known about this curious site, I’m going to step back and discuss the aforementioned Mr. Strandt. . Herman Frederick Strandt was born in Germany in 1884. He grew up in Hamburg and was fascinated by tales of American cowboys and Indians. His interest in archaeology began while helping his father drill wells. He emigrated to the U.S. and lived in Milwaukee where he worked as a janitor at a manufacturing company and began to do archaeological work in his free time. 

But it was not until Strandt moved to Orange County, in 1921, that he fully immersed himself in the world of pre-history, working many archaeological sites throughout Southern California and Arizona. . Although the newspapers sometimes referred to him as “Dr. Strandt” or “Professor Strandt,” his day job was actually in the cement business. And as Sleeper points out, Strandt’s unprofessional habit of “’pot hunting’ earned him a poor reputation among Indian experts.” And yet, Strandt developed a well-known map of Indian village and burial sites in Orange County, documented sites for the WPA during the 1930s, and added considerably to our knowledge of pre-historic Southern California. 

When Strandt retired in 1947, his avocation became a nearly full-time job. He sold many of his better finds to major museums, but he also kept many relics. In fact, he had his own large museum, with about 10,000 displayed items, in the backyard of his home at 1025 S. Broadway, in Anaheim. He also owned many more artifacts which were not displayed. . Herman and his wife Minnie had at least three children: Esther, Ruth and Herbert. Herman Strandt died in 1963. His personal collection was purchased by Bowers Museum in 1953.
Altar Rock (with sunglasses for scale), 1979.
[Update: The aforementioned Stephen O'Neil writes: "I am quite sure that [the rock] is Native American in origin -- enough other singular looking large stone carvings have been found in the south coastal region, very different from one another and yet each of a unique design, that something the size and shape of [this one] is not surprising. More is known of the local and frontier Hispanic culture, and there is more documentation of the pioneer Spanish/Mexican families, that if they had made it we would have some clue."]

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Anaheim, Irvine Ranch, Orange, books, etc.

Today’s photo shows Disneyland around Christmas in 1966. These days the castle is slathered in a LOT more holiday décor. Recently, the castle’s walk-through was rebuilt and re-opened.
If you enjoyed last week’s posts about my recent Irvine Ranch Conservancy trip, you should tune in Real Orange on KOCE-TV 50 on Friday night. They’ll be airing a segment with Chris Epting and Maria Hall-Brown that was shot during that trek. Presumably, you'll get to see more of what we saw that day. For my part, I have one more installment of my Conservancy blog series left to post (soon).
Someone is angry that the Orange County Archives provides free access to historical photos. The complaint and many excellent responses are posted on the Register’s website. The anonymous complainer is afraid that the Archives will cut into his historical society’s business of selling photos.
Speaking for myself as a local historian, this seems strange on several levels. First of all, public collections obviously belong to the public. Secondly, each historical collection has different materials, meaning their society will always have something unique to offer. And finally, historical societies should be (and most are) thrilled to have easier access to historical images. The key function of a historical society, after all, is to promote an understanding and appreciation for history among the public. Local history is a small pond, and it behooves us to work together toward our common goals.
The Register also has a brief interview with Phil Brigandi about his new book, Images of America: Orange. Phil will be signing his book tonight at the Orange County Historical Society meeting and also on Friday, 6-8pm at Barnes & Noble, 791 S. Main St., Orange.
The public is invited to a Victorian Christmas Open House at Anaheim's historic Woelke-Stoffel House (a.k.a. the “Red Cross House”) 418 N. West. St., on Dec. 13, noon to 3pm. This event will also be sort of a rededication of this beautiful building, which has recently undergone a great deal of restoration. The Mother Colony House Museum next door will also be open. (And yes, the house is also adjacent to the giant ficus which provided Imagineers with inspiration for the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House at Disneyland.)

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Orange County Grand Jury

A key duty of the Orange County Grand Jury is to act as a watchdog over "all aspects of county government, including special districts, to ensure the county is being governed honestly and efficiently..." (The photo above shows the 1954 Grand Jury in the Department 2 of the Old O.C. Courthouse.) Each year, they submit a report on their findings. Here are a few interesting quotes from early Grand Jury reports:

1900 – “We… recommend that a complete list of all county indigents, together with the amounts drawn from the county by them, be published in the weekly papers of the county each month.”

1901 – “The [Orange County Board of] Supervisors, we think, should receive special commenation for their manner in spending the public money for a new court house.”

1902 – “We recommend that the City of Santa Ana vote bonds and secure their own electric light service.”

1905 – “In regard to the county library, we recommend that an inventory be taken of all books, amounting to near four thousand volumes.”

1906 – “We recommend/demand the re-establishment of the county rock pile, with a penalty that any one who will not do a fair days work shall be confined to the dungeon upon a ration of bread and water.”

1908 – “At Fairview [School], the scholars have been allowed to dig a hole some ten or twelve feet deep on the playground,… offering an opportunity for serious injury.” (Fairview is now part of Costa Mesa.)

1909 – “[The] Serra School [is] situated in an old house and but for the flag we would have passed it by. It is in good condition.” (Serra is now called Capistrano Beach and is now part of Dana Point.)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas, Orange, Huntington Beach and books

Today's photo shows Downtown Orange in December 1937. The photographer was standing in front of Watson's Drug Store, looking west at the Plaza.
The historic Newland House in Huntington Beach will have a Christmas Open House this Friday, Dec. 12, 4-9pm. A handbell choir will perform beginning at 5:30. This event will be held concurrantly with a meeting of the Huntington Beach Historical Society. (Their first meeting in a LONG time.) The Society will meet in the "barn" behind the Newland House at 7pm. There will be a short business meeting, including nominations of officers, and a "Pie Party" with lots of different pies to sample. A bluegrass band will also perform. Both the Open House and the meeting are open to the public.
On a related note, Idelle Jungbluth-Canaga, one of the founding members and past presidents of the Huntington Beach Historical Society passed away recently. She was also the founder of the Order of the Newland Rose.
The Orange County Historical Society's annual Author's Night will be held this Thursday, Dec. 11, 7:30pm, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. Featured authors who will be speaking, signing, and selling their books include Phil Brigandi (Orange), Roberta Reed (Santa Ana, 1940-2007), Chris Epting (Vanishing Orange County), Richard Harris (Early Amusement Parks of Orange County), and Kai Weisser (Huntington Beach Lifeguards). Consider it a painless way to do a little holiday shopping. (Although authors will also sign books that were purchased prior to the event.)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Mystery photo

Today's mystery photo comes from a school somewhere in Orange County, around 1955. About half the children have cameras on their desks, and the second boy from the front is wearing a "Davey Crockett" t-shirt. Clearly, this was not a modern school room, even by mid-'50s standards. Someone suggested it might be Fountain Valley Elementary School, but that was pretty much a wild guess. As always, any help you can offer in identifying this photo would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

El Viaje de Portola

I've recently written about two historical plaques placed on the Irvine Ranch by this group, so I thought I should provide a little background on them.
El Viaje de Portola equestrian group formed in 1963. Their annual ride, which began in 1964, follows undeveloped portions of explorer Gaspar de Portola's historic trail through Orange County.
This 3-day weekend horseback camping trip is a men-only event. (Wives and girlfriends traditionally head for the Swallows Inn in San Juan Capistrano.) Members include big landowners, developers, bankers, politicians, a few real cowboys and a bunch of would-be ones. The event raises money for the restoration work at Mission San Juan Capistrano. In recent years, their annual trek has been a 30-mile round trip. The ride has gotten shorter over time, as Orange County’s wilderness is paved. El Viaje de Portola also regularly ride in Capistrano’s Fiesta de las Golondrinas parade.
Today’s photo comes from Doris Walker and shows part of the group in 1969. Normally, they don’t dress this way, but that year marked the 200th anniversary of the Portola Expedition.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Huntington Beach and Dana Point

I'm afraid the next chapter in the ongoing Irvine Ranch series must wait until next week, when I can do more research. Hopefully it will be worth the wait.
Meanwhile, today's image is a sneak peek at the Huntington Beach Centennial shirt from Reyn-Spooner, which should be available around March 2009. The shirt is 100% cotton and depicts scenes of the City from as far back as the 1930s, including the Golden Bear, oil fields, and the double-arches that once graced the intersection of PCH and Main St. Yes, Reyn-Spooners are expensive, but they last forever. I'd wear their shirts every day if I though I could get away with it.
Mike Haywood’s new book is Century of Service: A History of Huntington Beach, published by the Huntington Beach Kiwanis. The book has a special focus on the people and groups who have served the community over the decades. Special thanks to Mike for donating a copy to the Orange County Archives.
It’s also come to my attention that a few copies of Steve Holden’s History of the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce may still be available through the Chamber’s offices. If you’re interested, you might get in touch with them at (714) 536 8888.
Dana Point has added the historic Woodruff Home (1930) at 33872 Valencia Place to their City Historic Register. Their Planning Commission has also recommended it for Mills Act designation.
Speaking of Dana Point, a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed destruction of the “Doheny House” at 35101 Camino Capistrano is now available online. This document never would have been issued unless the Dana Point Historical Society had demanded (repeatedly) that the City and developer do the right thing. The newly minted DEIR cites the effects of the proposed project as a “significant impact” to the community’s historic resources. Although this won’t save the house by itself, it is a step in the right direction and makes the process a bit more transparent. If you’d like your comments about house included in the Final EIR, email them to and put “35101 Camino Capistrano” in the subject line.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Irvine Ranch Conservancy: Cañada de los Bueyes

(Continued from 11-30-08) The next stop on our Irvine Ranch Conservancy tour was in Weir Canyon -- once called Cañada de los Bueyes (Canyon of the Oxen). The historical marker (behind Mike Boeck in the photo above,) reads, "Through this canyon in Mexican days, oxen-drawn carretas carried hides to the embarcadero at San Juan Capistrano. Commemorated by El Viaje de Portola, April 16, 1971."
The embarcadero was called Bahia de Capistrano. In modern terms, it ranged from the Dana Point headlands to Doheny State Beach. This is where trading ships came to trade with Mission San Juan Capistrano. People sometimes hauled cow hides (a.k.a. "California bank notes") and other goods more than 75 miles to do business here. Hides were the heart of Southern California's economy.
This illustration from Terry Stephenson's book, Caminos Viejos, shows a carreta traveling through Orange County - probably at the peak of the hide trade, in the early 1800s. Stephenson once wrote that the name, Los Bueyes, "probably dates back to the first or second generation of the Yorbas."
Althought it seems rugged and round-about today, Cañada de los Bueyes was considered a quick route to Capistrano for those living in inland areas like the Santa Ana Canyon and Riverside. As historian Phil Brigandi put it, "We look at this today and say, 'THIS is a shortcut?'"
The group photo above shows some of our group near the Canyon's historical marker. Included are (from left to right) Jim Sleeper, Phil Brigandi, Maria Hall-Brown, Mike Bornia and Chris Epting. More photos from our tour (and from other parts of the Irvine Ranch) can be viewed on my Flickr account.
(To be continued...)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Irvine Ranch Conservancy: C-135 crash site

(Continued from 11-28-08...) The second leg of our Irvine Ranch Conservancy tour took us to the site of Orange County’s worst air disaster.
At 1:35 a.m. on June 25, 1965, under fog and light drizzle, an Air Force C-135A transport jet, (see contemporary photo above), took off from MCAS El Toro. (The C-135 is the military equivalent of a Boeing 707.) The plane was en route from McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey to Okinawa, with another scheduled stop at Hickam AFB in Hawaii. Aboard were 71 Marines on their way to Vietnam, along with 12 U.S. Air Force crew members.
At 1:46 a.m., about 4 miles from the control tower, the jet disappeared from radar. For reasons unknown, the pilot did not (or could not) make a planned left hand turn and flew directly into Loma Ridge. The plane was destroyed, killing all 83 people on board.
.Navy sailor Steve Bedunah was scheduled to take the flight as far as Hawaii. However, a family emergency waylayed him. He arrived at El Toro just in time to see the plane heading down the runway. Seconds later, he saw a huge orange fireball. "I was supposed to be on that plane," he said in a 2005 O.C. Weekly interview, "I've spent 40 years trying to live that down."
Here you see Greg from KOCE-TV filming Mike Bornia, Chris Epting, and Maria Hall-Brown at the crash site. It was fitting (although unplanned) that we visited this site on Veteran’s Day. A group called Project Remembrance is planning to put a stone memorial here in the near future.

The jet was about 1,150 feet up and traveling at 300 mph when it impacted the hill, scattering wreckage and bodies across at least a mile. The bodies and all the large plane parts were recovered after the crash, but small bits of the jet are still strewn everywhere. Although mangled in the crash, many metal parts are still in remarkably good condition after 43 years of exposure to the elements. Just last year, a readable set of dog tags were found in the brush.
It turned out that our traveling companion Jim had once been part of a search/clean-up crew after a different MCAS El Toro crash on the Irvine Ranch. He had some very sobering tales to tell that I won't relate here.

Update (11-3-2013): Chris Hoctor sent me the following message and list:

"For the benefit of your readers, this is the complete list of the crew and passengers based on everything I could find (all 84). Many little details added, a number of names, middle names, and places corrected here. Some missing rank, could not find that."

The twelve crew:
Pilot:  Capt. William F. Cordell, JR., 27, GA
Copilot:  First Lt. John A Zietke, JR., 27, MI
Copilot:  First Lt. Gary M. Rigsbee, 23, CA
Navigator:  Capt. Jacques G. Senecal, 32, CA
Navigator:  First Lt. Robert H. K. Shannon, 29
Flight Engineer:  S/Sgt James E. Burns, 29, IL
Load Master:  S/Sgt Bobby L. Calhoun, 28
Flight Engineer:  M/Sgt William H. Meredith, 34, KY
Flight Engineer:  T/Sgt Marlin W. Tatom, 41, MI
Load Master:  Airman 3/C Elwood C. Van Nole, Jr., 19
Flight traffic specialist:  Airman 1/C Charles A. Reives, 23
Cadet Gary L. Zimmerman, 20, class of 1967, Air Force Academy

Passengers killed (alphabetical by last name):
Dwight L. Aldridge, 18, AR
PFC Russell J. Babcock, JR., 19, Tomkins Cove, NY
PFC Roger J. Beiter, 18, W. Seneca, N. Y.
Lance Cpl William B. Breen, 20, Bellefonte, Penn.
Cpl James Harold Brock, 25, Birmingham, Ohio.
Cpl Emerson K. Brown, 24, Kent, Wash.
Lance Cpl John G. Brusso, Jr., 22, Ontario, N. Y.
Cpl George C. Burrow, 20, Norman, Ark.
Cpl Tucker Ross Burt, 24, Mt. Vernon, Ohio.
Phillip V. Caraccio, 24
Cpl Paul T. Chapin, 21, Coronado, Calif.
Cpl George E. College, 21, Davisburg, Mich.
Donald A. Davidson, 19, MI
Lance Cpl Douglas D. Everett, 19, Allentown, Pa.
PFC Rosco Ford, 24, Miami, Fla.
Capt Victor M. Girodengo, 28, San Diego, Calif.
Cpl Thomas Barton Gladstone, 25, Largo, Fla.
PFC Dickie L. Glover, 32, Muskegon, Mich.
PFC Gerald Griffith, 18, Jackson, Miss.
Henry D Grimm, 18
Lance Cpl Howard D. Hall, 18, Winfield, Kan.
Lance Cpl Gail K. Haning, 23, Albany, Ohio.
Cpl Charles Harmon, 21, Estill, S. C.
Lance Cpl Robert E. Harvey, 18, Upland, Calif.
PFC Harry R. Hawk, 20, Oberlin, Penn.
PFC Gerald G. Hawkins, 18, Mableton, Ga.
Kenneth J Haywood, 21
Thomas K Heacox, 18
Lance Cpl Danny E. Holder, 18, Nashville, Tenn.
Joseph M Kelly, 18
PFC James T. Kitchens, 19, Madleton, Ga.
Cpl William R. Kittel, 28, Suisun City, Calif.
Sgt James E. Lee, 28, Compton, Calif.
Richard W Leeman, 19
Robert C Lisicki, 23
Cpl Michael J. Mando, JR., 22, Tayler, Pa.
Lance Cpl Brian Elvin Martin, 20, Minersville, Pa.
Cpl James V. Matruski, 23, Johnson City, N. Y.
Henry B McKine, 18, CA
James D Meade, 21
PFC Joseph D Mogelinski, 18, Greenfield, Mass.
Capt Edward M. Morehead, 27, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Sgt James C. Moultrie, 18, Moza City, Okinawa.
Cpl Anthony E. Nelson, 22, Wilmington, Calif.
PFC Franklin Newman, 20, Loomis, N. J.
Cpl Rich G. Pacheco, 20, Portland, Ore.
Lance Cpl Enrique Danny Padilla, 20, Santa Rosa, N. M.
Cpl Michael A. Palmieri, 28, Elmira, N. Y.
Lance Cpl Alfred Eugene Peterson, 20, Littleton Commons, Mass.
Cpl Edward P. Ray, 23, no hometown listed.
PFC Robert J. Rhodes, 19, Patterson, N. J.
PFC Ronald Richard Richert, 18, Pontiac, Mich.
Cpl Lawrence O. Rohde, 22, Las Vegas, NV
PFC Gerald W. Ross, 19
Pvt. Robert S. Shedis, 22, Calumet Park, Ill.
PFC Joseph B. Sheppard, 18, Philadelphia, Pa.
Sgt Jackson Sinyard, Jr
Pvt. Gerald Skidmore, 18, Cincinnati, Ohio.
PFC Arthur Slaughter, 23, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Quinton Smith, 22
Theodore Eugene Stark, 24, Louisville, KY
Lance Cpl Charles L. Stevens, 18, Cambridge, Ohio.
Jimmie I. Swink, 26
Lance Cpl James C. Tischer, 20, Hannibal, Mo.
Cpl Timothy M. Treweek, 24, Los Angeles
PFC Lawrence R. Vanness, 19, Rochester, N. Y.
Elwood C Vannote, 19
Cpl Harrison Wallace, 25, Clemens, Ala.
David E. Walsh, 18
Ralph E White, 23, IN
James R. Wilson, 24, IN
William J Wilson, 29, MO
(To be continued...)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Irvine Ranch Conservancy: The Hanging Tree

On the 11th of this month (Veteran's Day 2008), the Irvine Ranch Conservancy graciously showed me and some other lucky folks historic sites that are normally inaccessible to the public. Over the next week or so, I'll be sharing some of the sites we visited, starting with today's entry on the Hanging Tree in Precitas Canyon. I've already provided information about the Hanging Tree in earlier posts, which you can read here:

Today's first photo (above) shows me standing under the tree. Although fires have swept through the area in recent years, the tree is only a little scorched and seems pretty healthy. You might be able to see the tree from the right lane of the southbound 241 Toll Road, if you knew exactly where to look, and were on the passenger side of a high-profile vehicle. Our trip came about when author Chris Epting read my blog entries about the tree, and wanted to do a segment about it with Maria Hall-Brown for KOCE-TV. Mike Bornia of the Irvine Ranch Conservancy organized the trek and added some other sites of interest to the itinerary. When Epting asked if I wanted to come along, I immediately answered "Yes!," followed by, "and can I bring two other people?"
The other two were Orange County historians Jim Sleeper and Phil Brigandi who have both wanted to see this site again for many years. In the photo above, Jim stands under the tree and shows Phil and Mike Boeck photos of the area that he took in the 1960s.
Mike is a docent for the Conservancy and was one of our drivers for the day. He really knows the back country and was as enthusiastic as we were.
This last photo shows (left to right) Dave Raetz (also from the Conservancy), me, Jim and Phil, in front of the tree's historical marker. It reads, "Under this tree General Andres Pico hung two banditos of the Juan Flores gang in 1857." Below that, in smaller print, it reads, "Dedicated El Viaje de Portola Ride, April 1967." The annual El Viaje de Portola equestrian ride used to follow the trail of Gaspar de Portola's expedition through much of Orange County. Today, however, very little of that land is accessible to the public.
(To be continued...)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Day in La Palma

La Palma/Dairyland historians Ron and Elfreide MacIver sent me this cartoon with the note, "Happy Thanksgiving from La Palma, where even the turkeys say 'Moo!'"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Today's first photo (top) shows Thanksgiving dinner at William Webb Sr.'s house, 146 S. Rose St., Anaheim, around 1906. The group includes William P. Webb, Sr., William Jr., Lamont Roe Webb, Nellie Webb, Darroll Dewey Webb and Estella Webb Ramm.
The second photo shows Santa Ana's Thanksgiving-themed float in the 1950 Rose Parade.
Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A giant turkey, Disneyland, Vanishing O.C., etc.

Today's images are from 1975. The first (top) is a design for the giant turkey that appeared in America On Parade, Disneyland's Bicentennial cavalcade, which debuted that year. (Illustration courtesy Atomic Treehouse.) The second image comes from my family's collection and shows me meeting Pluto for the first time in April 1975. You can see a little of the park's entrance gate in the background.
Today's Register features an article about Chris Epting's new book, Vanishing Orange County. He will sign the book at California Greetings, 301 Main St., Huntington Beach on Dec. 7, Noon-3pm. You can also see some of the images from the book in this YouTube video. Many of the images came from the Orange County Archives.
In case you haven't seen it before, KOCE-TV's "Historical Snapshot" of the 1933 Earthquake is now posted on YouTube.

Monday, November 24, 2008

OCIR, Orange, El Toro and a Victorian Christmas

By special request, today's photo is from the opening of the Orange County International Raceway (OCIR) in Aug. 1967. This drag racing "super track" was located in Irvine, between the I-5 Freeway and MCAS El Toro. The OCIR closed to make way for more development on Oct. 30, 1983.
Phil Brigandi will hold a signing for his latest book, Images of America: Orange, on Dec. 12, 6-8pm at the Barnes & Noble, 791 S. Main St., in Orange. Phil writes, "This is my ninth book on the history of Orange, and features more that 200 pre-1950 images of the community and its residents."
Heritage Hill Historical Park in El Toro has a number of public holiday events on tap next month. First they'll host a Victorian Christmas , Dec. 6, 11am-3pm, which will include live entertainment, children’s crafts, living history demonstrations, historical exhibits, Santa Claus, and tours through decorated historic buildings. This will be followed by Candlelight Tours, on Dec. 13 & 14, 5:30-8:30pm. These evening events will include luminaria lit paths, historic buildings aglow with holiday lights and decorated with period décor. Also expect Victorian carolers, storytellers, and visits with Santa. Admission is $4.

Friday, November 21, 2008

LIFE, El Toro, drag racing, holiday party & Neutra

Google now hosts millions of images from the archive of LIFE magazine, including many images of Orange County. The first example above (top) shows John Glenn at MCAS El Toro in Nov. 1964. Glenn had retired from NASA earlier that year, and would retire from the Marine Corps just a month later.
The second image shows a 1950s National Hot Rod Association drag race at the Santa Ana Drag Strip, next to the Orange County Airport. It is often credited as the world's first commercial drag strip
The public is invited to attend a Holiday Open House on the third floor of the Old Courthouse Museum on Dec. 9, 11:30am-1:30pm. There will be refreshments, crafts and music inspired by the exhibit "All the World's a Stage: Modjeska's Arden." The event is hosted by OC Parks, OC Community Resources and the Orange County Historical Commission. The Old Courthouse is at 211 W. Santa Ana Blvd. in Santa Ana. (If you attend, stop past the Orange County Archives downstairs and say hello to me.)
Mariners Medical Arts Building Update: A large section of original aluminum louvers were recently stolen off the (already endangered) Mariners Medical Arts Building (1963, Richard Neutra) in Newport Beach. Like the brass plaques that have disappeared from other sites lately, the louvers disappeared in the middle of the night.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

First National Bank of Tustin, circa 1925

This photo shows the First National Bank of Tustin in the mid-1920s. The Bank was located at the corner of Main St. and D St. in Downtown Tustin, and its president was C. E. Utt. D Street is now known as El Camino Real. Sorry there isn't time for a longer post today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Camp Bonita, Irvine, Anaheim, and Laurel & Hardy

Today's photos show Camp Bonita, which was an old cattle camp on the Irvine Ranch. The first image is a 1937 postcard I scanned from Tom Pulley's collection. I took the other two photos recently. Three of the camp's building still stand, along with a cluster of old trees. I was surprised to find so much left. The camp's site is now just off California Ave., south of Adobe Circle Rd., and adjacent to UCI's big new sports building. If you look closely at the older photo, you can see Turtle Rock in the distance. (Which is how I figured out this site was from Irvine.)
The City of Anaheim and the Anaheim Public Library will sponsor a "Victorian Christmas Open House" at the historic Woelke-Stoffel House (the Victorian "Red Cross House"), at 418 N. West St., Saturday, Dec. 13, noon to 3pm. The Mother Colony House next door will also be open for viewing.
As an archivist, I find it hard to convince some people that lengthy research among stacks of government documents can lead to extraordinary things. But a YouTube video I saw recently, "Laurel & Hardy On Location," made the point better than I can. It's about a man who used various government and historical records to create a 3-D digital model of Culver City as it appeared in the films of Laurel and Hardy (70 years ago). Granted, this is not Orange County history, but you could do this anywhere, and take people on virtual tours through time.
And speaking of YouTube, also check out this video about the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society's tours, featuring Guy Ball.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Santa Ana Canyon, trains, stolen plaques, etc.

Today's photos show Santa Ana Canyon in less perilous times. The color image is from Oct. 1966 and shows a lot of new development in the Yorba Linda area. The black and white image is from the 1930s and came with no further description.
Tonight, the Fullerton City Council will discuss whether the proposed Southern California Railroad Experience museum should remain as part of the Fullerton Transportation Center plans. The meeting will begin at 6:30pm.
The Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society will hold their Holiday Open House at the historic Howe-Waffle House on Sat., December 6. Entry to the museum will be free from noon to 4pm. From noon to 2pm, authors Roberta Reed, Phil Brigandi, and Guy Ball will be on hand to sign their books (even if you've bought them elsewhere).
Bronze commemorative plaques at several Santa Ana schools (Santa Ana High School, Martin Elementary, Mitchell Child Development Center, and Carr Intermediate) have been stolen recently. Some of these were memorials to local soldiers who died for our country. $10,000 in reward money is available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals responsible for the theft. Anyone with information to report is asked to call the anonymous WeTip hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME or log on to to submit a tip. Callers can also report information to Santa Ana Unified School District at 714-558-5111 or contact school police at 714-558-5535.