Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A glimpse of Southern California, circa 1940

Last summer, the Anaheim Historical Society posted an image of the front of an old brochure from the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce. (Image shown below.) I mentioned to one of their officers that I had a photo of the interior of that brochure somewhere, and they suggested I post it. Let's just call this post a delayed reaction.
I've photographed several of these over the years, trying to get a good image of the interior map. I can't remember which source finally produced this one. (Possibly Don Ballard?) I've scrubbed image up quite a bit, and dropped out some overlay graphics that detracted from the image. But I still can't correct for the fact that the original "camera ready artwork" wasn't all that ready for the camera. Another sheet of paper encroached along the upper half of the left side of the image, leaving us to wonder what the "ee Aircraft Plant" was.

Still, this is a pretty nifty bit of artwork, and definitely seemed worth sharing. I've posted a higher resolution version of the map on Flickr as well, which will allow you to zoom in for a better look at the details.

It's interesting to see what is and isn't on the map. First, note that freeways aren't shown, and Manchester Ave. is still the main drag to Los Angeles. (And yet a freeway appears on the brochure's cover. Was that page updated in a later printing?) Also note the Norconian Club, which closed in 1940, and the Anaheim Airport, which stood about a mile west of Knott's Berry Farm prior to the war. Speaking of which... why isn't Knott's on this map? Probably because their "Ghost Town" (which really,... ahem,... "put them on the map,") didn't find its feet until 1941.

What other interesting tidbits can you pull out of this map?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving, golf, book signings, and Christmas

At the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims would have starved if not for the help of the Indians. However, "Chief Pushmataha" here (not to be confused with the actual Chief Pushmataha of the Choctaw) seems less gifted in the culinary arts. Although he's already warming his hands, he's forgotten to actually light the camp fire. Luckily, he's at the Buffalo Ranch in Newport Beach, and it's 1954, so there are plenty of burger stands and "to go" windows to serve his tribe. (Note the paper coffee cup hanging on the fence in the background.)

Werner Weiss recently posted an article about golfing at the Disneyland Hotel, based on a new book by Don Ballard. It's amazing how much of the place was once given over to the time-honored tradition of hitting things with sticks.

Juanita Lovret, who writes the "Remember When" column for the Tustin News, has completed her second book, Tustin As It Once Was. Following a style similar to her column, the book covers people and events in Tustin from its founding to its Centennial celebration in 1986. The author will hold a book-signing on Dec. 3, from 10am to 2pm, at the Tustin Area Historical Society Museum, at 395 El Camino Real.

Author Chris Epting, who's done several local Arcadia books and also some fun books on the history of baseball and pop culture, will also hold a book-signing that day, but at Barnes & Noble at Bella Terra in Huntington Beach (that's Huntington Center for those who remember), beginning at noon.

And if that doesn't give you enough to do on Dec. 3, you can head over to the Victorian Christmas Open House at the Dr. Howe-Waffle House Museum in Santa Ana, hosted by the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society. Admission is free. However the optional "seasonal" walking tour is $8. (They are also looking for volunteers to help decorate on Nov. 26, starting at 10am.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Orange, Don Meadows, Phil Brigandi, Irvine, books

Please note the fountain seen here behind Alfred Chapman and his unidentified associate in this 1887 photo of the Plaza in Downtown Orange. The fountain was later moved to the city's plunge at Hart Park, then was moved in front of City Hall, and today stands next to the Orange Public Library.

A couple great bits of video recently showed up on YouTube, one of which shows the re-dedication of this fountain when it was moved to City Hall in the 1980s. That doesn't sound all that great. But it is. Why? Because it's primarily a film of the late great Orange County historian Don Meadows, giving a talk about the history of the fountain and the early days of Orange. (Click here to see the video of Meadows.)

Sadly, Don Meadows was gone before I had the chance to meet him, but his presence is still very strongly felt throughout O.C.'s historical community, and his influence on generations of our local historians can't be overstated. As such, it's a great and very unexpected pleasure to have the opportunity to see and hear him talk about the history of the town he knew best.

Also posted on YouTube is a clip of video from a 1981 cable access TV show, featuring historian Phil Brigandi, still in his early 20s, but already comfortable giving a talk about the history of the Orange Street Fair. Unfortunately, we don't get to hear much of Phil's story, but we do get to appreciate just how little he has changed, except his hair style, which really has improved since 1981. (Click here to watch Retro Phil.)

(Speaking of Orange, the amazing photo below shows the Plaza, including the old fountain, in 1892. The camera was pointing northeast. Click the photo to embiggen.)
You say you don't even know Phil Brigandi? We can fix that. Phil will be selling and signing his brand new book, "A Brief History of Orange California," from Noon to 2pm, on Nov. 19th, at A & P Collectibles, 146 N. Glassell St., in Orange.

After you've bought a copy for yourself and some for Christmas presents, also shop around A&P and check a few more people off your holiday shopping list. If you want to support a local family business instead of Walmart this season, Downtown Orange is a good place to do it, and A&P is a great place to start.

Ellen Bell, who's book Images of America: Irvine just became available, will also be signing books soon. She'll be at Martha's Bookstore, 308 Marine Ave., on Balboa Island, 11am-1pm, and then later at Britta's Cafe, 4237 Campus Dr., Irvine, 4-6pm -- both on Nov. 20th. Also, she'll be signing her book at Barnes & Noble, 4600 Barranca Parkway, Irvine, 5-7pm, Nov. 22nd.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Disneyland: Steps In Time, Sleeping Beauty's Castle

Today's images show Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim. The first (above) is a concept sketch from the early 1950s by Disney artist Herb Ryman. The second image (courtesy of Daveland) shows the castle as it appeared in the 1950s.  
The third image (below) was taken just last year. The castle's design draws from several sources, but most heavily from the spectacular Castle Neuschwanstein in Bavaria. The Disneyland version, however, is only 77 feet high, using forced perspective to appear taller. It is also Orange County's best known building.
For more Disneyland "then and now" photos, see the Nov. 10th post on the Imagineering Disney blog.

In other Disneyland historical news, the long-awaited Jason's Disneyland Almanac is now available for sale. For the curious, Jason Schultz has posted the preface of his almanac on his Disneyland Nomenclature blog. You may also be interested to know that Jason works for the National Archives & Records Administration at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda. (He recently posted about how his work on the Disneyland almanac led to a new labeling system for the papers of President Richard Nixon.)

Also of interest to Disneyland history fans, the Register recently reported that Ward Kimball's grandson, Nate Lord, is now working as an engineer on the Disneyland Railroad. Kimball was one of Disney's most talented animators, (among many other talents), and was also the man who got Walt Disney hooked on model and backyard railroads. Walt's passion for having progressively better and larger toy railroads led to a theme park for the trains to run around. As it happens, the newest of the trains on that railroad is called the Ward Kimball.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Newport Harbor and Claude G. Putnam

I recently noticed a handful of very similar but slightly different postcards in Tom Pulley's amazing Orange County postcard collection. Each image was an elaborate map of the Newport Harbor area. (The one shown above is from about 1931, and the one immediately below is probably from 1939. Click any image to enlarge it.) The maps are detailed enough that even the landmark Arches gas station is shown. Another detail I noticed was the name "Putnam," signed in the corner of one card. 
Claude George Putnam was an illustrator who lived in Glendale and worked in Los Angeles. Born in Michigan in 1884, he attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris. He did advertisements, book plates, model-making, engraving, printing, and cartography. He was locally well-known and was the founder and first president of the Advertising Art Association of Southern California.

He was also a longtime member and officer of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, which is how he came to create a promotional map for the Newport Harbor Chamber of Commerce. The postcards are just photographs of one portion of the 18" x 16" map/poster, which also included detailed text and a smaller map on the back. These posters were updated every so often. An image of the 1944 version of the poster is shown below. Notice how many more streets are shown.
Putnam did a similarly detailed map for the developers of Beverly Hills in 1912 and later created various maps of California history and the Old West.

He also painted a wonderful and somewhat whimsical mural of the Channel Islands, that can still be found in the back room of the Beek family's Balboa Island Ferry office. 

The 1944 Newport Harbor map, appropriated by local Howard Doss for his own postcards (shown below,) also includes a plug for the Orange County Harbor District. Newport Bay was developed into a more functional harbor in the 1930s, and was officially dedicated in 1936.
The Sport Fishing Association of Newport Harbor also produced a line-art version of the 1944 map, which mainly differed in the number of giant fish and fishing boats shown in the water. 

The color map below is from about 1950, and shows the spot where Hoag Memorial Hospital will soon be built. Notice that not only our current airport, but also the short-lived Costa Mesa airport is depicted. Also notice the 23-foot "sea serpent," seen in 1904 (which turned out to be an oarfish, by the way).
But Putnam's most famous map was probably the colorful map he did in 1946 (shown below) as part of the "Roads to Romance" campaign to promote travel in Southern California.
In 1925 and 1926, Putnam illustrated Western humorist Dick Wick Hall's mimeographed newspaper, The Salome Sun, in Salome, Arizona. He and Hall also patented an incense burner shaped like a frog with a canteen on its back, in honor of Hall's best known poem, "That Salome Frog."

Putnam died at Hoag Hospital -- overlooking beautiful Newport Harbor -- in 1955, but we're still enjoying his work today.
Claude G. Putnam, as pictured in the 1922 Southern California Yachting Association Regatta program

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank you, veterans!

Here's an image from an early 1920s Armistice Day parade in Fullerton. This was the float from the Daughters of Veterans, Sarah Round Tent No. 10. Albert Chapman, dressed as Lincoln, symoblically frees a slave (in blackface), while multiple incarnations of "lady liberty" look on. The float's driver was Frank Chapman.

Armistice Day, which marked the anniversary of the end of World War I, became Veterans Day, honoring all veterans, in 1954.

This is a time to think about all those who have defended our freedoms, including the millions who have been killed or wounded in the process. It's also a good time to consider how easily we civilians let idiot politicians erode those freedoms. But who cares, so long as we have our celebrity news, sports, and "reality television," right?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Dana Point's Doris Walker

I try not to post multiple memorials to any one person (even friends) on this blog. But Brent Walker, one of Doris Walker's two sons, has been posting such great photos of his mom on FaceBook, that I asked if I could repost some of them here. There will be a celebration of Doris' life on Nov. 26, at 6pm, at the Dana Point Community Center, 34052 Del Obispo St. -- where so many Dana Point Historical Society events have been held over the years. Click here to read her obituary in the L.A. Times.

The photo above shows Brent and Doris at a joint mother-and-son book signing. Brent is a film historian.
The photo above shows Doris in the late 1950s, as editor of Chalk Talk, the in-house publication for the Brunswick Bowling Equipment Co. in Chicago. In the photo below, we see her working as a journalist in the 1970s.
The Walkers moved to Dana Point in the 1960s. It's a good place to raise children.
In the photo above, Blair and Brent pose with their parents on John Wayne's yacht, "The Wild Goose." It was taken around 1968 on a press event related to the building of Dana Point Harbor.
An excellent writer, placed in a town that was just starting to go through massive change and expansion,... How could she not have recorded Dana Point's story for posterity? She was the right person, in the right place, at the right time.
The photo above shows Doris taking the first book out of the first box of Dana Point/Capistrano Bay: Home Port for Romance. Among many good books, this is still probably her signature volume. Certainly, it was this book that introduced much of Orange County to her work.
And finally, here's one of Doris's favorite moments: Coming eye-to-eye with an elephant seal on a trip to Baja California. Short of professional marine biologists, I've never met anyone with a greater interest in the Pacific and the animals who live in and around it. It was just one more of the many enthusiasms she shared with anyone who would listen, or read.

Thanks again, Doris.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Early Veterans Day program at OCHS

Today's photos show Coastline Post 3536, Veterans of Foreign Wars of Costa Mesa, placing a plaque at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro on Veteran's Day 1954.

This year, you can start Veterans Day a day early. On Nov. 10th, broadcaster, journalist and historian Jeff Rowe will give an illustrated lecture entitled "Orange County's Armed Forces Through the Years" at the Orange County Historical Society's monthly meeting. The program will begin at 7:30pm, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. Learn about O.C.'s military heroes, bases and museums, and how local civilian attitudes toward our veterans have changed over the decades.

Charles Beal will also be on hand with a display of memorabilia from Orange County's Civil War veterans.
The photo below is a closeup of the plaque shown above. I wonder if this memorial is still standing or if this spot is going to be one of the "Great Park's" condo complexes, housing tracts, industrial buildings, or commercial structures.
On a related note, I ran across this headline in the Register yesterday: "Yorba Linda Honoring WASPs."  No, it's not what you think. It turns out it's a program honoring the Women Air Services Pilots (WASPs) on Thursday at 6:30pm at Brea Olinda High School's stadium.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Newport Bay, Anaheim, and OCHS

Today's images show Newport Bay around 1910 and come from the Keech Family Collection at the Orange County Archives. The photo above is obviously Upper Newport Bay, but just look how pristine it is! And the image below shows the main channel and the Balboa Peninsula, with the Balboa Pavilion in the dead center. (Click on either image to see details.)
For some scenes of Newport Beach 40-some years later, see the recent Newport post at Viewliner Ltd.

Interesting news from Anaheim: Restoration work is being done on the old Sunkist packing house near what's left of downtown. See the Anaheim Historical Society's blog for photos and more.

Heads up to Orange County Historical Society members: There's a new Flickr group set up where you can submit your photos of OCHS events and activities. Join and share! I can't wait to see what people post after the first OCHS History Hike! (And in case you were wondering, OCHS does indeed have its own Flickr account also.)

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Wintersburg, architectural salvage, & History Hikes

At the end of September, a group of historical preservationists, historians, church members and journalists from all over Orange County and from as far away as San Luis Obispo went out to see the remaining buildings of the historic Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church and adjoining Furuta family property in Huntington Beach. The idea is to save these buildings by moving them to another site, and this was sort of an exploratory field trip. Those less familiar with restoration/preservation work were a bit daunted by graffiti and broken windows, but those who have worked on restoration projects were impressed by the overall integrity of the buildings. The image above shows the Furuta house.
This second image (above) shows the 1908 church complex, along with part of the 1930s church from the back side of the building. The image below shows before and after images of the Furuta House. The older photo shows the Furutas out front, while the new photo shows Chris and Charlie Epting in their place. (Click any image to enlarge it.) Chris' article about this field trip is posted on the Huntington Beach Independent's website. (Thanks to Dann Gibb and Chris Epting for these photos.)
Speaking of historical preservation and restoration: Do you have a project or two of your own? Then you'll probably kick yourself if you miss the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society's Architectural Salvage Sale, Nov. 11 & 12, 11am-5pm, at All-Aboard Mini Storage, 1030 E. 4th St., in Santa Ana.

They're offering, "a wide selection of architectural elements salvaged from Victorian-through-1930s structures, including doors, windows, molding, picture rail, kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Some hardware, claw foot tubs, sinks, a unique fireplace,and a full staircase, circa 1900." They want all this cool stuff OUT of their storage unit and INTO your historic home, so it's very reasonably priced. (Cash or check only.) For more information email them at salvage@sahps.org.

The 25 spaces available for the first History Hike sponsored by the Orange County Historical Society have been filled. But fear not! If enough people continue to have their names added to the list, they'll start looking into a second hike to San Juan Hot Springs. So get in touch with them anyway and put your name and contact info on the standby list.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Doris I. Walker-Smith (1933-2011) & Jack P. Smith (1930-2011)

Carlos Olvera sent me the following email Halloween night: 
"It is with deep regret that I must inform you that Doris I. Walker succumbed of her injuries received in the fire of her home early Sunday morning. She passed away at 4:48 pm this evening with all of her family at her side. Private funeral arrangements are being made.  A celebration of her life will take place at a later date." 
Her family followed up later with a short statement:
“At 4:48 pm ...(October 31, 2011), our beloved Doris Walker-Smith gently passed.  Our family is deeply touched by the outpouring of well wishes from the community. Doris was a resident of Dana Point for 48 years, and loved the city and the entire community. She had a particularly strong devotion to the Dana Point Historical Society. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Dana Point Historical Society in her memory is suggested”.
In the early hours of  Sunday morning, a fire tore through the home of our friend, local historian Doris Walker-Smith (who some of you know as Doris Walker) and her husband, Jack Smith. With great difficulty, firemen pulled both of them from the burning building, but Jack died shortly thereafter. Doris was taken first to Mission Hospital and then to UC Irvine's Burn Center. News articles about the horrible fire and the aftermath are posted online:
(Doris and Jack are shown above at a meeting of the Orange County Historical Society in 2009.)

I must admit that while I've talked with Jack a few times I didn't know him terribly well. I know he was a very friendly man, a "straight shooter," and a proud Marine and spoke of his time in the Corps often. I will leave it to others to tell his story.

But I wanted to share some information about Doris that hasn't made it into all the newspaper accounts,...

For at least thirty years, Doris was the go-to historical author for South Orange County. A resident of Dana Point since 1963, she was co-founder of that city's historical society. She has served as an Orange County Historical Commissioner since 1994, and served as a director of the Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, and Orange County Historical Societies. Doris taught California history at Saddleback College for seven years and was named the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year in 2007.

But for all that, Doris is best known for her writing. In addition to her countless newspaper articles and her public relations work, she also wrote at least twelve books, including:
  • Orange County Then & Now (2006)
  • Dana Point Harbor / Capistrano Bay: Home Port for Romance (four editions)
  • Dana Point, Images of America (2007)
  • Orange County: A Natural History (2009)
  • Adventurer’s Guide to Dana Point (1992)
  • Orange County Adventures With Children
  • Mission Viejo: The Ageless Land (2005)
  • Coastal Reflections: The History of Coastal Municipal Water District (2001)
  • Orange County: A Centennial Celebration – Sections of Orange (1989)
  • The Whales of Capistrano Bay (1982)
  • The Heritage of San Clemente (2000)
  • The Test of a Nest (a children’s book) (2010)
A number of these books, particularly the local community histories, are the first and/or most important books on their respective subjects. Any Orange County historian worth their salt will have at least a handful of her books on their shelves.

Aside from good writing, we came to expect at least two things in Doris' books that aren't always common in local histories. First, she usually started the story with the natural history of the land -- centuries before written records began. To her, understanding the land itself and the natural environment was crucial to understanding the events that took place there.

Also, we came to expect photos of her children and grandchildren to appear in her books. Doris photographed many historic sites to illustrate her books, and she apparently took her family along on her photo safaris. As a proud mother, and later as a proud grandmother, she often put two of her loves -- her family and local history -- into the same photo.

When I last saw her, about a week ago, Doris was working on another history of Dana Point and was also beginning to gather material for a book of essays on the history of Orange County's coastline. As usual, she left the room leaving residual bits of her incredible enthusiasm behind her, like a trail of breadcrumbs, for others to follow. Her exuberance was contagious.

Most importantly, however, Doris was a kind, thoughtful, and community-minded person who definitely left her corner of the world a better place than she found it. The loss of Doris and Jack is a loss for all Orange County.