Thursday, January 26, 2012

Louise Booth

I heard today that local historian Louise Booth has died.

I don't have anything like an obituary put together, but I do know she was a longtime member and a past president of the Orange County Historical Society. She was also the general chair of the Orange County Centennial Committee, and wrote numerous books, including Villa Park : Then and Now, Fulfilling a Dream: The History of Chapman University, and One to Twenty-Eight : A History of Anaheim Union High School District. She was also a major contributor to the invaluable Centennial Bibliography of Orange County, California

Services will be at the Chapman College Chapel, Feb. 25 at 10:30 a.m.

UPDATE: Don Booth just sent me the following announcement, which has been circulating at Chapman University:

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing on January 24 of Louise Booth, the wife of Dr. Don Booth.  Louise’s health had declined rapidly in recent days.  Don, long time professor of economics, and their son David, a graduate of Chapman, were at her bedside.

Louise was intelligent, independent, and possessing of diverse interests and great strength.  She had a special presence.  When Louise entered a room, you knew it, and it wasn’t just because of her red hair.

A graduate of Indiana State University, Louise completed her postgraduate work at the University of Southern California.  After teaching English, speech, drama, and history thirty-five years, she retired to begin a second professional career – writing on a variety of historical topics, a great personal love.  She relished traveling to historical sites, finding new documents and verifying facts.

Louise chaired the Centennial Committee of the county-wide Orange County Historical Society working for four years in planning a large array of public events.  The profits funded the publication, The Centennial Bibliography of Orange County, California.  As the managing editor, Louise received the Donald F. Pflueger Award for distinguished research and writing on local history of southern California.  In 1989 Louise also received the William T. Glassell Award from the Orange Community Historical Society for service preserving the local heritage of the city of Orange.

In addition to this work, Louise published six historical monographs, three of them on the Civil War.  In 2001, Fulfilling A Dream – The History of Chapman University, was published.  Louise devoted many months to the research and writing of the book.  A remarkable document, it continues to serve as the most comprehensive, as well as the most interesting, story of Chapman’s history.

The book won the 61st annual Western Book Exhibition (2002) award sponsored annually by the Los Angeles based Rounce and Coffin Club.  This award was for books judged to be the best examples of printing, design, and publishing in the western United States.

Louise was a complete and vital partner to Don, and this partnership contributed tremendously to Chapman in a myriad of ways.  Despite her demanding professional career, she was very engaged in the life of Chapman.  A great hostess, she enjoyed sharing her home.  Louise especially loved entertaining many of the speakers in Chapman’s famous Artist-Lecture Series.  She also served for a number of years on the archives committee of the Leatherby Libraries.

Louise and Don became surrogate parents and grandparents to countless students, especially those from abroad.  They were very proud of the success of these students and welcomed them back to their home years later when these alumni brought their own children to meet Louise and Don.

As news spread across campus about Louise’s passing, many individuals offered personal reflections about her.  Dr. Pat See, Professor of Sociology, remembered that Louise was a welcoming presence to her and to other young faculty members as we began our careers.  “She made us feel as if we were part of an extended family.  We dined at their home and enjoyed sharing her interests in history and Russian literature.  Louise was also a very caring teacher, who would go above and beyond the call of duty to help her students . . . , as well as Don's students at Chapman. . . .  These are the connections that make Chapman the place we love.”

David Moore, Director of Planned Giving, stated:  “Sharp of mind with a passion for local history, Louise was among my favorite Chapman people. Her book, Fulfilling a Dream – The History of Chapman University, is a constant resource. When I hear a name or historical reference, her book (with its meticulous index) is the first place I look. The Booth family has generously provided me with copies that I give to alumni and other friends of the university as I meet with them. Long beyond her passing, Louise's words will continue to have significant impact and influence on our ability to engage others.”

Claudia Horn, Head of Special Collections and Archives, Leatherby Libraries, who helped provide some of the resources for Fulfilling a Dream . .  . indicated how proud the library was to sponsor the traveling exhibition of the Western Book Exhibition award winners and hold a reception celebrating Louise. On a personal note, Claudia added that Louise “endeared herself to me because she was a historian, a lady, and always told it like it was—with a twinkle in her eye and a “saucy” sense of humor.  What a treasure Louise was and always will be to me.”

President Jim Doti expressed the following:  “Louise was a remarkable woman in so many ways.  I will always have warm memories of her spirit, intellect and sense of humor.  Her candor was refreshing.”     

The memorial service for Louise will be Saturday, February 25 at 10:30 am in the Wallace All Faiths Chapel.
 There's also an article about her in the online version of Chapman's Panther newspaper.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Have a happy Talk Like A Grizzled Prospector Day!

 Hope you're having a great Talk Like A Grizzled Prospector Day! We certainly did at the Orange County Archives (a.k.a. my day job). Per tradition, grizzled prospector Adam "Badger" England stopped by to chew the fat over a cup of Arbuckle's and a plate of beans.

With a little help from Susan, even Archie, the flat magnetic cat on our library cart, got into the act.
On his "Knott's In Print" website, Allen Palovik posted about Virgil "Blackie" Dillon and other grizzled prospectors that once haunted the streets of Ghost Town. Also, Stacey Reid provided us with a fine pen-in-ink illustration of a grizzled prospector on her blog. And about a gazillion other websites mentioned that today was TLAGPD without going into too much additional detail.

We appreciate all the support, but we should remember that ultimately TLAGPD isn't about what happens online. It's about talking like a grizzled prospector. If you haven't done so yet, you still have the rest of the evening to set things right.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fuzzy McGee on Talk Like A Grizzled Prospector Day

Just for today, I turn the O.C. History Roundup over to guest blogger Fuzzy McGee and his trusty mule (who mainly just transcribed for Fuzzy):

"Another Talk Like A Grizzled Prospector Day (TLAGPD) done snuck up on us, dagnabbit! This Tuesday (Jan. 24th each year) is the day we celebrate the anniversary of the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill by talkin' like grizzled prospectors. Purt' near anyone can be part of TLAGPD -- 'Cause dang near every kinda person what there is came to the gold fields of Californee in 1849. There were Chinese prospectors, 'n' Irish prospectors, South American prospectors, 'n'... well, ye git the idea. And by lookin' at the pitchur above, it shore looks like there musta been some womenfolk what headed fer the Mother Lode too, by gum!
"So nobody ain't got no excuse no-how fer not talkin' like a grizzled prospector on Tuesday, consarnit! And if'n ye got a hankerin' to ice the cake, ye can even dress like a grizzled prospector, dance like a grizzled prospector, or smell like a grizzled prospector. (Ed.: We cannot recommend the latter.) Heck, you could even invite yer friends over fer a big holiday doin's: Put on yer best bib and tucker, mix up an anti-fogmatic, an' have a hog-killin' time!

"But I reckon yer doin' fine if all ye do is jist talk like a grizzled prospector.  Fer a little while.  Just fer the day.

"But fer now, I'd best skedaddle back to my claim afore some hornswogglin', bushwhackin' sidewinder jumps it. Have a good 'un!"

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mysterious knife and some local history classes

Thanks to everyone who brought artifacts to the OCHS "Show & Tell Night." I wasn't sure how well this program would work out when we revived it last year, but now I can't imagine not doing it annually. Such amazing stuff!

One of the objects brought on Thursday night was an old ivory-handled knife, brought by Phil Brigandi. Normally, Phil solves everyone else's historical mysteries -- But this time he has a mystery of his own. Nobody knows where the knife originally came from.

"My grandfather, Miner Whitford, found that knife in the 1950s, while preparing the foundation for a home he was building in San Clemente," says Phil. "The family lore was that it must have been from the rancho days. Of course it is not, but it was still one of his favorite keepsakes."

Note the initials "S.O.M." and some of the other fancy details. Do you know much about old knives? What can you tell us about this curious artifact? (Answer in the "Comments" section, below, or via email.)
Diane Ryan is again offering her History of Orange County class at the Oasis Senior Center in Corona del Mar. The class will be held Thursdays 1:30-3:30pm, from Jan. 26 to Mar. 1. The class is $50, plus a $2 material fee. To register, call 949 644-3244 or go to the "recreation classes" section on city's website, and reference class number 684011.

She's also offering a class on California Impressionism (612811) at the Oasis Senior Center, also beginning Jan. 26, and a class on California Regionalism, Art of 1930s to 1950s (085233) at the Huntington Beach Adult School District Office, beginning in April.

Diane is also teaching a class on California Missions (088122), to be held Wednesdays, l:30-3:30pm, Feb. 1 to Mar. 21, at the Fountain Valley Senior Center. The class is $54, with early bird registrants paying $48.

And finally, Diane is also offering a class on Historic Landmarks & Pioneers of Southern California (088133), Wednesdays, l:30-3:30pm, April 25 to June 13, at the Fountain Valley Senior Center. The class is $54. Early birds $48.

I'm not sure how she manages to keep teaching so many classes on such diverse topics, but more power to her! To contact her for more information, email her at

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Disneyland: Steps In Time - Carnation

Today's images show what was once the Carnation Ice Cream Shoppe (now the Carnation Cafe) on Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland. Even as we speak, it's being revamped/redesigned for the umpteenth time, providing more indoor dining space for what has become one of the few table-service restaurants in the park. The illustration above, courtesy Kevin Kidney, shows what the building was supposed to look like on opening day in 1955. The image below, courtesy Daveland, shows the building as it appeared in Dec. 1962.
 Although the name has stayed a part of this building, the Carnation Company has evaporated -- just like its famous milk. Nestle purchased Carnation, and now uses the name on only a few products. It's a far cry from the days when Carnation was a well known name in dairy and its wholesome image was a perfect match for Disneyland. 

Carnation also hosted Plaza Gardens -- a dance venue which just recently shut down to make way for a "Princess meet-and-greet" area. It's a loss for all those who enjoyed big band music.

The photo below shows the Carnation Cafe as it appears today.
Here's a list of links to some of the earlier installments of "Disneyland: Steps In Time":

Friday, January 06, 2012

Another look at the Mission

 After my short treatise on old graffiti, I thought I'd share some images from the rest of my recent visit to Mission San Juan Capistrano. First of all, Sunday was the only time I can ever remember seeing people lined up outside, waiting to get in. The place was really busy, and people were actually waiting to pay their entrance fee. (Did you know they offer an annual pass? Just like Disneyland and Knott's!)
 I saw the new exhibit of Mission treasures that have long been stored out of view. The room was too dark to have much success with photography (since I'd never want to use a flash around priceless documents and artifacts). However, I did get the blurry shot above, of enormous candle sticks that were salvaged from the Great Stone Church after the earthquake of 1812. Also memorable were documents signed by Fr. Junipero Serra and Abraham Lincoln, and silver candlesticks that Serra himself brought north from Mexico when he first set out to establish a chain of Missions through Alta California. The baptismal shell used in the early days of the Mission was also pretty amazing.
 With thousand of burials on the Mission grounds, I wonder how they decided where to place some of the seemingly random white crosses and rings of stones that seem to mark specific graves. Of all the graves, I only saw two that were marked: Msgr. St. John O'Sullivan and Jose Antonio Yorba (seen above). I'd be curious to know how Yorba got such a modern looking stone, and how they figured out exactly where he was buried.
I thought you might also enjoy this photo of contrasting architectural styles. A girl named Katrina left her scratch-built adobe model atop the ruins of the Great Stone Church. (The bells in the background mark the spot where the bell tower stood, prior to the big earthquake.)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Taggers caught red-handed! (187 years late)

 I was at Mission San Juan Capistrano on Sunday, and as usual, I spotted historical details I've never noticed before. What stood out to me particularly were the many names scratched into the Mission's walls. I took a few photos, including the one above, and started checking into some of the names. Almost immediately, I hit paydirt. Paul J. Swayze (1889-1967) was, as a child, one of the first 39 members of the Alamitos Friends Church on Magnolia St. in Garden Grove when it held its first services in 1891. If the “Oct. 7, 1900” scribed below can also be attributed to him, Paul was 11 at the time he scrawled his name into the plaster of the Great Stone Church.
 A lot of the Mission's graffiti seems to have been inscribed after the end of the mission system, but before Charles Fletcher Lummis' Landmarks Club started taking the first steps toward preservation.
That said, it wasn't uncommon, even during the earliest days of the Missions, for neophytes (Indians converted to Catholicism) to carve graffiti into the church walls. Those soft white walls seem to have invited vandalism from the beginning. That said, I think the "Nacho 1796" inscription in the photo above (by Sylvia A. of Laguna Beach) looks like a fake, as does an obvious gag where someone carved "Joaquin Murrieta 1865.

Other photos found online show graffiti at the Mission reading "“RP, Apr. 12, 1898,” (on the arm of a still-used bench), and an 1825 inscription of the names “A. Richardson" and "A. Salas.”
 The photo above was taken in the early 1900s and shows graffiti on one of the Mission’s walls reading, "D.J. Hayman," " F.A. Birro," "A.W. Collum," "C.R. Moore," "A. Roe," and "Esstamapaucho July 5 1903."

Of those, I was only able to get any traction on Collum. In 1909 A.W. Collum of El Toro (now Lake Forest) ran an ad in the Los Angeles Times, reading, "For Sale - In a good, little country town on the Santa Fe Railroad. One-chair barber shop with one pool table, good cigar tobacco and soft-drink trade; only place of the kind here; large building with extra living rooms, garden, and room for chickens; free water; rent only $10. Fine place for barber with family. Reason for selling, I am alone and not a barber; will sell very cheap if taken by July 1. Better come quick for a bargain."

Two years later he had left the bucolic charm of El Toro behind and was selling brooms in L.A. Serves him right for defacing a church!

Also appearing in the photo above, and scrawled over the date “[19]01," were "J. Salaberri," "F.A. Salaberri," "G.L. Johnson," "J.B. Pitblado."

It didn't take much digging to find that Juanita Salaberri (1879-1964) was one of the daughters of Juan Salaberri, one of Capistrano’s wealthiest men. Don Juan raised sheep and had a hotel and a general store in town. He came to Capistrano about 1873, and died there in 1898.

“F.A.” was Juanita's sister, Felicitas "Felley" Salaberri (1881-1960).

And James Bruce Pitblado (1875-1934) was presumably Felley's boyfriend, because he went on to marry her in 1905.

In the photo of the Mission's Bell Wall, below, (courtesy the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society), Juanita appears on the far right, and Felley on the far left. (Had the photographer gotten there just seconds earlier, he no doubt would have caught the sisters in the act of vandalizing the building!) Standing between them are Lucana Forster McFadden and Ysidora Forster Echenique -- cousins of the Salaberri girls.
 All this makes me want to go back to the Mission on a quieter day and see what other old graffiti I can find. Meanwhile, try your hand at deciphering these names from inside a niche in the Great Stone Church.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

"Show & Tell" at Orange County Historical Society

See what that guy's holding? It's called a "peat shoe." They were used to keep horses from sinking into the wet, marshy ground in areas like Westminster and parts of Huntington Beach. At least a few peat shoes still survive today, and they're what you'd call genuine Orange County historical artifacts.

Want to see more cool artifacts? Want to share some artifacts from your own garage or attic? Come be part of "Show & Tell Night" at the Orange County Historical Society, Thurs., Jan. 12, 7:30pm, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. Whether it's great-grandpa’s branding iron, a La Vida Soda bottle, a small piece of an important building, or a rare old photo, odds are you own at least one object that tells a story about Orange County's past. Come share it with others! Presenters will be called in the order they sign in on our roster at the door.  The public is welcome and refreshments will be served.

I already know what I'm bringing, and it's pretty mind-boggling -- at least to my easily-boggled mind. And no, it's not something I have posted or will post on this blog. You'll just have to come see it for yourself.