Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Let's explore the Orange County Archives!

This photo was taken on Halloween. I don't normally dress like this for work!
I'm speaking on the subject of "What's New (and Old) at the Orange County Archives" at the March 13 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, (this Thursday) 7:30 p.m., 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. Along with an overview of the Archives, I'll be highlighting recent additions and sharing a new selection of rare historic photos (and film too, if time and technology allow). I know I've given talks about the Archives to many other organizations, but the majority of Thursday's program will be new and should be full of suprises for those who have seen my earlier presentations.

Here's a blurb on the Archives excerpted from this month's issue of the Orange County Courier:
In a democracy, access to public records – both past and present – is critical. Moreover, knowing our history is crucial to understanding our communities, where we’ve come from, and how best to plan for the future. And of course, preserving important information and images of the past is simply the right thing to do.

The Orange County Archives helps meet all these needs. It is a research center for the preservation and study of local history and is charged with promoting knowledge and understanding of the origins and history of Orange County.

Located in the Old Orange County Courthouse, at 211 W. Santa Ana Blvd, in Santa Ana, the Archives welcomes you to visit and use their unique collections of government records and other material documenting the rich history of our county.

The majority of the Archives’ records come from county government, beginning with Orange County’s separation from Los Angeles in 1889. However, when creating the Archives via an official resolution, the Orange County Board of Supervisors also provided that staff should collect “historical materials which are not official County records but which document the history of Orange County.” Because of this, the Archives has gathered and developed diverse collections that complement and strengthen one another.

Although its mission is partly to identify, collect, preserve and make available all these records, the Orange County Archives is more than its name might imply. It’s not a place where historical materials are simply boxed, numbered, and seldom seen again. These collections belong to the people of Orange County, and staff is on hand to help anyone and everyone find their way through 125 years of records in order to solve various historical, genealogical, and legal mysteries.

Archives staff members also organize historical exhibits, speak in public on subjects relating to county history, and sometimes help provide guidance for historical projects undertaken by county agencies or commissions. It is, in many ways, the central hub for Orange County history.

The Archives is a division of the Orange County Clerk-Recorder Dept., and is open to the public on weekdays (except holidays), 9:00 am to noon and 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm. For more information about the Archives, visit OCArchives.com or just stop by for a visit.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

The Taj Majal, aliens, Earl Nickles & Capistrano

I just came across this scene from the 1967 TV show, "The Invaders," featuring Laguna Hills' landmark Taj Majal Building(1964) in a starring role! (Didn't you always suspect that the at least some of South Orange County was developed by fiendish space aliens?) I understand that until 1968 the building was still owned by developer Ross Cortese, who headquartered his Leisure World Laguna Hills project there. (Hmmm.... Do you suppose the name of the "Santa Margaretta Dam" in this episode was borrowed from our old Rancho Santa Margarita y Las Flores?)

Our friend, Earl Nickles (the last of the railroad barbers) will share his collection of vintage local farm equipment at the Yorba Linda Historical Society, 7pm, March 10, at the Yorba Linda Community Center, 4501 Casa Loma Ave. Earl grew up on the Tuffree Ranch, so he can speak to the story of local agriculture first hand. His presentations are always both entertaining and educational.

The annual Fiesta de las Golondrinas is coming later this month, with the swallows theoretically making their return to Mission San Juan Capistrano on March 19. The Swallows Day Parade and Mercado Street Faire will be held on March 22.