Text courtesy of Orange County Historical Society, https://www.orangecountyhistory.org/
In 1857, the city of Anaheim emerged from a portion of the Rancho San Juan Cajon de Santa Ana. A group of German immigrants living in San Francisco purchased the land and moved to Anaheim in 1859. In 1868, land on either side of the Santa Ana River became the towns of Santa Ana, Tustin, Orange, Westminster, and Garden Grove.
Wine and raisin grapes, wheat, barley, and corn were the first crops grown by Orange County's first agricultural entrepreneurs. Later, new irrigation systems were built, walnuts, apricots, and oranges were cultivated.
In 1870, the first commercial vessel entered Newport Bay, (now Newport Beach); it became a regular shipping point along the coast.
The Southern Pacific built the first local railroad in 1875, from Los Angeles to Anaheim. The line was extended to Santa Ana two years later. New towns and subdivisions sprang up by the dozens as tourists and settlers poured into Southern California, including Fullerton, Buena Park, and El Toro.
The burst of economic growth and local pride in the late 1880s led to the formation of the County of Orange in 1889.
Image and text courtesy of Anaheim Heritage Services, Anaheim Public Library, https://www.anaheim.net/2474/Heritage-Services
Anaheim began in 1857 as a colony of German farmers and vintners.(winegrowers) Founding member George Hansen surveyed the original 200 acres which now comprises the city's downtown area, bounded by North, South, East and West streets. The city's name is a composition of "Ana" from the nearby Santa Ana river and "heim," German for home. Those early pioneers considered this location their "home by the river."
The image above is a view of West Center Street, 1889.
Image and text courtesy of History Center, Orange Public Library, https://www.cityoforange.org .
In 1885, David Hewes purchased approximately 820 acres near El Modena and built a home he named Anapauma (Spanish for "place of rest"). In 1905, he hired Robert G. Fraser, developer of the Busch Gardens in Pasadena, to design a park on his land, located at the corner of Esplanade and La Veta Ave. Hewes Park was a popular local picnic spot from 1905 on into the 1940s.
Image and text courtesy of Fullerton Library
For more, https://www.fullertonheritage.org/
The image above is the Intersection of Harbor and Commonwealth in 1890
In 1887, George H. Fullerton was president of the Pacific Land and Improvement Co., a subsidiary of the Santa Fe Railroad. Land was purchased for railroad right-of-way. George and Edward Amerige decided on a site for a town, located north of Anaheim.
The Ameriges purchased the 430 acres. On July 5, 1887, Edward Amerige drove a stake into a mustard field. It was at a place which is now the corner of Harbor Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue. At that moment, Fullerton was born. The community voted to name the town in honor of its benefactor, George Fullerton.
Image and text courtesy of Yorba Linda Historical Society
Yorba Linda is named after Don Bernardo Yorba. He was granted Rancho Canon de Santa Ana by the Mexican governor in 1834. The descendants retained most of the land after the Mexican- American War.
Images and text courtesy of Local History Room, Fullerton Public Library http://www.tustinhistory.com/
Columbus Tustin was a a Petaluma carriage maker.
He and his partner, Nelson O. Stafford, purchased 1300 acres of the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana in 1868 when the old Spanish land grant was being partitioned. Between 1868 and 1872, Tustin set about establishing "Tustin City" on his share of the parcel. He laid the streets out through the wild mustard and sycamore trees that covered the area. He moved his wife, Mary, and their five children (Mary Jane, Martha, Ella, Fannie, and Samuel) here. He started selling lots and established the school district and the post office. When many people failed to buy homesites, he offered lots free to anyone who would build a home.
§New construction included three churches, a 50-room hotel, a bank, and a horse-drawn tallyho, which connected Tustin to Santa Ana. Many new residents builthomes and planted groves.
The 1890's saw Tustin well established an agricultural community. Groves of apricots and walnuts gradually were replaced by Valencia oranges.
§The new century brought many changes here, as elsewhere. As early as 1903, there were two telephone companies. Electricity became available in 1906. And, of course, automobiles became so common that the State Highway (101) passing through town had to be paved.
The 1920's ushered in a new period of growth. Tustin built its own high school in 1922. By 1927, the population topped 900and the voters deemed it was time to incorporate. The new City Council elected Byron Crawford the first mayor and hired "Big John" Stanton as the police force. The volunteer firemen continued to serve, using Sam Tustin's converted 1912 Buick fire truck (now on display in the Tustin Area Museum).
Balboa Pavilion, circa 1906
Image & Text courtesy of https://www.newportbeachhistorical.org.
Captain Samuel Sumner Dunnels cautiously guided his 105-ton, flat-bottomed steamer Vaquero into the virtually unexplored Newport Bay, then known as San Joaquin Bay, on September 10, 1870. Heavily loaded with 5,000 shingles and 5,000 feet of lumber from San Diego, he entered the bay slowly. He was successful, and Newporters finally had a source of needed supplies. Before long, he had constructed a small wharf and warehouse near the west end of today's Newport Bay Bridge. Although there is no proof of its source, most believe that the Name "Newport" came from one of two sources: 1) Some credit Dunnels, who exuberantly proclaimed he had found a "new port" when he crossed the bar. 2) Others contend that it was suggested at a meeting concerning commerce on the bay.
Diego Sepulveda Adobe - Costa Mesa, California
Image & Text courtesy of Costa Mesa Historical Society. https://www.costamesahistory.org/visit/adobe/
Fr. Zephyrin Englehardt, in his Missions of San Juan Capistrano, describes the adobe as a station of the Mission situated on the banks of the Santa Ana River.
At first the site was an Indian settlement, visited occasionally by the Padres. In the early 1800s, when the Capistrano cattle (made famous by Richard Henry Dana in his Two Years Before the Mast) grazed in what is now Costa Mesa, provision had to be made to shelter the herdsmen. Possibly as early as 1817, but more likely between 1820 and 1823, a small adobe was built to house the majordomo and his men. The large “mission” bricks of this first structure were found in the east and south walls.
As the Mission Period passed, the old Spanish land grants were partitioned and the adobe became the property of Don Diego Sepulveda, a former alcalde of the Pueblo de Los Angeles. It assumed its present shape during the Sepulveda tenancy. The additions he made are indicated in the walls by the change to smaller, ranch type adobe bricks.
There were neighbors then – the Eduardo Pollereno adobe to the south and another adobe to the north – each in a prime location on the mesa with its own well of fresh water. As late as 1868 these were the only homes in the area. The structure appears as the “House of Diego Sepulveda” on a map of that year that now hangs in the east room.
Text courtesy of City of Garden Grove https://ggcity.org/history.
Spanish soldiers commanded by Gaspar de Portola first discovered Orange County as they made their way north across California in 1769. During their journey, the soldiers camped on a wide grassy plain east of present day Garden Grove. They named the area the Santa Ana Valley and claimed the state of California as a possession of Spain. The Santa Ana Valley was divided into ranchos as some of the soldiers settled in the area.
In 1822, Mexico gained independence from Spain, and California became a province of Mexico. It was the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, at the end of the Mexican-American War, that made all of California a territory of the United States of America. In 1850, California became the 31st state in the union.
A businessman named Abel Stearns bought large tracts of land in Southern California in 1868 and divided some of it into smaller lots to sell to settlers. In 1874, Alonzo Cook purchased 160 acres of land in the area for about $15 an acre. Recognized as Garden Grove's Founding Father, he later donated land north of Main Street and Garden Grove Boulevard for use as the site of the first schoolhouse and post office. Cook suggested the name "Garden Grove" for the school and surrounding village. Some countered that the name did not fit the open terrain. Cook responded, "We'll make it appropriate by planting trees and making it beautiful."
From Community to Town
By the time Orange County incorporated in 1889, the Garden Grove area had a population of about 200. It continued as a quiet farming community into the 20th Century, when in 1905, the Pacific Electric Railroad came through Garden Grove. The railroad brought tourists, visitors, and before long, more settlers. Soon after came the first telephone, gas and electric services for the residents near Main Street.
During the next 40 years, agriculture continued as the town's main economy. Although ideally located in the center of the county, Garden Grove's growth was slowed by two disasters during those years. The first was in 1916, when the center of town was flooded and came under about four feet of water after days of heavy rains. Then, in 1933, another disaster damaged the old town section of Garden Grove when an earthquake struck. Following each of these catastrophes, however, the residents joined in spirit and labor to repair the damage and continue the progress of Garden Grove.
World War II had an important impact on city growth. Servicemen who had visited California during their training for war came back to settle and raise their families. Available land and low prices caused a sudden building boom, making Garden Grove the fastest growing city in the nation in the 1950s. Image and text courtesy of City of
Image and text courtesy of City of Fountain Valley https://www.fountainvalley.org/642/City-History-Facts
FV's oldest building, the 1898 Courreges Tank House & 118-year old water tower has been a centerpiece of the Courreges Ranch at Talbert Avenue and Newland Street until it was moved to Heritage Park, next to the library. Hazel Courreges, who passed away in 2011, was on the first board of directors for the Fountain Valley Historical Society. It was Hazel's wish to see the Courreges water tank tower, known as the "Tank House," eventually moved to Heritage Park, where it could be preserved by the Historical Society and available for the community to enjoy for generations to come.
In the early settlement of Fountain Valley, this area was inundated by swamps. From 1880’s to the early 1900’s the area of Fountain Valley and adjoining communities was called “Gospel Swamps” by the residents. The name “ Fountain Valley” originated from the many artesian wells and the great supply of water.
Through the efforts of the early settlers up through the 1890’s, drainage canals were constructed to drain the land to make it usable. Early pioneers grew field crops which included sugar beets, beans, barley and wheat. Cattle grazed on portions of land not being used for growing crops.
Primarily, Fountain Valley remained a field crop area, producing beans and sugar beets, until the middle 1930’s when some large land owners began to sell off portions of land. From 1930 until the present time the agricultural emphasis has been on truck crops, such as strawberries, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, corn, beans, lettuce carrots, spinach, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, parsley, peas, and squash.
Image and text courtesy of Buena Park Historical Society, http://www.buenaparkhistory.org/wp/
Above is the Whitaker Jaynes Estate and home of the Buena Park Historical Society. The exact derivation of the name Buena Park is uncertain but most likely relates to the artesian well and it’s parklike grounds once located at the current intersection of Artesia and Beach Blvd. (formerly Grand Ave.). Local settlers referred to the area as “Plaza Buena” which means “good park” in Spanish. The mixing of the Spanish and English languages to name Buena Park reflects the major historical influences in the area.
Original Spanish explorers settled on the enormous ranchos by land grants made by the King of Spain. Manuel Nieto of the Portola Expedition received such a grant in 1783 which was divided by his heirs into five separate ranchos in 1834. One of them 46, 806 acre Rancho Los Coyotes, included the current site of the City of Buena Park where the rancho’s adobe headquarters was located on what is now Los Coyotes County Clubs’s golf course.
The area was transferred from Spanish authority to Mexican rule in 1822 and subsequently California was granted statehood in 1850. Americanization further expanded in the area after completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 and its connection to Los Angeles in 1875. By then, Abel Steams had acquired Rancho Los Coyotes in consideration for loans made to Pio and Adres Pico. In 1885, James A. Whitaker purchased 690 acres of this land from Steams and in 1887 he founded the City of Buena Park in conjunction with the railway development of what we now know as Orange County.
Image and text courtesy of http://lagunabeachhistory.org/
1862: Homestead Act – Our 16th President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, offering qualified individuals up to 160 acres of land with the requirement of five years of continuous residence and improvement of the land. Patents could also be purchased for gold coin.
1871-1916: More than40 individuals applied for and received a patent for homesteading land in the areas of Laguna, Arch Beach, and Aliso, which all later became Laguna Beach. George Thurston, Sr. was one of the first settlers to arrive in the area with his family in 1871 and received two homestead patents in 1879. The first settler to receive a homestead patent in the area was Frederick Sievert in 1875. The area of Laguna Beach north of Laguna Beach Canyon was part of the Irvine Ranch and was not homesteaded.
•1880 TO 1899: THE VILLAGE
•1880: The first unofficial greeter – Joe Lucas arrived from Portugal. He greeted stagecoach visitors from Santa Ana and El Toro while carrying a trident fishing spear as if he were Neptune. Old Joe Lucas stayed in Laguna Beach for 28 years and died in 1908.
Image courtesy of Saddleback Historical Society Text courtesy of Office of Historic Preservation
Serrano Adobe before 1932
restorations, El Toro.
Cañada de los Alisos, also called El Toro, was granted to José Serrano in 1842 by Governor Alvarado. Senor Serrano and his relatives erected a number of adobes on the land grant. Serrano Adobe was constructed in 1863.
Content courtesy of City of Mission Viejo. https://cityofmissionviejo.org/makers-promise-rancho-mission-viejo
Mission Viejo is built on the western 11,000 acres of the 53,000-acre Rancho Mission Viejo. The descendants of the original landowners, the O’Neill family, still live on and operate the ranch. Richard O’Neill, born in Ireland in 1824, sailed to Boston with his family and learned the meat cutting business alongside his father. Young Richard was lured to California by the gold rush and opened a butcher shop in San Francisco. He arrived in Southern California in 1882 to manage a large cattle ranch -- Rancho Santa Margarita y Las Flores -- for the Nevada Bank of San Francisco. Richard O’Neill eventually became the owner of the Ranch. James L. Flood provided the money for its purchase, and on a mere handshake, agreed to give Richard half-ownership of the Ranch if he continued to manage it successfully. Through hard work, good management, and profit sharing, Richard acquired half ownership in 1907. O’Neill’s son Jerome managed the cattle ranch from 1907 until 1926, when both he and James Flood, Jr. died. Jerome O’Neill bequeathed his portion of the Ranch to his sister, Mary Baumgartner, and his brother, Richard Jr. In 1941, the land was split three ways: the southern portion went to the Flood family, the central section to the Baumgartners, and the northern part, known as Rancho Mission Viejo, to Richard O’Neill and his family.
The O’Neills became very involved as equal partners -- general partners. They kept a close eye on the plan and its implementation to ensure that the development took full advantage of the natural beauty of the Ranch. They still had 6,000 head of cattle on their ranch, and they donated vast amounts of land to the county for parks: O’Neill Regional Park and Casper Wilderness Park.
--written by Robert Breton, former Mayor of Mission Viejo