Disneyland, hiking Olinda, the Maag House, etc.

Here's the Disneyland-Alweg Monorail swooping over the Disneyland Hotel parking lot, in the 1960s. (I'm sure you car fanatics already have the date figured out down to the month.) Don Ballard's first book about this place, Disneyland Hotel: The Early Years, 1954-1988, has just been reprinted. Often such one-man's-quest/self-published books end up rotting forlornly in their authors' garden sheds. But this reprint is a real testament to a beautiful and well-researched book that's contagious in its appeal. If you weren't interested in the subject when you picked up the book, just give it a few pages. (He also has a sequel out now, which I unfortunately haven't seen yet.)

Join the Orange County Historical Society on its second "History Hike" on April 15th, at 9am. This time, our hike leaders and historians will take us through the historic oil fields and vanished town of Olinda, near Brea. For some reason, the event isn't on the Society's website yet, but the chair of the Society's hike committee, has the information posted on her blog. The hike will also include a visit to the Olinda Oil Museum, which I wrote about when it opened four years ago. The photo below shows a scene of Downtown Olinda in about 1920.
The Heritage Museum of Orange County (the Kellogg House people) have a shiny new Flickr account, and it looks like our friend Jason Smith is filling it up with interesting photos and other materials from their collection. The photo below shows the Maag House in its original location (now part of Fairhaven Cemetery) around 1900. The house is now on the grounds of the museum.
And don't forget,... There's a whole Orange County History group on Flickr that always seems to have new and interesting things being added by its over 250 members. Check it out, or join and add your own photos!

Trains, Irvine, Doris, Don Kennedy, owls, etc.

I've been down with a bug this week, and this is the first day I've even felt good enough to get my butt in front of a computer. Luckily, people have been sending me worthwhile news items for the blog, which makes it easy on me.

Our friend, Earl Nickles, the last of the railroad barbers, writes, "The Orange County Railway Historical Society is a very informal group and is open to anyone. The meetings are held on the first Monday of each month except when it is a holiday. Then we do second Monday. We meet on the fifth floor of the vestibule tower at the Santa Ana Depot, 1000 E. Santa Ana Blvd. Socializing begins at 7pm and the program at 7:30. [At] the April 2nd program ...our presenter will be Bert Hermey. Bert and his partner, Al Bishop are co-owners of a set of private rail cars that they maintain and make available for lease. Their customers include railroads, private parties, businesses, movie productions and others. Their present cars are all former Zephyr cars. They are the Silver Lariat, Silver Rapids and the Silver Solarium. ...It is a first class operation in services, amenities and food quality. ...Come and hear what it takes to develop and maintain an operation like this."
Further down the tracks, the Irvine Historical Society will offer a one-hour walking tour of Old Town Irvine (Sand Canyon Ave. at Burt Rd.) on April 1 at 11:30am. According to the State of California, "Old Town Irvine stands today as a testament to the rich agricultural past of what has become one of California's most heavily urban counties. Founded in 1887 as the distribution and storage center of the 125,000-acre Irvine ranch, Old Town Irvine was to develop over the years a bean and grain storage warehouse (1895) and granary (1947) known as the Irvine Bean and Grain Grower's Building [shown above], a blacksmith's shop (1916), a hotel (1913), a general store (1911), and an employees' bungalow (1915). All of these structures have been rehabilitated for commercial uses and their exteriors have been painstakingly maintained." Tours are $5, and reservations are required. Call Gail at 949-854-0510.
Donald P. Kennedy, longtime head of First American Title Co. (now First American Corp.) died Saturday at age 93. He grew the business from a local operation -- started by his grandfather, C.E. Parker, as Orange County Title in 1889 -- into a global giant. The Register is running part of an old interview with Don on their website, and the L.A. Times has an obit on theirs.

Those of us in the local history field immediately think of First American's collection of over 12,000 historical photos when we hear the company's name. It was the Parker/Kennedy family's commitment to preserving our roots and being part of the Orange County community that led to the building and maintenance of this collection, and Don Kennedy has certainly been an important part of that continuing commitment. We thank him for being a "keeper of the flame."
Brent Walker, film historian and son of South Orange County historian Doris Walker is working to restore, scan and otherwise save both family and historical materials that were salvaged after the fire that tragically took the lives of both Doris and her husband Jack last year. He's sharing some gems as he comes across them. Brent writes, "Last month I started a new blog, which I'll update periodically. The first two posts (one in February, one just posted) feature photos [from] my mother's collection, which I've been able to salvage and scan. She had so many interesting adventures and endeavors in her life that I felt should be shared, so I hope to do some of that on this blog (in addition to occasional adventures of my own) as time permits."

If you have your own photos or memories of Doris, I'm sure Brent and his brother Blair would love it if you shared those also.

The photo above shows Doris (on the right) appearing as a guest on a cable access TV show out of Laguna Hills. The host, it seems, incorporated a ventriloquist's dummy into the show, which is a dauntingly weird concept in this Post-Howdy-Doody-Era. Doris is doing her best to play along and make nice, but her expression still reveals a certain amount of incredulity. Does anyone remember this series?
And finally, Adam B. writes: "I was told by a friend that a long time ago there was a bar located in Santa Ana, called the Blinking Owl. It was said to have a mechanical sign of an owl with a moving eyelid that went up and down. Have you heard of this place? Do you have any information about it? Perhaps any images?"

A 1971 L.A. Times article about a robbery shows the Blinking Owl at 312 N. Birch St. It looks like there's a parking structure there today. I know nothing more about this place, and my online searches only led me (strangely enough) to photos of macrame owls, which in turn stirred up disturbing childhood memories of seeing 1970s decor first-hand. Star Wars and The Muppet Show aside, it truly was America's most aesthetically repugnant decade.

Anyway, if someone has photos of the sign, please share. If nothing else, I know at least four of my readers who will enjoy it.

visvim Virgil Cantor Folk Boot

visvim Virgil Cantor Folk Boot

Anaheim, Laguna, Fullerton, Dana Point, etc.

You see?!? This is why we can't have nice things! Look what happened to Pearson Park's 1935 statue of actress Helena Modjeska as Mary, Queen of Scots by sculptor Eugen Haier-Krieg.

According to a Native Sons of the Golden West plaque, "This statue is the oldest Public Works of Art Project of its type in Orange County. Sponsored by the State Emergency Relief Administration, the Anaheim Rotary Club, and the City of Anaheim, it was originally dedicated on September 15, 1935. ...Modjeska... established an artists' colony in Anaheim in 1876. On the reverse side are four vineyard workers, representing the agricultural nature of the original Anaheim Colony."
You'll notice that the vineyard workers got the same "St-Peter's-cross-on-the-forehead" treatment from the village idiots. I can at least understand a lot of bad and stupid behavior, but I can't begin to understand this kind of pointless vandalism.

Lila Zali and the Laguna Beach Civic Ballet” will be the topic at the Laguna Beach Historical Society’s meeting, March 27, 7:30pm, in the City Council Chambers at Laguna Beach City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. The speaker -- former soloist, ballet mistress, and resident choreographer of the Laguna Beach Civic Ballet (now called Ballet Pacifica), Kathy Kahn-- will also be joined by Merilee Magnuson Blaisdell, Mary Hanf Monzingo, and June Budd. The program will also feature a 20-minute documentary, “A Loving Tribute,” by Jennifer and Steve Baker.
Sunday is the last day to see the exhibit, "Citrus Crate Labels: An Artistic Overview," at the Fullerton Museum Center, 301 N. Pomona Ave. I'm sort of kicking myself that I haven't driven up to Fullerton to see this yet.

Jay Jennings will present “an exhibit of  1950s-inspired photographs” of  Knott’s Berry Farm this Saturday, March 24, 1pm to 4pm, in the north wing of Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant. Prints will be available for sale.

The new documentary, “Dana Point: My Home Town,” will be shown at the March 28th meeting of the Dana Point Historical Society, 6:30pm, the Dana Point Tennis Center, 24911 Calle De Tenis.

And finally,… I need YOUR questions about Orange County (past or present) for my monthly “Orange County Answer Man” feature in Orange Coast Magazine. E-mail your questions to me, and I’ll do my best.

Another voice in the fight for Wintersburg

There's a new blog in town, called Historic Wintersburg. It's dedicated to the history of the small village of Wintersburg, along Warner (formerly Wintersburg) Ave., between Beach Blvd. and Gothard St. in what is now part of Huntington Beach. The blog's author, "Surf City Writer," introduces us to the subject by saying, "In the late 1800s, the small agricultural community of Wintersburg was born. While the daily life of Huntington Beach swirls around it, what is left of Wintersburg tells the story of old California, Orange County agriculture, faith, and of California's Japanese Americans."

Clearly, the author is focused primarily on the town's Japanese American population, which is completely appropriate. As I've written here before, the complex of buildings made up of the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church and the Furuta family's property is probably the most important extant Asian American historical site in Orange County, and it is under immediate threat of being completely demolished. (See some of my earlier posts on the subject: 9-1-2007, 9-12-2007, 10-4-2007, 7-10-2008, 5-10-2011, 5-14-2011, and 11-6-2011.)

The posts on Historic Wintersburg are generally quite long -- more magazine-length than normal blog-length. But readers with longer attention spans will be rewarded with in-depth content from experts and historians like Art Hansen, Professor Emeritus of History and Asian American Studies at Cal State Fullerton, and Donna Graves, Project Director of Preserving California's Japantowns. The site also draws heavily on quotes from early Wintersburg residents and contemporary newspapers.

So surf on over, check it out, subscribe, add a link from your own blog (if appropriate), and please do what you can to help draw attention to this endangered historic site.

An Evening of Knott's Berry Farm history & OCHS

Knott's Berry Farm's History is the theme of the Orange County Historical Society's 2012 Annual Dinner, June 15, at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant in Buena ParkJ. Eric Lynxwiler, co-author of the book, Knott’s Preserved, will give a presentation on the Farm's colorful history, Knott's experts Phil Brigandi and Allen Palovik will lead a historical walking tour, and rare old Knott's film footage will be screened courtesy of the Orange County Archives.

(The photo above shows Walter Knott with artist Paul von Klieben, who designed so much of Ghost Town, in front of the General Store in 1947. The image below shows the cover of the book by Chris Merritt and Eric Lynxwiler.)

Dinner includes your choice of Mrs. Knott’s Famous Chicken or vegetarian lasagna, with all the trimmings, and boysenberry pie for dessert. Eric will be selling and signing his book afterwards.

This event is open to OCHS members and non-members alike, so bring your friends. Western attire is encouraged but not required. To make reservations or for more information visit orangecountyhistory.org. Pre-payment must be received by June 5.
The photo above shows Eric speaking last year on the stage of Knott's Bird Cage Theatre. The photo below shows historian Phil Brigandi leading a historical tour along Grand Avenue in front of Knott's in 2010.

The first tour (scheduled for 5:00) has already sold out, and we were able to schedule two more -- but that's probably all we'll be able to do. So I encourage you to sign up soon if you want the tour included with the rest of the dinner program. But tour or no, this event should be a lot of fun. Hope you can join us!

Fantastic Choices of Gold Prom Sandal 2012

Fantastic Choices of Gold Prom Sandal 2012

St. Joseph's Day in Capistrano

Today is St. Joseph's Day, when the cliff swallows traditionally return to Mission San Juan Capistrano. I say "traditionally," because the only swallows nests you'll find there today are the fake ones tacked in place for purposes of "historical interpretation."

It seems Capistrano isn't the cool place for swallows to hang out these days. First they moved to the Mission Viejo Mall, and the last I heard they were using the Vellano Country Club in Chino Hills and underpasses on the I-5 Freeway as their Southern California nesting places. I doubt anyone will write romantic songs about freeways and malls to update Leon René's 1940 hit, "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano," (sheet music shown above).

That song has been covered by a wide array of artists from the Ink Spots to Gene Autry to Bugs Bunny. Wikipedia claims, "A glassed-off room in the mission was later designated in René's honor, and displays the upright piano on which he composed the tune, the reception desk from his office, several copies of the song's sheet music and other pieces of furniture, all donated by René's family."

I have no memory of seeing this room, but it would hardly be the first time that either my memory or Wikipedia had failed me.
The Mission, of course, is celebrating St. Joseph's Day today, with bell ringing and other festivities. The city as a whole will celebrate the Fiesta de las Golondrinas on Saturday the 24th, with the traditional parade, etc.

Any guesses where the swallows will alight this year?

Modjeska's home, in the Forest of Arden

A quick "before and after" of Helena Modjeska's library at her home at Arden. The image above shows the room around 1900. I shot the matching photo below last year. (I'm told a relative of Modjeska's supplied the replica of the lion table.)
Even if you have zero interest in long-gone stage actresses, there are plenty of good reasons to visit the Modjeska Historic House & Gardens, which is now a County Historical Park. Here are a few of them:

1) It's the only house in the western United States designed by renown architect Stanford White.

2) The grounds and surrounding terrain are beautiful. I'm talking redwood trees, rose gardens, winding trails, fountains, lilacs, and little woodland animals scampering about.

3) Part of the house and some of the surrounding buildings began life as the home of J.E. Pleasants, so it has some great local Old West pioneer history tied to it.

4) It's a good excuse to get out of your usual urban/suburban environment for a while. This would be an appropriate place to point out that Arden is right next door to the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a pretty cool place to explore in its own right.

5) Modjeska was, as Mel Brooks would say, "world famous in Poland," and was also well known throughout the U.S. and Europe. That means she had a lot of famous friends, many of whom came to stay with her from time to time. You may be interested in some of the turn-of-the century celebrities who came to visit.

 6) It's your only chance to see Orange County's first swimming pool. Exciting, no?

7)  Arden is one of only two National Historic Landmarks in Orange County. So you can check it off your list after you visit.

8) The Parks staff in charge of the place are great and really care about this important site. Okay, that's not a reason to visit, but do say hello for me.

To find out more about how and when to visit, see http://www.ocparks.com/modjeskahouse/.

Something Orange for St. Patrick's Day

The Anaheim Orange & Lemon Association incorporated in 1918. It's mission-style packinghouse (shown above) at 424 S. Los Angeles St. (now Anaheim Blvd), was completed in 1919. Over a period of almost 40 years, millions and millions of locally grown citrus fruits were packed in this building and sent to markets all over the country in railroad cars. Neglected for the past half-century, something interesting is now happening to this old packinghouse. Soon we'll all be able to enjoy another re-purposed bit of historic Orange County. But first, a little background,...
According to Mike Tucker's Anaheim Colony website, "The Anaheim Orange and Lemon Association hired Duncan Gleason to create five brand labels:  Doria, Sonia, Delicia, Favorita [Red Ball], and Meritoria [Orchard Run].  The women on all five are modeled after Gleason's wife, Dorothy.  He used the money he earned from the label designs to finance his honeymoon."
Other brands used by the Association included Oriental (Choice) and Bohemia (Standard).

In his book, Citrus Powered the Economy of Orange County, Dick Barker writes, "Gerald W. Sandilands, who helped organize the association, served as secretary and manager from 1918 until his death... in September 1951."

The Association stopped handling lemons in 1931, and in 1936 they changed their name to the Anaheim Valencia Orange Association. The packing house's last season was 1957, and the association disbanded in 1958.
I'm happy to report that the exterior of the Anaheim Orange & Lemon Association packinghouse is now being restored and the interior converted into a sort of gourmet food court by the same people who developed "The LAB Antimall" and "The Camp" shopping center, near South Coast Plaza. Three cheers for adaptive reuse! The Anaheim Historical Society's blog (maintained by Kevin Kidney) has been covering the project's progress. (See an earlier post here, and a more recent post here.)

Also, the developers themselves have a website called Tracking the Packing, which features some great photos and some rather iffy history. (For example, Orange County was NOT named for our citrus industry -- which did not yet exist.) We'll happily overlook the research glitches, since they seem to be doing a beautiful job with the restoration.

Jessica Alba

Jessica Marie Alba  April 28, 1981 is an American television and film actress. She began her television and movie appearances at age 13 in Camp Nowhere and The Secret World of Alex Mack (1994). Alba rose to prominence as the lead actress in the television series Dark Angel (2000–2002). Alba later appeared in various films including Honey (2003), Sin City (2005), Fantastic Four (2005), Into the Blue (2005), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Good Luck Chuck both in 2007.
 Jessica Alba is considered a sex symbol.[citation needed] She appears on the "Hot 100" section of Maxim and was voted number one on AskMen.com's list of "99 Most Desirable Women" in 2006, as well as "Sexiest Woman in the World" by FHM in 2007. The use of her image on the cover of the March 2006 Playboy sparked a lawsuit by her, which was later dropped. She has also won various awards for her acting, including the Choice Actress Teen Choice Award and Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television, and a Golden Globe nomination for her lead role in the television series Dark Angel.

 Jessica Alba was born in Pomona, California to Catherine (née Jensen) and Mark Alba. Her mother is of Danish and French Canadian descent and her father is Mexican American. She has a younger brother, Joshua. Her father's Air Force career took the family to Biloxi, Mississippi and Del Rio, Texas, before settling back in California when she was nine years old. Alba described her family as being a "very conservative family – a traditional, Catholic, Latin American family" and herself as very liberal; she says she had identified herself as a "feminist" as early as age five.
 Jessica Alba
 Jessica Alba
 Jessica alba
 Alba's early life was marked by a multitude of physical maladies. During childhood, she suffered from collapsed lungs twice, had pneumonia four to five times a year, as well as a ruptured appendix and a tonsillar cyst. Alba became isolated from other children at school, because she was in the hospital so often due to her illnesses that no one knew her well enough to befriend her. Alba has also had asthma since she was a child. Alba has said that her family's frequent moving also contributed to her isolation from her peers. She has acknowledged that she has suffered from obsessive–compulsive disorder during her childhood. Alba graduated from high school at age 16, and she subsequently attended the Atlantic Theater Company.
Jessica Alba

Huntington Beach and the 1938 flood

March 1938 was a bit soggier than March 2012, and the photos of said sogginess never fail to astound. There had been worse floods here in terms of sheer amount of water, but there were a lot fewer people (and no cameras) here when it happened. The photo above comes from Duane Wentworth, the son of my old friend, Huntington Beach City Historian Alicia Wentworth. The photo shows what's now Southeast Huntington Beach in the foreground, and old Downtown Huntington Beach and the oil fields in the background.

Duane writes, "Thought you might like this photo for the... site. ...For reference, the farm just left of center is Bushard and Indianapolis. This photo was in my mother's collection."

To make it easier to understand what we're looking at, I overlaid the locations major streets on the photo. You may want to zoom in on both the original and the edited version to see more details.
Search "flood" on this blog to find a bunch more information about the horrors of March 1938.

Mens Nike5 Gato IC Soccer Shoes 2012

Mens Nike5 Gato IC Soccer Shoes 2012

New Hairstyles For Men 2011/2012

Glossy Medium Hair Style For Men:
 This glam glossy medium hair style for men is perfect to reflect your style-consciousness. Embrace a more alternative and modern style to make a real statement with your cutting edge crop.
Men Long Bangs Hair Style

 Show off your fondness for Indie or alternative looks with this men long bangs hair style. Use a flat iron or the best straightening products to keep the spotless sleekness of your fringe.

 Mohawk Men Hair Style:
 New Hairstyles For Men 2011/2012

This glam Mohawk men hair style looks simply charming when styled with artistry. Use your high street hair styling kit to pump up the volume and add natural movement to your locks.
Men Rockabilly Hair Style