Orange County, California


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Orange County
1910 to 1929


The U.S. Census counts 34,346 people in OC, 60 percent of whom live in just six communities: Santa Ana, Anaheim, Orange, Fullerton, Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. Garden Grove and Tustin are the largest unincorporated communities. California votes for $18 million in bonds to pay for construction of a cement highway from the Mexican border to the Oregon state line. OCís first school buses begin to roll. Efforts begin to restore the Mission San Juan Capistrano. James Irvine II forms the Santa Cooperative Sugar Company. The Haven Seed Company moves from Michigan to Santa Ana where it creates some of the leading tomato and vegetable hybrids grown in the world. Fullertonís new high school burns down. D.W. Griffith does the first film shoot in OC at the Mission San Juan Capistrano with Mary Pickford. The McFadden brothers sell Newport, Lido and Balboa Island for $35,000.


Oil is discovered in Placentia. Pacific Electric Railway Red Cars begins service to Yorba Linda. The Red Car line between Los Angeles and Santa Ana includes 20 daily trips in both directions lasting about 75 minutes per trip. In order to avoid becoming a home for an Anaheim sewage facility, Stanton incorporates as a city. OC Women first exercise their right to vote. Southern Counties Gas Company of Los Angeles acquires OC Gas Company serving Anaheim, Fullerton and Orange and Home Gas Company serving Anaheim and Fullerton.


Martin is the first to fly from Newport Beach to Catalina Island. The flight lasts 37 minutes and sets an over-water flight record of 34 miles. A bandit who assaulted a girl on Irvine Ranch becomes the target of OCís last great manhunt when a posse tracks him down to Tomato Springs and engages in a horrific shoot out. Besides the bandit, OC Deputy Sheriff Robert Squires is killed in the incident. Because the state highway would not pass close to all OC communities, it is proposed that tributary roads be built throughout the county. To this end, OC voters approve bonds for paving 108 miles of OC roadway. The first OC Horticultural Commissioner is appointed.


Temperatures drop below 22 for three consecutive nights. Fullerton Junior College is established. It goes on to become the longest operating junior college in the state and third in the nation. The Pomona College Marine Laboratory opens in Laguna Beach Ė the first upper division school in OC. The facility closes when its students are called to military service at the start of World War I. John Wheedon plants the first Fuerte avocado grove in Yorba Linda. Future U.S. President Richard Nixon is born in Yorba Linda. His father is a Red Car operator. OC records 3,700 motor vehicle registrations. The first OC aviation fatality occurs in Olive.


OC General Hospital opens in Orange. A controlled burn gets out of control in on the Irvine Ranch and burns 18,000 acres. Barney Oldfield's Fiat races and beats an airplane at the Santa Ana Race Track. OC abolishes its poll tax. The first major private residence in Dana Point, the Dolph Mansion, is built.


A new bond issue approved by voters brings 108 miles of good roads to county. Seal Beach, with a population of 250, incorporates as a city. The founder of Santa Ana, William H. Spurgeon, dies. OC hits its peak production of beets with 1.25 million tons. Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show performs in Santa Ana for the first time.


Two storms within one month overwhelm OC with floods when the Santa Ana River and Santiago Creek overflow their banks and damage or wash out all bridges. Balboa Island is annexed by Newport Beach. The Seal Beach Fun Zone amusement center opens in Seal Beach with a wooden roller coaster and dance pavilion. It is called the "playground of Southern California." OC State Guard Company L is deployed to Arizona in pursuit of Pancho Villa.


Brea, with a population of 732, incorporates as a city. 1,600 residents from OC enter the military for World War I. OC records 168 miles of paved arterial roadway, 510 miles of dirt and gravel roadway and 43 miles of state highway. OC State Guard Company L is activated shortly before war is declared on Germany. Camp Kearny is selected over Irvine Ranch to become a boot camp. The OC Farm Bureau forms to assist the war effort. The last coal mine in Santiago Canyon closes. Water and battle scenes are filmed in Back Bay for the silent movie spectacle, Cleopatra, starring Theda Bara. The first OC chapter of the American Red Cross is formed in Santa Ana. Boy Scout troops are formed in OC.


The Santa Ana Cooperative Sugar Company becomes Holly Sugar. The Irvine Ranch boasts of 17,000 acres under cultivation for beans - the largest bean field in world.


A special victory parade is held to celebrate the end of World War I. Held at Orange County Park (Irvine), the governor attends and presents victory medals to war veterans. Charles C. Chapman discovers oil in Placentia. The OC Historical Society is founded. Brea-Olinda has an oil boom. The County Free Library is established.


The U.S. Census puts the population of OC at 61,375. Oil is discovered in Huntington Beach. Walter Knott establishes his boysenberry farm in Buena Park. The Santa Ana River is re-channeled by building the Bitter Point Dam. The river bypasses Newport Bay with a direct outlet to the sea. Standard Oil operates the first successful oil well in Huntington Beach. OC records 14,000 motor vehicle registrations and 721 miles of county roads. Women were allowed to serve on the OC Grand Jury. Mose Gibson is hunted down and arrested in Arizona as the suspect in the killing of a prominent OC rancher. Because of rumors of a plot to lynch Gibson, OC Judge John Cox orders him taken to Los Angeles County Courthouse where he pleas before Cox and is sentenced to death within a matter of hours. He is hanged for murder. Girl scouting is introduced to OC.


The first Valencia Orange Show in Anaheim is opened with a telephone call from U.S. President William Harding. The Delhi Boxing Arena opens. The show continues as an annual event through the end of the decade. The OC Public Library is established. Bebe Daniels, a young silent film star, is caught speeding 56 mph in her Marmon roadster from Los Angeles to San Juan Capistrano. Justice of the Peace John Cox sentences her to 10 days in OC Jail and her incarceration becomes a media event. The OC Health Department is established with a full-time Health Officer and Public Health Nurse. The OC Boy Scout Council unites individual Boy Scout troops in OC.


The community of Midway is founded to provide home sites for oil workers from Huntington Beach. The community is named for its midpoint location between Santa Ana and Long Beach. Clara Cushman becomes OCís first practicing woman attorney. Her "shingle" is repeatedly stolen as a novelty. Duke Kahanamoku introduces surfboarding to OC at Newport Beach. The Ku Klux Klan attracts a large following in OC. Santa Ana enacts first zoning ordinance in OC. The first Newport Yacht Regatta opens. Radio station KFAW, the first commercial station in OC, begins broadcasting from Santa Ana. It is the only radio station between Los Angeles and San Diego. OC Boy Scouts establish Camp RoKiLi, at Barton Flats in the San Bernardino Mountains. Southern Counties Gas Company acquires the municipal-operated gas system of Newport Beach.


Heavy storms hit OC. Eddie Martin (no relationship to Glenn Martin) begins flying passengers out of a grassy field on Irvine Ranch Ė without the permission of the ranch. Remorseful, he arranges a five-year lease of the makeshift airfield to establish an airport and flight school. Eddie Martin Airport opens just north of the future John Wayne Airport. Charles Chapman opens the Chapman Building in Fullerton, the tallest building in OC for the time. The Santa Ana Country Club incorporates. Newport Beach annexes Corona del Mar.


OC suffers through the disastrous typhoid epidemic. Dana Point plots are sold off in a grand opening. Newport Beach annexes Corona del Mar. Charles and Ada Bowers leave their property to Santa Ana stipulating that it be used for a museum and that the OC Historical Society have free use of the building. The Phillips Block Building opens in downtown Santa Ana. Stanton disincorporates as a city. Dr. Ralph C. Smedley founds Toastmasters International in the basement of the YMCA in Santa Ana. San Juan Point, the first subdivision in Dana Point, opens. Midway City is founded. Anaheim holds its first Halloween Parade. The last surviving Juaneno Indian, "Old Acu," dies in San Juan Capistrano. He served as a bell ringer at the mission. Eight drown in Newport Harbor when the launch Adieu capsizes. Legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku saves five people in the incident. The Balboa Yacht Club is founded. OC builds Juvenile Hall "Fruit Street Tech." A Tuberculosis Health Camp opens in Trabuco Canyon. William Newton Miller and his son-in-law open the La Vida Mineral Springs Resort in Carbon Canyon.


A Santa Fe Railroad train, running between Oceanside and Santa Ana, is robbed of $2,500 by a single robber near San Juan Capistrano. Before the train arrives in Santa Ana, he jumps off the train and vanishes with the money. H.H. Cotton and former Seattle mayor Ole Hansen establish San Clemente as a 2,000-acre "Spanish Village by the Sea" with white stucco houses and red tile roofs. La Habra, with a population of 2,100, incorporates as a city. Samuel Kraemer opens the six-story Kraemer Building in Anaheim, the tallest building in OC for the time. A Newport Beach "bathing suit inspector" threatens to arrest women on the beach caught wearing controversial white "duck pants" without bathing suits underneath or wearing bathing suits that come within ten inches of the knee. The City Council, however, decides not to support such drastic enforcement. The Bernardo Yorba hacienda or ranch house, one of oldest Spanish-era structures in OC, is demolished. The first Air Meet is held in Brea. Nobel Prize winning physicist, Dr. Albert A. Michelson, establishes the speed of light with mile-long experimental tube on the Irvine Ranch.


Placentia, with a population of 800, incorporates as a city. Pacific Coast Highway opens between Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. Screen stars Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, costumed as the god Vulcan and "Spirit of Progress," attend the opening ceremony. Eddie Martin completes construction of its first permanent hanger. Sydney Woodruff, developer of the Hollywood tracts advertised by the Hollywood(land) sign, acquires Dana Point. Lightning ignites a costly oil fire in Brea. A tuberculosis health camp opens near OC Park.


Tustin, with a population of 500, and Laguna Beach, with a population of 1,900, incorporate as cities. Fullerton Municipal Airport opens. J. Frank Burke of Ohio acquires the Santa Ana Daily Evening Register (former Santa Ana Daily Register Ė future OC Register) newspaper. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens opens in Santa Ana Canyon (later moves to Claremont in Los Angeles County in 1951). Yet another severe flood prompts the formation of the OC Flood Control District. The Tucker Hummingbird Sanctuary opens. Southern Counties Gas Company acquires the municipal-operated gas system of Huntington Beach.


San Clemente, with a population of 650, incorporates as a city. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) is formed with Anaheim and Santa Ana as OC charter cities along with 11 Los Angeles County cities. The Transpacific Yacht Race launches for the first time from Newport Bay for Hawaii. Lido Isle is named. The block-long Rendezvous Ballroom opens on Balboa at Newport Beach. It could accommodate up to 1,500 couples on its dance floor and featured a 64-foot soda fountain. The first Pacific Coast Surfing Championships are hosted by the Corona Del Mar Surfboard Club, at that time the biggest surf club in the nation. The event features canoe tilting contests, paddling races and a surfboard life-saving demonstration. Edward Doheny Jr. lays out Doheny Park (later Capistrano Beach). Doheny is murdered, but his father, Edward Sr., completes the town development. The La Vida Bottle Works Company begins bottling and selling mineral water from their Carbon Canyon location. The drink is called "La Vida Lemon and Lime."


The final Pacific Coast Highway link between Long Beach and Dana Point is completed. The Buena Park firehouse burns down. Santiago Orange Growers ships 2,000 carloads of citrus, making it the largest citrus house in the nation. The elegant Santora Building opens in downtown Santa Ana. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange open St. Joseph Hospital in Orange. First Goodyear blimp Volunteer flies over OC. The Academy Award winning film All Quiet On The Western Front is filmed above Corona del Mar. Construction begins on the Irvine Lake Dam. Construction on the Ortega Highway begins. The highway is named for Sergeant Jose Francisco Ortega who first surveyed the area during the 1769 Portola Expedition. The historic Mother Colony House in Anaheim, center for the development of the Anaheim Colony in 1857, is dedicated as OCís first historical museum.



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