Tuesday, January 25, 2005

About Us

OCThen.com originally went live back in the Spring of 2000. It was started by myself and a buddy of mine, as a bold venture to create an online library of articles and photographs pertinent to the history of Orange County, California. Our hope was that we could get the general public to provide material. We figured there were lots of folks out there with old photos and stories to provide. But, we couldn't get many people to participate.

Over the next few years we discovered that people were interested in providing small snippets of what they remembered about growing up in Orange County. So, we created a section called "Memories". But as people submitted their memories, it became cumbersome to update the pages. OCThen was entirely a manual operation.

We came up with the name "OCThen" after another site called "OCNow", ran by The OC Register newspaper. OCNow was supposed to be about what's going on around the county right now. Since we focused on history, we took "OCThen".

In January of 2005, after a couple years of inactivity, I decided to assume sole control of OCThen, turned it into a blog, and is now owned by my company Clear Digital Media. It's focus is on memories of living in Orange County.

About Me

I first moved to Orange County in November of 1978. My family rented a house in Santa Ana, on Richland Ave, near the corner with Bristol St. I attended Spurgeon Intermediate School, and then graduated from Santa Ana Valley High School in 1984. I went on to study music at Santa Ana College.  I got a job working at the Santa Ana Public Library.

I met my first wife at Santa Ana College. She was born and raised in Santa Ana. Her parents moved to Santa Ana in the 1940's, back when the town probably looked like a nice place to live. We married in 1990 (in Santa Ana of course).

In 2001, we moved out into Riverside County, in the City of Menifee. I became self-employed as an Internet publisher and marketer.  In 2011, I divorced, and remarried to another Internet marketer in 2012, who now handles all my sales and marketing.  Today, we travel around the country on our motorcycles, staying in vacation rentals and working out of our laptops.

Follow me on Twitter: @motophilosophy

 - Steve Johnson

71 comments:

  1. Hi Steve,what a wonderful project your site is, I thought I was the only person to miss the landmarks of OC,especially Santa Ana. I was born and raised there in 1953. I was born at Santa Ana Community Hospital, on Washington Street. Back then, your Birth Certificate came with the baby's "footprints",sadly mine didn't survive the Taffolla family mementos,but I still remember looking at all of our 5 sets.
    We lived on 2nd/Bristol,across the street from the "Key" hamburger joint,which was next to Johnson Chapel.On 1st street,there was a place just East of Bristol that you could rent time on a trampling,it was every kids dream to jump on them.We did all our family grocery shopping at "Reds Ranch Market on Harbor Blvd,but did our day to day shopping at "Norris Superette" on St .Andrews street once we moved to Evergreen St. close to the Kerr Glass/Cherry Rivet plant near Standard/Warner Ave.What I remember most about the old days is the Helms Bakery Truck,that used to cruise the neighbor hoods in a bright yellow van/truck,what I wouldn't give for one of those Cream Puffs! The way the driver would stop the truck,get out and come around the back to swing open those two back doors,pull out the deep shelves while we waited anxiously to see all the different donuts,chocolate cupcake,and best of all,those light as air cream puffs!
    Once again,thank you for providing a place for us old cronies to reminisce of the good ole days,too bad these simple things are a thing of the past!
    Gloria Taffolla, Anaheimmom@AOL.com

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  2. Nice work, I hope this blog takes off! You should send your URL to the OC Register. For that matter, a little promotion at the various historical societies, libraries and museums would bring a lot of traffic.

    I moved to Saddleback Valley in 1978; between my front yard and Laguna Beach there were miles of hills and no roads. I used to roam all over the hills exploring creeks and finding marine fossils. Alicia Parkway was only a mile or two long, and ended at Paseo de Valencia.

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  3. Hello Steve
    Like Gloria I have lived in OC since 1953 and remember the good and bad of OC past. I just started a website about So Cal places to visit and trying to include all of the "old" places that are still around. I will add your site to my links.
    My site http://www.daytrippen.com/

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  4. January 2, 2006
    Howdie ! I too lived in Anaheim for 53 years. We use to walk through the Orange Groves. Had a good time at Harmoney Park, The Bean Hut on Anaheim Blvd, then Carl's Jr. In between those days we danced at McTavishes and Retails Club there in Anaheim. We all went to the beach to surf from 7 am to 7 pm. Drove home then took only 15 minutes, got ready for Disneyland. It was $1.50 to get into the park with many different dance bands. Sometimes we would stay at the beach to go dancing at The Rendevous on Balboa Island. And yes we did attend school. Graduated in 1967, Anaheim High School. Graduate of Sycamore Jr High in 1965 and attended Abraham Lincoln school in 1954 thru grade school years. Anaheim to me has always been a quaint little town. All very nice people. Many good families there. And which rooted out from City of Anaheim to elsewhere as well. Ann

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  5. I lived in the Continentals at Brookhurst and Adams when they were new. I could walk to the beach thru the bean fields. I went to Lamb and Bushard schools. So many memories come to mind Like school shopping at White Front. My Mom was a nurse at Fairview State Hospital. I played baseball for parks and recreation and pop warner football. grunion runs, boy's club in Costa Mesa and HB. First minibikes. Skateboards, Levis from Grants,etc. and characters like the guy at the peir who would hand out the mini bibles. pops at scotties, There was an old guy on a bike that everyone called popeye. I must have seen Endless Summer ten times at the Surf Theater, I Fished from the pier when there were actually fish there. jumped off it for junior lifeguards and surfed along it with a surfboard that was twice my size. skim boarding. I could go on and on. I loved it!

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  6. Thank you for doing such a brilliant webpage. I have the misfortune of only being a visitor to Orange County, as I live in England. My first visit was in 1996 and I was hooked. Its great to read how things used to be.
    Keep up the good work.

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  7. here's one for ya.. does anyone remember billy barty's "cars of the stars?" the t.v. commercial showed cars that had been in movies, or belonged to famous people, and billy barty sliding on a slide.. it was something before that , i can't remember what, but it was right there on orangethorpe, between knott and valley view, the yamaha plant is there now, and it might even be the same building, but defineately the same lot..
    man.. your site brings back good memories i didn't know i had. once in a while if im going north i cruise up beach to see what it looks like and its just incredibly different, buena park seemed like a boring town, but gosh, there really was some great stuff there, too bad alot of it's gone... .........

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  8. Hi Steve, Oh wow, what awesome memories you brought back to me. I moved to Orange County with my parents, back in 68' when I was 13, from Brooklyn, NY, so you could well imagine, it was paradise to me! We settled in Buena Park, and I spent every free moment at Pier #3 in Huntington Beach, in the water, or watching surfers ride the waves, browsing through the original Jack's Surf Shop, and of course us kids would wait until later to move 'down the beach' so we could have a fire in the pits. What memories! I lived near Western and La Palma, Knotts Berry Farm had no admission, you could buy ticket books, Japanese Village i do remember, I even remember one of the Knott grandchildren. I've recently left O.C. to retire in Illinois, to be near my grandchildren, but thank you for bringing back such wonderful memories!Linda from o.c.

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  9. Hello Steve.
    I love the site. I grew up in the tract of homes behind the Anaheim Convention Center in the 70s and after they did the makeover when they built Disney's California Adventure, I decided to make a site where the old Googie motels and other vanishing Americana would live on. It's called "Photos Of The Forgotten" and you can check it out at
    http://photosoftheforgotten.synthetrix.com/
    if you have not already.
    Keep up the great work!

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  10. Hello to all. There are so many memories of Downtown Anaheim. I'll never forget coming out of school (Fremont ruled) seeing all the smoke from the Valencia Hotel. There was a shop for everything on Lincoln and Anaheim Blvd. Beauty shops (eye lashes), antiques, jewlery, The Williams Co. (cords) the bank (El Camino) Jacksons Drug Store the restaurant on the corner (the waitress with the big false eyelashes) the Villiage thrift store. Bands practicing down in the neighborhood for the parade. Chartress and Anaheim Blvd. Wichells donuts. So many bars, Bill Burgers, El nopal. Cant forget Pup N Taco, Fords spirits (liquor store) records and juke boxes next door, the Lincoln food center. Set free started on lincoln after the carpet place closed. The dentist on the corner of Lincoln and Olive is now residential on Cypress St. and Olive. Merle Norman cosmetics, House of Humor all those places now gone but the memories still very near and alive. I was very fortunate my parents owned a grocery store in Fullerton (Arce's Mkt coldest beer in town) on Valencia and Lemon while there they build the underpass for the train and widened Lemon st after paying my parents a pretty penny for our business. Living in Anaheim Sycamore and Olive my dad's light bulb lite up and he purchased the old cleaners on Anaheim Blvd next to Winchell's donuts and remodeled it to a grocery store and we were in business again. (Arce's Market) My mother would make and sell fresh carnitas with salsa and her famouse chile verde burritos. Dad's (Fred) light bulb went off again when winchell's donuts went up for sale. We sold the grocery store (slow bussiness) except for the last Halloween parade at night down Anaheim Blvd. we made a killer profit that night. Dad bought winchell's and remodeled it to sell burritos tacos and hamburgers. We were in business again. We had our city employees buying my brothers famouse breakfast burritos every morning. Wayne's welding was accross the street down on sycamore was the Elks club lots of weddings and the classic car club parked outside showing off their beautiful cars. I could go on and on. To me Anaheim has has alot of changes but change is not always bad. I've been here for 30yrs and have no plans in my near future to move elsewhere unless Reel Lumber Service moves which has been here for years and years. Anaheim is very fortunate thanks to Walt, residence here will always experience new things because of so many tourists Anaheim is well maintained.
    Can anybody remember anything I did not mention.

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  11. Hi, I Lived in Costa Mesa 1953 - 1957. There was a family that made gold craclke pottery. I visited their home once. They made their pieces in a couple of out buildings behind their home.

    I was 13 or 14 years old at that time, and of course don't remember their names. But, I do remember their very distinctive pottery. I'm pretty sure they used to have a booth at the Laguna Festival of Arts, and I think that is where I originally met them as my Mother, a craft person, used to exhibit there also. I am trying to find their name. I'm an antique dealer, and am starting to run into their pieces quite often. I would like to be able identify pieces correctly, when I offer a piece for sale.

    I lived in the (I think) the first large housing tract built in Costa Mesa, called American Homes. I went to Everett A. Rae Junior high and Newport Harbor High (class of 1958).

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  12. hi steve i lived in oc from 1947 thru 1989 so the oc i rememeber as a youth is long gone i lived in santa ana on so broadway until 1954 in those days we had backyard incinerators for trash disposal,my dad worked in the spurgon building at 4th and main street and i can remember the red car electric trains that use to run there,also in those days the navy use to operate blimps out of the 2 large hangers in tustin known then as lta these were much larger then the goodyear airships you see flying today,when i was about 7 my dad took me out to the orange co airport (john wayne today) to watch test flights of the horton wingless aircraft,this inventor (bill horton)built a very unique aircraft with lots of potential but had the misfortune of having howard hughes as a partner,when hughes did not get his way he destroyed horton and his aircraft,but thats a whole other story i can remember going to the paulo drive in and the broadway walkin theaters both of which do not exist anymore,i really miss the orange groves and strawberry fields that use to dominate this area but i guess this is what some call progress

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  13. great site steve,
    my younger brother called me from hawaii last week and told me to check out this great site about old orange county. we lived there from 1963 to 1975 in the westminster and bolsa ave area. it was the first new home i had ever lived in and the tract of homes bordered an older section of homes they called "barber city". i remember a little country store on westminster ave run by two older ladies, who were twins, the store was called "Rancho Market".
    this was a small store where we could shop for the esentials. in order to shop at a major grocery store we had to go down to "Ed Tunks", where the floor was covered with saw dust.
    there was also a barber shop in that little area with a barber my friends and i named "okie tom", because no matter what type of cut you asked for,he always left you with side walls.
    our home was located behind the mcdonnel douglas plant, this area was orginally a large field where we used to ride mini bikes and motorcycles.
    i remember playing in the construction sites where the "405" was first being built through that area
    i remember when the edwards cinema was first built by the old kmart, i believe the first show they played there was the james bond film 'thunderball". my firends and i were so excited to see that film, i believe that it cost us 50cents to get in.
    we thought we were big time when the huntington beach mall was built and we could go hang out and look at girls.
    some of the other memories that flash through my head are the strawberry festival, huntington pier,"back bay" in newport beach,springdale elementary school, stacy intermediate, and marina high school.

    thanks for the memories,
    michael gutierrez
    gutierrezjandm@aol.com

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  14. Great site! I have had a ball looking at Knott's, D-land, Deer Farm, etc., and just saw "Murray Manor" mentioned two posts ago, where I remember being a bored kid dragged around by my parents. I moved to Buena Park with my parents in 1958, and have not left since.
    Two things in particular I have wondered about-
    1. Has anyone found a good book on Knott's- pics of the old days and building progress? Have been going there since '58, have a lot of memories of it, but haven't found books either at the park, or online.

    2. Anyone remember a restaurant called "Silver Saddle"? I think it was in the north OC (La Habra?) somewhere....

    For ID, I'll be....OCBoy!

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  15. So happy to find this site. I grew up in Buena Park and lived in Orange County from when I was born in 1975 until I moved to Corona in 2000. I now live in Idaho (soooo not OC) but I will always call OC my home and consider myself a So Cal girl. It has been so much fun reading through all the posts. I remember the Alligator Farm and Lion Country Safari and so many other places mentioned that don't exist anymore. OC was the greatest place to grow up. It is such a shame that,it now has such a bad rep for either snobby rich people or gang members. If housing was reasonable and the place wasnt overrun by illegals and other non-desirables, I would be back there in a minute raising my kids! Thanks for the memories Orange County!!

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  16. Thanks for such a great site. I was lucky enough to have been born there (1960). It was such an unbelieveable place to grow up (Bolsa Chica & Warner area). How many of you remember "Ed's Dairy" I grew up next door to that.

    My favorite memories are of the beach... I remember bondfires on the beach and people camping. Places such as Japaneese Deerpark, Old McDonalds Farm, Knottsberry farm, Disneyland, "The pike", were all such magical places growing up. There was also a park in westminister I think by the freeway which was real popular for birthday parties too (It had a huge dragon slide).

    I'd love to exchange photos of those places. I only have photos of Knotts Berry farm in the 1960's. I was here "reminising" and hoping to find some photos of the area back in the 60's and early 70's.

    Thank you for providing this site.

    Beach-Race-Girl (June)

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  17. GREAT SITE, SO MANY MEMORIES.

    I GREW UP IN SANTA ANA FROM 1947 TO 1979 WHEN I MOVED TO TEMECULA TO GET AWAY FROM IT.
    MEMORIES: ALS QUICK SNACK (IN AND OUT)
    CRUISING MAIN FROM EDINGER TO 17TH NIGHTLY (EARLY 60'S)
    DRAG RACING ON TALBOT RD. (IN BEAN FIELDS)
    PALO DRIVE IN THEATER
    THE SMELL OF ORANGE BLOSSOMS
    THE SUGAR BEET MILL ON SO. MAIN.
    FEDUCIAS GAS STATION MAIN AND 1ST
    THE ORANGE PLAZA WITH SOAP FOAM IN IT.
    THE SMELL OF THE ARMY NAVY STORE ON SOUTH MAIN.
    IN THE LATE 40'S HUNDREDS OF CORSAIRS IN SQUADRONS FLYING INTO EL TORO.
    THE OLD NAVY BLIMPS OVER THE CITY
    SWIM CLASS IN SANTA ANA HIGH OUT DOOR POOL WITH HIGH WALLS FREEZING COLD (WE SWAM IN THE NUDE)
    THE CHRISTMAS PARADES
    KNOTTS BERRY FARM WHEN IT WAS STILL A FARM. AND FREE.
    IT WAS REALLY A WONDERFUL PLACE TO GROW UP AND I TREASURE THE MEMORIES. GREAT SITE GREAT MEMORIES

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  18. Hi, Steve. I just now discovered your site, and it brought back a lot of tearful nostalgia. I was born in Whittier in 1962, and my family moved to Fountain Valley in 1966. I spent many happy years growing up in Orange County; going to the beach, and eating at great places like Bob's Big Boy (which I still miss every day of my life), and the wonderful mexican food at Don Jose' (Adams near Magnolia), and Marios which used ot be near the Trader Joes at 5 Points plaza in Huntington Beach (best Taquitos in the world). Sadly, my profession caused me to move out of state, but one day I swear I will return. I still visit from time to time, but I cant help but notice that the best parts of my old home town are lost forever..

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  19. What memories, Laguna Cyn road, looking for ahem, seedlings, finding snakes, Trabuco Cyn campground parties on the weekend, Holy Jims Canyon, The springs off of Ortega Hwy, Bolsa Little League, St. Barbara's Church, Fr Michael Collins, Fr Buckman, Mater Dei High School, Maxine st. Walking 7 miles to Huntington Bch from Mcfadden down Brookhurst collecting soda bottles. La Quinta High School. Newport Jetty fishing until 3am, then fishing for sharks off of Reuben E Lee,, Then I joined the Navy. It was never the same after I got back. Couldn't afford to live there now. Way too many people. Great memories tho.
    God Bless Ya'll.

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  20. Hi Steve, Great site, Imoved to Anaheim in 1946 when I was 1 yr. old. My Grandpa lived on Palm Street which was renamed Harbor blvd. I sat on the curb and watched the stuff go by on trucks when they were bulding Disneyland!Later I lied about by age and joined lots of kids and worked there. The Company was United Paramount Theaters or UPT we called it Underpaid Teenagers But it was really a ball in the summer. Anaheim High's great football games the Bean hut,Cruzing and the Rondevous ballroom with Dick Dale walking around with a parrot on his shoulder. A piano player named Billy Barber.Balboa Island on Easter Week. Racing on Pacific Coast Hwy> Best mexican food and best beaches in the world

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  21. Patricia "Cole" VailMay 21, 2007 12:23 PM

    Hey steve,
    I just found this website and man was it interesting. I was born in Santa Ana California and it says Orange County on my birth certificate. I was born at St. Joseph hospital which I believe was a military hospital. I lived on El Toro base within that community for years. Some of my fondest memories were there on Longstaff way within El Toro. My dad was a marine and worked there on base during my childhood. I was born in 1968 and had many friends there. I was little so I don't remember alot of the hot spots there in Orange County like most people that have left comments but I do remember that I loved the Santa Ana winds and I have longed to go back ever since I moved in 1976. My father was transferred to DC after we left the good old state of Cali...and later retired out of DC. I often wonder if my house is still there where I grew up at with that huge nectarine tree in the back. If anybody out there lived on El Toro military base during the late 60's and early 70's comment this site.

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  22. Hi Steve,
    I think you sight is wonderful it's great to read about the ole days. My mother worked at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach around 1943-46. If there is any one who knew Nellie (Boak maiden name)may have been FrederickShe was a native of OK. She divorced while there and married Warren Miller from KYIf any one could help the info would be greatly loved and charished.
    TN Granny

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  23. Hi Steve,
    I lived in Garden Grove California from 1959 thru 1966. I attended Excelsior Elementary on Woodbury Ave. Is there anyone out there who may have pictures from the 60's of some of the old grocery stores such as Thriftymart and Mayfair? There was a Thriftymart located in a plaza at the corner of Brookhurst and Westminster. There was also a ThriftyDrug which had an ice cream counter where you could get ice cream cones in a lot of different flavors. There were so many great things I remember, Van de Camps salt rising bread, I remember when Scooter pies came out and they had them in all flavors. We used to go to a good pizza place called Me & Eds Pizza. Not sure if they still have those there. You could watch the guy make the pizza in the window. Shakey's was another good pizza place. Some of the other stores I remember were Whitefront, Leonard's, Zody's, Pic-n-save, and TG&Y. I have so many good memories of the Strawberry Festival and the Strawberry Festival Parade which, if I am correct, made it's way down Westminster Ave. I loved Knotts Berry Farm and panning for gold there. I remember Stan the bakery man coming through our neighborhood with his bakery truck with drawers that pulled out filled with glazed donuts and other bakery goods. Another interesting thing is that our house there sold for $19,000 in 1967. I just looked the value of it up on zillow and it's value is now $569,000. Garden Grove had such friendly people as did all of California. I really miss it and I will remember it forever.

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  24. Hi Steve - I stumbled across this site, and glad I did. As far as I can remember, my family moved to El Toro sometime in 1965/1966 - our father was an enlisted Marine. We lived in base housing - Wherry Housing, and later moved towards the end of the housing area on Trabuco Road. Next to our house on Trabuco was a field full of carrots, and we used to sneak in there to pick carrots and take them home. And, I don't even like carrots! We later moved to Stanton, off of Beach Blvd, then to Santa Ana on Custer Street, across Santa Ana on Wilshire, then to Cypress, Irvine, Westminster, and finally Garden Grove when I left California and joined the Army. I have many memories of growing up in Orange County, many good, but some not so good. If it weren't for the high prices, millions of people, and the horrendous traffic, I would love to live there again. It was a special time growing up there, and it makes me sad when I go there now and see all those places we hung out as kids all paved over, concrete jungles, etc. Some call it progress...does anyone remember when Featherly Park was out in the BOONIES!!!! :)

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  25. Steve great fun,

    I lived from 1953 to 1969 in Santa Ana. Graduated from Santa Ann High School in 1969. I went to Willard Junior High and Hoover Elementary School. Growing up I lived in three houses in Santa Ana. Two on Avalon St. off Santiago and then my folks third and last house was on Poinsettia about 4 blocks away, off Edgewood. From 1969-1974 I lived all over OC. Until I took off for good. In the mid 90's I had my folks join me where I landed, Charlotte NC. My last trip 2 years ago was to the other California to visit my step-son, he lives in SF. I have remained in Charlotte with my husband and our daughter and my Mother. We love Charlotte but Orange County holds such a warm place in my heart. We will be coming back that way next Spring. Does any one remember the Orange County Academic Decathlon?

    I discovered this blog while trying to find the name of a grocery store in Santa Ana. My brother was no help! He didn't even seem interested. Since my Father's death my Mom and I spend many hours reminiscing. Our favorite ethnic restaurants Koo's Chinese Food on Main, La Fonda Mexican on Main too? Kono Hawaii the first time I was introduce to Yam noodles and Tofu in Sukiyaki. Back to my reason -the grocery store was on 17th Street on the right side of the street. It was just past Santa Clara Street. Many of the High School fellows worked at the grocery store when I was growing up. I think it might have closed in 70's and then it became a Discount Toy store. I remember my Mom had an account and she was billed for her groceries. You just went in and signed your name. Well if you can remember that would be great!

    Reading the blog I have a question for those Knott's folks. In the 80's I brought my husband to see Knott's Berry Farm. We had Chicken, rhubarb, bread and butter pickles, and the best boysenberry jam, pie and syrup. My Dad loved that restaurant. Did I mention Biscuit oh my! While we are talkin food my first and last waitress job was Marie Calendars on Tustin 1969-1971. Back to my question there was an exhibit in the Miniature Doll Museum (that was amazing) from the ceiling they had strung chain links all carved from one piece of wood. We did have a picture and I will look it up. It was something to see and my husband does some amazing things in wood and he was very impressed. I wonder what happened to the chain.

    I will prompt my Mom and see if she can add to any of the memories. They were well connected in OC. My Father was Principle of two schools, in Santa Ana Lincoln and Logan at the same time! That was back in the 50's.

    I look forward to reading new blogs.
    Caydea

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  26. I was born in Anaheim in 1961 and was taken home to our tiny 3 bedroom tract house on Clinton Ave. in Orange. My big sister and I are fourth generation OC, and a lot of our family's lemon, orange, and avocado orchards uliimately became groves of homes. Santiago Middle School was built on one of my grandmother's last citrus holdings. My grandfather's last 13 acres of oranges in Villa Park, which were woefully damaged in one of the many canyon fires of the 1950's and 1960's, was sold and subdivided in 1975. Both sets of grandparents lived in rural Villa Park, "across" the street from each other on Mesa Drive. My mother used to ride her horse down from the Villa Park ranch to our elementary school, Handy, for an annual show and tell.

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  27. We were quite the popular kids as we lived a city life, yet we had a lot of country living still available to us. When I was three we moved, using our little blue wagon as packing box and furniture transport, up the street to the stately old ranch house next door to Handy Elementary School. The tract houses in the Handy Elem area were once part of the ranch that Big House, as we called it, oversaw.

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  28. We kept dozens of rabbits on our one acre of suburbia, as well as an angus calf that we raised from a bottle. The kids next door at school thought the calf was a big dog. We gave tours of our "dog" to many a neighbor kid. We also went door to door selling avocados, from original trees from the ranch, for 5 cents apiece. Last time I went past Big House I noticed at least one of the ancient avocado trees were still alive and producing. It must be nearing 100 years old.

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  29. Since Big House was two stories, towering over the one story tract homes, we had a perfect view of Disneyland's fireworks everynight out of the upstairs windows. My dad, an Orange County fire captain, once went on a call to unstick Tinkerbell, whose cable tangled midway between the castle and the Matterhorn. He broke our Disney bubbles when he announced at dinner that Tinkerbell was really a man. On payday my mom went to the main firestation to get Dad's paycheck. I've heard the station became a youth center and later burned, but in the 1960's it was a child's dream come true as it had a brass firepole that would quickly trasport you from the upstairs dorm
    to the firetrucks parked below. Neither Knott's nor Disneyland had a better ride.

    Life was grand in the old days. When the Santa Anas blew we'd put on rain slickers and roller skates. On the sidewalk we'd open up our rain slickers like giant outstreatched wings, and then -zoom! - the wind would propell us down the street at frightening speeds. Often our metal wheeled skates would catch a little rock, and we'd experience the worst scabbed knees and palms imaginable.

    My dear neighborhood pal, Carol, was named after Christmas Carols as her parents were listening to them on the hi-fi when they received a call that a baby was available for them to adopt if they could come down and pick her up now - Christmas Eve. They did, but I'm not sure her mom ever adjusted to children as every stick of upolstered furniture was covered with plastic and there were plastic runners throughout the house for us to walk upon. Her mom always had the best kid snacks, such as Moon Pies and Otter Pops, but Carol's mom dolled them out through the kitchen door so we could receice and eat them in the garage. They moved out of Clinton Ave. tract house to the first developments going in at Knoll Ranch.

    After dinner car trips to the Carnation Ice Cream Parlor on Tustin Ave., Sunday dinners st Knott's, experiencing "lung burn" from swimming during smoggy afternoons, watching Hobo Kelly and hoping she'd put on her magic glasses and say, "I see a present under Cary's bed!"... yet she never did. To this day I still sometimes get the "Go see Cal, go see Cal, go see Cal" commercial stuck in my head, and I still wonder if Cal ever had a real dog in his backyard or if his kids had to play with bears and alligators and monkeys.

    My sister and I also wonder if we will die an early death as we always were taken to the Buster Brown shoe store, just off The Circle, for our shoes. They had an x-ray machine that you put your foot into to check to see if the new shoes fit properly. As Mom paid for our shoes we'd stick our newly shod feet in and out of that x-ray machine over and over and over again. Radiation maximus.

    We moved from OC in 1967. Our one acre of paradise, surrounded by oceans of tracts, wasn't the OC life my parents remembered, nor the smog choked life they wanted us to lead. They bought a plum and peach ranch in the San Joaquin Valley, and moved us, two dogs, four cats, and 47 rabbits (who traveled in cages systematically stacked inside our ski boat) to start farming anew.

    Visiting OC in the 1970's and 1980's always seemed a little too busy, smoggy, crowded. Visiting Villa Park stilled seemed low key and country, yet in the 1980's the old dump road, that ran up the canyon behind one grandparents' house, became a road leading to million dollar houses, not a road leading to the dump. Go figure.

    Cary Stolpestad
    (part of the Thomson, Popplewell, Workman, Smith, and Bennett clans)

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    1. Cary... I am working as a freelance artist these days and my recent project had me designing a mural that will resemble a fruit orchard label. For some reason, I got thinking about the packing house in villa park and started looking on the internet. I've stumbled here, reading all this history. I was reading this and was floored when I saw "workman popplewell, thomson...No way! That's my cousin Cary!!! My mom (Patricia) keeps in touch with Kim a bit and my sister (Mandy), mom, and I are all in touch with Richards daughter Jodi, as well as Pam and her kids through fb. I live on the central coast in Capitola and love it. I was so sad to move away from the oc...but nothing stayed the same. I love it here, the beach, and it's less flashy, more old school. I have two sons that have attended Cal Poly SLO. I always thought of you when I visited. I hope you are happy where you are.
      I have so many great memories of Thanksgivings at Grandma Bobbie's, especially the ones when everybody was there!
      Your cousin,
      Kate (Katie) Salter


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  30. I was born in "The Valley" in '56 but my parents moved to Anaheim in '57. Our neighborhood was one of the new housing tracts built on a former orange grove bordered by Ball, Western, Orange and Knott. I was a "charter student" at Twila Reid Elementary; Kindergarten the first year it opened to the 6th grade. The current site of Twila Reid Park was strawberry fields and we were chased by the owner on a Honda 50 when we'd trespass to pick berries. Our brand spanking new neigborhood had no grass nor trees. I remember playing in numerous vacant fields and also remember Anaheim General Hospital and Cypress College being built. Ball Road had few sidewalks and Cypress had many cows. On the way back from Huntington, in our gas-guzzling, seatbeltless Plymouth Suburban wagon full of sunscreenless kids, my mother would stop at the drive-thru Reliance Dairy on Beach Blvd to buy half gallon glass containers of milk and bright red fruit punch. As a young teenager, I took guitar lessons at Kay Kaylie Music in Buena Park Mall from Frank Krajerbrink guitarist from early '70s OC band "Utopia". Anybody remember "Wigouts"? (I still play by the way).

    I have lived in Sydney, Australia for 30 years now and have fond memories of my childhood in an emerging modern Orange County. Sydney has many of the good aspects of Southern California that has made it easy for me to settle here.

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  31. Hi Steve ...

    Wow, the comments here really bring back lots of great memories from having lived in Orange County, more specifically, Garden Grove, where I lived from 1951 to 1970.

    Murray Manor mentioned here twice - wow, that's a real trip. Twas really boring for the kids, but what a grand place it was. I don't remember if we ever bought anything from there, but we did visit 3 or 4 times.

    Downtown Garden Grove: 1st Western Bank, the Gem Theatre, Zlakets Market with the really little baskets - the main part of town was only two blocks long. There was a park, too.

    The Idle Hour Ranch was the place to buy eggs (17th & Newhope?). I went to school with their Son, Bradley Weber.

    Euclid was then Verano which was a two lane road with a 3' deep ditch on each side. When the fog rolled in several cars would run into that ditch. Haven's Pond was nearby where kids could go fishing.

    Someone else mentioned Laguna Beach - yes, I remember the town greeter, the Pottery Shack, the Laguna Arts Festival with outdoor theatre plays in the summer.

    O'niel Park, Santiago Canyon, Holy Jim Canyon, Doheney Beach (remember the Richfield Gas Station there?). Gosh, so many neat memories. A gallon of gas back then was a mere 12 cents!!

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  32. Adding to the thanks to Steve for creating this site.

    My family moved to Huntington Beach from West LA in 1963, when Douglas Aricraft opened the Space Systems Division. HB only had about 11,000 residents then; there were still tall oil derricks downtown; Duke's at the pier was a skating rink (before Maxwell's); there was a swimming pool on the north side of the pier; the 405 only came as far as the Long Beach Freeway...after that you had to use Garden Grove or PCH to get into Hungtington Beach and Westminster; and most of OC was still agricultural. Man, did THAT change in the next few years!

    We went to a couple of schools in the Ocean View district, changing schools as they built closer to our house. We went to Meadow View, Robinwood and Spring View. All of us graduated from Marina HS, my oldest brother being in the first graduating class in 1966. The first couple of years it was Huntington Beach/Marina until they finished the earthqauke-proofing reconstruction at HBHS.

    I think I did just about every cliche job in OC, including Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour on Beach Blvd., and Disneyland where I did everything from a dancing Heffalump, to a Toy Soldier drummer, to a ride operator on Main Street, parking lot cast, and ended up as a Jungle Cruise Captain.

    I also marched in the Velvet Knights Drum and Bugle Corps based in Santa Ana (and later Anaheim). Our rehearsal building was on the NW corner of 6th and Bush. We represented OC, along with our rivals Anaheim Kingsmen, in competition all over the US and Canada. We practiced hard and performed hard, but play time was Huntington State Beach, across from the Edison stacks. Sometimes we'd even bring our drums to the southern end of the beach and rehearse. We'd have great carrying strap tan-lines before we'd go on tour, something our competitors from the Midwest and East found unusual.

    I stayed in HB until I bought my first house in Moreno Valley in 1985. That was good for a couple of years, then I came "home" for a couple more years until going to Arizona in 1993.

    You know you've taken the Pacific Ocean for granted when you end up in the Sonoran Desert and don't have the beach in your backyard anymore! I had to come back at the end of 2000.

    I'm now in Las Vegas since California priced me out of my hometown. I have lots of company in ex-patriated Californians.

    Though born in Santa Monica, Huntington Beach will always be my hometown. Heck, I've marched in the 4th of July Parade 6 times!

    Garry in Vegas

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  33. Hi Steve,

    I love this website. Although I hate what OC has become and it breaks my heart, I have fond memories of Orange I was born in Riverside (1957) but grew up on both sides of Orange. Attended Heim Elementary and Perelta Jr. High. Witnessed the Orange mall being built. Hung out at Eisnehower park off of Lincoln before it was a park it was a reservoir. I remember lots of Orange groves and allergies! Augh!

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  34. Hello Steve, I just read Gloria Tafolla's comments and almost broke into tears. I am just a bit younger than she is and have many of the same memories..I still have my Santa Ana Community Hospital birth certificate, footprints and all. Johnson Chapel and just down the block, Bristol Drugstore where I would buy a soda pop and sit for hours reading comics. (I still love to read for hours) Our Helms man "Bob" was my hero..I ran out to meet him with my brothers and sisters...he had the best donuts in town. Santa was and I am sure at the very heart of it..is still a great place to live. I have lived in the Inland Empire for most of my married life but nearly all my brothers and sisters live and work there. I love to tell my children stories of the wonderful times I had growing up there and in the surrounding areas. I went to Franklin Elementary and Willard Jr. High School (they were both demolished after the "big" earthquake) I remember the beautiful architecture, very much like Santa Ana High School..(the most beautiful high school in Santa Ana)I look forward to visiting this site again. "All Hail Santa Ana"

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  35. Hi Steve,
    I was born in Anaheim and lived in Buena Park on La Carta Circle until I was 10 years old in 1970 just off of La Palma Blvd. I lived within walking distance of the Winchell's Donut House
    7944 Valley View , Buena Park 90620 if this is the same one that was built in the mid-1960s and is still standing. The tract of houses where we lived used to be dairy farm land until the late 1950s to early 60s when developement finally squeezed it out. We lived relatively close to Knott's Berry Farm and The Alligator Farm which we must have visited dozen of times each when I was a kid. My mom used to shop at the Pottery store that was also located at the same intersection. Of course, we regular visitors to disneyland as well.I attended Raymond Temple Elementary School until the 5th grade. My brothers attended La Palma Junior High School and the oldest one even attended 2 years at the newly built John F. Kennedy High School before we moved out of state.
    My brothers claim that on a clear night we could see the nightly fireworks display at Disneyland which took place at 9 PM. I also remember there was a Japanese Deer Park which served as an animal petting zoo? I'm sure it does not exist anymore. Does anyone else remember it and where it was located?

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  36. I didn't live there but there were many many excursions there.
    Trips down Brea Canyon Rd. to go to Disneyland via Brea & Harbor Blvds. I recall the 'Bridge' of 'Welcome to Fullerton', all the oil wells north of Brea, the sign to the Kirkhill Rubber plant. Trips down Santa Ana Canyon to go to the beach seein the CalFame Juice plant, that Sugar mill (now an Embassy Suites, visiting friends in Costa Mesa (Mesa Del Mar tract) and seein the May Co. all by itself pre 405 and South Coast Plaza. Summer on Balboa Island-the beach the ferry and the amusement park. Visiting SJC Mission when there was practically nothing around it till ya got to Dana Point. Going to D-land pre monorail & Matterhorn and it being closed for a while while they put that in. Loads and loads of fields and citrus groves.

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  37. What a terrific website! I just happened to find it. In 1964 my family moved to Anaheim from Illinois. Moving to California was a dream come true for us kids. My mom took us to the ground breaking ceremony at Anaheim Stadium and when the ballpark opened I was a Junior Angel.
    We lived off of State College, near Ball Road. We were able to go out in our back yard and see the Big A halo that would shine when the Angels won a game.
    I was in the 2nd graduating class of Katella High School.
    I remember how sad I felt when the did away with downtown Anaheim.
    I now live in Dallas, Texas, but my heart will remain in Orange County.
    I can't tell you how many times my brothers and I spent full days at Disneyland. I miss those days.

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  38. Thank you for allowing a glimpse back into the "glory days" of Orange County. The area of North Orange/Villa Park was the setting for many of my childhood memories. I remember the profusion of orange groves and the little country store on the corner of Katella Ave and Wanda Road. The Villa Park Packing House held a special significance for our family because my mother was raised on an orange ranch in Villa Park for part of her childhood. The construction of Serrano School during my kindergarten year at Villa Park Elementary enabled me to attend the closer school. Weekends were often spent riding my bike on the quiet roads of Villa Park when the homes were large with lots of land, not the ridiculous monstrosities of today. My brother and his friends spent Saturdays roaming the area around the Villa Park Dam playing "soldier". After Saturday morning golfing at Lazy B Golf Course, my family would stop for "Orange Ice" which was sold at a roadside stand in Orange Park Acres. Made from fresh squeezed oranges, they knew just how to freeze the juice so that it was slushy. Nothing better or more refreshing!
    We used to slide down the hills around our home on large pieces of cardboard and made people out of the tumbleweeds that blew down our streets during Santa Ana winds.
    I also have many good memories of Farrell's, and later, of Swenson's Ice Cream on Chapman. I can't remember the name, but there was a restaurant in the southwestern section of Orange that had a "wild west" theme. You could choose to eat in the jail, stagecoach or other settings from the wild west. We bought our shoes at Buster Brown on Glassell Street and I have fond memories of riding the colorful wooden horses that ran on a circular track in that store.
    The May Fesival Parade and carnival was an exciting time: with the Children's Parade on Thursday night, the carnival beginning on Friday, and the big parade, down Chapman Ave.,on Saturday morning. The beef dinner they served at Hart Park by St. Paul's church was a once-a-year treat.
    I also recall accompanying my brother's scout troop on an outing to the Voit Rubber Company in the Costa Mesa area. They had a machine that continually bounced a basketball. I went on school trips to the Alligator Farm and the Japanese Deer Park. On our frequent summertime treks to Newport Beach, I remember that the unobstructed blimp hangars rising above the flat landscape, would signal to my siblings and I that we were "almost there."
    Thank you again for the opportunity to reminisce.

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  39. I am a native of Pasadena, california and am currently the Commander of East Pasadena Post 280 of The American Legion. I'm going nuts trying to find any mention of or reference to the huge airship (I think there was only one) hanger that once sat just South of the 405 fwy and just East of the 605 sitting in the vicinity of all the old ammo bunkers which are still there. Does anyone remember them? Have any pictures? Were they part of the Los Alamitos NAS prior to the freeways, or attached to the Seal Beach Station for housing Naval patrol blimps? Any info would be greatly appreciated! Please contact me by e-mail;

    mugdonroe@pacbell.net

    Born in 1955 my memories of OC include Knotts Berry Farm with farm land all along it's Western border. Waiting for hours (probably half an hour) and looking at the huge tree stump with the rings marked for historic events. I found a picture of my older brother at around age 3 copping his first feel on one of the cement 'ladys' on the bench. I sure miss the old menues in the Chicken Dinner Restaurant that told the stories of olde Calico and Knotts Berry Farm. Admission was free. My brother and I used to go play in the covered wagons at the back of the theatre bowl before the evening performances and then go fire-up the boiler on the little locamotive engine that still remains by the leather shop. The only rides then were the train and burrows I believe and the big excitement was walking through the mine down to pan for gold. I miss the old gas car ride at the livery that went alone Beach Bl, the lake where you could row boats and the jungleland play area. Amazingly the chicken still has the same great taste......you can have the rhuebarb though!

    Douglas E. Monroe
    AM3 USCG 75-79
    LHHS class of 73
    Highlanders

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  40. Does anyone know the name of the park with the dragon slide? Does anyone have pictures?

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  41. Atlantis Park was the home of the dragon slide. It was over in Westminster, backed up to the freeway. I remember waiting in line to go down that slide. It was so huge and ...scary. Atlantis Park would let you have your birthday there. The birthday boy or girl would be presented with a "king" or "queen" crown, cake would be served, presents opened and then all the kiddies would get to play all over the park. I remember climbing up on seahorses that had huge springs at the bottom that would rock back and forth in all directions, pathways through bushes that were perfect for hide and seek and the huge pirate ship everyone would climb on and try to shanghi. But oh ...that dragon slide....definately the best part. Each child would wait patiently in that line that seemed to take forever...some excited..some a bit nervous as if they were going to be seriously injured...but just HAD to take a trip on it. I remember my heart pounding as the child in front of me went down and it was MY turn. I went back later as an adult to take my own son in 1991. I could barely get my son to ride the dragon...it was almost too scary for him....and seemed so short of a ride and small to me then.

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    1. PRENTIS PARK WAS THE NAME OF THE DRAGON SLIDE PARK

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  42. I too went on that dragon slide when I was a kid back in the 1960's. Then in the Early to mid 1970's there was a mini bike park next door, it sided to the 22 freeway. Last time I checked it was a recycle center !!

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  43. Hey! Great site. Love Santa Ana. I'm gonna throw out a bunch of thoughts. I was born at Community in '45. Lowell, Lathrop and Santa Ana - '63. My folks were good friends with Red of Red's Ranch Market. My uncle John had the Knapp Shoe Store on First. Remember Oscars on First? Milton Mann Accordion School next to The Broadway. The Prison of Socrates in Balboa? The Golden Bear? The Skate Ranch? The Golden Cue on Seventeenth? Broadway Pool? Don's Lawn Mower Shop? The librarian at Lathrop with the prosthetic arm? (Nice lady. Scary arm.) The bear over on Harbor you could throw slices of bread and bottles of coke to? Opened them with his teeth? Trying to see how many times you could drive around the circle in Orange before the cops stopped you? Drama classes with Walden Leecing? The Chantays and The Rhythm Rockers? The Sugar Beet Factory? 5 and 10 cent ice cream cones at Pringles? Hot roasted Spanish peanuts at Sears? Jackman's clothiers? BluNote Records? I remember going to the grand opening of the Santa Ana Food Market near Bristol on First. Little Oscar was there.

    Rex Heflin, the guy who shot the pictures of the UFO over on Myford Road in '65 was a good friend of my family. In fact, he rented one of my dad's homes near the corner of Myrtle and Shelton for eight years.

    Have times changed? My dad was a gardener. We had a job we did for over twenty years on the corner of Riverside Drive and Flower. We mowed, edged, took care of the flower beds, the shrubs, the terraced slope leading down to the riverbed in back, swept up and hosed off the sidewalk. A truck, two men, an hours work for $10.00 a month.

    If you want to live some OC history, go to Original Mike's on the corner of First and Main. Great food. Good prices. Lots of memories.

    Anyone living around Chestnut and Shelton in the fifties? Leave a message.

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  44. This a great site - eventhough I only moved to OC in 1982 - as a child I remember our car trips from Ontario to the beach in NewPort and Balboa. We would take what is now Hwy 71 or somewhat close to it and on the way we stopped a a zoo or petting farm that had monkey and other animals. I remember that one fatefull day a monkey grabbed my hair and wouldn't let go - my dad had to grab me and my hair to separate us. I am hoping someone can help and tell me where I was. This was in the early 50's - so before the 91 and probably the 55 fwy. I want to say I was somewhere near Featherly Park on a side road which may have been part of Featherly. Hope someone can help. Or pics would help also. I really enjoyed living in OC, but job moves to San Diego prompted me to relocate. Lots of memories in OC. To this day I still enjoy going down to Balboa and taking the ferry. I remember as a child on Balboa being able to lay on the beach and walk right up to the shops restaurants. On the side the ferry is on. I believe they now has ships moored there. Enjoy this site immensely. There was also a fantastic restaurant on the corner of Harbor and Chapman - that was always packed and had huge portions - and was a pink building. Cindy

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  45. Kris Arbuckle-ArbisoJanuary 25, 2009 6:56 PM

    Well, the fact that so many of us who grew up in Orange County have fond memories and wish we could go back shows what a great place it used to be!! My family moved there in 1964 into one of the first townhomes ever built in Orange County (called Midwood Manor in the town of Cypress). I felt like we lived in a vacation resort because we had a community pool and cabana and we watched the Disneyland fireworks every night at 9:00 p.m. from our front porch. As kids we would ride our sting-ray bicycles until 9:00 at night, then we had to go home (can't even imagine letting kids do that now). We shopped at Zody's and White Front's, and Buena Park mall before they closed it in. Dairy cows, strawberry fields and citrus groves were the main greenbelts that meandered around the tract homes being built every year, swallowing up all the open fields. Hwy 39 (Beach Blvd) was the main drag to get to Huntington Beach for a day of sunburns and hanging out with the surfers. I worked at McDonnell Douglas in HB, and every time I run into someone from the "real OC", we have an instant bond. We all have such great memories of growing up there! I lived there until 1987, then moved to the once rural area of Temecula/Murrieta/Wildomar, which has become overcrowded like OC. So we left and came to the Oregon Coast, and certain aspects of it reminds me so much of the small beach towns in California during the '60s, that in ways I feel like I've come back home, only lots colder! I also remember the Hobby City on Beach Blvd (still there). If anyone attended Pine Jr. High School or Los Alamitos High, you'll remember Shakey's Pizza, Bob's Big Boy on Katella and Los Al Blvd, and the Carousel in Rossmoor. Hey, remember the "sanitarium" in Los Al? When I go back there now, I feel like I'm on another planet. SIGH!!! It's been great reminiscing!!!

    Kris Arbuckle-Arbiso
    krisarbiso@gmail.com

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  46. we all grew up in so california and remember all the great places. Now the kids visit the same places but everything has changed. our next field trip for the children will be at 8 am saturday with a mini van. so far the group will be van lee, gloria, beth, adam, tamara,gladys, jason, yvonne, victor, tran, barry,steven, henry, bazan, gary,mike and the irvine wildlife protection team. They will leave from sears laguna hills and meet at the park next to the attorney and asset table.

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  47. fun times at santa ana river trail with horses and nice evenings in the sunset. santa ana college students gloria lee irvine based trainer and competition events.

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  48. George AnstadtJuly 16, 2009 1:51 PM

    I stumbled acoss this website (below) today w/old pics from Laguna & Dana point - check this out
    http://habig.com/fremember.html

    George Anstadt - OC Resident since 1965
    ganstadt@cox.net

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  49. HI STEVE=THE PAST IS DEAD=ORANGE COUNTY IS DEAD

    GREW UP NEAR CORNER OF BROOKHURST AND CHAPMAN

    1950'S. FIRST JOB AT MEADOWLARK AIRPORT =

    HUNTINGTON BEACH. ALL GOOD MEMORIES.

    JUST GOT A BILL IN THE MAIL TO MOW WEEDS ON

    MY VACANT LAND IN MENIFEE=THERE USED TO BE A

    BUMPER STICKER THAT SAID= IS THERE REALLY

    LIFE EAST OF INTERSTATE 5 ???

    GOOD SITE= E-MAIL ME AT

    HOWARD@VOLVOTEK.COM I WILL PAY YOU TO GO TO MY

    VACANT LAND AND SEE IF IT REALLY NEEDS TO BE

    MOWED=OR THE CITY IS RIPPING ME...HOWARD.

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  50. TN GRANNY - I BELIEVE WE ARE RELATED - LOOKING FOR FAMILY. EMAIL - NDMCCONNELL@MSN.COM

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  51. Hi there :)
    I was raised in Santa Ana. Born in Conn. while my Dad was at Yale-acting. He was going to go on to try to make it on Broadway..... chickened out and came back to Santa Ana (darn!). Mom was raised here, too. Both lived on Victoria Drive till the crash of '29 left both families with very little to live on. Dad's family owned Carden & Hill's, a men's shop on Main. Mom taught acting out of a little theater they built on the back of our house on 15th St. behind the church nxt to the college track field.
    Dad moved on to work at Disneyland all through the 1960's-ran all the parades, etc. BOY did I have a lot of friends when they found out my Dad was an executive at D'land! Got in FREE all the time.
    Went to "work" with him many days in the summer. Spent the day hanging around there like kids hang out in front of their house - So Cool.
    I remember when S.A. had orange groves... so THAT'S why they call it "Orange" county! Smudgepots would be going when it got cold.

    Santa Ana's got problems, for sure. But every town does. To me, old S.A. is the best, I guess :)

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  52. Any of my Brothers&Sisters out there from the good old days....here's my email jaywalker62@hotmail.com
    Look 4ward 2 hearing from u!!Eddie Munoz(Buena Park)San trac area

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  53. Jill Kaskel (Haxton)December 22, 2009 7:17 AM

    The name of the park with the dragon side was Atlantis park, right next to Bolsa Grande High School it was free to get in then I think they used to charge a dime. I grew up in Garden Grove from 1959-born in Palm Harbor Hospital and went to Excelsior Elem., Peters Jr. High and Bolsa graduated in 1977. We too could see the fireworks at Disney every night in the summer from my back yard. We would have pool parties and roast marshmallows and watch them all the time. The name of the restaurant on the corner of Chapman and Harbor was Belisles they had the best food my dad used to take us for Christmas Eve. I now live on Long Island but my Mom lives in the same house I grew up in. Teal Drive. Love this site so glad I found it. Anyone remember all the concerts at Anaheim Stadium, saw so many great bands.

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  54. I love this site, my family having left Irvine for the east coast when I was 8 (1975). While my memories of the area are vague due to my age when I lived there, they are fond! It's so great to be able to see evidence here of things that existed back then that I otherwise have no verification of...from theme parks like the Japanese Deer Park and Lion Country Safari, to tumbleweeds, orange groves, the carousel at the old Fashion Island, etc. I'd do anything to be able to live in the area again, altough I know the organge grove smell wouldn't be quite what it was, traffic would govern my life, and it would no longer be appropriate for me to climb the eucalyptus trees that ran through our neighborhood greenbelt. -- Laurie

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  55. I came to Newport Beach, CA in 1966, spent a half a dozen summers on Catalina Island.
    I rode my Schwinn sting-ray coaster in the fields that now are UCI, Fashion Island, Big Canyon, The Bluffs and has a chance to cross the back bay dike, before the rains of 1969 washed away the crossing. It was the short cut to Sav-On across the bay to Dover Shores. I grew up on Cassia Street - Eastbluff.
    I have been in the wood working industry for 15 years and have a New Job with ANSWER WOOD PRODUCTS in JUNE 2010.

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  56. It was just past Santa Clara Street. Many of the High School fellows worked at the grocery store when I was growing up. I think it might have closed in 70's and then it became a Discount Toy store. I remember my Mom had an account and she was billed for her groceries. You just went in and signed your name. Well if you can remember that would be great!

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  57. Thanks Steve for bringing back the memories of growing up and living in Orange County in the 50's thru the 70's. I've read most of the comments and it certainly has me reliving my past life. I haven't lived in Orange County for more than 35 years now but I will tell you one thing it was the best place in the world for a kid back then to grow up. From seeing the snow on Mt. Baldy in the winter to being able to ride your bike to the Huntington Beach pier from home in less than 20 min. What a life! Thanks again for keeping this site alive.

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  58. Cindy,

    Was the store called, "The Treasury?" I vividly remember a conveyor belt that ran from the interior to the exterior of the store for ease in loading purchased groceries.

    Thanks, Steve, for this web site. I grew up in central and East Garden Grove, living there from 1954 until 1976, Fullerton from 1977-79, Riverside for 6 years and then happily returning to OC when I bought my house in North Santa Ana in 1985. I'm still there.

    Along with many of the memories already noted, I recall Roller Gardens (corner of Haster and GG Blvd.), Farrell's at Memory and Bristol, Kid's Haven, Glacier Falls ice skating rink in Anaheim, Pizza Grotto (Haster and Chapman), and that enormous pet store that was once located on the Wast side of Harbor Blvd. between Lampson and Chapman. And, like many of you above, my play grounds were the free-admission-Knott's, pre-California Adventure Disneyland (where I once worked on Main Street), and Atlantis Park (sigh!). I'm currently working on a novel utilizing 1960s OC as the backdrop--this web site has been very helpful--thanks!

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  59. Hi Steve,

    I found your site about two years ago, and has taken this long to write. I was born in Garden Grove in 55,. moved to San Clemente in 68. I to remember the helms bakery trucks, knotts before you had to pay, fireworks at disneyland every night at 9. Born at St. Josephs , live on hilton lane. Went to elementry school at Riverdale, and Jr. high at Doig. My dad, taught at Mater Dei , for several years in the 60's, the taught at cypress college for years. Remember riding mini bikes through the santa ana river bed, through some creeks, and ended up by the wonder bread factory that smelled so good, then went riding where they were building a new department store. Can't remember what the name was though, but a lot of guys would ride motorcycle and mini bikes on the dirt piles, that I believe were from the underground parking garage. I remember they used to water the playing fields at riverdale school, big galvanised pipes with 10 or so rainbirds on them with big metal wheels, so they could roll along the grass. We would take the pipes apart and flood the fields, then all the kids would skim board. Hunting for golf balls in the rocks in the santa ana river bed, selling them to the golfers at riverview golf course. We moved to San Clemente in 68, I remember a Friends house was on Golden Lantern in Dana Point, right on the bluffs above the harbour, this was before the harbour, I remember the old pier there, and the trucks that would haul these huge rocks, maybe one or two per truck down to where they were making the jetty, seems like they did that for years, everyday. Playing chicken with the trains down at San Clemente State Beach. Working at San Clemente Inn, Denny's, and Carrow's when they first built it. Thanks for the memories, anyone go to Riverdale elementary school, between 64-67? email me at mikes6255@yahoo.com.

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  60. Great site! Does anyone remember the All American Market in CDM or Charlies Chile in Newport? How about the Island drug store next to the Jolly Roger on Bal? It was owned by Melinda Clements mother. Gang activity was virtually unheard of but when the White Fence gang from east LA decided to invade Balboa Island a bunch of us teens met them at the middle of the bridge. We threw them into the bay and wouldn't let them come ashore on the island side. How about Art Salisbury chasing off the cops when they tried to enforce curfew in front of the JR? How about when they were building the Reuben E Lee and all the wild speculation about what it was. Of course there were submarine races and snipe hunts in the back bay. I remember being offered two lots overlooking the back bay for $5,000. The real estate agent was Art's brother, Chet. Years later when I would run into Chet I would always tell him I had the 5 grand if he still had the lots. Chet sold me my first house in Bayshore for $22.000, in 1957. Do you remember Tom Fears owning the restaurant on PCH, just north of the arches? I'll never forget the sight of Pilar chasing John Wayne down the street threatening him with her shoe. As teens we would harass JW's caretaker aboard the Red Witch and one day he strolled up to a bunch of us and simply asked us to leave his boat alone. Of course we did. Nobody screwed with the Duke. Many years later I was in the coffee shop at the airport when Wayne and Ken Reifsnider came in and sat across from me. I was floored that after all those years he remembered my name.

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  61. Our family arrived fresh from Mexico in 1962 (legally of course) to our new home located in Santa Ana near Newhope/5th Street. Our father was in construction and helped build many of the track homes in Santa Ana, Westminster, Fountain Valley and "The Bluffs" in Newport Beach. Looking back I realize how fortunate we were to have arrived at a time when the educational system in California was top notch. Bilingual education did not exist and English as a second language well…that’s was a joke. My father had many rules and two have been instrumental in our lives which we will forever be grateful for. Rule one: You go to school, respect your teachers and learn to speak English properly. Rule 2: You speak only Spanish at home. We did not experience racism, discrimination or taunting. Our teachers were patient, caring and supportive. We excelled in a very short time. We were excited to be submerged in two cultures. Our Mexican culture and our new found American culture. We quickly assimilated to this wonderful country that has given us so much opportunity. I fondly remember the Calva Dairy Farm on 5th street and its manure odor. We were taken there for a First grade field trip to view the birth of a baby calf. I remember the egg farm on First Street and Euclid where you could walk up to the front door and buy a dozen eggs for ten cents. My younger brother and I would anticipate the arrival og the Rodeo which came every summer and set up one block from our house. There was a convenience store on Rosita/ 5th where you could buy licorice whip by the foot, cigarette gum, and wax lips. They had a speaker in the parking lot that played all the current hits so my friends and I would just sit at the front of the store listening to music while eating our Scooter Pies (YUM)! A trip out to the country for us was a drive to Irvine. Greenville Street was tree lined and undeveloped. We would pack a lunch and sit under one of the big beautiful trees and enjoy the view and the solitude. Like everyone else there were trips to Knotts, Disneyland, Huntington Beach (to watch the surfers’), The Pike in Long Beach, Bob’s Big Boy. As I got older there was cruising on 4th street and watching the low-riders creep by. Then of course there were the awesome dances at the Union Halls. This site has brought back A LOT of wonderful memories and I thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share some of them

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  62. Just stumbled on your site, even though it looks like it's not being kept up. Too bad. I grew up in Fountain Valley from age 8 till I went to college at 18 in 1980. It was a great place to grow up then...now when I've been through, it seems so crowded! Anyway, thanks for the little trip down memory lane!

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    1. was looking 4 info on bean hut and boy did u all get me sidetracked. I was a car hop on harbor. lovely wool pants-lol, did the Friday night dances at Disney. sad to say I was one of the cute young girls who got quarters from sailors.i feel bad bout that. used to make out at wishing well by castle. I could go on....

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  63. Google Maps, street level, is a neat source for
    taking a look at Old OC sites such as Zodys
    or Save-On Drugs etc. They're still there. I've
    been in the CVS store at Chapman and Brookhurst
    and you can still see the outline in the floor
    where the Save-On candy counter was. 3 candy
    bars for a dime etc. The Zody's is still for
    rent. IHOP A Frame still there. I love this
    area of Garden Grove cause it's kinda frozen in
    time. . .

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  64. does anyone know the name of the bakery that used to be located on bristol and wilshire st. and where did they moved when they closed that location? their cakes where awesome, i haven't find any other bakery with their taste.

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  67. Grew up in Placentia in the 60's till moving to Ventura in '74, great memories of orange grove forts and riding bikes down old terraced hillsides from some long forgotten orchard. Went back to check it out in '00 after 26 years and everything was gone! Nothing but housing tracts and strip malls. Glad we made that move.

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  68. Grew up across the street from FVHS. Family lived there from 1970-95 or so. Pup n Taco, Adventure Playground in HB, Japanese Village, and, yes, the Italian Village portion of Knott's Berry Farm... all wonderful memories. This website is incredible. Thanks for putting it together.

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