Friday, August 25, 2006

Enchanted Village

Enchanted Village was a theme park located in Buena Park, built on the former site of Japanese Village and Deer Park.

I don't have much information about Enchanted Village, when it exactly started, and when it closed. It all ran in the early 1980's. It had a "tiki" theme to it, and offered only a couple of rides. Our family never went there.

One of its claims to fame was that it was the home of Oliver, a normal, healthy chimpanzee that walked only on its two feet, as opposed to alternating back and forth with its fists. Oliver also had a face that looked like a cross between a human being and chimpanzee.

Chase Maxwell, who previously submitted the brochure of Arnold's Farmhouse to us, submits some scanned copies of Enchanted Village paraphernalia. Thanks Chase!

Click on each image below to see the full sized images.

Enchanted Village Newspaper Article

Enchanted Village Theme Park Map

Enchanted Village Postcard Front

Enchanted Village Postcard Back

Do you have any memories of visiting Enchanted Village? Maybe you used to work there? Please share with us what you know; click on "Post a Comment" below.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Memories of Gary Zaremba

Gary Zaremba, another visitor, shares his many memories of growing up in Orange County. Among them, the El Toro Marine Base, Cook's Corner, the Hells Angels, and the schools he went to...

Thanks for this web site, Steve! I wasn't born here but my family and I arrived in Orange County in the summer of 1958 when I was almost 7. There were orange groves and eucalyptus trees everywhere and most cities were "islands" between one orange grove or ranch to another. My dad was stationed at El Toro Marine base, becoming the Manager of the Staff NCO club. He used to book entertainment acts for Friday and Saturday nights. I remember my dad getting us a signed copy of a photo from Tex Ritter (John Ritter's dad) after he performed there one night.

We even lived in the military housing on base for a couple of years while I attended 4th and 5th grades. Stanley Cook, the son of the owner of "Cook's Corner" was the pitcher on our little league team. Another pitcher, Dan Peavey, was such a baseball fanatic (he had the best collection of baseball trading cards that I ever saw), that he impressed Joe Dimagio enough that he came to visit us at the El Toro Elementary School in 1962. Our team even took a photo with him that was blown up and mounted in our school cafeteria. I wish I knew what happened to it.

The smog was much worse and the traffic was about the same as it is today. I remember hardly being able to breathe from all of the "yellow" air that passed through our lungs all day while attending school. On summer weekends, we used to go to "Tin Can Beach" - where Bolsa Chica Beach is today. The beach got its name from all of the rusted tin cans that lined the road. We had to walk through thin, sandy lanes that were formed by foot traffic in order to get to the beach. Of course, this was in the days of pop tops, so you really had to watch out where you walked or you'd get one stuck in your feet.

We moved around a lot in those days, living in Orange (near the Circle), Tustin and then El Toro before finally moving to Santa Ana. I remember going to Hart Park a lot while I lived in Orange. There was a hobo used to ride the rails and who lived in the park in the winter months. He "borrowed" wood from a lumberyard that was nearby to fashion his makeshift shack. My friends and I would talk to him about his travels while he cooked his food out of tin cans. Sometimes he would feed the park squirrels and rabbits. I can't imagine my son doing something like that today.

When we moved to Santa Ana, I attended John Adams Elementary, McFadden Jr. High (first graduating class) and Santa Ana Valley High. In my Jr. year, they opened Saddleback High and about 1/2 of the students were transferred to that school becoming the first graduates.

While I was at Valley, Martin Luther King was killed and we had riots on Greenville with cars being burned right near our school.

Special places and people that I remember in Orange County in those days included the Pier at Newport Beach (where I spent many a time after cutting classes at school), Lars the "Greeter" in Laguna and the hippie shacks (where I stayed with friends) above the old bookstore, "Farenheit 451", crashing beach parties along the boardwalk in Newport on summer nights, the "Nutburger" restaurant on Fairview and Warner in Santa Ana, "The Zoo" drive in restaurant at the corner of MacArthur and PCH where the waitresses served you fast food on rollerskates, the long winding, country road from El Toro all the way to Cooks Corner, Lion Country Safari and "Bubbles" the hippopotamus who escaped and submerged in one of the ponds on Laguna Canyon Road.

How may people remember Victor Hugo's restaurant in Laguna before it became Las Brisas? How many people remember the "head shops" in Laguna where meditation and pot smoking were common events? How about the Hara Krishnas who used to dance and play tamborines on the main streets in Laguna? How about the annual events when the Hell's Angels would ride into Newport and park hundreds of their choppers effectively blocking off Newport and Balboa Blvds. near the pier? I remember the police securing many "paddy wagons" just for this occasion. Eventually, the Hell's Angels didn't return but it was exciting while they were there.

Does anyone remember the town that disappeared between Placentia and Anaheim along the railroad tracks - ATWOOD? My grandfather had a used furniture store there. How about the Tustin Marine LTA (lighter than air) base with the very large blimps that were housed in the blimp hangers before they were replaced by helicopters?

I attended several pop festivals and especially remember the Newport Pop Festival at the O.C. Fairgrounds where Country Joe & The Fish and Jefferson Airplane played. I also went to another 3 day festival at Devonshire Downs in San Fernando Valley (you name the 60's rock group, they were all there!) and one in Palm Springs during the summer of 1968 that became an all out riot with police helicopters dropping tear gas on the crowd. In fact, a curfew was established for several years after that where minors had to be accompanied by adults to enter into Palm Springs.

Well, that's about enough to cover for now. Maybe I'll add some other things when I remember them.
Thanks Gary!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Arnold's Farm House

Arnold's Farm HouseOne of the famous landmarks in Orange County was Arnold's Farm House, a buffet-style restaurant in Buena Park, on the corner of Stanton and Manchester, just a block from Knott's Berry Farm.

I was started in 1956, supposedly from an old farm house that had been standing there since the early 1900's. It was a landmark because of the huge neon windmill drawing in families tired from a day at Knott's.

The family that owned Arnold's Farm House, also owned The Buttery, another restaurant on the other side of Stanton, but a traditional, up-scale place.

The restaurant finally gave way to the wrecking ball in 1988, and is now the home to a car dealership.

A guy named Chase Maxwell has an brochure from Arnold's Farm House dated 1981. He scanned it and send it in to us.

Click on the images below to see the full size...

Arnold's Farm House - Front

Arnold's Farm House - Back

Thanks Chase for these images!

Do you remember anything about Arnold's Farm House? Care to share some memories? Click on "Post a comment" below, and share it with us.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Osterkamp Family of Santa Ana

Dorothy Uranich, formerly Dorothy Osterkamp, writes about her memories of growing up in Santa Ana, going as far back as the 1920's.

She writes this after having read Mark's memories of Santa Ana and Garden Grove...

Dear Steve,

I don't have to go far to conger up old memories for I am alive and well and still living in Orange county. I was born on July 6, 1925 in Valley Hospital (Community Hospital), Santa Ana, California the 4th child of 10 to Anna and Tony Osterkamp. My parents were Dutch immigrants who owned and operated their dairy for 40 years on Harbor and Heil in what is now Fountain Valley. In 1961 they were advised, due to urban pressure, to relocate the dairy to Corona, CA.

While my husband was in the Air Force, I lived in many states and as many countries, but I always knew that Orange County was home and that was where I would eventually live again. The death of my husband in 1957 did bring me back and five of my six children and most of my siblings still reside here.

I loved the comments that you made about the names of the different streets. I remember them well, mainly because those were the streets we traveled on in my childhood. I learned to drive by steering the truck in the alfalfa fields, and my brothers and I got our driver's license's at age 14.( This was possible if you lived out in the country. Don't forget, we're talking about 1925 and beyond) Every Saturday, my mother and dad would make the trip into "town" and do their substantial grocery shopping at Joe's Market on First and Broadway in Santa Ana and if we ran out of something during the week,we could replenish the item at Red's Market on the corner of First and Harbor. Remember the noisy turkey farm on Smeltzer and Harbor? In order to cross the river on Edinger we drove through the "dip". There no bridge yet.

I started school at the Balsa Elementary School, and started second grade at St Joseph School in Santa Ana. Newhope School had not been built yet. The Martin's, Eddie and Johnny (of Orange County Airport fame) were our Neighbors on Heil Ave. and their parents lived on Newhope where they owned an orange grove. Oh yes, there were many orange groves in Orange county then! I remember especially how they used smudge pots which emanated foul warm air to save the orange trees during the frosty days in winter. My brothers and sisters and a few cousins rode our bikes to St Joseph School every morning and on those frosty mornings we would come to school with gray smudge all around our nostrils. We were called, " The Osterkamp Brigade."

The Drive-in Theater on Harbor Blvd. came and went to make room for a strip mall. The old West Coast and the Broadway in Santa Ana were the only theaters in the area in the Forties and Fifties and the drive-in restaurants were a favorite "hangout" for teens.

We had a devastating earthquake in 1933. It came with a jolt and knocked my sister, Mary, and I to the ground. Our house, except for the chimney, was not damaged, but we slept outside around a fire for three days because the after shocks were rather unnerving. I had never experienced an earthquake before and it was very frightening for an eight year old.

After my husband, Maj. Leonard Conkle's death in 1957, I remarried and lived the civilian life in Fountain Valley for 43 years right next to the 9 hole golf course that Mark mentioned. He mentioned Don Wash. My husband, Ed Uranich, taught at Garden Grove High when Don was superintendent. Don died in a dune buggy accident in the desert while he was still in office.

I am now widow again living in Costa Mesa, CA and would not live anywhere else. I travel to Orlando, several times a year to visit friends so we have a common bond, Steve.

Thank you for writing about our little corner of the world.


Dorothy Uranich
If you'd like to get your memories published on OCThen, type them out in an e-mail, attach a photo or two if you'd like, and send it to us. Visit our Contact Page for our e-mail address.

Custom Search