Saturday, December 29, 2007

Buena Park Bigfoot - Brea Creek

Does anyone remember the "Bigfoot" of Brea Creek, in Buena Park?

Well, an anonymous OCThen reader does. This person submitted the following memory to us (he was also the same guy that sent us the Wham-O Superball story), describing a tall hairy beast spotted in a drainage channel in Buena Park...
Wow I wish I had found this site earlier.. I hope I get to find out more about the Superballs..

In the meanwhile another funny thing I remember was the Buena Park "bigfoot". It had to be very early 80s because I was attending Beatty Elementary School. Down at the northern-most end of Western, there's a drainage channel that used to run parrallel to the back of McComber Jr High. People claimed to have seen a "bigfoot" there. There was even a story in the Register, and a composite drawing of "it".

It turned out to be a very tall and hairy homless guy.. It was even on TV and I remember my friend got to wave at the camera.... Weird stuff.

I remember that kind of thing.. I could go on and on, Buena Park was still just a small place, there were lots of apartments, but not like now.. A lot of the houses are gone. Things like The Buttery or the Farmhouse resturaunts are now car lots, there's no more chickens running around Grand Avenue any more either..
I did some Googling on the Buena Park Bigfoot, and found a brief mention in the September 20, 2001 edition of OC Weekly...

Brea Creek. Site of Orange County's only reported Bigfoot (yes, that Bigfoot) sighting. In 1982, residents on nearby Franklin Street reported a smelly, hulking figure prowling around the drainage channel. Police took plaster casts of immense footprints and determined that the culprit was just a particularly large and unkempt transient. At least, that's what they want you to believe. Brea Creek underpass at Franklin and Beach.
I also found the following mention on page 90 of a book entitled, "Mothman and Other Curious Encounters" by Loren Coleman, published by Cosimo, Inc. in 2002...
In recent years, sightings of the strange three-toed Bigfoot have been reported from surrounding areas of southern California, notably the smelly eight-footer seen emerging from a drainage ditch in Buena Park, in May 1982.
Hmmm, so let's see, an eight-foot tall, hairy, human-like creature living in a drainage channel in Buena Park. I guess that explains how Knott's Berry Farm came up with the name "Bigfoot Rapids".

Friday, December 28, 2007

Estancia Hill - Costa Mesa, CA

Eve Himmelheber wrote to us about her memories of growing up in the "Estancia Hill" area of Costa Mesa. I presume she's referring to the neighborhood surrounding the Diego Sepulveda Adobe.

She writes about watching sheep herders tending their flocks, which is exactly what Costa Mesa was, a livestock grazing area for Mission San Juan Capistrano...
I grew up at the top of "Estancia hill" in Costa Mesa - then a cul-de-sac, long before the high school, golf course, and expensive Mesa Verde homes were built to the immediate north. My dad was stationed at El Toro, and we were the first home built on our block.

I remember two distinct things from the early 1960s: there were several "oil birds" - oil pumps that reminded me of the old "dipper bird" toys that "drank" water from a glass... The sound from those oilers was rhythmic and peaceful - lulled me to sleep each night like a mother's heartbeat.

I also remember sheep herders on horseback, roaming around the hill & valley called "the bluff" while tending their flocks of sheep. Once, a sheep walked into our garage, between the car and the washer, dryer and storage shelves. It got lodged inside, and wouldn't back out! What a commotion that was.

We also used to have a BBQ every July 4th, digging a pit in our "side yard" (dirt patch on the other side of the garage), and watching the fireworks from Disneyland. You could see them every night - clear as a bell!

You could also see the Saddleback Mountain range and the San Bernardino Mountains every day, as well as Catalina (from closer to Superior Hill - we were too far inland).

I now live in Fullerton, and rarely see the mountains. I never see sheep. I only see oil birds in the Brea foothills. The OC I loved is gone.
If you have memories of the Estancia area of Costa Mesa, click on "Post a Comment" and share them with us.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Walt Disney Elementary School - Anaheim, CA

OCThen reader, "hwdlaura" asks if anyone else attended Walt Disney Elementary School in Anaheim...
Any alumni of Walt Disney Elementary in Anaheim out there? My sister and I both went there in the 60s. I went back a few years ago and took some photos of the wonderful Disney artwork in the cafeteria. I remember sitting on the cafeteria floor on parent/teacher conference days watching Disney movies. Herman the janitor, and Earl D Butler, principal. Delphine the crossing guard. My first grade teacher was Fay Schimming and my sixth grade teacher was Brenda Zanzee.
There are actually several "Walt Disney Elementary" schools across the country, including two others in California (Burbank, and San Ramon). You'd think that this one in Anaheim would have been the first, but it wasn't.

Walt Disney Elementary School, Anaheim
A website called, "Started by a Mouse", says that the Anaheim school was the third to be blessed with Walt's namesake (link)...
The third Walt Disney Elementary was naturally in Anaheim, where Walt surprised the school officials and students by declaring it a school holiday, and inviting all of the students to come to Disneyland for the day.
But another website, Mouseplanet, says that the school in Marcine, MO (Walt's boyhood home), was the third (link).

Maybe someone at the school district knows.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Postcards From Anaheim

Postcards from AnaheimIf you're one of those rare breeds that loves old postcards of Anaheim motels, you're in luck. There's a book just for you.

"Postcards from Anaheim" celebrates the five years of the blog, "Synthetrix - Photos of the Forgotten", and devotes itself to vintage Anaheim motel postcards. It contains 96 pages of the Googie glory that once surrounded the Disneyland theme park.

Here's a blurb from the author, "Synthetrix"...
Greetings Orange County lovers!

Some of you might have visted my website "Photos Of The Forgotten" and seen all the great old postcard images of all the motels and hotels that once surrounded the magic kingdom. In honor of the site's 5 th anniversay this year, I have created a 94 page book of all these images. If you ever vistied Disneyland between 1955 and 1985, you'll see a lot of familiar places, like the famous INN OF TOMORROW, THE SPACE AGE, EDEN ROC, and many, many more. This book is also popular with folks who lived in or grew up in Anaheim or there abouts. Check out the link below for info on how to order. It's available in either soft or hard covered editions. I hope you'll enjoy it.
Buy the book online here...

If you're looking for photos of other Orange County cities, or SoCal cities, check out Synthetrix's blog for more photos...

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Clubhouse - Santa Ana

An anonymous commenter shares their memory of going to club called, "The Clubhouse" in Santa Ana during the 1970s, and wonders if anyone else remembers it...
In the 70's, there was a club in Santa Ana called "The Clubhouse". I remember going there a few times with my girlfriend because she knew the band there. They were called "Emperor", and I happened to run across a publicity photo the other day that one of the band members gave me. It was located in a strip mall on Main Street near the 5 Freeway. I remember wearing a red tube top there once!!! Does anyone else remember this place?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fullerton in the 1960s

Cindy writes to us about her memories of growing up in Fullerton in the 1960s, going to the Orangefair Mall, playing in the orange groves, going to the Fox Fullerton theater, the "tiki" garden craze, and listening to "The Happy Organ"...

I was raised in Fullerton until we moved to the Palm Springs area when I was 9. What a bunch of fond memories I have! Do kids today have these kind of memories???

I remember the big Saturday outing every week was going to the outdoor Orangefair Mall on Harbor & Orangethorpe. It was THE big shopping destination in town. We would have lunch sometimes at Grant's (they had the most awesome grilled open-bun hot dogs!), and if it was around Easter we could buy blue, green, or pink dyed chicks in the basement, or a duck or bunny. At Woolworth's there were 25 cent hot fudge sundaes (in the metal sundae dish), and we would spend the rest of the day paying on our layaways for school clothes (no credit cards back then), buying shoes at the shoe store where they actually had an xray machine you could put your foot in and see the bones in your foot, going to the toy store and drool over all the neat toys (you just didn't get everything bought for you the minute you wanted it) and finally, buying the week's groceries at Mayfair Market. There was a Helen Grace Candies where you could buy ice cream and I bought all my school Valentine's every February at the Long's Drugs across the breezeway from Helen Grace.

Across the street was an A&W Drive-In and behind that was a miniature golf course where my dad would teach me the proper way to swing a golf club. We usually went to A&W after for a root beer float. I never got to keep the little glass mug because it cost more and we were always on a budget.

After school the neighborhood kids would play in the orange groves that still surrounded our little tract, although when the apartment buildings started being built, we played there too! I still remember the smell of freshly plastered walls mingling with orange blossoms.

Our favorite game was "wagon train", where we used our Radio Flyer wagons until we upgraded to a big refrigerator box on skate wheels, pushing it into the orange grove and pretending we were in a wagon camp with wild Indians sure to show up at any second.

We were one of the first 2 families to have a swimming pool in our neighborhood, a kidney shaped one with a diving board, no slide. We still had plenty of room in our huge yard for a couple of orange trees and a wooden playhouse my dad built us. In the summer we would make our own ice cream in a circa 1960 aqua ice cream maker, turning the crank until our arms were tired. We had solid redwood patio furniture with a yellow flowered fringed umbrella and bamboo covering the redwood fence for that current "tiki" effect.

My dad would drive me around with him in his big coral & white Chevy station wagon and I would stand up with my hands on the dashboard-no seatbelts back then. I remember listening to Elvis sing "All Shook Up" and a song called "The Happy Organ" on the AM car radio.

Going to the movies at the Fox Fullerton one summer usually meant trying to drink down a big green bottle of Bubble-Up, because you could get in the theatre for 2 bottle caps for the matinee only. I made myself sick on it one day I tried to drink it down so fast!

All I remember doing as a kid is running around the neighborhood with my friends, walking everywhere, and the only time we stayed indoors was to watch Sheriff John, Lloyd Thaxton Hop and cartoons. Kids today don't know what fun really is...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Mission Viejo in the 1960s

An anonymous reader submitted the following memory of living in Mission Viejo in the 1960s, and makes mention of Laguna Beach...
Greetings, Steve!

I attended Chapman College in Orange, California in 1960-1961. Upon marrying my husband in 1962, we lived in Orange, California, until we moved to Mission Viejo.

We were the 1,000th customer to sign up for water, and, as a result won a 1,000 lb. steer which was butchered and housed in the butcher shop in the little Plaza in Mission Viejo.

We loved driving through the canyon to Laguna Beach, where we always stopped at "The Pottery Barn", made famous by "The Greeter", who later was paid by the city to welcome guests to their town.

Shortly before coming out onto the Coast Highway, there was a semi-bowl in the canyon where plays and orchestras were presented...great, and nice and cool in the summer.

We now live in Missouri, and those wonderful, halcyon days seem so long ago. We have returned to Mission Viejo in recent years and it is just not the same anymore...smog, building overkill, population explosion, have brought negative changes to the area.

However, we have those wonderful memories as those who first lived in Mission Viejo.
I imagine Mission Viejo in the 1960s was like how Menifee is today, where I now live. Menifee was all wheat farming, and then evolved into an equestrian community, which is now evolving into a master-planned community. It's still pretty spaced out, and still quiet enough to hear the coyotes sing.

I suppose 40 years from now, someone will start a "Menifee Memories" blog, and I'll be sending in my memories.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Anaheim in the 1960's

Dick Gerber sends us his memories of living in Anaheim during the 1960's, and mentions his favorite eateries, the people he knew, and the places he shopped...


When I got out of the military in 1960, I ended up in a tiny town named Anaheim. I met my bride to be at the California Bldg. at Center and Los Angeles Streets. We too went to the Bean Hut, Carl's, The Clock, Harmony Park and Oscars at Harbor and Katella. We ate a lot at Chung Kings on Center Street because it was cheap. We also went to the Roberts Room on Euclid when we had any money. Otherwsie it was the Kit Kat on Center Street accoss the street from the Kramer Building. They were right next to Ritz Cleaners and across the street from the Murray dance studio.

Downtown, we went to Leos' Cafe where you could always find Anaheim Police Trike Motor Officer, Joe Miranda getting a cup of free coffee. That is, if he wasn't at one of the Winchell's Doughnuts getting free coffee! Movies at the Garden or Fox, and great hamburgers at Armstrong's on W. Center Street

15 cent Hamburgers from the Burger Chef on State College, and then to the Anaheim Drive Inn. $1.50 a car load. That got you three movies if you were lucky.

First car from Casey Beckman Pontiac on Los Angels Street. Jerry Lamar promoted to Detective, APD Juvenile, and worked for Sgt. Heaton who later hit the Irish Sweepstakes. Our first apartment was on North Lemon Street not far from La Palma Park, and then on Mills Drive. Owned a house on Clementine back in the late 60's. Jerry Lamar bought a new home on the west side in about 1962 and still lives there! He did retire sometime ago from APD.

Great hardware store downtown along with the SQR department store. The old Valencia Hotel was managed by Emile Schab. Another hotel was the old Pickwick, which was also the Greyhound bus station if I recall right. The Pancake House on Lincoln was a favorite, and still is from what I hear. East Anaheim was the new Anaheim, and my wife's folks bought a home there brand new in 1958. Her Aunt and Uncle bought one on the next street over and now my youngest son, 38, owns it.

I really miss the "old Anaheim" from those days. While there are small pockets where memories flood back, it's a changed town for me. It seems like only yesterday that Stillwell's Studebaker was right around the corner from Leo's on Los Angeles Street. I collected bricks from several blgs as there were being torn down because of Keith Murdock's vast plan for a new Anaheim. Speaking of Keith, that just reminded me of old Calvin Pebley and Jerry Sneegas, former councilmen.

Dick Gerber

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Growing up in Santa Ana, 1960's

An anonymous reader shares his memories of growing up in Orange County during the 1960's, attending Santa Ana Valley High School, and all his favorite hangouts...
Hi Everyone

I just surfed in here and just like in the 60's I surfed most of the coastline with friends instead of going to Valley High and I think I am probably the only one to ever get kicked out of Work Experience and then had two more study halls to study nothing except the fine girls in the study hall too.

I graduated in 66 and have a lot of fond memeories of Knotts Berry Farm, and the Ballroom in Balboa with all the fine surf bands. Plus we had one of the best groups to sing at Valley, and Tony and Andy Gallo sang in the band. Plus I went to school with a great friend Bob Samuels who was killed by one off Valley's alumni and now she is the 5th woman on death row.

Does anyone remember the Bisbee's Orange Julius on Flower and Edinger? What a great place to eat. Plus on Friday and Saturday Nights we would cruise Oscars where the DMV is now and get races set up. Go to either Richey street or down on Talbert west of Bristol.

I remember too that Knotts Berry Farm was no cost to go in and Disneyland was 2.00 dollars and you didn't have to even ride anything and go to the dances there.

Does anyone remember Bob Jolly that played in the Justin Tusk? Well, he has a music store in Irvine and is still in music. Valley was great in those days and before I went to Vietnam and we lost a lot of our school mates. I guess I could go down memory lane the rest of the day and say those were the good old days.

God Bless You all and Have a Very Merry Christmas.
And a merry Christmas back to you, and a Merry Christmas to everyone!

The Basement - Orange Circle

An anonymous OCThen reader asks if anyone remembers The Basement, a dance club in the Orange Circle...
Does anyone remember a dance/disco place called The Basement? It was located in the Orange Circle? I can remember my sisters getting dressed up in either their satin pants or chemin de fer jeans and satin jackets and going down there. Hilarious!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour

I used to love going to Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour as a kid growing up in Huntington Beach. It was all red and white in the Victorian style of Mary Poppins. I believe it was a chain in Orange County.

You could order "The Zoo" which was a big trough of every ice cream and topping they had, accented with sparklers. When you ordered it, all the wait staff would run out with it held high in the air, whistles and horns announcing your intent to eat the whole thing.

If and when you did eat it all, another big production followed and a ribbon that said, "I made a pig of myself at Farrell's." Oh, how I wanted one of those ribbons.

Taco de Carlos, History of

Taco de CarlosTaco de Carlos was a fast-food mexican restaurant chain, that spun off from Carl's Jr.

I remember eating there several times after our family moved to Santa Ana in 1978. My sister-in-law's husband worked there for awhile.

In 1972 Carl Karcher Enterprises decided to get in on the Mexican fast-food business because it was a new phenomemon that was proving successful with Taco Bell going public just a few years earlier.

Taco de Carlos offered menu items not found on Taco Bell, like the California Burrito, with the green chili, and the Machaca Burrito. It also served up the standard Carl's Jr. burgers. Some of the Taco de Carlos locations opened next door to a Carl's Jr. In fact, the Del Taco on the corner of Harbor and MacArthur in Santa Ana was a Taco de Carlos. The one my family visited most often was located on Bristol St, near the corner of Warner Ave, also in Santa Ana.

By the end of the 1970's Taco de Carlos had 17 locations, and that was about it. Carl Karcher Enterprises could never muster up enough business attention for Taco de Carlos, and the tiny taco chain found itself stuck in its own pot of refried beans. Meanwhile, the bigger names like Taco Bell, Del Taco, Naugles, and Pup-n-Taco were taking off like wildfire.

In the early 1980s Carl Karcher Enterprises sold off most of its Taco de Carlos locations to Del Taco, and the rest to other buyers.

In 1988, after strengthening the Carl's Jr. brand, they decided to try their luck again with fast-food Mexican fare, and struck up a co-branding deal with Green Burrito. And while the partnership is still going on, Green Burrito hasn't really done all that well. The problem with Green Burrito is that their food is not much better than highschool cafeteria fare.

ChristianZ, who writes the OC Mexican Restaurant blog has an article about Taco de Carlos, and has collected a bunch of memories from commenters...

The Taco de Carlos coffee mug you see in the photo above is actually for sale on eBay via Mustang Collectibles...

Knowlwood Hamburger Restaurants

Knowlwood Hamburger RestaurantKnowlwood is chain of hamburger joints that started in Orange County. I remember visiting the one in Santa Ana, on 17th Street, near Tustin Ave. They had the slogan, "World's Best Hamburgers".

Everyone seems to want to put an "s" at the end of the name, but it's actually singular.

As far as the burgers went, they were pretty good. They seemed to have too much bun. Not the best I've had, but better than average.

Knowlwood started in 1957, by Roy and Fay Knowlton and a partner, Gene Wood. It was named, "Knowl-Wood". Their first location was in present day Anaheim Hills, in what was then known as Orangewood Ranch, along Imperial Highway. In 1998 the Knowlwood chain was purchased by Thanh D. Nguyen, who still owns it today.

They have five locations today, the original in Anaheim Hills, Laguna Niguel, Santa Ana, Irvine, and Fullerton.

We've received some memories (or brief mentions) from others about Knowlwood, and decided to create this blog post to give them a central place to organize them all. Feel free to post your comments about Knowlwood. Maybe some of you can share some history of the company...

Remember the old Santa Ana Canyon Road before the freeway? Remember the old Cafe on the right side as you headed out towards Corona, and the original Knowlwoods Hamburger stand, and that shed with the rocket sticking out of the roof?

- Butch Page, Apr 17, 2002

Wow I just enjoy reading all these memories. I grew up in Anaheim and have so many vivid memories. I went to Palm Lane elementary and Ball Jr High. My family and I moved to Chino in 1979 so I missed getting to go to Loara High. One place I was wondering what happened to was a hamburger joint I think was in Placentia called Knowlwoods? I remember it seemed to be surrounded by fields, in fact I remember getting a halloween pumpkin right next to there. My parents used to call that hamburger place the fly farm because it seemed like there were millions of flies around.

- Mike, Sep 25, 2007

Gosh, reading all these posts bring back so many memories for me living in So cal. I grew up in Anaheim and went to Clara Barton elementary, Trident jr high and Loara high. I remember Knollwoods, there was one in Anaheim. Anyone remember these places: Bob's Big Boy, Heinz restaurant (they had the best chili dogs), Roy Rogers restaurant, Alpha Beta, or the A & W drive in! I remember my mom taking me to the TG & Y for halloween costumes! I dont live down south anymore but I sure think about these places and growing up down there, a lot.

- Anonymous, Oct 2, 2007

Not only do I remember Knowlwoods, aka Worlds Best Hamburgers, I worked there. So much fun! Went to Valencia H.S. and graduated from Esperanza. First graduating class. Growing up there was the best!

- Anonymous, Nov 12, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

9:35pm Disneyland Fireworks?

Dale writes to me asking why Disneyland fireworks are going off at 9:35pm, instead of 9:30pm. Living out here in Riverside County now, I don't get to see the fireworks anymore, so I don't really know what's going on at D-Land...

My son-in-law asked me why the nightly fire works go off at 9.35. Why not 9.30 or another time please let me know so I can get back to him as it is very embarrassing not to be able to answer someone that loves to know the facts.
Can anyone chime in? Click on "Post a Comment".

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Placentia, CA in the 1970s

OCThen reader Lou grew up in Placentia during the 1970s and remembers the Chicano Power riots, the Fender guitar factory in Fullerton, and little league games...
I was born in Orange and grew up in Placentia (1964 - 1989). I have memories of the police and National Guard marching down La Jolla Street (one of the older OC barrios) in the 70's during the Chicano Power riots. It was chaos and I remember all the tear gas and crazy people. My best memories were the Little League games played at Valencia HS and Placentia parks. I remember the old Knott's Berry Farm too. We used to go there and get on the train ride in the free park that they used to have across the street Knott's Berry Farm. I remember the monkey zoo off of Raymond too. My mom used to work for Leo Fender in Fullerton. I remember going to a lot of cool 70's concerts at the Fender factory. The 70's in Placentia were NEVER boring. So much crazy stuff, music, and so much to do! It was cool growing up in OC in the 70's and 80'!!! Lou

Reubens Sauteed Artichoke Hearts Recipe

An anonymous OCThen reader asks if anyone knows the "sauteed artichoke hearts" recipe that the old Reubens restaurant chain used to offer...
I worked at Reubens Restaurant in 1970s in Fullerton. I am trying to locate the sauteed artichoke hearts recipe. Anyone know it??
"Post a Comment" if you know anything.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wayne's Steakhouse - Orange

An anonymous OCThen reader asks if anyone can share some information on what happened to Wayne's Steakhouse in Orange...
Many many years ago, when I first came to Orange County from Ohio, being a real tenderfoot (18 yrs old), my very first job was waitressing at Wayne's Steakhouse in the city of Orange. I stayed there for a year then moved out of the area. I have always wondered what became of the place. Anyone have any information as to when the business closed or what happened to the owners? Just curious. I had some good times there.
If you have anything to share, click on "Post a Comment" below.

Bob & Jeans - Tacos and Pool Hall

Rob Landin, an OCThen reader, asked if anyone remembers a favorite hangout of his in hills of east of Orange called, Bob & Jeans...
Do you remember an old hole in the wall small taco pool hall in East Orange on the corner of Chapman Ave. and Newport Ave.? It was called Bob & Jeans.

I am 44 years old now but I used to go there with my high school friend to have a good greasy taco and shoot pool. We rode our bikes down there. I still live in Orange but my friend moved away. I really miss that place. Do you have any pictures of it?

I will pay for them.

Rob L.
If anyone remembers Bob & Jeans, click on "Post a Comment" below, and chime in.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Brookdale House of Fullerton

Last Spring, an OCThen reader named Sara McComis asked if anyone has information about a house she refers to as "Brookdale House", in Fullerton. Here's her e-mail to me...

Dear Steve
My name is Sara McComis. I was wondering if you had any information about a 1918 house that was transported from ford st up to Brookdale. 336 Brookdale house was moved around 1950 05 -60's. This house is my passed mother-in laws house. I was wondering whom Mr. Schatzman bought this house from and the back ground of this old wonderful house. I was told it was in the news paper of this large house being moved up the hill by the orange trees that were there long ago. I am trying to find information on line and I am having trouble finding the information.
Thank you for your time and I hope to be herring from you soon.

Sara McComis
Notice the e-mail does not mention Fullerton. I had responded back to her, asking what city this house is located in, and she replied back...
Hi steve
The house is there in fullerton. From Ford st moved to Brookdale. The person whom bought the house was George Schatzman. At the current owner is Lousie Schatzman. Would you know the owner befor Mr.Schatzman or the name Mr. Reed? I was looking at the street name Brookdale and came up with his name. Would I look for the hall of records of Fullerton to find the history of the old wonderful house?
You have a great day, and thank you for yur time.
Sara McComis
Otherwise, if you can add something to this, click on "Post a Comment" below, and chime in.

The Old House in Fullerton

Ian R. Board, an OCThen reader, asks if anyone can offer information about a house he remembers seeing in Fullerton, during the years of 1983-1984...
I was wondering if maybe you could tell me a bit about a house I remember in fullerton from when I lived there in 1983-4.

It was on Yorba Linda blvd, a few blocks east of the 57 fwy. It was a big white, 2 story behind a high wall. It was surrounded by shopping centers. I thought it was pretty cool - it had a little remnant of an orange grove around it.

Anyway, I wondered what happened to it and looked on Google Earth. I didn't see it and figure it was torn down to build something utterly useless.Very sad if that is the case.

Do you know anything about this house?

If you can provide any information about this house, click on "Post a Comment" below.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Orange County Genealogy

Genealogy is a subject I had been pretty passionate in during the early 1990's. I would spend quite a bit of time on weekends visiting various libraries in Orange County.

During the old days of OCThen (2000-2001), we kept a links page called aptly enough, "Orange County Genealogy", that showed you where some of the better online resources and organizations you could draw upon.

These days, there are perhaps 20x more websites focusing on Orange County genealogy, and Google is now a better tool for ferreting them out.

But I wanted to highlight a couple of genealogy focused websites that I'm personally involved in, that feature sections on Orange County, CA, in case any of you have the genealogy bug..

  • - Orange County - This website publishes records of burials, mostly gleaned from tombstone inscriptions, and lesser times from sexton records. There are thousands of cemeteries indexed from across the world, and this particular page takes you to the Orange County cemeteries.

  • - Orange County - This website is like a clearinghouse of ads (or what we call queries) of people searching for distant relatives, in hopes of sharing genealogy research with one another. Since launching it in 2001, it's become a popular tool for adoptees searching for their biological parents, and we've helped hundreds of people reunite with their birth mothers, fathers, and siblings after long periods of separation.
And there's no fee to use either of these websites, it's all ad supported.

Some of the better libraries and archives in Orange County to research genealogy are the National Archives, Laguna Niguel, and the Family History Center, Orange (on Yorba St).

Tustin & Lemon Heights - 1950s and 1960s

An OCThen reader named Steve sent us an e-mail several months ago about his memories of growing in Tustin during the 1950's and 1960's...
I was clicking onto some various sites looking for photographs of Tustin and surrounding areas and came across your project, very nice! My family moved to Orange County from Los Angeles in 1956. Our house was about seven miles from Tustin (as the crow flies and there were bunches of them!) The house was a custom built ranch style, built by a contractor named "Cain".

There were thousands of orange trees all around us and the tiny neighborhood, which was comprised of about thirty homes. The main street running north and south was Hewes Avenue. Seventeenth (two lane) stopped at Newport and ran all the way across to Santa Ana, going west. The area that was our spot was called Lemon Heights. Our yard was filled with avacodo, lemon and olive trees as was just about all of our neighbor's yards.

My school years were at Tustin Elementary and Tustin Union High School.

What a place and time! Tustin was a very sleepy quiet berg as I recall. The town was a mixture of small buildings, some were very old, there was a bank, drugstore, small market, lumber yard and a cafe (Ruby's Cafe) and a host of other mom-n-pop business ventures, "Reds Mobile service" (glass jar gas pumps).

Needless to say, the summertimes were the greatest, hiking through the groves, going to the beach (Corona Del Mar, Newport, Huntington Beach, etc.)

In 1961 I joined the Navy as was gone from the area, things changed very quickly, the huge ranch holdings were sold off to developers, the trees were ripped out piled up and burned, with in about three years there were about five thousand homes constructed in and around the vacinity north of Tustin, the rest is history! Even to this day the smell of orange blossom or lemon will bring those memories back, what a time and what a place! Could go on and on!

We've published other memories of growing up in Tustin and Lemon Heights...

The Launch Pad Museum

Joanne Suttile, an OCThen reader, asks if anyone remembers a small science museum in Irvine's Heritage Park called, "The Launch Pad Museum", sometime in the 1980's...
Reading your web site has made me feel a little nostalgic... and a lot "old". I used to think of Jim Sleeper's history of Orange County as the history of OC, but now I realize that the recent "history" is actually stuff I and my family lived... Japanese Village, Lion Country Safari... and other places you don't mention like Old McDonald's Farm in Mission Viejo.

I found your web site while on a search for information about a small science museum near Heritage Park in Irvine. It must have been around in the early 80's and my children...30, 32, and 34... remember it well. It closed and was supposed to reopen in a bigger and better location. I believe the name of the museum was The Launch Pad. If you or anyone else knows any more about it, I really would like some details. I am not sure if it has any connection to the Launch Pad in Crystal Court and the subsequent Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, but any information would be helpful...

Joanne Suttile
Mission Viejo
If you know anything about this, click on "Post a Comment" below and chime in.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Hamburger House - Anaheim

Joanne, who reads OCThen from across the pond in England, wants to know if anyone can share some memories of eating at The Hamburger House, a favorite place of hers when she used to vacation in Anaheim...

Hello Steve,

I am actually from the United Kingdom, and did not ever live in Orange County, but I did holiday in Anaheim 3 times a year from 1972 - early 1980's, my father worked for TWA at the time in London. I have very very fond memories of Anaheim and the surrounding area, particularly my birthday meal each year which took place at The Hamburger House which I think may have been on the corner of Harbour & Katella. I believe that it has now gone, but just wondered if anyone else remembers this little restaurant, it was the first place that I ever tasted canteloupe melon, pancakes etc, we did not eat these things in the UK back in the 70s.

Very best wishes

Joanne from Hampshire, England
Click on "Post a Comment" below, if you'd like to share your memories of this place.

Racial Integration at Santa Ana Schools

Nearly a year ago, I received an e-mail from "Gramma Sue", whose maiden name was Susan Pulsipher. She was an alumni of my alma mater, Santa Ana Valley High School, but graduating way back in 1962.

The year was 1959, and she was attending Valley, and talked about one particular memory of hers that remained over the years, having to do with racial integration, Mater Dei High School, and it's unwillingness to move forward...

Hi Steve,

Well from what I saw on your website I may be the oldest Falcon on there. I graduated in 1962. Susan Pulsipher was my maiden name and I was the gossip columnist on the school newspaper.

Just a tidbit some of you younger Falcons might be interested in. Smedley Jr High in the year 1956 and Santa Ana Valley High in the year 1959 were the first two schools in Santa Ana to integrate whites, mexicans and blacks all together. We almost killed each other the first couple of years at Smedley, but by the time we hit 9th grade we had all grown to appreciate each others differences.

I can still remember one football game against Mater Dei. We had this absolutely gorgeous boy on our cheerleading squad. He was half black half white, and he was one of the most popular boys at school. When our squad went into the center of the field at half time to exchange with the other squad in cheers, their cheerleaders wouldn't shake hands with him.

You could have heard a pin drop. In a true united front, our cheerleaders turned back to our side of the field, and you could hear the cheers from our bleachers for miles.

Mater Dei was banned from playing for something like 5 years because of bad sportsmanship. I'd really like to have seen how the players dealt with those idiots in the locker room.

Anyway, on a more uplifting note, I was there when Lukens Dairy was still behind Smedley, and when you could smell the orange blossoms from the groves everywhere you went. The air was clean and the beaches were to die for, especially Balboa and the Newport Fun Arcade.

If anyone knows who handles the reunions for those early 60's, I'd sure like to get in touch with them. Haven't been since the 10 year. We're all looking pretty old about now, but still have some kick and play left in us.

If anyone would like to add their comments or memories of "integration" in Orange County, click on "Post a Comment" below.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Grant Boys

The Grant BoysAnyone driving along Newport Blvd in Costa Mesa can't miss The Grant Boys, an old-west themed set of stores, selling Levi's, guns, and camping gear. It's been there since 1949.

A year ago, I received an e-mail from Mike Grant, the son of the guy who opened up the store (which was then called, Grant's War Surplus). He mostly described many of the restaurants his family loved to eat at...
My family moved to Orange County in 1949. My Father and Grandmother opened Grant's War Surplus (now The Grant Boys) in Costa Mesa, a town of 4,000 people. The store is still family owned and operated. During the 50's and 60's we were the place to buy Levis. We were among the top 10 single Levis retailers in the country.

We lived in Santa Ana because my mother did not want to live out in the sticks of Costa Mesa. I went to Santa Ana High School and graduated in 1960.

Some of the places we always ate at were: Pop's Steak House, they had the best salad dressing, melted cheese on baked potato and garlic bread. All that and a steak for $3.95. We ate at Yummy's at 17th and Bristol. Kono Hawaii in the Japanese Tea House where the waitresses always made us laugh when the served dessert, Rime Sherbert.

I went to Lathrop Jr high and we always ate at the Kwik Snak, which everyone called the In and Out. They had the best fries!! We would swim at the pool at Memorial Park and at the YMCA downtown. We swam naked at the Y, men only.

Always cruised Merle's drive in Newport Beach. Went to the Buffalo Ranch, which is now Fashion Island. The Good Humor truck came through our neighborhood but we could never buy one, too expensive 15 cents. My mom shopped at Market Basket on 17 and Flower.

I remember the Snack Shops. Great Hamburgers and onion rings and their Sour Cream salad dressing. For a fancy place we went to Victor Hugo's in Laguna, or the Arches. We ate a lot at the Zorba Room at Buffum's in Santa Ana. Chung King in Anaheim on Lincoln was one of our chinese places along with Koo's on Main.
Tell us your memories of The Grant Boys, or anything else you see in Mike's letter, by clicking on "Post a Comment" below.

Merle's Drive In - Pacific Coast Highway

Merle's Drive In Coffee ShopWe've had a couple people send us messages about their memories of Merle's Drive In, located on the corner of MacArthur Blvd and Pacific Coast Highway. Merle's goes back to the 1950's. I don't have the exact date when it opened.

In the 1960's, it became the "The Zoo" drive in, and then in the early 1970's, it closed down, and was leveled. Today, it's the location of shopping center, and another restaurant, the Gulfstream Restaurant.

Here's a letter we received from Ron & Anna Winship on August 25, 2007, regarding their memories of Merle's Drive In...


Before it was the ZOO....with the big gorilla waving at all the people....It was Merle's Drive-In....on the corner of MacArthur Blvd. and PCH on the land they call Corona Del Mar Plaza these days.

Meanwhile, this came to mind because we were watching a PBS special with Ralph Story about "What isn't there anymore!" in Los Angeles.

So, it got us thinking: The Clock Restaurants ...especially the one on the Circle in Long Beach. The Clock in Whittier too! Van De Kamps.....and we can't remember what cities they had those! Remember the Windmill in Neon? Harvey's Broiler in Downey! Was in Mel's on Sunset Blvd. or was it something else...can't remember. That one was the most famous of them all. My mom used to hang out there in the 40's.

Anyway, we had a great place for burgers and the best tachitos on the planet. It was located near Poppy and PCH in Corona Del Mar.....where the Sandwich Place is to the empty parking lot.

So, Steve if you can remember the name of the famous Drive-in on Sunset in Hollywood...please let us know.

Ron & Anna Winship

Here's another message I received from Matt Keto as a comment on the Submit a Memory page...
In Corona del Mar, at the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and East Pacific Coast Highway, once stood some kind of a drive-in.

I thought it was called The Zoo in the early 70s.

An acquaintance remembers it from her childhood as Merle's.

Can anyone fill in the blanks?

Matt Keto
Costa Mesa

If you have something to contribute regarding Merle's Drive Inn, or The Zoo, please click on "Post a Comment" below, and share them with us.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Santa Ana, Bristol & McFadden, 1950s and 60s

An OCThen reader named Ruth had submitted the following memory of hers, growing up in Santa Ana, in the neighbor surrounding the intersection of Bristol St and McFadden, during the 1950s and 1960s...
My dad was transferred from Great Lakes, Ill to El Toro USMC, Ca in the early summer of 1955. We moved to Mc Fadden St (which was Fairview St back then) in Santa Ana. The Street was renamed to McFadden after the orange groves were mowed down between Raitt and which is now Fairview in 1957.

Orange County really grew when the 5 Interstate from San Diego, Santa Ana, and Las Angeles opened in 1956 making it easy to go to Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, and The Angles Stadium. I can remember the Mayor cutting the yellow ribbon off the (??) at the 1st Street exit by Prentice Park.

I remember walking through the farmland of cabbage patches, orange groves, corn fields and berry fields. We flew our kites without worry of losing them to power or phone lines.

On the corner of McFadden and Bristol was a Richfield gas station and my dad filling the car tank with less then 2 bucks. McDonald Burgers on Edinger Street were only 13 cents except on Tuesday-then they were only 10 cents. Also the A&P market opened on the corner of McFadden and Bristol in the late 1950s.

I went to Glenn L. Martin elementary school until I was in the 3rd grade then Monte Vista elementary opened in our area, and Emasculate Heart of Mary Church opened. I made my 1st Communion, Confirmation, and was married at that Church. I went to Smedley Junior High (or Smelly due to all the cows) and SA Valley High 1964-67.

I lived and worked in Orange County until 2006. Now I'm retired and live in a little town called Mentone, Ca, just down the hill from Big Bear. This little town population 5,000 with orange groves and avocado trees reminds me of the young growing days of Santa Ana. Thanks for this blogger and a walk down memory lane.
I actually lived in the same neighborhood as Ruth, near the Bristol St and McFadden intersection, but from 1978-1985. It was technically on Richland Ave, right near Bristol St.

On the NE corner of Bristol and McFadden was a Church's Fried Chicken. On the NW corner, a 7-Eleven Store (I think it's still there). I had one of my bikes stolen at that 7-Eleven. On the SW corner was a large shopping center, with a "Me-n-Ed's" pizza parlor. Anyone remember Me-n-Ed's Pizza?

Today, there's an elementary school located on the corner of Bristol and McFadden, but it wasn't there when I lived there. It was just houses.

Ruth mentioned Raitt street. Did anyone know that Raitt St. is named after the same family that singer Bonnie Raitt is descended from? I think it was her great-uncle that was the physician. At least that's the story her family tells me. Several members of my wife's family were his patients. My wife's sister was delivered by Dr. Raitt.

It's funny that all the people on my wife's side of the family know the names of the doctors who delivered them. Santa Ana was a pretty close-knit community in the 1950s.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Little Amusement Park in Garden Grove

An OCThen reader going by the name "ex-kbf employee" posted the following memory of a little amusement park (possibly called Kiddie Land) in Garden Grove during the 1960s...
back in the 60's, in garden grove, there was a little "amusement" park, probably the size of a convenient store parking lot, behind, i believe was a mcmann's (spelling not correct) furniture store on garden grove bl. just past brookhurst, where now stands a korean shopping center. i'm almost positive the little amusement park was called,"kiddie land." anyone remember this? anyone have a pic to post? like all early childhood memories, it's a little fuzzy. i think there was a small admission price. that place was great! i only went once but i will remember it for ever, like a good dream. that's how some early childhood memories are, a bit fuzzy and seem like a dream.
If you have any information to provide about this, click on "Post a Comment" at the end of this article, and share it with us.

Cowboy Restaurant in Orange

An anonymous OCThen reader wants to ask if anyone remembers a western-themed restaurant in Orange, on the corner of Chapman and Main St, around 1970...
Does anyone remember a restaurant in Orange (circa 1970) near Chapman and Main St. with a Western theme? You could dine in themed areas, like a stagecoach, jail, saloon, etc.
If you remember the name of this place, or can provide your memories of it, click on "Post a Comment" below.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Where is Tom Coughran?

Back in the old days of OCThen (Aug 2001), a guy named Tom Coughran sent us an e-mail about his father, Samuel Coughran, who owned the land that Knott's Berry Farm eventually occupied...
My father, Samuel (Sam) (Sammy) Coughran owned the property where Knott's Berry Farm (known then as Knott's Berry Place) is located. He sold the property to Walter and Cordellia Knott. Walter told Dad that he would pay him $1,500 for the land (I don't remember if that was per acre or for the whole parcel). Dad told him, "Walter, you know it isn't worth any more than $1,000." Walter told him he couldn't pay him cash, so Dad told him, "In that case, I guess it's worth $1,500." My Mom (Florence Margaret Inskeep) married my Dad in 1941. Dad still lived in the two story house that was later used by the Knotts as offices. The house is/was located just south of the Chicken Restaurant and north of the one stall firehouse. My Mom was a waitress at the Chicken Restaurant in its early days. On the East side of the property, along what is now Beach Blvd., where the original entrance was located, there is or at least was, a row of Eucalyptus trees. Dad planted those trees in 1918 or thererabouts. He told us that the first tree north of the entrance has an "unnatural" fork in it. He said he had been plowing the field and tied the plowhorse to the young tree while he ate his lunch. The horse must have been humgry as well as it ate the top out of the tree, thus, the fork. My Dad's sister, Alma, owned the property from the south side of Dad's property to the cross street to the south (Crescent?). I believe she owned it even before she married Elbert Carpenter, but not sure. She was three or four years older than Dad.
I posted the above e-mail on our original article, "Knott's Berry Farm" a couple of years ago.

Well, a lady named Elsie Coughran wrote an e-mail to me a couple of days ago asking me for Tom Coughran's e-mail address. She used to be married to James Eugene Coughran, the son of Samuel Coughran, and she also claims Sam is the previous owner of the land. She goes on to say that James told her many stories of growing up there, and befriending Walter Knott's son, Russell Knott.

However, no one ever mentioned a Tom Coughran. So, she wants to get a hold of him to explore that side of the family. She figures that Tom is a son of Sam Coughran's second wife.

The problem is that I can't find that e-mail anymore! I've gone through a couple of laptops since I posted that article a couple of years ago, and I think something got lost in transferring files. It was also a couple of years ago that I migrated from Outlook Express to Outlook 2003, after Outlook Express crashed on me, and I lost many old e-mails. That could be it.

Anyways, if anyone can hook up Elsie with Tom Coughran, or any of the Coughran descendants from that line, please click on "Post a Comment" below, OR, send me a personal e-mail, and I'll get it to Elsie.

You can also e-mail Elsie directly: eeidc @ socal . rr . com.

Monday, December 03, 2007

What was your first job in Orange County?

My first job, at fifteen, was working at Kentucky Fried Chicken on Warner and Bolsa Chica in Huntington Beach. Not very glamorous I know, but all of my friends worked there, which was really the only criteria for a first job--well, that and your parents willingness to drive you there.

The man who owned it was a WWII veteran named Bill who sported a neat flattop, high and tight. He drove an old, very old, burgundy Cadillac and looked a little like W.C Fields in polyester pants and a bolo tie. I can just see him now, all in brown, hunched over a large white plastic container, elbow-deep in macaroni salad (with gloves on, of course), mixing it with his ginormous hands.

Bill had a little dog named "Mimi" bequeathed to him by his late wife. He always said when "that dog" died he was going to sell KFC and travel the world. He acted like Mimi was a pest to him, but he hand-made a seat in his Caddie just for her and took her everywhere with him. You know the type of man, right? All rough and grumpy but, deep inside sensitive and thoughtful.

I went back to visit KFC when I was going to Golden West College and Bill was still there. Mimi had died years before, but he stayed on. He was very uncomfortable by my happiness to see him again. He asked if I still liked to take pictures ( thoughtful) and gave me a free pint of cole slaw when I left. I still think about him and wonder if he ever got to travel the world.

After KFC, I worked at the One Hour Photo Lab in the Westminster Mall through the rest of High School. Back then it was located right in the middle circle of the mall, above the food court. Working at the mall in High School was a prime job. My brother worked at Chess King at the same time and sometimes we would meet for a "Hot Dog On A Stick."

I was also a Ruby's girl for about three years until I moved away to go to college in San Francisco.

What was your first job in OC?

Intoxicating Smell of Orange Blossoms

orange blossomsNancy submits her memories of growing up in Orange, Santa Ana, and Garden Grove in the 1950s, and mentions how each spring, the orange groves went into bloom, and that she never wanted exhale...
I arrived in OC in 1950. My grandfather owned the Florist Shop on Glassel in Orange. There was a house attached where we all lived until mom and dad bought their own house, in then unincorporated Santa Ana, near Harbor and 17th Streets.

I remember the two markets (one open air) on that corner.

I loved shopping Friday nights. The only place to go was downtown Santa Ana to Wards, Penny's, Sears, and that store on a corner to get my Girl Scout uniform. The name is on the tip of my tougue. No malls then!

We played in the Santa Ana River bed when mom was not looking.

My first school was New Hope Elementary. Someone here mentioned that school. We lived there for five years. Then in Garden Grove near Chapman and Brookhurst, I went to Nelson, Faye Lane, Lampson Intermediate, GGHS and Santa Ana Jr College. We lived near the Pink Spot. I loved that place. Maybe that contributed to high colesterol but it was worth it. Ignorance was bliss then.

I went to the Garden Grove First Methodist Church at Main and Stanford. It was a wonderful building then. I loved it. They replaced it with a BIG concrete stucture. I loved the market next to it.

We did most of our grocery shopping at the Safeway on Main street. I would save my money til I could get a book at the toy store near there. Thank goodness Historic Main Street still has some of the same charm.

Also the Orange Circle area. I remember playing at Hart Park, and on hot days in the little wading pool with the pretty fountain little ones could crawl into. We went to the Methodist Church in Orange and I had Sunday School in the little red brick building that is still there. When I Googled "Images" I found pictures of many of these great historical places.

The Garden Grove Plaza was not there yet. Just orange groves. I could almost pick the oranges from my bedroom window. The smell in the spring was intoxicating. You never wanted to exhale. Do you remember when Jan and Dean, the popular men's duo, performed at The Plaza? The screaming girls? It was probably about 1958 or 59. I lived there until marriage and we moved back to Santa Ana near Bristol and 17th. Then back to Orange near Main and Chapman and Garden Grove near G. G. Blvd and Brookhurst. Lots of Strawberry Festivals and parades.

One of my husbands favorite pizzas came from Teddy's Pizza next to the bowling alley when he was about 13. He has never found a place he likes just as well. He liked to ride with his friends on their bikes to Irvine park. I loved to hike in the hiils there. How about Chis and Pitts BQ on Garden Grove Blvd. and Pricilla Bakery? They are both gone now. We would celebrate special occations with a cake that had custard filling and smooth chocolate icing on a yellow cake. Yum!!

My husband and I also danced at Harmony Park in Anaheim and The Rendevous in high school.

I could go on and on. Knotts Berry Farm when there was no entrance fee. Also Disneyland, Haven Pond in Garden Grove and the Bison Ranch in the hills on the way to the beach. I miss many of the friends we have lost contact with. Memories are good though.

Yup, that's why OCThen continues on, because of the memories...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Ridgeways Ice Cream Store - Santa Ana

An OCThen reader going by the name of "CoxPilot" asks if anyone remembers an ice cream store called "Ridgeways Ice Cream" located on 17th street, near the I-5...
Does anyone remember a Ridgeways ice cream store on east 17th st. in Santa Ana, right next to the 5 freeway (on the North side) by the RR tracks? (Last I saw of the building it was a Bar). I worked there in my last couple of years at S.A. High School. 1958-1959. Then went to work at the Flight Circle at Disneyland. Ridgeways sold primarily to restaurants, but had a couple of stores. They made all their own stuff. Moved from Calif. in 1996.
Click on Post a Comment below, and chime in if you have anything.

Tustin Inn

Mike, and OCThen reader, submits his memory of going to Tustin Inn in the 1970's...

I was a new Marine stationed at El Toro from Feb. to May in 1970. I was only 18 and the only place that would serve us off-base was the Tustin Inn. I was told it was an "Okie" bar. The juke box was all country.

They knew we were under age and would only serve us pitchers of beer which came with a glass of tomato juice to make "Montana Bloody Marys".

None of us had a car so we walked through orange groves to get to the Inn.

For a kid from South Philly, California was a land of wonder and infinite possibilities.

Having spent so much time in Santa Ana and Lake Forest, I don't recall Tustin Inn. But I wonder if it might the same as "Little Red Inn", which we previously mentioned here...

Click on "Post A Comment" if you have something to share about Tustin Inn.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Smokey's Stables and Bob's Big Boy

My Cousin, Darla, and I would ride at Smokey's Stables in Huntington Beach whenever we could talk one of our parents into driving us there. Smokey's was on the Bolsa Chica Wetlands from 1980 to 2000.

If I remember correctly, Smokey was an actual person. He was a short older man who wore plaid flannel shirts, suspenders and smoked a pipe. But maybe this was all in my romanticized imagination.

Smokey's is where I fell off a horse named Storm and broke my arm. I was a chronic crier and a tad dramatic as a child, so no one believed me when I wept, "I think it's broken."

My Aunt picked us up from Smokey's and took us to the Bob's Big Boy, which used to be located on Edinger and Gothard (now a CoCo's). My Aunt ordered me my favorite shake-strawberry.

I remember sitting there, watching the yummy strawberry shake melt down the tall silver gobblet, clutching my arm, never touching the treat. It was then, FINALLY, they realized I was really hurt.

Anyone remember Smokey's? Was there really a man named Smokey? Anyone else miss Bob's Big Boy?

Disneyland Accidents

An anonymous OCThen reader posted a comment on an old article regarding an accident happening at Disneyland. His comment is about an incident he was involved in on the Jungle Cruise...
When I worked on the Jungle Cruise, I was working one evening in the front loader dock position. Two women and a litle girl approached as the boat was filling up. I was talking to the Mom, asking if they wanted to wait for another boat as this one was nearly full.

Before any of us knew it, the litle girl had stepped off the dock and fell between the boat and the dock. The water there is about 12 feet deep, and she was completely submerged.

I fell on my knees in the boat opening and fished for the girl in the water. I found her and pulled her out. It was a couple of seconds at best, but felt like minutes. Her eyes were like saucers, and she started crying almost immediately. All I could do was hold her close, then handed her off to her Mom.

There was no threat of a lawsuit. The Mom said she should have been watching her. I was not punished by Disney, though I did have to go back to wardrobe to change into dry clothes.

It did earn me the nickname "Lipton".
I wanted to ask our readers if they can submit their memories of other Disneyland accidents. I'm not looking for deaths, or major injuries, since those have all been well covered in the media. I'm looking for the stuff that didn't get reported in the papers, which involved little to no injuries.

Maybe someone fell into the water at Pirates of the Caribbean, or someone who actually got sick in the middle of watching Circle Vision, or some kid who got his head stuck between the bars of a fence and had to be greased up to pull it back out. I dunno.

I'm sure past and present Disneyland employees have lots to share.

I haven't witnessed any accidents, other than the countless times I slammed into the back of my buddies on the Autopia Cars. Though there was that time I nearly ran over a parking attendant because I had the sun shining in my face.

If you have something, click on "Post a Comment", and let's get this thread going.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Welcome Suzanne Broughton

Bo Donaldson and the HeywoodsI wanted to introduce our new blogger, Suzanne Broughton.

Suzanne grew up in Huntington Beach, and now lives in Irvine. She writes her own blog, "Emphasis Mine", where she rambles on about the past and present. She works as the Style Editor for Broughton Quarterly, a travel magazine.

I'll still be blogging away on OCThen, about as often as I normally do. Hopefully Suzanne can add stuff to make this website published more frequently.

What struck a cord with me is that she mentioned in her first post, "You know you grew up in Orange County in the 70's", by saying that she had a dance routine to the hit song, "Billy Don't Be A Hero". Because, my wife had her own dance routine to the same song. It would be scary to watch them compete against each other on The Gong Show.

And according to our, "Milk it for all it's Worth Department", yes, Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods are still touring, and they have a MySpace site.

You know you grew up in Orange County in the 70's

-You blew your entire back-to-school clothing allowance on one pair of Chemin De Fer Jeans.

-You were banned from wearing your Sex Wax T-shirt to Sunday school.

-You and your cousin (or sister) did "shows" for your family. These were dance routines to tunes like "Billy Don't Be A Hero" or "Silly Love Songs." You remember..."I (point with both thumbs at your chest) Love (wrists crossed against chest) You (arm
out-stretched, finger pointing at bored, squirming family)."

-You doused yourself with Love's Babysoft before leaving the house.

-"The Shining" was the first scary movie you ever saw (and my last).

-You thought going to Knott's Scary Farm was the best night of the whole year.

-You used to be "Ditto Monitor" at school, in charge of helping the teacher at the ditto machine in the school office.

-You would NEVER eat "Pop Rocks" and drink Coke at the same time for fear your head would explode.

-You thought Mr. Bill was hilarious.

- You had a satin jacket with matching satin shorts and hat.

-Your family's big night out was either at Charlie Brown's, The Velvet Turtle or Sam's Seafood.

-Your Mom; colored her hair in the sink, bought her dishes at Alpha-Beta and watched Lawrence Welk every week.

-After a day spent at the beach, you thought Jack-in-the-boxes tacos were the best food ever made!

-You and your girlfriends thought Scott Farnsworth was a total babe.

-You and your seventh-grade boyfriend got back together after they played "Reunited" by Peaches & Herb at The Holiday Roller Skating Rink.

-You stayed up late to listen to Dr. Demento on your radio which was hidden under your pillow.

-You had a blue cruiser, your friend had a red cruiser, your other friend had a blue cruiser and your other friend had a red cruiser...

-You used to layout covered head-to-toe in baby oil.

-Your Mom had to bribe you into taking off your down jacket so she could wash it.

-You had a KLOS Pink Floyd rainbow bumper sticker on your bedroom door.

Please feel free to add your bits of the 70's...I know I missed some.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Old Burger Stand on Main & Edinger

Brian wants to know if anyone can remember the name of a hamburger stand in Santa Ana, located on the NE corner of Main and Edinger...
I lived in Santa Ana 1963 thu 1966 our family used to buy burgers at a hambuger stand on the northeast corner of Main and Edinger. It was a great place real salty fries. I cant remember the name can anyone help?
Click on "Post a Comment" below if you have anything.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Orange County Swapmeet

orange county swapmeetAn anonymous OCThen reader submits a memory about going to the Orange County Swapmeet...
Does anyone remember the Orange County Marketplace in Costa Mesa? (The OC fair grounds) In the late 80's my parents would take me and my sisters to the swapmeet and we'd shop there all day. I don't think we ever got to finish walking the entire swapmeet. I used to save my allowances for weeks because I knew I would find lots of things there and wanted to be ready when I did. My favorite part about going to this swapmeet was the Old Fashion Ice Cream Bars. Yumm! 1/2 almonds and the other 1/2 chocolate sprinkles.
The Orange County Swapmeet was a place our family visited a lot during the late 1970's. We had relocated to Santa Ana in 1978, coming up from San Diego. The swapmeet was where my folks would find stuff for the house.

Back then, most of the vendors were still folks trying to get rid of junk in their garages. They'd lay out everything out, and we'd pick through it.

Many times we'd find something old that someone was selling, and which triggered a fond memory of something else years ago. My step-dad would talk to the seller about it, and they'd share some memories together and some laughs. That's part of what going to the swapmeet was about, to peruse all this old stuff that you don't see anymore, and maybe find something valuable.

Now it's all different. The vendors are all businesses who find the swapmeet a cheap way to market their inventory. It's not much different than going to a shopping mall, except you have to pay to get in, and you don't get elevator music or air-conditioning.

The last time I went to the Orange County Swapmeet was in September 2001; I bought one of those Thomas Kinkade "knock off" paintings that they make in China to hang above my fireplace.

I understand these days the OC Swapmeet has become more like a fair, with lots more entertainment, rides, shows, karaoke contests. And I guess for that matter, it's almost like going to an amusement park. For what it is, I guess that's great. I still remember the old swapmeets where you could take a stroll down memory lane.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Huntington Beach - The City of Walls

An OCThen reader named Stan Chamness submits a very enjoyable story of a kid who grew up in Huntington Beach in the 1960's. This story reminds me of the years when I was a little boy in San Diego, between 1971-1978, and venturing out with my friend Mark. It was a time when kids could turn their curiosity into an adventure, get into a little trouble, and at bedtime, stay up all night thinking about what you wanted to do tomorrow...

Orange County to me was growing up in Huntington Beach as my father did. I lived in a housing tract like everyone else at Adams and Bushard. It was one of the first to go in and the frontal houses faced the main streets with olive trees lining the frontal border.

Crop fields surrounded our tract and made it a great place to dig holes, build forts and best of all to make tracks and jumps to ride our stingray bicycles around in. The grass would grow higher than we were tall during the winter so we would make our own maze to get lost in playing.

The empty fields soon gave way to more housing as Huntington grew at a record pace but all the new tracts faced inward with their backyards to the main streets and so grew the city of walls.

At around the age of 10 (1966) I mustered up the courage to get on my bike and head to the beach, alone. Bushard didn't even go through as a paved road at the time. You had to ride through farm fields before coming back to the pavement. That would give you a chance to eat a little something, for they grew melons, tomatoes and corn, just to name a few of the crops that I would borrow on my ride.

Once I knew how easy it was to get to the beach, I spent most of my energy as a kid and high school days trying to get back there. At around 13 I peddled my way down to Corona Del Mar with my best friend Kenny and bought my first mask and fins and went diving. I think of that now and most kids of 13 aren't allowed to leave their block let alone ride 15 miles or so away and swim in the ocean alone. Of course I wasn't either, I just did it.

I remember Kenny and I would grab some lawn chairs and ride our bikes at night to the Fountain Valley drive in over on Brookhurst. We would ride through a trailer park located behind the drive in, park our bikes, then toss the chairs over the fence then climb over ourselves. We would also make sure it was an R rated movie showing so we could hopefully get a glimpse of nudity and catch a nipple or two. We became friends with the security guard who didn't seem to mind that we had snuck in.

We would also at the age of 12 and 13 hop on the bus at Adams and Bushard. Ride it up to Harbor the get a transfer. Ride up Harbor to Disneyland then jump over the exit gate and play in Disneyland all day and then go home. All for 50 cents. It was only a quarter each way. I remember my parents asking where I had been and I would just say "oh, over at Kenny's house."

At the age of 15 my old man kept coming up with stuff for me to do, so it became harder for me to get to the beach. I needed a good reason to be there so I tried out for Junior lifeguards. Gotta be there everyday for that. I remember riding down Main St. everyday to get to the pier. There were great shops like Grandma Bean with tapestries, backlight posters, incense and beautiful girls working inside. Man, my hormones would rage! Then down a little further, Robert August would be shaping boards and who knows what else. I would stop at Jacks to get a t-shirt now and then.

The whole town was completely different in the 60's. I guess nothing stays the same.

When I was real young my parents owned a beach concession just north of the Huntington Pier that made burgers and rented surf riders. So at the age of 3 to 5 I spent a lot of time walking around in the sand with a big burlap sac collecting Pepsi bottles for 3 cents each. Today there is an apartment complex built right on the sand where our concession was located.

I went to Edison High School shortly after it opened and I remember checking the flag in the late summer to see if there was an offshore wind. If so, it would mean no school today (at least for me). And when the surf wasn't good it would mean the water visibility was, so we would head down PCH to Laguna to do some diving and spear fishing. Once past Corona there was an area called the horse pastures with this little shack in the middle of nowhere. The sign read Date shakes. And even if you didn't like dates you would most likely like these shakes, I still try to make them myself to this day.

Well I could go on and on but I think I have rambled enough for now! Late.....

Stan Chamness

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Anyone Remember Coyote Hills?

An OCThen reader named Corey, wrote to me asking about a part of Orange County that used to be called "Coyote Hills". He heard the name in the new movie, "There Will Be Blood". Here's what he said...
Anyway, the other night I went to an advance screening of the new film There Will Be Blood from PT Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia). It is about a monstrous SoCal oil man in the early 1900s (played by Daniel Day Lewis). The film is intense and incredible. Lots of Oscar buzz.

So, most of the film takes place in the Signal Hill area near Long Beach and Santa Barbara County, but the oil man is constantly referring to his drilling operation in Coyote Hills. Being from Buena Park, I knew that everything in the area was Coyote This and Coyote That, and also that there are a lot of oil derricks in the BP/Fullerton/La Habra/La Mirada area. I did some internet research the next morning and found that the part of North OC was called Coyote Hills at one point.

You never see the region depicted in the film (which was lensed in Texas, by the way), but I found it to be an interesting bit from the film and thought you and/or OC Then readers might be interested.
I've never heard of Coyote Hills, but I know that many places in Orange County once had different names. Before Lake Forest, it was called El Toro, and before that, Aliso City. El Modena used to be Olive, and Irvine used to be Myford, and Fountain Valley used to be Gospel Swamp.

If anyone has anything to share about Coyote Hills, click on "Post a Comment" and speak your mind...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Glacier Falls Ice Arena

An anonymous OCThen reader asks if anyone else remembers "Glacier Falls Ice Arena", an ice skating rink in Anaheim...
Does anybody remember Glacier Falls Ice Arena? It was in Anaheim on Katella near Disneyland. We had lots of good fun ice skating there on Saturday mornings in the 1960's. After the Zamboni shaved the ice we sure did pay attention to the big sign hung in the arena reading: Skate At Your Own Risk!
That ice was slick.
Click on Post a Comment if you remember it too.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Murray Manor Shopping Center

Victoria, an OCThen reader, wants to ask others if they know anything about Murray Manor Shopping Center, which I believe was in Garden Grove...
Hello again,
My dad, Harold Murray Jr. owned Murray Manor Shopping Center back in the 60's (1965-1969), it was located at 911 N. Brookhurst. We lived in a house located on the parking lot behind the furniture store. The furniture store there was a very large spanish style house. I have information that it was also an orphanage at one time as well as a Governers mansion. The house that we used as a furniture store was once called the Stanton House, after Phillip Ackely Stanton. I am looking for anyone who shopped there, new my family or knows any more info on the house itself. I am gathering all the info to pass to my children.

Thanks, Victoria

I did find a couple of anonymous comments that mention Murray Manor...
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.

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.
If anyone has some information about this building, please click on "Post a Comment" below and share it with us.

Stehley's Egg Ranch

A couple of OCThen readers posted comments on the "Submit A Memory" page relating to Stehley's Egg Ranch in Anaheim. I wanted to move them here to its own article...
I need help! does anyone remember a place called Stehley's Egg Ranch in Anaheim? It was a little place that sold fresh eggs and they had a monkey, yes! a real live chimpanzee as a pet. They would dress it up and it sat behind the counter! I can still see that monkey in my mind. And I swear I havent smoked anything! I used to love going there with my mom because I could see the monkey!

By Anonymous, at October 04, 2007 10:43 PM

I remember a dairy that sold eggs .It was located in Anaheim on the corner of Lincoln and Brookhurst. It was next door to Dows Market and across the street from the Linbrook Bowl. Could that be Stehley's Egg Ranch?
Circa 1964.

By Anonymous, at October 26, 2007 6:42 PM
I don't particularly remember Stehley's Egg Ranch, but if you do, please click "Post a Comment" below, and share your memories.

Subscribe to OCThen

Now you can receive each new OCThen article as an e-mail.

In the navigation bar at the top, you'll see a link "Subscribe". This link takes you to this article.

By entering your e-mail address in the space below, each new article I post here will be delivered to your inbox. The advantage to doing this is that you won't have to remind yourself to visit OCThen to see what's new. Instead, it'll come to you!

If you subscribed and you're not getting these e-mails, check your spam folder. If you find it there, mark it as "not spam".

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Feedburner won't share your e-mail address with anyone, and you won't get any ads from this.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

El Toro's of Huntington Beach

An anonymous OCThen reader remembers a favorite restaurant of his named "El Toro's" in Huntington Beach, and asks about their chili...
When I was growing up in the 70's, my family and I would eat at our favorite restaurant several times a month. The name of the restaurant was El Toro's and was located in Huntington Beach on Warner Avenue, just west of Bolsa Chica Street. It closed in the early 80's and my family has missed it ever since. One of our favorite menu items was called a Mexita; a crisp corn tortilla with refried beans, chili sauce and cheese melted on top. It was the chili sauce that gave the Mexita its unique flavor, one that I haven't found at any other Mexican restaurant. Does anyone who remembers this restaurant know how they made this chili?
This is a tough request, but if you got any info or memories of this restaurant, click on "Post a Comment" and share it with us.

Tustin in the 1950's

Lynda Emery Smith writes to us about her memories of growing up in Tustin from the 1950's to the 1970's...

My husband, Kevin Smith, and I grew up in Tustin, about a mile apart. Between us, we have so many memories of Tustin and Orange County in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Peacocks on Peacock Hill, Tustin Teeways, the slot-car track, 25 cent Saturday matinees at Tustin Theater. Market Basket was the only market around, unless you counted Tiny Tim's, next to Lemon Heights Drug Store. (My mom still sees Mrs. Toth, the owner's wife.) Before Jamestown Village and Larwin Square opened, we'd have to go to downtown Santa Ana to do "real" shopping at the department stores. My father worked at First Western Bank there, and my grandfather owned a carpet store next to Walker's Market. At Tustin Tiller Days it seemed as if everyone knew everyone else. Adam's Hardware, Millie's Pink Poodle...the list goes on and on. We can't drive through Tustin, (where my 82 year-old mother still lives and attends the same church,) without a trip down memory lane. He grew up on Eveningside and Arroyo, and I on Windsor Lane. (The one that turned into Zig-Zag Lane, which is now Elizabeth Way.) We didn't meet, however, until I was 17 and he was 18. We married when I turned 18, and here we are - 34 years later!

Lynda 'Emery' Smith
Laguna Niguel
Click on "Post a Comment" below and share your memories of Tustin in the old days.

Little Red Inn of Tustin

An anonymous OCThen reader asks if anyone remembers the "Little Red Inn" located in Tustin, along with other Tustin eateries...
Hi Steve!
Once again I find my way to OCthen and going over the posted comments!Does anyone out there remember the "Little Red Inn" located in Tustin next to Tustin High School? I remember going in there and having a coke and french fries for a quarter! It sat on the corner of Laguna and (I think it was "B' street) in later years it changed hands, didnt ever go there for dinner. Then there was "Ruby's" cafe on El Camino Real, (next to Mitchells Market,) still had the juke box selections and catalog machine on the table tops! The cost was a nickle per selection! How about the Tastee Freeze across the street from Ruby's, Firday and Saturday nights would find the parking lot packed full of cars and kids! fond memories!OCthen!
Click on "Post a Comment" below if you can add anything about Little Red Inn.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cloud 9 and Studio K

Cloud 9 and Studio K were dance clubs inside of Knott's Berry Farm. During the 1980's they were two of the trendiest places in Orange County for teenagers to go to on a Saturday night.

I was never into dancing when I was in my teens. I was into computers, I was a computer geek, though not hard-core geek. There was something in me that resisted the stereotype.

A guy named Stephen L. Becker is trying to put together a tribute website for Cloud 9 and Studio K, and wanted to ask OCThen readers if they can contribute photos. Here's his message...
I remember piling a bunch of friends into a Toyota Tercel and heading out to Balboa Island to see RHPS at midnight every Friday. Then on Saturday, we would all head out to Knott's Berry Farm to dance at Studio K and Cloud 9. I am actively searching for pictures from Cloud 9 and Studio K from the late 80s -early 90s so I can build a tribute site. Please contact me if you have any that I may use.
There have also been some other comments and e-mails sent to me about Cloud 9 and Studio K, which I have posted as comments here. Please feel free to post your own comments here as well.

Saddleback Park

Saddleback Park was an area used for motocross, and in its hey day, was one of the most famous destinations for MX riders across the Southern California. It was the first park in the USA designated specifically for MX.

In 1967, it's main track was designed by Joel Robert and Roger DeCoster, two famous MX racers at the time. Saddleback Park hosted many regional, national, and international motocross racing events.

But in 1984 the park shut down. The park was plagued by lawsuits. There were supposedly disputes between the park operator and the landowner (Irvine Company). There had been rumors that the park would reopen, but it never happened because of the liability. The 241 toll road now runs through the park, though some dirtbikes and motocross riders still manage to make use of its tracks even today.

I went through some comments and e-mails submitted by OCThen readers over the years, and found some mention of Saddleback Park. I've posted them here as comments. If you have some memories or facts to share of Saddleback Park, please click on "Post a Comment" below.

If you have photos of Saddleback Park, send them to me via the "Contact Us" link o the side, and I'll post them here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

When Land was Really Cheap

There was an anonymous comment posted on our Knott's Berry Farm article today, about how land was so cheap, it was being given away...
There is a story in my family, that a Great Uncle, Homer Clemons, owned an orange grove in the area. He got the land when it was so cheap, they gave you an acre if you subscribed to the local farm newspaper for a year. Two years subscription got you two acres. The story goes that he left his land to two brothers, who sold it to a man named Knotts. I don't have any proof of this story, but he and wife Belle are on the 1920 & 1930 census. Both are buried at Fairhaven Memorial Park.
I'm not sure how a newspaper would buy up land, just to give it away, or maybe perhaps they were giving away land they didn't need anymore. But imagine owning a couple acres of land in the middle of Buena Park right now?

Jungle Palms Restaurant and Zoo

Last July, an OCThen reader named Cindy asked if anyone remembers a little zoo in Fullerton, featuring a gorilla with a head wound...
Does anyone else remember the little zoo in Fullerton on Raymond and Orangethorpe? I remember going there last around 1970. It was next to the old Laura Scudders plant and the Akua Lodge Motel. They had a chimp that sometimes the zookeeper would let me hold and a big, sad old gorilla. The last time I saw the gorilla he had a head wound that was bleeding. I guess it is just as well it's no longer there as I don't think they took such great care of the animals.

By Cindy
We received the following response from "Eve"...
Re: Old Zoo on Raymond and Orangethorpe
I believe that was the private zoo of the Palms restaurant. Next to the restaurant they had some sad primates stuck in small cages. I think one day the gorilla escaped and went into the restaurant and ate the patron's food. At least, that is what my mom told me when we ate there and I was always hoping to have an escaped gorilla eat my dinner.

By Eve,
The Jungle Palms Restaurant was the creation of Jack Dutton, who also owned a nursery called "Jungle Nursery" in Anaheim. There's an interesting story of how Dutton turned a chimpanzee named "Jerry" into a pet, and "humanized" it. Then later, when he could no longer manage the chimp, he had it shot in the head.

Read the sad story about it here...

Irvine in the 1970's

An anonymous (or somewhat anonymous) person submits memories of living in Irvine during the 1970's...

I love your website, it made me think of things I hadn't thought about in some time. I'll have to dig through some of the family pictures for old shots of The OC, like Old MacDonald's Farm where the Kaliedoscope Shopping Center is now located in Mission Viejo.

I still remember the first time I visited my In-Laws after they moved to Irvine (we moved down the next year). My father-in-law said we were going to go down and pick up Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner and he and I piled in the car.

We drove down from Turtle Rock, took Culver Drive back to University Drive and pulled in to the parking lot where Alpha Beta was (remember Alpha Beta's). We parked where years later a Carl's Jr was placed.

We sat there and I asked my father-in-law where the Kentucky Fried Chicken was and he said just wait a minute. I figured he didn't feel well and we'd drive on in a little while.

While we were sitting there a delivery van pulled up with Kentucky Fried Chicken written on the side and the guy stopped and opened up a window and started selling chicken right out of the van.

That's my first memory of Irvine in 1971. That spot later became the busiest Carl's Junior in the entire chain, after McDonald's turned down the location because the Irvine Company wanted too much money for the location. I bet McDonalds kicked themselves a few times for that mistake.

At that time there was Chevron Gas station on the corner there and that was the only gas station in Irvine as well as Alpha Beta being the only market. I think there was a liquor store and that was about it.

Culver and University. If you want to see how things change check what's in University Park Center now with the link below:

Watching Disneyland Fireworks in the Old Days

Mike Baldwin shares his memories of watching Disneyland Fireworks...
I grew up living in Santa Ana from 1952 till my family moved to Costa Mesa in 1963. My fondest memory is during the summers when before bed time, Mom and Dad would walk with my sisters and I up to the Santa Ana river bank to watch the fireworks at Disneyland each evening. During thoses days there were no obstructions to sight across the county to see the nightly display from Disneyland. It was a great way to end each day as the walk back home was a great time to share the the show of that night with each other and to think of Peter Pan and Tinkerbell before going to bed.

By Mike Baldwin
I lived in Santa Ana from 1978 to 1988, before moving to El Toro. But we lived on Richland Ave, out by Bristol St, and couldn't see the fireworks, but you could always hear them, and you always knew what time it was once you started hearing the "boom boom" in the distance.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dreger Clock of Knott's Berry Farm

Dreger Clock Knott's Berry FarmGlenn Frank submitted the follwing article to us about his efforts to restore the Dreger Clock at Knott's Berry Farm...
You may remember it as "that big clock with all the dials at Knott's Berry Farm". But I remember it as my great-grandfather's legacy.

The "Dreger Clock" was built by my great-grandfather Andrew Dreger Sr., an early pioneer of the Long Beach, Buena Park and Anaheim area. He was a watchmaker in his later years and built this amazing clock for the enjoyment of his community.

After His death the clock made its way to Knott's Berry Farm where it was enjoyed by thousands of visitors to Buena Park for over 50 years. But in the past year, you may not have noticed that it was missing from its home in front of the ticket booths. It fell into disrepair and was removed, hidden from the public in a warehouse.

The Buena Park Historical Society wants to return it to the public view. We want to put it back in front of the eyes of the community! The clock has been purchased and awaits restoration cleaning and a new home.

My dream is to see the clock restored, running and being enjoyed by visitors to the county along Beach Blvd in the city's historical park, across from the Buena Park City Hall.

But, we need the community's help to bring this symbol of Buena Park and Orange County back so the public can once again enjoy it. I hope you enjoy learning about the clock at our project website and consider donating toward its restoration costs.


Now You Can Search OCThen

I added a search engine to OCThen. You can find it on the left-most column "Search OCThen".

The search engine is powered by Google, and will display Google ads. But then again, Google isn't charging me anything to use it. Actually, they're paying me to use it!

I had the search engine there a long time ago, but when I implemented the current page design, I forgot to include it.

A couple of OCThen readers have asked me about it.

Glenn L. Martin Elementary School

An anonymous person wants to know if any readers here attended Glenn L. Martin Elementary School in Santa Ana...
Did anyone out there go to Glenn L. Martin Elementary school in the 60's?
It was a simplier time and I remember it being a fun school.
From there Smedely Jr. High...not so fun.
And Mater Dei...cultural shock.
. I remember riding my bike to explore the new shopping center, south coast plaza, just bean fields around then, it just turned 40!
I didn't go there, but my brother did during the mid-1980's. We lived only a few blocks up on Wilshire & Garnsey street.

If you remember Glenn L. Martin Elementary School, click on "Post a Comment" below and share your thoughts.

Torana Art League

David wants to ask OCThen readers if anyone can comment about the Torana Art League, which he describes as an annex to Bower's Museum in Santa Ana...
Back in the '60's I went to art classes at the Torana Art League. I have come to find out that it was an annex to Bower's Museum. It was a large Spanish style house that functioned as a multi-roomed craft studio space. It was almost like an open studio for kids. I learned ceramics, batik, linoleum block printing, enamelling, watercolors, oil painting, and other art/craft mediums.

I live in San Francisco now and have been thinking of trying to open something like that up here. As we all know, art has pretty much been cut out of the general curriculum in public schools. My mom believed in art as an essential part of learning and working with your hands was a good skill. If anyone knows anymore about this let me know.


Garden Grove & Westminster in the 1950's and 1960's

Carol Kennedy submits her memories of growing up in Garden Grove, and going to school in Westminster. She also talks about the stores and restaurants she remembers...
What memories this site brings back! We moved to Garden Grove in 1954, and my parents bought a brand-new tract house the next year, on Florence Lane. There were still orange groves around us. Because we were the end house on a cul-de-sac, we had 1/3 acre. My dad fenced in a huge backyard, but that still left a triangular-shaped piece in back that stayed "wild." We used to build tumbleweed forts out there. We caught lizards and "horny toads" (horned lizards), and jackrabbits would leap across the lot.

My brother and I went to Blessed Sacrament grade school in Westminster, but all our neighbors went to public school: Marie L. Hare, which was a grade school at the time. Later we went to Mater Dei, and the neighbors went to Rancho.

I remember, just for starters: the A&W and the Pink Spot on Chapman; a truck farm where a number of Japanese-American families lived at Magnolia and Garden Grove Blvd.; the Gem Theater (in downtown); the Hiway 39 drive-in; a trampoline place where you could pay to jump by the half-hour or hour, on Chapman east of Gilbert; the polo grounds on Garden Grove Blvd. east of Magnolia.

I remember when the Sav-on was built on the southwest corner of Chapman and Brookhurst--ice cream cones there were 5 cents for a scoop, with a choice of about ten flavors, and candy bars were three for 10 cents; when the plaza on the northwest corner of that intersection was built, and my folks shopped at the Thriftimart; when St. Columban's school was built, and later St. Polycarp's; when the Grove Theater was built, and we started going there instead of the old Gem.

So many memories came flooding back as I read comments here! I wish your site had a "search" feature, but it's great as it is. Thanks!

If anyone thinks they remember me, they can email me at

Carol Kennedy

Custom Search