Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Twist-Basler Home of Santa Ana

Twist-Basler Home Santa AnaThe following is a request for information from Dolores Ramos, of the City of Santa Ana, Parks, Recreation & Community Services Agency, regarding the Twist-Basler Home

The historic Twist-Basler home is scheduled to be relocated to the City of Santa Ana's Cabrillo Park is slated to occur in late Spring 2007 as the result of a referendum that was passed in April 2005 allowing the construction of the One Broadway Plaza project, a 37-story office tower in downtown Santa Ana. The City of Santa Ana imposed on the developer a condition that, in order to construct One Broadway Plaza Project, the Twist-Basler House, a historical property located at the proposed One Broadway Plaza project site, would have to be relocated at the developer's expense.

As you may know, the Twist-Basler House was built in 1914 by prominent Orange County contractor Christopher McNeill and purchased in 1922 by Dr. Jess Burlew, an eminent Orange County physician and surgeon who had received part of his medical education from the Mayo Brothers. He sold the house in 1944 to Herman and Virginia Basler, who converted it into one of the first proprietary convalescent homes in Orange County.

I'm currently trying to research the history of the Twist-Basler House and its former owners and residents as part of a grant application for its restoration. In particular, I’m seeking information regarding Dr. Jess Burlew, the Baslers, and former patients or visitors of the Basler Convalescent Home. I have found only limited information regarding Dr. Burlew and the Baslers (I am planning to visit the Santa Ana Historical Book Room), and am seeking more references. I would also be interested in hearing the stories of former patients at the Basler Convalescent Home, either directly or through their survivors and/or friends or family that visited them during their stay there - what their life in Orange County was like at the time, what brought them to the home, what life in the home was like, etc. there is a possibility that some former residents may be highlighted in interpretive materials to be installed in the home as part of the grant.

Any help or leads that you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to contact me at the email or number below, should you have any questions.

Dolores Ramos
Parks, Recreation & Community Services Agency
City of Santa Ana
(714) 571-4274 direct
(714) 571-4235 fax

There's a 4-page document in Microsoft Word format that provides more information about the Twist-Basler home. Download here: twist-basler-home.doc (241Kb)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Hi-Way 39 Drive-in Movie Theater

Tina K submitted the following photo of the famous "Hi-Way 39" drive in movie theater.

Hi-Way 39 Drive-in Theater
This photo was taken May 31, 1997, shortly before it was torn down. The Hi-Way 39 Drive-in was located on Beach Blvd & Trask Ave in Garden Grove. Anyone traveling along Beach Blvd couldn't miss the giant screen. Wal-Mart now occupies its space. Even today, when I drive past the place, I keep expecting to see the giant screen. It's one of those things where having it missing is an eye-sore in itself.

Thanks Tina for the memories!

Click on "Post a Comment" below and tell us your memories of Hi-Way 39 Drive-in.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Duck Clubs of Orange County

Skip Fleming, who grew up in Orange County during the 1950's, shares his memories of "duck clubs", Disneyland, drag strips, and other stuff...

I found this site looking for info on duck clubs in orange county. I was born in orange December 1947. Went to Irvine elementry school.

I grew up on the Sprigg duck club. There were five duck clubs in a five mile area close to John Wayne airport. My uncle Clarence Jessee ran the Aliso duck club and farmed about 150 acres; some of land was where the Fluor corp. is now. Mostly he grew barley. The Irvine company had a ranch with cows and cowboys.

I had another uncle who ran a duck club on what is I think the San Joaquin bird sanctuary. I also had an uncle Paul Plavan farmer inventor who in the 1930s farmed land around the Santa Ana river, which flooded and was covered with silt making the land almost unusable. The land was covered with 2 or 3 feet of silt, and he built a giant plow to turn up the good soil it took three cat 60's to pull the plow. He restored a lot of farm ground back to being productive again.

My dad was a carpenter who worked on many projects including Disneyland. All of the employes and family got into Disneyland before the public. I remember going there in 1955. I also remember my dad saying Disney wanted to pay employees with stock in Disneyland but my dad wasn't about to take stock from a guy with his head in a cloud and trying to borrow money to pay the workers.

I remember the Santa Ana drag strip only a couple of miles from the duck club where I lived. I remember Oscars drive in, Merle's drive in on Jamboree, and the Coast Hiway Halls drive in on south main in Santa Ana, Lions drag strip in Long Beach.

I remember when you got into Knotts ghost town for free.

I remember meeting Andy Devine on my uncles duck club. I also met Andy Carey who played for the New York Yankee's 1957. A member of our duck club was Newt Bass who was famous for his part in Apple Valley.

We moved from Tustin in 1989, too many people, too crowded. My mother moved with us she was born in Santa Ana. Most of the old farmers and their families are gone or have moved. I went back 6 years ago I couldn't envision in my mind what it was like when I was kid in the fifties. The bus ride to school took almost an hour sometimes. We drove three miles between picking up the next kids.

What a great place to grow up we had the mountains, the beach, hunting, fishing, but it is all gone now.

Skip Fleming

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