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...

19 comments:


  1. Name: Coyote Hills
    Location: Fullerton, California

    510-acre West Coyote Hills is currently owned by Chevron, which is proposing adding a 760-unit housing project for an area that has already seen the rapid growth of several thousand new homes in the last few years. This land is the last significant open space in a ten-city, highly urbanized area of North Orange County, California. It contains rich coastal sagebrush habitat, supporting 60 pairs of California gnatcatchers and other rare species.

    source

    Official Link: Coyote Hills

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  2. ex-knott's employeeNovember 09, 2007 9:20 PM

    there is a housing tract near malvern and beach bl. in buena park called los coyotes and also a country club with the same name. is this the same area? i believe it is. my dad was a buena park mailman for yrs. and for awhile use to deliver mail in this area. one of the houses he use to deliver to was lived in by a member(s) of the christian rock group,"stryper".

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    1. the tract is actually Bellhurst, and yes Los Coyotes CC is in this tract. Your dad was a mailman here? Do you remember what years? I used to mow our mailmans lawn on Ridglea.

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  3. It seems to me one of the County "Dumps" was called Coyote Hills I think it closed down and a new one was established in the hills outside of Irvine. It's been so many years, my memory is not what it was.

    Oil in Orange County - Huntington Beach was FULL of the bobbing oil rigs (one arm bandits?), all along the the coast and into the wetlands. There used to be oil storage up on the bluffs above Newport Shores, you could see them on the canal side on 62nd Street.

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  4. Coyote Hills Oil was in the hills just above Malvern in Fullerton, near Gilbert. During WWII there was an oil sump and drain that was a major environmental mess. They would dump old aircraft fuel from the Fullerton airport there. Hughes Aircraft in Fullerton was also using the dump for used oil from there test trucks. The hills were filled with oil derricks in the '40s, but all the wells were sealed when the housing boom came.

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  5. Yes, Coyote Hills was a place to ride bikes. lots of trails. It was located on adams. Heading north, from say brokherst, when adams goes up a couple hills before reaching Harbor. From where those hills are the riding area was vacant fields out to the left or west. Even my Dad that grew up in Hunting knew of this place.
    Stan Chamness

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  6. At the risk of drifting into "history cop" mode, I'd like to clear up a few things...

    First of all, Coyote Hills is still called Coyote Hills. The name comes from the fact that it was part of the Rancho Los Coyotes.

    Also, El Modena and Olive are two very different locations, although both communities are now incorporated into the City of Orange (with some parts of Olive still unincorporated). Olive is on the Orange side of the bend in the river. El Modena is on the other side of Orange, around East Chapman, almost to the hills.

    There were, however, a lot of name changes for El Modena over the years. First it was Modena, then it was changed to Earlham, then El Modena, then El Modeno, then back to El Modena, and now most of it is part of the City of Orange.

    Only the tiny portion of Irvine we now know as "Old Irvine" was known as Myford. It's unclear how much the name Myford was used other than by the post office. The railroad always used the name Irvine for the station there.

    And finally, Fountain Valley was not known as Gospel Swamp, as is commonly believed. The Gospel Swamp area was mostly in what's now South Santa Ana. It's on the other side of the river from Fountain Valley. The name has somehow been drifting steadily west since about 1900. Today, you'll sometimes even hear that Huntington Beach was called Gospel Swamp. Go figure.

    For a good case of name-swap-itis, check out Capistrano Beach. It began as San Juan-By-The-Sea, then became Serra, followed by Capistrano Beach, then Doheny Park, then back to Capistrano Beach, finally becoming part of Dana Point when that City incorporated.

    CJ

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  7. Back in the 60's, I lived near Beach & Malvern in Buena Park. The development I lived in was called Bellehurst and included the Los Coyote country club and bordered the Hughes Aircraft and oil companies' toxic dump.I and my friends rode mini-bikes in that area (unwisely it would seem) all the time. There were no homes on the north side of Malvern back then and an open space clear to Gilbert. I remember the oil rigs in the Coyote Hills and when I saw the trailer for "there will be blood" mentioning the Coyote Hills ad knowing that the area was open spaces back in that time frame, I also thought this might be the area in the story.
    My family ran a gas station on the corner of Beach and Malvern and there was a tastee freez and Johnny's speed and chrome in the strip mall behind it. It was a pretty good place for a young boy to live back then.

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    1. Beach and Rosecrans.

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  8. i also grew up near those hills, starting in 1958 at age 5. rosecrans was unpaved from just east of beach blvd way back then, but the dirt road went thru' to gilbert.

    we had no end of fun riding our bikes up there and climbing around in those cliffs north of rosecrans.

    we called that place "motorcycle hill", for obvious reasons at the time.

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  9. We purchased our home in La Mirada in 1958,moved in January 8,1959.It wasn't too long before we heard of Coyote Hills,which was east of Beach Blvd.After crossing Beach,about a 1/4 mile east on the north side of Rosecrans was the infamous Coyote Hills area where people that I thought were either brave or crazy would try to drive everything from bicycles to dune buggies up the steep slope.I,my wife and children went there on the weekends watching the men mostly,some with their children in the dune buggies trying to make it up as high as possible,but seldom succeeding.It was very dangerous,and we waited for someone to flip over.We saw some small minor accidents,but nothing on the upper slope.It was always so crowded,and people just waited for a turn to prove their heroics or stupidity,because it wasn't something I would dare try.I believe the property belonged to Chevron,and they eventually closed the area.All the times we went there,we never saw any serious accidents,which is amazing when you consider the terrain.On one occasion,my wife and I were walking through the upper portion,which was covered with thorny bushes.Two girls were on their bikes,and one of them fell into some thorn bushes.I had to help her up and out,but refused to pull the thorns from her back side.The poor girl was crying and looked like a pin cushion.The girls were about 14,and shouldn't have been trying to ride in such a dangerous and thorny area.As I go by there occasionally,and see the park and ball fields,I still remember the old days and excitement with so many trying to conquer the slope.

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  10. Coyote Hills is in North Buena Park and stretches east into Fullerton. Currently in Buena Park, it comprises Bellehurst and Los Coyotes Country Club and Golf Course. Near Beach Blvd., Malvern and Rosecrans there used to be a steep hill (east side of Beach Blvd or Hwy 39) called motorcycle hill. My dad used to try that hill climb back in the 1940's on his Harley. Eventually they evolved to having televised hill climb meets from that location. I think that Dick Lane or "Old Leather britches" was the MC for TV channel 5 KTLA. I can also recall climbing that hill in a WWII jeep that my dad owned. Must have been in the early 1950's. I was sitting in the back and it seemed as if the jeep was verticle instead of horizontal. We did make it to the top.

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  11. I lived in La Mirada from '59 to '69. As kids we used to hike up to motorcycle hill. We found a cave in the side of the cliffs there, it must've been about 8-10 feet deep. I'm surprised no one here has mentioned it. I also remember a police shooting range at the base of the cliffs.

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  12. I was at that cave many times! Moved out of the area in 1971 at the end of 8th grade.

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  13. I was at that cave many times in the late 60's. I remember hiking on trails through the cactus and how isolated it seemed up there.

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  14. Back in the early 1950's I recall my dad going up to those hills to go rabbit hunting. I went a couple of times and he let me shoot his .410 shotgun at the cactus.

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  15. I was born in buena Park and did not move until the 90's. I too would go to motorcycle hill on every Sunday.
    I climbed that hill on a 650 , at the age of 17, not very many women can say that. Only got over the hill one time.after falling down many times did not try again. Got my first set of chrome wheels at Johnnys!

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  16. I too grew up as a kid in Bellhurst in the early 70's. In fact, I found this page by searching for "Motorcycle Hill" (which is what we called it). We spent many a day with bikes, bb guns and sling shots up in the sandy toxic area. After we were done, we would go to Tastee Freeze or Thriftys for a treat. That whole area was seriously toxic, even on the back nine of Los Coyotes golf course, black sludge oozed up out of the ground.

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  17. I used to ride there everyday in 1974, 75, 76, 77, 78, then they put houses everywhere. I would ride my bike from my house straight there. Would cross Beach Blvd off Rosecrans, by Thriftys and just take off, you could ride the track in the front, on top and back, there was tracks all the way to Euclid and all the way to Malverne. There was another great track, go down Beach Blvd, right before Imperial HWY on the left hand side, we called it the oil fields track. The track was where there was a big fire there one time. Great track, went there with Bill Glore and Steve Banning, I'm Ron Maddox. This was great as you could get practice in there before you would go to Saddleback Motocross Park in Orange. Best of Times, will never forget.

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