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...

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