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.


  1. I went to school with Eve and her sister Beth.
    I remember that area and your house next to the firestation well. I remember the goat herders and being able to see LA on a clear day. I remember riding out BMX bikes in the 70s after they put the road through.... and calling the big dirt hill KINGS Hill.... later in High school we called the paved portion of it PUKE hill.

  2. Santiago Diego Sepulveda Adobe located on the bluff off Adams above the Santa Ana river. Also known as the Estancia House on Estancia Hill. My brother-n-law Rudy Alcala lived there on the ranch with his family of eight between 1942 and 1962. It was a large ranch house next to the adobe with many rooms including a ballroom, two big fire places, large kitchen and servent quarters. The wood used to build the mansion was brought from another mansion in Lousiana. The main house burned down in 1961 and the Alcala's had to move into the smaller adobe house. Rudys's father, Hill worked the lima bean farm operation located on the land owned by the Segerstroms. In the adobe, they did not have indoor plumbing or water and the floor was dirt. What a place to grow up. Alcala family:
    Hill, Francis ( father / mother), Tony, vicky, Rudy, Rosalie Dela,and Ricky, (children). Let us know if you know the Alcala's or remember any other stories about this area.

  3. William BousquetMay 26, 2012 6:41 PM

    I also went to school with Eve. and remember the sheep at the bottom of the bluff. I remember it because a friend and I were shot at with rock salt! All we were trying to do was talk to the sheep herder. I lived near Wilson & Harbor. But, wandered the bluff area often.


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