Saturday, March 21, 2009

Polo Fields of Garden Grove

An anonymous OCThen reader asks if anyone knew of a polo field or polo grounds in Garden Grove...

I moved to the Eastgate section of Garden Grove in 1959. I attended Rancho Alamitos High School and graduated in 1963. I remember hanging out at a polo field located near Garden Grove Blvd. and Magnolia. When I tell people about this they don't believe it was there. Could anyone please confirm this and maybe tell me the name of the field.


  1. I lived across the street from the polo fields. The street was named Cannery, later changed to Magnolia.
    I do not know if there was a name associated with the polo fields.

  2. When my husband and I were first married, we used to drive our Model A out to the polo grounds, take a picnic lunch, and have a free afternoon watching the polo games and being among the other very friendly and nice spectators. I think it might be possible that the polo grounds were on what used to be the Henderson property on Garden Grove Blvd. Miss Cora Henderson, who was part of that family, was head of the English department at Huntington Beach High School for decades.

  3. I moved to Midway City in 1942. There was a polo field on Hazard during those years, when I was about 5-9 I used to sit on the fence, eat licorice I took in my pocket and watch them play polo every weekend.

  4. Here is what I was able to come up with on the Polo Grounds questin in GG.

    Dear Patrick - Peter Rizzo fowarded me your e-mail and I was just able to get some time to check for you - and it was really a bit of a needle in a haystack to find. However, through an unlikely but fortunate series of events, I was able to track down that there was a Valencia Polo Club, originally in Pasadena, but moved to Garden Grove, CA and was listed as exisitng there from 1953 - 1964. William T. Allen of Pasadena is listed as the delegate. I found an article that made brief mention of the Valencia Club's Invitational and some ten-goal handicap tournaments to be held there in Polo Internatinal Magazine 1957. The only other mention states, "The Santa Barbara season starts in October but the campaign at the Valencia Club is from May to November. Among the members are: Harry Marrell, president of the club; William T. Allen, executive secretary, Al Lermens, Moe Lightman, Blaine Stephenson, Dr. Carl V. Lansing, Julius Kahn, Jr., and the Walkers, Gus, Ken and Dick.

    There was also one paragraph in the Dec. 1963 USPA Newsletter as news from Valencia Polo Club, Garden Grove, Calif. - The Pacific Coast Eight Goal Tournaments was played at Valencia Polo Club, Oct. 5 - 6 with three teams entered - Pasadena, Valencia and Red Diamond from Santa Barbara.] Pasadena was eliminated in the opening game - defeated 8 - 5 by the Red Diamonds. The Diamonds then went on to down Valencia by a score of 12 - 5 in the finals. The Valencia team was listed as Jack Ashley, Wayne Ireland, Allan D. Scherer, Gilbert T. Smith.

    I did not come across any photos.

    I hope you find this information helpful. If you are able to obtain any more information, it would be greatly appreciated if you could pass it along to us so that we may include it in our files.

    Brenda Lynn

    Director of Development
    Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame
    9011 Lake Worth Road
    Lake Worth, FL 33467
    (561) 969-3210 or (561) 969-7015

  5. I remember the field bing a way behide the F & M on Garden Grove Bl But that was a long time ago.

  6. i also lived acsoss the st. from "the polo field" as we called it.i was a flagboy at many of the games,for which i got paid .50 a day!!!!alot of $$ for a 8yr old.

  7. I remember a polo field being on GG Blvd. between what I think would be Magnolia and Dale. I was very young but I distictly remember it. I would say it was in the early sixties. Later I remember seeing a boat sale yard in that location, but that is gone now too. Not much of the old town left. Those were good times!

  8. W. Ray Henderson was the owner of the Lazy H Ranch in Garden Grove. My family and theirs spent every summer there from 1955-1965. There were 2 houses on the property, stables, a riding field, and a polo field. Every Sunday there was a polo game. The fourth of July was the best. The rach also had an Olympic size swimming pool and a baby pool. Grandma and Grandpa Henderson ran a summer camp there. I have many found memories of my sisters and the Henderson clan having alot of fun.

  9. My name is Dan McCauley and I worked at the GG polo field for a few years when I was a boy. I started as a hot walker on Sundays to cool the polo ponies between and during chuckars. I came to work there doing odd jobs when the full time man left. Harry and Bulah Merrill the owners asked me to take over as caretaker for the rest of the summer. I was in the 7th grade and had the time of my life. I moved into the small caretaker's house and tended the horses, cleaned stalls, watered and mowed the polo field, excercised the horses, repaired fences, cleaned the tac after games and became friends with many of the polo players and their families. I even became a beginner polo player.
    The Merrills treated me as if I were their own son and I enjoyed my time there a great deal.
    I knew all of those people mentioned above such as Jack Ashley, Bill Allen and his son, Blain Stevenson, Dr. Lansing, Allen Scherer and his wife and the Walker family. Gilbert Smith was Bulah Merrill's son from a previous marriage.
    These were all fine people and I relish those great memories. Many a youngster made spending money at that field and had a great time getting to be around horses while riding them to cool them down during polo games.
    I still know Bill Allen the son of Willis (Bill Allen). Bill lives in the San Diego area near me and is an aviation buff and collector of vintage airplanes. I myself have made a career in aviation.
    I trust this may trigger a good memory for someone such as myself that was involved at the old Valencia Polo Club aka "The Polo Field".

  10. I grew up in Garden Grove and was bit of a rascle as a kid..I would visit (sneek) around the Polo Grounds looking at the people, horses and riders. I would grab the polo balls when I could and run all the way home. The balls were, if I remember right, made of bamboo, they were white and would have flat spots from the players mallets...

  11. Aaaaah. I'd been wondering if anyone remembered the Polo Club in Garden Grove. I remember my grandpa (Charles Musser) would take me over to watch the polo games while he visited with the men. My grandparent's place was at the corner of Dale and Chapman just east of Hwy 39 (Beach Boulevard). I've asked a time or two, but no one had ever heard about a polo field. Only the "old timers" would know. It was a great place. Grandpa owned Musser's Tractor Rental. Before the area turned into a "city" of houses and businesses. I remember riding my horse down Chapman Ave. towards Magnolia without worrying about many cars. Time and tide changes everything....
    Diane Dolley, Auburn, CA.

  12. I remember the polo fields well, run by Harry Marrell. I was a hot walker for the Walker family from 1956-58 and we would take their horses from Seal Beach to the field In a big truck every Sunday. It was a great job for a horse crazy pre teenage girl.

  13. great info, my brother, and my girlfriend and I used to go to the polo games at Will Rogers Park had a blast and we got to know Moe Lightman It was a thrill for us to help him with his horses!

  14. My Dad, W Ray Henderson,M.D.(1815-1967) purchased ten acres at the corner of Cannery and Garden Grove Blvd. in and around 1936($10,000.00). The adjacent property to the east(20 acres) was later purchased by Beulla and Harry Marrell. They built the polo field and in fact utilized some of our property which is where spectators parked and watched the games from their cars or sideline seats. Each Sunday AM was very busy drawing the Chalked lines at each goal post area. We helped,me, my sisters Jean, Helen and Mary set u a small car table with a large umbrella and on the table an announcing set was put in place - connected to an electric line from our barn(extension cord required) and during the games Beulla served as the announcerr the Snday games.
    There were many jobs before,during and after the games i.e. flag boy/girl. Their job was -if a goal they would wave the flag over their head - if "no goal" they would wave it below their waste. Then they would run after the errant ball and place it on the chalked line to bring it back in to play of hand it to the referee the toss it into the players as they lined up in a regimented style to resume play. The game was and is played in chuckers -six constituted a game and each chucker was 7 1/2 minutes and Mrs. Merrill was the timer as well. Other jobs were "hot walkers" either leading the ponies or riding one and leading two horses. Of course there were water boys/girls/ "house keepers", others scrambling to help Beulla ---all of this at 50 cents a day.
    Will join you later with more informatio/history of llife on the Lazy H Ranch and the good old days in Garden Grove.
    Love to hear from you---Ray Henderson
    cell phone 760 485-3102 home phone 760 360 7937

  15. I had not thought about the polo field in Garden Grove for years. When I was a boy in the late 50s I used to go over there to the polo field near Cannery Ave. I lived almost across the Street on Hazel. I enjoyed watching them practice and sometimes I chased the balls for the players.


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