THE ORANGE COMMUNITY HISTORICAL SOCIETYhosted our Annual Thanksgiving Presentation at Trinity Episcopal Church on Thursday, November 17, 2011. Everyone brought their respective place settings and utensils and prepared themselves to enjoy a night of turkey with all the trimmings. At this presentation, we heard from guest speaker Phil Brigandi. He presented his new book A BRIEF HISTORY OF ORANGE CALIFORNIA – THE PLAZA CITY and spoke about our local history. His book is available online at History Press or at

THE ORANGE COMMUNITY HISTORICAL SOCIETY welcomed Kelly Larnard to speak about the wonderful world of the Eichler Homes in Orange. She is a broker at Oaktree Realtors in Orange and specializes in selling Eichler homes.

What used to be the City of Orange’s hidden gems, have become some of the most popular and sought out designed homes in Orange County. Joseph Eichler was formerly in a family egg-and-dairy business, and became inspired in architecture while renting a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home. Eichler Homes, Inc. was established in 1949. He started his first subdivision in Sunnyvale California and was the first to quietly rule out racial restrictions on its sales and have an open occupancy policy. His architectural designs and community planning innovations became popular in Northern California then in Southern California as mass-produced, priced homes with a modern flair. In Orange, he developed the Fairhaven tract in 1960, the Fairmeadow tract in 1962 and the Fairhills tract in 1963.

On Thursday evening, July 28th, THE ORANGE COMMUNITY HISTORICAL SOCIETY went on a “Field Trip” of sorts! We visited our very own History Center at the Orange Public Library. Even thought the “new” library reopened several years ago, many of us have yet to visit the History Center. Lizeth Ramirez and John Ferry conducted a tour for everyone and Phil Brigandi narrated and described to us of some photos that are available online at the History Center’s Website. After the tour and slide show, we mingled about and enjoyed ice cream in the Community Room. This was an eventful evening full of history, community and ice cream too.

THE ORANGE COMMUNITY HISTORICAL SOCIETY welcomed guest speaker Rob Richardson to our monthly program held at Trinity Episcopal Chuch in May of 2011. He presented a fantastic photo slide show illistrating the past and present of railroads throughout Orange County. Rob has been interested in railroads since his teens. We were given an added bonus at the end of his presentation as he showed us some more slides of his adventures searching for trains and depots outside of Orange County. We thank Rob for sharing with us his memories and stories. View the May 2011 Newsletter to get a glimps at some of the slides he presented.

THE ORANGE COMMUNITY HISTORICAL SOCIETY had its annual dinner on January 27, 2011, at The Villa, located in Orange. The event was a huge success with more than 140 attendees. Prime rib, chicken, vegetables, salad, dinner rolls and desserts were all delicious at the buffet. The bartenders were very friendly and made great cocktails for a resonable price. We were glad to be back at The Villa to enjoy the OCHS Annual Dinner with our friends, family and our community.

Teresa “Tita” Smith was honored as this year’s recipient of the William T Glassell Award. Her speach was well received by all. She acknowledged her family and friends that were supporting her at the event. Towards the end of her speech, Tita reminded everyone that Orange was built and lives today around “A Plaza, not a circle”.

Janet Van Emon was honored as this year’s recipient of the Florence Flippen Smiley Award. In her speech, she told the story of her and her husband when they used to drive from Long Beach into Orange County searching for heir new home. They traveled down their favorite street, Ball Road. She remininsced about the lush citrus groves on either side of the road as they made their way to “those Big Blue hills” known now as Villa Park.

Former Mayor of Orange, Jim Beam was the guest speaker at this year’s annual dinner. He provided a fantastic slide show showing the growing businesses in and around Orange from the 1950’s to the present day. During his conclusion speech, he riddled the audience with trivia about Orange and it’s nearby communities. Surprisingly, many different people knew the answers to his questions. Excellent memories everyone!

The night was very fun and enlightening. THE ORANGE COMMUNITY HISTORICAL SOCIETY will look forward to next year’s event, for another evening of memories, history and community. We hope that you had an enjoyable night out.