The Orange Community Hisotrical Society welcomed to our November 2012 program, Historic Restaurants in the City of Orange. Featured restaurants included:

  • Felix’s Continenetal Cafe “Authentic Food from Cuba and Spain”
  • The Hobbit “A Unique Dining Experience”
  • Marie Calandar’s “Lengendary Pies”
  • Tulsa Rib Company “Orange’s Best BBQ Restaurant”
  • Watson’s “Orange’s Oldest Restaurant”

We hope you enjoyed the food (sample tasters) and the company of restaurants that participated. The restaurantears presented the history of the establishments, their menus and most importantly, their food for all of us to try. Feedback from this program has been very positive and we will evaluate a similar format for the next food sampling event. Thank you for joining us for this evening out to our favorite Historical Restaurants of Orange.

For the September 2012 program, Phil Brigandi presented to The Orange Community Hisotrical Society, “Hollywood in Orange”. It was “standing room only” for this presentation as we were wisked back to 1925 to witness one of the first movies filmed in the City of Orange and more importantly around Plaza Square. Film clips from “The Big Parade” (1925) (silent era film) ended the evening, however it began with a variety of movie clips from “Fallen Angel” (1945), “The Gumball Rally” (1976) to more recent productions including “That Thing You Do” (1996), “Big Momma’s House” (2000), “Clockstoppers” (2002) and more. The program was a huge success with popcorn provided by Lisa Ackerman (thank you). We were privelidged to witness this program was held in the Community Room of the Orange Public Library & History Center. A projector and large movie screen gave the “sold out” audience a glimps of Orange on the Silver Screen.

The society would like to thank the Old Towne Preservation Association for lending their DVD to us to enjoy and for everyone’s participation in a memorable evening.

In July 2012, Daralee Ota presented her half-hour video taking us on a tour of the community of Olive, California.

The illustrated, timeline taught us about Olive’s early pastoral days; its rancho lifestyle of the Yorbas; bustling, its boomtown era when it boasted a lucrative flour mill; its orchard-covered landscape with five packing houses during the span of its citrus growing years; on to its current status as a residential island.

The program is based in part from her website, “Olive Through the Ages” ( which was created because she found little information about Olive online. Having grown up in the area wondering about this town that faded away over the decades, Daralee began researching Olive in 2004, amazed to discover its rich and vast history. A few years ago she initiated “The Living Branch” section of the site to preserve more of Olive’s history.

Bio: Daralee Ota is a technical writer at a computer software firm and Orange County Historical Society board member. She holds a B.A. in English from California State University, Long Beach. Her interests include art, history, music, nature, photography, and writing. Her first Web site, the award-winning “Life Stories of Civil War Heroes,” has been an educational resource for students nationwide since 1998. “Olive Through the Ages” is her latest historical website.

The May 2012 program presented by THE ORANGE COMMUNITY HISTORICAL SOCIETY invited us for an evening, traveling along the El Camino Real through Orange.

Much of the early history of Orange follows the Camino Real. First blazed by the Portolá expedition of 1769, the royal road and its various branches tied together the missions and the ranchos in the first half of the 19th century. After the American conquest, it set the route for our earliest stagecoach road, and the first railroad into Orange County . In the early 20th century, it became a symbol of the good roads movement, with its roadside bells. Even our first freeway follows part of its path.

Phil Brigandi traced the origins, the route(s) and the long history of the Camino Real through the Orange area. What a great night we had reviewing the El Camino Real through Orange!

The March 2012 program hosted by THE ORANGE COMMUNITY HISTORICAL SOCIETY, took place at Park Plaza Retirement Residence and started with yummy appetizers and sandwiches complimented with wine and drinks. The presentation was coordinated by none other than the most recent recipiant of the William T Glassell Award, our very own Barbara Resnick. We learned a lot about the grounds where Park Plaza Retirement Residence now stands, as well as where Holy Family Catholic Church, Yen Ching Restaurant and the famous 110 foot (diameter canopy) Moreton Bay Fig Tree reside, what once was known as the Henri Gardner Family Property.

Read more about the Henri Gardner Family Property in the March 2012 issue of The Orange Tribune.

Banquet VP 2012
The ORANGE COMMUNITY HISTORICAL SOCIETY hosted its annual dinner on January 26, 2012, at The Villa, located in Orange. The event was a huge success with more than 150 attendees. The food was again fantanstic, the Prime Rib, Roasted Chicken, Vegetables, Salad, Dinner Rolls and Desserts were all delicious at the buffet. The bartenders were very friendly and they made great cocktails for a resonable price and the wine selction was great. We were glad to be back at The Villa to enjoy the OCHS Annual Dinner with our friends, family and our community.

Barbara Resnick was the recipient of the William T. Glassell Award
Phil Brigandi presented the award.

William T. Glassell Award

The William T. Glassell Award is presented to individuals or groups that emphasize contributions to the preservation of our local heritage and service to Orange Community Historical Society. Members of the Board of Directors are not eligible. Past recipients are Gene Beyer, Wayne D. Gibson, YMCA Home Tours, Don Smith, Don Meadows, John French, Orange Historical Survey Advisory Board, Paul Clark, Orange National Bank, Joan Austin, Art Pargee, Ruth Evans, Louis Booth, Harold Dittmer, Old Towne Preservation Association, Phil Brigandi, Karen Leo, Ken Claypool, Alice Pitcher, Jane Newell, Joanne Coontz, Opal Patton, Alice Linnert, Bill Austin, Scott Parker, Shirley Perkins, Adrienne Gladson, Anita Freedman, Judy Schroeder, Richard and Ethel Burnette, Elaine Humphrey, David Hart,. Bruce Sinclair, the OCHS Walking Tour Committee, J. J. Friis and Tita Smith.

Friends of the Orange Public Library was the recipient of the Florence Flippen Smiley Award.
Jane Carmichael presented the award

Florence Flippen Smiley Award

In memory of Florence Flippen Smiley and her keen appreciation of local history, this award is given to individuals or groups that exemplify a commitment to the past and leave a lasting mark on community history. Past recipients are Duncan Clark, Leason Pomeroy, Harold Kibby, Peggy Calvert, Yolanda Alvarez, Lisa Ackerman, Nora Jacob and Janet Van Emon.

2012 Board of Directors

The nominees were Aaron Alduenda, Bill Barron, Keith Burnside, Sandy Burnside, Jane Carmichael, Cathy Cebula Dencklau, Judy Beasley Denton, Buddy Hillebrecht, Dan Ryan, Bill Utter, Helen Walker, and Rosemarie Williams.

The 50th Anniversary of Villa Park

This year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of Villa Park, a community with history beginning in the mid-19th century, when it was known as Mountain View. Our knowledgeable speaker was Bob Bell, a volunteer and community leader for over 50 years. He continues to be an independent and active real estate broker in the Villa Park and Orange Areas.

Bob Bell served on the Villa Park City Council for sixteen years, including three separate one year terms as Mayor. He represented the City on the County Sanitation District and on the Orange County Fire Authority Board of Directors. In 1959, he helped bring a fire station to Villa Park, where he served as one of the volunteer fire fighters for over 22 years, and 13 as fire chief. Bell has actively helped his community and church in numerous additional ways, including work with the YMCA, 4H, Covenant Presbyterian Church and School. Bob has resided in our area since 1944.

Oral History Updates

THE ORANGE COMMUNITY HISTORICAL SOCIETY is proud to announce that the Oral Histories for Ralph Shannon and Lydia Walker Schroeder have been completed and are now located in the City of Orange Main Library’s History Center.

Barbara Resnick, a close friend of Ralph Shannon, conducted the interview at his home over several meetings, with the assistance of Dan Ryan as the recorder. Following a successful career as a pilot in Army Air Corps Ralph returned from Japan after the war decided to follow in his father’s footsteps in the mortuary business. In fact, it was Ralph’s mother who liked Orange so much, that she wanted the family to start a mortuary business in Orange. Many interesting tales and events standout in the interview and are included in the bound copy of his oral history. One is his trips was with a friend on his motorcycle from Orange to Ames, Iowa. He was to give his fiancé Delores a ring in Garner, Iowa. You’ll just have to read the story…

The Lydia Walker Schroeder oral history interview was conducted by Nancy Paul at her home on East Palm Avenue in Orange. The book is filled with original photographs that give character and visual background to the family history. One of many stories, one with a sence of humor, when Lydia and her high school girls club visited the old Orange Theater to see a movie. At that time the movies always had a vaudeville act. “This vaudevillian, he came up there with his big bass viola. He was plinking away on it and he says, ‘If you don’t like this, you can get up and leave any time you want to leave.’ So we went way down to the very front row, where we about broke our necks watching the movie, and waited for him to say that so we could all get up and walk out. And we did that. The whole theater just roared, and he stood there with his mouth hanging open.” Just one of many enlightening stories in Orange.