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Friday, December 16, 2016

My Dad's Story: Merle Baker Remembers WWII


Vintage Orange                        Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Sometimes the best source for history is closer than you think. 

My father, Merle Baker, enlisted in the Air Force in 1943, when he was just 17 years old. He went on to participate in Operation Crossroads, the post-war testing of atomic weaponry in the South Pacific. 

I grew up hearing his stories and seeing his original photos from those tests...Dad was trained as a photographer.. and they have always intrigued me. With last week's 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, I realized that Dad's stories would shed some personal light on a pivotal time in history.

I hope you enjoy his recollections as much as always have...


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Vintage Orange      Wednesday, December 7th 2016

Perhaps no other event changed the course of history in Orange County more than World War II.

Growing fields were converted to giant military bases, entire communities were uprooted, and the new aerospace industry jobs brought 1,000s of new residents to the county.

To mark the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ellen Bell discusses the county before the war and then how dramatic, wartime shifts changed the landscape forever. 






Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Christmas in Old Towne Orange

Vintage Orange      Wednesday, November 30th  2016

It's the most wonderful time of the year....for local holiday celebrations!

This weekend, all over Orange County, communities will be decking the halls and lighting their civic Christmas trees.

Check out this article from the Orange County Register which lists many of the local celebrations. 

One of the best traditions is the annual Tree Lighting ceremony that will take place in the Old Towne Orange, on Sunday, December 4th.

This week, we chat with Deanne and Renee from Old Towne Orange Walking Food Tours who discuss their unique and yummy way of learning local history.

Listent to the Podcast of this week's show here.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Season of Giving at Families Forward

Vintage Orange      Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Since 1984, Families Forward has been helping local Orange County families in crisis. By providing emergency housing, nutrition, and counseling, Families Forward helps to reestablish a stable home environment. Last year, the local non-profit organization improved the lives of nearly 9,000 children and adults.

Executive Director Margie Wakeham and Program Facilitator Armene Humber, discuss this season's Adopt a Family Program.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Also, if you'd like to contribute, check out the Families Forward website for more information

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Visit to O'Neill Regional Park

Vintage Orange .    Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Tucked away from the speeding traffic on the freeways, O'Neill Regional Park is a preserved wilderness situated in between Trabuco and Live Oak Canyons. This 4,500 acre park is not only a shady haven for hikers and campers, but it is also home to the Trabuco Adobe ruins, site of some of Orange County's earliest historic events.

This week, local historian and author Phil Brigandi shares the history of this great park, which is due to celebrate its 70 anniversary in 2018.

Listen to the podcast here


If you would like to check out O'Neill Regional Park for yourself, there will be a Naturalist Walk on Saturday, November 19th from  9 - 10:30am. Call (949) 923-2260 for more information or visit the website at OCParks


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

City Spotlight: Balboa Island

Vintage Orange       Wednesday, November 9th 2016


OK...so it's actually part of the City of Newport Beach, but residents and  visitors to Balboa Island understand that this little residential neighborhood in the middle of the harbor has a unique history all its own.

This week, Jennifer Keil, Director of the Balboa Island Museum, will discuss the history of this vintage community and the places you can still visit today to get a flavor of the past.

Listen to the podcast here.


Friday, November 4, 2016

Jim Washburn: New Leo Fender Exhibit

This week, OC Music and Pop Culture historian Jim Washburn talks about the impact of Fullerton's own Leo Fender, in time for the new exhibit opening on November 12th.

Jim also talks about the historic Martin Guitar Company and his new book, The Martin Archives: A Scrapbook of Treasures from the World's Foremost Acoustic Guitar Maker.



Jim Washburn has written about music and popular culture for the Los Angeles Times, the OC Register, the OC Weekly (of which he was founding executive editor) and other publications, ranging from Rolling Stone to Reader’s Digest, as well as the MSN and fourstory.org websites. He co-authored the 1998 book Martin Guitars, an Illustrated Celebration and the 2000 John Crean autobiography, The Wheel and I.



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Anaheim Halloween Parade


Vintage Orange       Wednesday, October 26  2016

Long before electric lights and synthesized hoe-down music blazed down Disneyland's Main Street, Anaheim was host to another legendary parade. 

Since October of 1924, the locals have been celebrating the season with the Anaheim Halloween Parade. My guest this week is Stephanie George, Special Collections and Archives Librarian at Chapman University, who has been attending the parade faithfully since she was a little girl. This week she shares some of this history of this national Halloween obsession, as well as the origins of Anaheim's celebration. 

This beloved tradition continues this weekend; on Saturday, October 29th. For more information, visit the Anaheim Halloween Parade website.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Haunted History in Orange County: Fullerton

Vintage Orange       Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October is the perfect month to explore Orange County's historic haunts. This week's show will feature Aimee Aul, Fullerton Museum Center educator and creator of the Haunted Fullerton Walking Tour. 

Whether you believe the ghost stories or not, haunted history tours are a fun way to learn about local lore from a new perspective.

Haunted Orange County offers various tours of local cities; including Orange, Santa Ana and Huntington Beach.

Listen to the podcast here.




Thursday, October 13, 2016

5 Great Historic Spots in North Orange County

Vintage Orange      Wednesday, October 12 2016

The goal of Vintage Orange is to connect the dots between Orange county's past and its present. Hopefully, this will encourage you to get out and explore the history that's right in your own backyard.

This week, I share some of my favorite spots to explore local history in North Orange County.

Listen to the Podcast Here.

Fullerton              The Fender Exhibit at The Fullerton Museum

Leo Fender was a tinkerer, a guy who liked to take things apart, figure out how they worked, and then put them back together in a new and improved way. When traveling musicians came into his workshop and asked if he could help them improve the performance of their guitars, he not only solved their problems, he revolutionized the music industry by creating the first, mass-produced, solid-body guitar.  The man who changed the sound of popular music never even played the guitar.

The Fullerton Museum tells the story of Leo Fender, the local boy who ended up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

301 N. Pomona Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92834

Open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday
noon to 4:00 pm

Thursday
noon to 8:00 pm

Closed Mondays. 

Santa Ana             Fairhaven Memorial Park

Fairhaven Memorial Park was created in 1911 by Oliver Linden Halsell.  Oliver developed the park for the living, where families could come and visit their loved ones in a peaceful, park-like setting. So he created Fairhaven as a Memorial Park rather than a cemetery. Memorial Parks are distinguished by flat markers instead of upright tombstones so that the visitors feel as if they are in the quiet solitude of a park. Many of Orange County's prominent pioneers are buried there, including Leo Fender.

On October 22, The Santa Ana Historical Society will host their 19th Annual History Cemetery Tour.  This year's theme is The History of Education in Orange County.

Docents will guide visitors through scenes that showcase the history of education in the County, culminating in a presentation in Fairhaven's beautiful 1916 mausoleum. Small groups, a lovely outdoor setting, and close access to the actors make the tour an entertaining outing for the whole family. 

The walking tour lasts about an hour-and-a-half long and is presented by the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society.
Hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fairhaven Memorial Park, 

1702 Fairhaven Ave., Santa Ana. 

Tickets are $22 for adults, $18 for seniors and Members, and $16 for students and children 10 and over. (Children 9 and under are free.) 

Orange                Old Towne Orange - Plaza Circle

The land that is now Orange was once part of the Rancho Santa Ana land grant owned by the Yorba family. In the mid 1860's, the Yorba's need help navigating the new U.S. court system so they hired two lawyers who specialized in property law. For their services,  Andrew Glassell and Alfred Beck Chapman took land for partial payment.

Glassell and Chapman saved 18 lots within their surveyed tract to create a town center and named the place Richland. The name was eventually changed to Orange and the city was incorporated on April 6, 1888.

Today Orange is a lovely, quaint example of Orange County's early days. The town center is the Plaza Circle and its signature fountain. It's a great place to browse antique stores, enjoy good food, and sample craft beers, all within am historic setting.

The Orange Community Historical Society offers Historical Walking Tours of the Plaza District and surrounding areas of Old Towne Orange. Volunteer Docents share the story of Orange’s founding and the significance of some of its early residences, businesses, development, and downtown buildings.

Old Towne Walking Food Tours   lets you stroll around the Plaza District and learn about its history as you sample foods from restaurants as you pass by.

Garden Grove       Stanley Ranch Museum

In 1874, a farmer named Alonzo Cook purchased 160 acres of land in the area for about $15 an acre. He later donated land for use as the site of the first schoolhouse and post office. Cook named the new little town "Garden Grove"  Some countered that the name did not fit the flat, wide-open terrain. Cook responded, "We'll make it appropriate by planting trees and making it beautiful."

You can get a taste of Alonzo Cook's little town at the the two acre property now known as the Stanley Ranch Museum where some of Garden Grove's oldest homes and business buildings have been moved to this location.

The Ware-Stanley House, completed in 1892, is the focus home at the museum. Also included at the site are homes dating from the late 1800's to the early 1900's. Garden Grove's first post office, opened in 1877; the Electric Shoe Shop/Barber Shop; and Garden Grove's #1 fire engine, a 1926 American La France, are part of the exhibits. One of the most popular attractions is the Walt Disney Studio Garage, the modest shack where Disney first experimented with animation. It was relocated to the former ranch site in the 1980's.

12174 Euclid St, Garden Grove, CA 92840
Open Monday - Thursday; 7:30am - 5:30pm


Anaheim               Founders Park - Mother Colony House

Many people think life in Anaheim started in 1953, when the gates to Disneyland opened for the first time. But Orange County's most well-known city is also its oldest.

In 1857, a group of fifty German colonists, called the Vineyard Society, wanted to establish a town where they could grow grapes. They hired a Los Angeles surveyor, George Hansen, to find the land and create the townsite. Today, Hansen's early home and office still stands at Founder's Park and is known as The Mother Colony House, one of the first buildings constructed in Anaheim.

Dedicated on March 14, 1929, the Mother Colony House is the oldest museum in Orange County.

Next door to the Woelke-Stoffel House is a two-story Queen Anne built in 1894 during Anaheim's citrus era. You can also enjoy the shade from the massive heritage Moreton Bay Fig tree which was the inspiration for Walt Disney's Swiss Family Robinson Tree House attraction.

400 North West Street
Anaheim, CA  92805

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

How Social Media is Influencing History


Vintage Orange      Wednesday, September 28  2016

Do media perspectives effect the way history is recorded? Are immediate access and 24-hour news outlets effecting the way history unfolds?  Social Media gives everyone a voice, but is it getting a little noisy out there?

KUCI's own social media expert, Ryan Foland and I discuss how social media may be influencing history today.

For more social media wisdom, check out Ryan's show every Wednesday morning from 8-9am and
"Get Notified!" 

Click here to listen to the podcast

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The History of OC's own Boysenberry

Vintage Orange      Wednesday, September 21 2016

When most Orange County Locals think of boysenberries, they think of Walter Knott who put the little beauties on the map at his berry farm in Buena Park.

But did you know that they were first brought to Orange County by Anaheim's Rudolph Boysen?

Tune in this week to hear historian Chris Jepsen tell the story of one of the OC's most well-known agricultural exports.

Click here to hear the podcast. 



Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Teddy Roosevelt's California Trip in 1903

Vintage Orange                      Wednesday, September 14 2016

This week we travel outside of Orange County to Yosemite National Park and relive a three-day camping trip that changed American history.

My guest is Huntington Beach resident and author Chris Epting, who discusses his latest book "Teddy Roosevelt in California; The Whistle Stop Tour That Changed America." 

The book chronicles Roosevelt's 1903 trip to California and his camping excursion with conservationist John Muir.  A lover of the rugged outdoors, Roosevelt was humbled and impressed by the experience, which proved to be one of the most important sojourns in presidential history.

Listen to the podcast here.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

City Spotlight : Dana Point

Vintage Orange      Wednesday, September 7th 2016

This week's Vintage Orange Spotlight is shining on the city of Dana Point. My guest will be local historian and community leader Carlos Olvera. We discuss the history of one of Orange County's most beautiful and historic harbors..as well as the history of Richard Henry Dana, the author and 17th Century seaman who is the city's namesake.

If you'd like to check out Dana Point history in action, check out the Tall Ships Festival on Sept 9 - 11th

Listen to the podcast here.


University Park- Irvine's First Village Pt 2

Vintage Orange       Wednesday, August 31 2016

Part 2 of my discussion with Alan Hess, architect and author, about the unique history of University Park, Irvine's first master-planned village. He discusses the unique blend of unity and diversity that provides an essential balance to the community as well as ways the public can get involve in  local preservation.  







Sunday, August 21, 2016

University Park - Irvine's First Village

Vintage Orange       Wednesday, August 24, 2016

In 1965,  The Irvine Company created the Village of University Park, the first development on what would later become the City of Irvine.  William Pereira's Master Plan was brought to life in the village's initial neighborhood of 585 homes. The first 200 families moved in during the spring and summer of 1966. This July, they celebrated a 50 year anniversary with a Homecoming Celebration in the community.

Our guest this week is local resident Alan Hess who discusses the innovative design and planning concepts of University Park.

Alan Hess is an architect, author, lecturer and advocate for twentieth-century architectural preservation.


You can listen to the podcast here.



Friday, August 19, 2016

City Spotlight: Huntington Beach


Vintage Orange      Wednesday, July 20 2016


It's had many names in the past, like Pacific City and Gospel Swamp. This week’s City Spotlight shines on Orange County's own “Surf City USA” as we discuss the history of Huntington Beach.

Long time resident and President of the Orange County Historical SocietyChris Jepsen, shares the history of his hometown.

Listen to the podcast here. 

For more of Chris' entertaining and informative Orange County history pieces, you can check out

OC History Round Up

OC Answer Man : Orange Coast Magazine







Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sawdust Art Festival 50 Year Anniversary


Vintage Orange      Wednesday, July 27 2016

The Sawdust Art Festival began in 1965, when a few local artists were rejected by the Festival of the Arts. They banded together and created an alternative festival in the parking lot across the street.  couple of years later, when they spread sawdust over the dirt lot to keep the dust down, the media dubbed the show, "The Sawdust Festival." The name stuck and has followed this eclectic gathering of local artists and craftsmen throughout its 50 year history.

Today, the Sawdust Art Festival is a thriving Laguna Beach institution with more than 200 artists displaying and demonstrating their wares in a three-acre eucalyptus grove on Laguna Canyon Road.

This week I talked with Jay Grant, President of the Sawdust Art Festival and had a chance to chat about the unique history at this iconic Laguna Beach art celebration.

Listen to the podcast Here

For more information about the Sawdust Art Festival, visit their website at
www,sawdustartfestival.org

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My Favorite History Day Trips in Orange County

Vintage Orange                Wednesday, July 20 2016

On this week's show, I share some of my favorite History Day Trips in Orange County.
My travel buddy and daughter Katie Bell will help me share some of the best places to get a taste of Vintage Orange.


Additional Links from today's show:

Irvine 50 Celebration   July 29 - 31 2016

LA Rams Training Camp at UCI

OC Museum of the Week:    The International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach




Monday, July 11, 2016

The Tustin Blimp Hangars

Vintage Orange      Wednesday, July 13  2016

The massive wooden blimp hangars of the former Lighter Than Air (LTA) base in Tustin are two of the most iconic structures in Orange County.

Local writer and historian Guy Ball discusses the unique history of these buildings as well as what's planned for their future.


Guy Ball has been an Orange County resident for over about 40 years. He is a Board member of the Orange County Historical Society and an Associate board member, Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society  (previously long-time, executive board member and treasurer) He is author of
Images of America: Tustin, Early Santa Ana, and Santa Ana in Vintage Postcards.  Currently, he is working on new book, Tustin through Time for Fonthill Media.

For more information and images of the Tustin LTA base, check out The Tustin Historical Society Website

Click here to listen to the podcast


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Katie Wheeler Public Library

Vintage Orange      Wednesday, June 29 2016


Built in 1876, a large, white, Georgian mansion was home to the Irvine family for many decades.
It was demolished after a fire in the late 1960's. Today, a replica of that same house is now the Katie Wheeler branch of the Orange County Library.

Senior Branch Manager Richard Serrato discusses the building's unique history as well as the stories of the family that once lived there.

Listen to the podcast here. 


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

History of Orange County's Music Scene


Vintage Orange      Wednesday, June 22 2016

A lot of great sounds came out of Orange County. There were the classic, coastal music venues like the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach or the Blue Beet in Newport Beach. Radio Repairman Leo Fender invented the first, mass-produced, solid-body electric guitar in his Fullerton workshop.
And in 1970, Laguna Canyon was the site of The Happening; Orange County's version of  a free music, free love festival.

OC native and author Jim Washburn talks about Orange County's musical heritage and the unique sounds that were born here.

Jim Washburn has written about music and popular culture for the Los Angeles Times, the OC Register, the OC Weekly (of which he was founding executive editor) and other publications, ranging from Rolling Stone to Reader’s Digest, as well as the MSN and fourstory.org websites. He co-authored the 1998 book Martin Guitars, an Illustrated Celebration and the 2000 John Crean autobiography, The Wheel and I.


He has curated four exhibits at the Fullerton Museum Center, with two specifically on Orange County’s popular culture history: The Orange Groove, Orange County’s Rock Music History in 2004 and Lay Down the Boogie: OC in the Disco Era in 2012. In 2012, he was a guest lecturer at the Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts Chautauqua! engagement.




Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Knott's Berry Farm Ghost Town Celebrates 75 Years

Vintage Orange      Wednesday, June 15 2016

In 1941, Walter Knott welcomed visitors to his Ghost Town attraction, the little western village that he had created behind the family's restaurant and berry stand. It was a quaint little collection of old buildings and vintage shacks where diners could spend a little time while they waited for one of Mrs. Knott's famous chicken dinners.

Orange County historian and author, Phil Brigandi, discusses the humble beginnings of Knott's Berry Farm and its Ghost Town attraction, which is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this summer.



For more information about the history of Knott's Berry Farm, click on these links:

Phil Brigandi's Knott's Berry Farm History - SoCal Historyland

Orange County Register Video: A Brief and Delightful History of Knott's Berry Farm

"Knott's Preserved" By Christopher Merritt


Listen to the Podcast here.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Woodbridge Village Turns 40


Vintage Orange      Wednesday, June 8 2016


The year was 1976. The American economy was turning around and the southern California housing market was on the rise. It was the perfect time to launch the Village of Woodbridge; the capstone community of the Irvine Company's Master Plan.

Woodbridge was created to be the ultimate recreational village, where residents wouldn't have to walk more than 5 minutes to reach a park or a pool. From the very beginning, recreational activities offered by the Woodbridge Homeowners Association have been the key to this community's success.

This week, Bob Figiera, former Executive Director of the Woodbridge HOA, talks about the early days of the village as well as the philosophy that is still part of the community 40 years later.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Irvine Ranch Cowboys


Vintage Orange     Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Believe it or not, there was once a time when there were more cows than people in Irvine.

The Irvine Ranch was home to a large-scale cattle operation and the hills of today's city were once the grazing land for thousands of cattle.

Irvine family member William White III, tells of his experiences working with the cowboys of the Irvine Ranch.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

OC City Spotlight: Garden Grove


Vintage Orange    Wednesday, May 25,  2016

Garden Grove has been on the Orange County landscape since Alonzo Cook created the townsite in 1874. It has transformed from a sleepy farm town to a diverse, muti-cultural home to more than nearly 200,000 residents.

Long-time community member and volunteer Josh McIntosh shares the history of his hometown, connecting the dots from the past to the present day.

He also talks about the upcoming Strawberry Festival, the annual Memorial Day weekend celebration that has been going strong for 58 years.

On Saturday, June 18, 2016, Garden Grove marks a significant milestone - the 60th anniversary of its incorporation! Gather friends and family, grab a picnic blanket and chair, and head to Village Green Park, located in downtown Garden Grove, for a free, community-wide celebration.
For more information click here

Garden Grove Historical Society

58th Annual Strawberry Festival

Things to do in Garden Grove Facebook Page



Listen to the Podcast Here


Monday, May 23, 2016

40 years at The Irvine Historical Society

Vintage Orange    Wednesday, May 18 2016

40 years ago, the Irvine Historical Society was formed. This organization has been preserving local history ever since and continues to educate and share the stories of the city's heritage. IHS members Gail Daniels and Mary Susa discuss the society's past as well as ways for the community to get involved and be part of its future.


For more information about the Irvine Historical Society, you can visit their website at www.irvinehistory.orghttp://www.irvineranchhistory.com



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Coup de Comedy Festival May 11-14


Vintage Orange           Wednesday, May 4th 2016

This week, Sarah Thompson of the Improv Revolution comedy troupe will be talking about the upcoming Coup de Comedy Festival, May 11-14, on the UCI campus. This four day comedy celebration features workshops, performances, even laugh yoga! Plus, it's absolutely, 100% free!

Visit their website at www.improvrevolution.org to get the schedule. 


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Irvine Homecoming 50 Celebration


Vintage Orange            Wednesday, April 27th 2016


This week, Irvine pioneer resident and long-time community organizer Sharon Toji shares her memories of University Park. In the summer of 1966, she and her family were among the first 250 families to move into the first Village in what would later become the city of Irvine.

Sharon is also part of the Irvine 50 Year Homecoming event happening this July; a gathering of residents from all of Irvine's early villages.

For more information on how to get involved, check out the Irvine 50 Homecoming Facebook page

Listen to the podcast here.



Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Revisiting Bommer Canyon


Vintage Orange       Wednesday, April 20th 2016

It's hard to imagine that this city of nearly 250,000 people was once home to a cattle ranch. In fact, there are very few remnants of the Irvine Ranch cowboys still around. Fortunately, the old cattle camp at Bommer Canyon, adjacent to the Village of Turtle Rock, still retains some of that old cowboy flavor.

Years ago, Bommer Canyon was the final destination for cowboys who drove the cattle from their grazing pastures all over the ranch. Today, some of the original buildings and equipment are still standing at the park, reminding visitors of a bygone era.

Bommer Canyon is part of nearly 50,000 acres of protected open space called the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. This wilderness park, conveniently located only minutes away from many of Irvine's neighborhoods, is a natural treasure right in the city's backyard.

This week, Brian Hughes, Interpretive Specialist with the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, talks about Bommer Canyon's colorful past and the restored natural beauty of the present.

Listen to the Podcast Here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Calling All Angels


Vintage Orange Wednesday, April 6 2016


In honor of baseball's Opening Week, this week's show features author Rob Goldman who discusses the history of Orange County's home team, the Angels.

Rob takes us back to the team's inaugural season of 1961, and shares some stories of that first team.
He also speaks of his personal connection with the team as a bat boy and what led him to write his books, 


Monday, March 14, 2016

Boy Scout Jamboree of 1953

Irvine History Today  Wednesday, March 16 2016

In the summer of 1953, more than 50,000 boy scouts from all over the country gathered on the Irvine Ranch for the Boy Scout Jamboree. Not only was this a momentous moment in the lives of those who attended, it also marked a changing point in the development of the Irvine area. Most of the infrastructure built for the Jamboree laid the groundwork for future communities in Newport Beach and in Irvine.

This week, OC Historian and author Phil Brigandi discusses the Jamboree and its impact on Orange County.

Listen to the Podcast Here...


Click here to see a 1953 documentary about the Jamboree, produced by Cecil B DeMille.

For more work by OC Historian Phil Brigandi...I recommend his website... So Cal Historyland
and  his books Orange County Place Names A to Z...... and Orange County Chronicles


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Barton Massacre Part II




Irvine History Today   Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Paul Spitzzeri, Assistant Director at the Homestead Museum, continues his discussion of the Barton Massacre of 1857. This week, the topic expands to the aftermath of the event and how it exacerbated racial tension in Los Angeles County.

Paul Spitzzeri's award-winning book about the Workman and Temple families is available here...


Listen to this week's podcast Here...

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Barton Massacre of 1857


Irvine History Today  Wednesday, March 2, 2016

It's hard to imagine that Irvine, the safest city in the U.S., was the setting of an infamous historical event known as The Barton Massacre. On this week's program, Paul Spitzzeri of the Homestead Museum will discuss what led up to the violence in 1857, as well as the racial repercussions that followed.

If you'd like to learn more about this event and others from this period of southern California history, check out Paul Spitzzeri's excellent blog; Trembling on The Brink: Crime and Justice in Los Angeles 1850-1875

Listen to the podcast here....

Thursday, February 25, 2016

James Harvey Irvine


Irvine History Today, Wednesday February 24, 2016



James Harvey Irvine (1867-1947) inherited his father's ranch on his 25th birthday and transformed the undeveloped sheep grazing operation into an agricultural powerhouse. This week's program covers the "confused auction" that nearly changed the course of local history and cost James Harvey Irvine his ranch.

Click Here to Listen to the Podcast

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Portola's Ride

Irvine History Today   Wednesday, February 17th 2016


In July of 1769. Captain Gaspar de Portola of Spain led the first european expedition across what would someday be Orange County. This week, Chris Jepsen from the Orange County Historical Society will discuss Portola's historic ride and its impact on the region.

Click Here to Listen to the Podcast.

If you'd like to learn more about Gaspar de Portola's Expedition, you could check out these books...

"A Description of Distant Roads: Original Journals of the first expedition into California (1769-70)"

It's a transcription of the trail journal of Father Juan Crespi who was part of the expedition.

Portola's own journal is transcribed in

  "The Diary of Gaspar de Portola During the California Expedition 1769-70"

Local historian Don Meadows wrote a book that describes Portola's Route and it's available through the Orange County Historical Society link here.. 

Of course,  you can always check out Chris Jepsen's informative blog,  OC History Round-Up

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Saving Adventure Playground

Irvine History Today, Wednesday, February 10, 2016



In the master-planned Village of University Park, Adventure Playground was decidedly un-planned.

It became a beloved neighborhood park soon after it first appeared in the early 1970's.

When the park was in danger of disappearing in 2008, local community members formed Defend Adventure Playground, to raise awareness and preserve the park. This week's guests, Alex Hilenbrand and John Gerrard, tell how this group mobilized public sentiment and saved Adventure Playground for generations to come.

Click Here to listen to the podcast!

Monday, February 1, 2016

James Irvine (1827-1886)

James Irvine (1827 - 1886)
Irvine History Today  Wednesday, February 3, 2016


James Irvine was the patriarch of the family that owned the Irvine Ranch for more than a century. This week's show discusses the "rags to riches" story of this unique California pioneer.

Listen to the podcast here!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Conversation with L. Byron Culver

L. Byron Culver and cousin Dottie Haskell


Irvine History Today, January 27th, 2016

The Culver Family were early pioneers on the Irvine Ranch. Fred Culver was one of James Irvine's most successful tenant farmers and his impressive home at Culver's Corner was a local landmark.
Willard Culver ran the Blacksmith Shop (1909) that still stands in Old Town Irvine..now Knollwood Restaurant. Willard was wounded in pursuit of the Tomato Springs bandit in 1912.

This week's show features a conversation with L. Byron Culver, grandson of Willard Culver. He has done extensive research into his family's history and shares some unique stories of their time on the Irvine Ranch.


Willard Culver (left)  and sons
Click Here to listen to the podcast

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Old Town Irvine

Irvine History Today  Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Old Town Irvine is the city's own historic district located at Sand Canyon and the 5 Freeway. 

Before Irvine was a large, master-planned city it was the 110,000 acre Irvine Ranch. Old Town Irvine is the collection of preserved buildings that made up the area's crop storage and shipment center. In other words, it was Irvine's first "downtown." 

The week's guest,  Irvine Historical Society docent Mary Susa,  describes the monthly tours that she leads through Old Town Irvine and why its preservation is so important.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Monday, January 11, 2016

William Pereira and the Master Plan for UCI


Irvine History Today: Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Few others have had more influence over the creation and design of UCI than William Pereira, the architect who devised its master plan. 

This week's show will feature a conversation with architect and historian Alan Hess about Pereira's forward-thinking vision for campus life at UCI and how it is still apparent today. 

Alan Hess is the author of nineteen books on Modern architecture and urbanism in the mid-twentieth century and is a local authority on William Pereira and his influence on the development of Irvine.

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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Irvine History Today #1 Chris Jepsen - OC Archives 1-6-16

Chris Jepsen, Assistant Archivist at the Orange County Archives and "OC Answer Man" for Orange Coast Magazine shares his thoughts on the importance of local history preservation. Make sure to check out his excellent local history blog, OC History RoundUp

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Monday, January 4, 2016

And so it begins...

This week on Irvine History Today,  Ellen Bell will be joined by Barbara DeMarco Barrett of KUCI's "Writers on Writing Program." Ellen will discuss her inspiration for the show, her passion for local history and her determination to preserve Irvine's heritage for the future. Orange Coast Magazine's "Mr. Answer Man," Chris Jepsen, will also call in to discuss the importance of local preservation.