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This page includes information about recent meetings and events. To view information about current and upcoming meetings and events, or past meetings and events, click these links:
January Meeting: O.C.'s Late Modern Architecture 1970 - 1985
Daniel Paul, Architectural Historian
Thursday January 8th, 7:30 p.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church
Architectural historian Daniel Paul will discuss Orange County’s Late Modern architecture at the Jan. 8th, 2015 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, starting at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. This program is open to the public at no charge.
Los Angeles was largely built out by 1965, but Orange County certainly was not. This fact, combined with a fair amount of county-wide wealth in the 1970s and 1980s, led to a local building boom. Many of the more visible and most innovative commercial buildings of this recent-past era are Late-Modern in design, often clad in smooth grids of all-over reflecting glass. Daniel Paul will explain the early context of the Late-Modern glass skin design system, and present examples of Orange County’s distinctive Late-Modern architecture. The majority of the buildings to be presented date between 1970 and 1985. No longer new, yet not commonly perceived as “historic,” such buildings are perceived as out of vogue. The buildings are therefore particularly vulnerable to insensitive alterations, or even early demolition.“Some years ago, Daniel took me on a tour of the Late Modern architecture around Irvine and Newport Beach,” said OCHS President Chris Jepsen. “Based on the subject matter, I didn’t start the trek with much excitement. But it turns out this era of architecture is as interesting as any other, and I learned to see these familiar surroundings with new eyes – which is one of my favorite aspects of discovering local history. I was also surprised to learn how much our local architects impacted national trends.”
In 2004 Orange County native Daniel Paul earned a Master’s Degree in Art History from California State University, Northridge. His Master’s Thesis was an early attempt to properly contextualize Late-Modern glass skin architecture: a ubiquitous 1970s era corporate design system that he continues to research. Presently Daniel is a senior architectural historian with the global consulting firm of ICF International. Among his projects, Daniel has landmarked a variety of historic properties in Los Angeles including the Capitol Records building and the entirety of Griffith Park. Daniel is the former Acting Director of the folk art environment “Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village,” is the former Vice-Chairperson of the Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee, and is presently a board member of Docomomo SoCal: the regional chapter of a globally active post-war architecture preservation entity. Over the last 15 years, Daniel has given numerous presentations focused upon recent past architecture. His writings on the topic can be found in Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, and The Architect’s Newspaper.
December Meeting: Show & Tell!
Thursday December 13th, 7:30 p.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church
It’s time to search your attic, closets and garage for an artifact, photograph or object that helps tell us something about Orange County’s past. The Orange County Historical Society’s popular annual “Show & Tell” program will be held December 11, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.
What about great-grandpa’s branding iron, or a piece of flatware with the name of an early local hotel stamped on the back?
Perhaps you have a roof tile from a long-gone adobe, or a radio from Leo Fender’s shop, or a prop from an early Disneyland attraction. Maybe you have a cup from Daniger’s Tearoom, a witch trophy from the 1935 Anaheim Halloween Parade, or a menu from a late lamented Orange County restaurant.
Or maybe you just have an outstanding photo of early Orange County that few have seen before. Whatever vintage Orange County curio you may have tucked away, now’s your chance to trot it out, show it off, and tell us something about it.
There will be a sign-up sheet when you arrive at the meeting. People will be called up in order of their position on the list. If we run out of time, we’ll save the list for another meeting, so you’ll still get your chance to share your “piece of history” and a bit of the story behind it.
We can’t wait to see what you bring!
November Meeting: Author's Night 2014
Thursday November 13th, 7:30 p.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church
The Orange County Historical Society's annual Author's Night event will be held Thursday, November 13th, at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N Canal St., in the City of Orange. Topics this year include Huntington Beach, the Muckenthaler Cultural Center, a notable member of the Bixby family, the local impact of the New Deal, and more! After each author speaks briefly about their books, attendees will have an oppurtunity to purchase books, have them signed, and speak with the authors.
Author's set to appear at OCHS Authors Night 2014 include:
Marcia Lee Harris
and Phil Brigandi
This event is open to the public, free, and refreshments will be served.
For more information on this year's authors, check out this month's County Courier by
Fall 2014 History Hike: Crystal Cove
Guides: Rick Connella, Phil Brigandi
Join us for a hike to one of the last remaining World War II structures built as part of an elaborate defense system that stretched from just north of Laguna Beach to the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Completed in about 1943, the station--commanding a view of the coastline from Dana Point to Long Beach--was designed to house a crew of four to observe and take readings on enemy ships in conjunction with six other stations.
This four mile round trip hike will be led by Crystal Cove State Park’s interpretive naturalist Rick Connella who writes, “The beauty and panoramic views are magnificent and will entrance you.”
The elevation gain is about 800’ to the site and about 1000’ for the round-trip loop. The degree of difficulty is described as moderate, with a few very steep and rough portions.
When: Saturday, November 1, 2014*
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Length: about 3 hours.
Bring: plenty of water and snacks.
This hike is limited to 20 people.
Reservations are a MUST and should be made by following this link: http://goo.gl/forms/1psb44xOYu
Confirmation will be by email and will include additional information regarding parking and where to meet.
*In case of rain, the hike will be rescheduled for Saturday, November 15, 2014.
Chris Jepsen will present the story of Santa Ana's famed Saddleback Inn and its founder, Bruce Gelker, at the Oct. 9, 2014 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.
The path of Bruce Gelker's life is completely intertwined with the very fabric of Orange County: From the adobe home he grew up in at Olive, to cowboys, Indians, citrus packing, Santa Ana College football, roadside attractions, the Marine Corps., the post-war development boom, the rise of the Disneyland resort area, the Nixon administration, El Viaje de Portola, and professional sports teams,... just for starters. But probably his most significant Orange County moment was in 1964 when he opened his $1.5 million Saddleback Inn. It had a distinctive style, was much more than just a hotel, and swiftly became a key local landmark and gathering place for businessmen, government officials, politicos, professional athletes, and Orange Countians in general. Celebrities and dignitaries often stayed there when visiting the area.
The Saddleback Inn was located at 1660 E. First St., near the Santa Ana Zoo. It featured an architectural look based loosely on Bernardo Yorba's home, and was decorated in a style Gelker called "Orange County Americana." In addition to the hotel, restaurant, lounge, and meeting and banquet rooms, the Inn also featured a variety of shops including The Coachman (men's clothing), the Western Art Gallery (fine art and antiques), Joan Buck (ladies' fashions), a wine cellar, a barber shop, a beauty salon, a travel agency, an investment company, the Gelker, Riffle & Rohrer Insurance Agency, and the radio station KYMS 106.3 FM.
The Western Art Gallery was a very high-profile feature of the Inn, drawing all the top Western artists of the day. Gelker's love for art depicting the Old West continues today, and we will also see samples of some of his favorite works by artists once shown in his gallery.
In the 1980s, the movers and shakers moved and shook their way to newer digs in Newport Beach and Irvine. Meanwhile, the area around the Saddlback Inn was not faring well. In 1984, Gelker sold the Saddleback Inn to a group of investors that included former President Nixon’s Chief of Staff (and key Watergate figure) H.R. Haldeman. From then on, the Inn went into a steady decline, and a series of owners, culminating in a string of fires and the demolition of the majority of the buildings in 2013.
But between its rise and its fall, the story of this landmark Orange County business was full of twists, turns, fascinating personalities, and historic moments.
Our speaker, Chris Jepsen is a local historian and the Assistant Archivist at the Orange County Archives, in addition to serving as president of the Orange County Historical Society. He also maintains The O.C. History Roundup blog and writes the “Ask the O.C. Answer Man” column for Orange Coast magazine.
This event will be held Sept. 11, 2014, at the Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Highway, in Corona del Mar. A social hour and optional potluck of appetizers and desserts will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by the program at 7:30 p.m.
The event is open to the public, but space is limited, so please complete an online RSVP form at http://tinyurl.com/ochssept.
As Administrator for the Clark County, Nevada, museum system, Mark Hall-Patton oversees the Clark County Museum, the Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum, and the Searchlight History Museum. He has been with Clark County for twenty years, and was previously the Director of the San Luis Obispo County Historical Museum and was the first Director of the Anaheim Museum (now the Muzeo). He has worked for both public and private nonprofit museums, and has consulted with numerous start-up and established museums and museum boards.
He is the author of two books, over 400 published articles, and has written and produced 48 local history videos, and is regularly seen on the History Channel’s hit show Pawn Stars as a visiting expert. He has also appeared on American Restorations, The United Stuff of America, America, Facts and Fallacies, and Mysteries at the Museum.
He has been in the museum field for over 37 years, having also worked with museums in California and South Dakota.
Put another candle on the birthday cake; Orange County
turns 125 years old this summer! Our fair county was born in 1889 when
the southern part of Los Angeles County broke away to become Orange
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