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More than 50 years after Clara's death, a box found in an attic helped to piece together the narrative of this remarkable woman. Clara's story, expressed through her art, poetry, and writings tells us that the Mason family left Illinois in the 1880s and were among the first settlers of Silverado Canyon. A true pioneer of her era, Clara served as perhaps the first schoolteacher in the canyon, and became an early Laguna Beach artist. She eventually travelled alone to New York City to study art at Cooper Union. After marrying local rancher George Fox and moving to El Toro, Clara was the first to write a book chronicling the history of that town.
Lorraine Passero's book offers readers insights about Orange County’s homesteading days, life during turn-of-the-century New York City, and a young woman’s personal challenges. Excerpts from Clara’s letters and poetry, as well as her art, give us insight into her talents and observations of life.
In 2010, a serendipitous discovery of more than 150 of Clara's botanical watercolors—some dating back to 1894—were discovered in cabinets filled with plant specimens at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, California. These watercolors are currently part of the exhibit “When They Were Wild: Recapturing California’s Wildflower Heritage” (March 9 – July 8) in the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery at the Huntington Library in San Marino. The exhibit also includes work by other artists, including Alice Brown Chittenden (1859–1944), Ethel Wickes (1872–1940), and Milford Zornes (1908–2008).
A native of New York City, Lorraine Passero earned her elementary education degree at Long Island University. While attending San Diego State University she met her future husband, Jon Seeman, a sculptor and a great-great nephew of Clara Mason Fox. Lorraine received a master’s degree at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Los Angeles. During the course of her teaching career, Lorraine was the recipient of numerous awards including the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund and The New York Historical Society National Teachers Institute Award. The Orange County resident is currently developing a second career as an artist and author.
about the early settlers in what is now O’Neill Regional Park.
Our guide will be David McIntosh (pictured left in the image—click
the image to view it larger), a descendant of one of the old time homestead
families. This is an easy one-mile hike.
Date: Sunday, April 14, 2013
This hike is limited to 30 participants. Reservations are a MUST and should be made either by clicking here or by calling us at (714) 543-8282. Additional information about the hike will be provided as part of your confirmation. Any other questions, please contact: email@example.com
about grass-roots historical preservation efforts currently underway
throughout Orange County at our next meeting on April 11, 2013, 7:30
p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. (See
for location.) Pictured left is the Furuta home of Historic Wintersburg,
photographed in 2011 by Chris Jepsen. (Click the image to view it larger.)
Ilse Byrnes has worked diligently and successfully to preserve San Juan Capistrano's historic sites since the early 1970s, when she became involved with the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society. She has been instrumental in placing 13 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and is currently working to make the first school site in L.A./O.C. an official California Point of Historical Interest, and to save the threatened 1917 San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) power station north of Downtown.
Architect John Linnert is a third generation City of Orange native and has practiced architecture throughout Orange County for more than 20 years. Recently he has become involved with the preservation efforts for Mariners Medical Arts—an architecturally and culturally significant medical office complex at 1901 Westcliff Dr. in Newport Beach. This complex, designed in 1963 by world-renowned modernist architect Richard Neutra, has been threatened in recent years with demolition and/or terribly incompatible alterations and expansions. Mariners Medical Arts consists of three structures connected by serene gardens and covered walkways.
Jeannie Gillett, President of The Old Orchard Conservancy (oldorchardconservancy.org) will tell us about her group's efforts to purchase, restore, renovate, and operate for public benefit. She will also share the history of the Sexlinger Home and orange grove at 1584 E. Santa Clara Ave. in Santa Ana. Although the five-acre property is on the city's Register of Historical Properties, the current owners plan to demolish the Craftsman-style farmhouse and 230 Valencia orange trees for new development. Gillett, a certified pediatric nurse at CHOC, is an Associate Board Member of the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society.
Mary Adams Urashima
Mary Adams Urashima, author of HistoricWintersburg.blogspot.com, researches oral histories, old newspapers and documents to find and share stories relating to Historic Wintersburg, now threatened with a zone change and demolition by the current landowners. As the most prominent figure driving preservation efforts for the historic community, she will provide us with an update on the current status of the situation, as well as a brief overview of the site's history. Wintersburg came to greater public attention two years ago after OCHS held a panel discussion on the fate of the remains of the historically significant Japanese-American community (now part of north Huntington Beach). Still standing on the five-acre property is the original barn and 1912 bungalow of Charles Mitsuji and Yukiko Furuta—a rare, Japanese-owned property, purchased before California's Alien Land Law of 1913; the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission (founded 1904, constructed 1910)—the oldest Japanese church in Southern California; the 1910 manse (clergy home), and the Depression-era 1934 Church.
Come learn about popular music groups and artists who got their start in Orange County, and the clubs and venues (like the Golden Bear—pictured left; click image to view it larger—and the Prison of Socrates) that helped launch them. OCHS will present “Orange County: Cooler Than It Knew How To Be,” on Thursday, March 14th, 7:30 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange. (See map for location.)
Longtime O.C. journalist and cub historian Jim Washburn will look at O.C.’s musical past to explain how, “despite prevailing perceptions, culture wasn’t hurtin’ behind the Orange Curtain.” For over 30 years, Jim has written about music and popular culture in the O.C. Register, the L.A. Times, the OC Weekly and other publications, as well as curating several exhibits about same at the Fullerton Museum Center.
Our monthly program, a tribute to the late Huell Howser, will be delivered
on Thursday, February 14, 2013, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church,
2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. (See map
for location.) (Photo at left from the Anaheim Historical Society Flickr
site shows Huell Howser posing with the statue of Madame Modjeska at
Pearson Park in Anaheim. Click the image to view this page at Flickr.)
us the day after Richard M. Nixon’s 100th birthday for a thoughtful
discussion of his life and legacy by The Reverend Canon John H. Taylor.
The program will be held January 10,
Time to start going through your garage or attic to get ready for "Show
& Tell" night on Thursday, December 13, 2012, 7:30 p.m. at
Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. (See map
for location to this event.)
Hear authors of the latest Orange County history books discuss their
work, and then have a chance to meet them, buy their books, and have
them signed at OCHS’ annual “Authors’ Night”
program on Thursday, November 8, 2012, 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal
Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. (See map
for location to this event.) This event will also mark the release of
Orange Countiana, Vol. 8—this year’s OCHS historical
journal. Contributors to the journal will also be on hand to sign copies.
(A copy of the journal comes with OCHS membership, but additional copies
will be available for purchase.) Between books and journals, this will
be a great opportunity to do some holiday shopping—for others
or for yourself. The event is open to the public and refreshments will
Join us for a trip along the Arroyo Trabuco to visit the ruins of the Trabuco Adobe, a mission outpost and later rancho headquarters. Historian Phil Brigandi will discuss the history of the adobe and the arroyo along the way.
This is about a two-mile roundtrip, moderately easy hike, but with
one steep grade in and out of Trabuco Creek.
Additional information about the hike will be provided as part of your confirmation.
Any other questions, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
A memorial service for Orange County's premier historian, Jim Sleeper, at noon, Friday, October 12, at Waverly Chapel at Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana. Jim passed away on September 27. Either directly or indirectly, he impacted everyone who cares about Orange County's history. We hope to see you at his memorial service, which will be open to the public.
More than just the author of at least eight of our best history books and hundreds upon hundreds of well-researched and startlingly well-written articles, Jim was also a hero and a friend to many.
Jim was active in the Orange County Historical Society for more than 70 years. In 1970, he served as our president. He was also the co-founder of our County Courier newsletter, and was still on the Editorial Board of our Orange Countiana historical journal at the time of his death. He will be greatly missed.
For more information see "Jim Sleeper, Orange County Historian, 1927-2012."
Once called the biggest Halloween celebration west of the Mississippi, the Anaheim Halloween Festival began in 1924 and grew to capacity crowds in the late 1950s, with estimates of more than 150,000 people traveling from all over the Southland to attend this city's celebration. These days, the Anaheim Fall Festival and Halloween Parade bears only a slight resemblance to its predecessor, but rest assured, this month's presentation will conjure up the sprites, hobgoblins, and broom-tooting witches of the past. We promise, you'll be spellbound in discovering the Festival's disputed origins, bewitched by the Slick Chicks, and howling after learning who was behind the ousting of the Steve Allen, the 1970 parade's grand marshal. Eek! Finally, the unexplained will be explained as we explore this city's long tradition of Spooktacular!
Stephanie George, an Anaheim native, is the archivist at the Center for Oral and Public History at California State University, Fullerton, as well as the recording secretary for the Orange County Historical Society, president of the California Council for the Promotion of History -- and second place costume contest winner at the 1962 Anaheim Halloween Festival Pancake Breakfast.
Member Year 2012-13 Kick-Off Meeting
Orange County's role in California Style watercolor painting will be the subject of the Orange County Historical Society's season kick-off program on Thursday, September 13th, at Sherman Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Highway, in Corona del Mar. Click here for a map to the location. If you'd like to participate in the Society's appetizer and dessert potluck beforehand, arrive at 6:30 p.m. with a plateful of goodies. Otherwise, arrive in time for the 7:30 lecture by author, historian, exhibition curator and art dealer Gordon T. McClelland.
From the 1930s through the 1970s, an innovative approach to watercolor painting called the California Style, flourished in Southern California. Artists like Rex Brandt, Phil Dike, and Emil Kosa, Jr. were considered part of the American Scene or Regionalist movement and often painted scenes of everyday city and suburban life. Their work featured bold design, creative use of the white paper as a "color," and highlighted the transparency of their unique medium. One of the key schools that taught this approach to creating art was the Brandt-Dike Summer School of Painting in Corona del Mar.
The presentation will feature outstanding examples of California watercolors inspired by scenes in Orange County, with an emphasis on works painted in and around Newport Beach. McClelland will also address the historical and artistic importance of these works both locally and nationally.
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