||Gaspar de Portolá
leads first Spanish overland expedition into Orange County.
||Mission San Juan Capistrano
is founded. It was moved to its current site two years later.
||Manuel Nieto is given
grazing rights between the Santa Ana and San Gabriel Rivers, the first
rancho in Orange County.
||Juan Pablo Grijalva
establishes a rancho south and east of the Santa Ana River. It was later
granted to his heirs, the Yorba and Peralta families, as the Rancho Santiago
de Santa Ana.
||Great Stone Church
at Mission San Juan Capistrano is dedicated after nine years of construction.
It was destroyed by an earthquake six years later.
||Argentine pirate Hipólito
Bouchard raids San Juan Capistrano.
||Mexico breaks away
from the Spanish Empire, taking California with it.
of the missions opens vast areas to be granted as private ranchos.
||Rancho San Joaquin,
later part of the Irvine Ranch, is granted to José Sepulveda.
||Juan Forster is granted
the Rancho Mission Viejo.
||War breaks out between
the United States and Mexico. California is captured, and ceded to the
United States by treaty two years later.
a state. Los Angeles County is formed. It included what is now Orange
||Anaheim is founded
as a wine growing community. The first settlers arrived two years later,
after the first grapevines were planted.
||Two-year drought devastates
the local cattle industry.
||Anaheim Landing is
established on Alamitos Bay. It is moved to Anaheim Bay three years later.
||James Irvine and his
partners buy two old Mexican ranchos and a part of third for a sheep ranch.
Irvine buys out his partners in 1876, giving him some 110,000 acres.
||The Rancho Santiago
de Santa Ana is partitioned. The Stearns Ranchos, west of the Santa Ana
River, are placed on the market, opening that area to settlement.
||Santa Ana is founded
by William Spurgeon. Tustin is founded by Columbus Tustin. Westminster
is founded by Rev. Lemuel P. Webber. The first attempt is made to create
Orange County. The first English walnut trees are planted. The Anaheim
Gazette, the first local newspaper, is founded. Newport Bay becomes a
||Orange is founded
by Alfred Chapman and Andrew Glassell.
||The Southern Pacific
extends their railroad from Los Angeles down to Anaheim. The rails reached
Santa Ana two years later.
||Mining boom in the
||The first successful
oil well in the area is drilled near junction of Brea Canyon and Tonner
||A mysterious grape
disease devastates the local wine and raisin industry.
||The Santa Fe Railroad
arrives, breaking the monopoly of the Southern Pacific. A real estate
boom follows. Fullerton is founded by the Amerige brothers. Buena Park
is founded by James Whitaker.
||The Newport Beach
wharf is built by the McFadden brothers. Shakespearean actress Helena
Modjeska builds home in upper Santiago Canyon.
||Orange County is formed
out of the southern portion of Los Angeles County. Santa Ana is selected
as the county seat.
||First Orange County
||Santa Ana & Newport
Railway begins service. The first commercial celery crop is raised in
||The Southern California
Fruit Exchange (Sunkist) is formed. The first co-operative packing houses
are organized. Trabuco Canyon Forest Reserve is created (becomes part
of Cleveland National Forest in 1908).
||The first sugar beet
factory in Orange County is built at Los Alamitos.
||James Irvine donates
Irvine Park to the county.
||Huntington Beach is
founded. Originally known as Pacific City, it was renamed two years later
after it was acquired by a group of investors led by Henry Huntington.
The new Orange County Courthouse opens for business.
||Pacific Electric “Big
Red Cars” first reach Orange County. Three rail lines are eventually—built
down the coast to Balboa, through the center of the county to Santa Ana,
and across the northern end of the county to Yorba Linda.
||Cypress and Stanton
are founded along new Pacific Electric line.
||Glenn L. Martin of
Santa Ana builds and flies his own airplane. Santa Ana Co-Operative Sugar
Co. plant built at Delhi.
||City of Stanton incorporates
to block Anaheim’s plans for a sewer farm in the area. Dis-incorporates
13 years later.
||Fullerton Junior College
opens. The first Fuerte avocado orchard is planted in Yorba Linda.
||The Orange County
Hospital and Poor Farm opens.
||The Joy Zone amusement
park opens in Seal Beach.
||Some 1,600 local residents
serve in the armed forces during World War I.
||Oil discovered on
Chapman Ranch in Placentia. The Orange County Free Public Library is established.
Orange County Historical Society formed.
||The first oil well
comes in at Huntington Beach. Walter Knott moves to Buena Park to go into
the berry business with his cousin, Jim Preston.
||First commercial radio
station (KFAW) established in Santa Ana.
||San Clemente is founded
by Ole Hanson.
||The Coast Highway
||Orange County Flood
Control District formed.
||Santiago Orange Growers
Association in Orange is the largest Valencia packing house in the nation.
St. Joseph Hospital opens.
||The Santiago Dam is
built, creating Irvine Lake.
||First Festival of
the Arts held in Laguna Beach; Pageant of the Masters added for second
||The Long Beach earthquake
causes serious damage and loss of life in Orange County.
||Ortega Highway opens.
||Newport Harbor dedicated
following extensive dredging program. San Juan Hot Springs closed.
||Major flooding sweeps
across Southern California.
||The Orange County
Airport opens at its current location. Prado Dam completed.
||The Santa Ana Army
Air Base and Los Alamitos Naval Air Station are established.
||El Toro Marine Corps
base and lighter-than-air blimp base in Tustin are established.
||The case of Mendez
v Westminster ends school segregation in California.
||Orange Coast College
opens on the site of the former Santa Ana Army Air Base.
||Pacific Electric (Red
Car) passenger service ends in Orange County.
||The Municipal Water
District of Orange County is formed.
||The third national
Boy Scout Jamboree is held on the Irvine Ranch.
||Chapman College moves
down to Orange from Los Angeles. Newport Harbor Buffalo Ranch opens on
||Hughes Aircraft, Orange
County’s first major aerospace plant, opens in Fullerton. The Santa
Ana (I-5) freeway is completed through Orange County.
||Classes begin at Orange
County State College (now California State University, Fullerton).
||Rossmoor Leisure World
at Seal Beach opens.
population tops 1,000,000.
||Laguna Hills Leisure
World opens (now the City of Laguna Woods). St. Joseph Hospital completes
its expansion to 290 beds along with Children's Hospital of Orange County
||The University of
California, Irvine opens for classes.
||Anaheim stadium opens.
||South Coast Plaza
opens. Last commercial walnut groves torn out.
||Yorba Linda native
Richard M. Nixon is elected President of the United States.
||Major flooding in
the Santa Ana Mountains and downstream areas.
||University of California,
Irvine takes over Orange County Hospital.
||The first portion
of Dana Point Harbor opens.
||With the fall of Saigon,
thousands of Vietnamese refugees arrive in Southern California. Many later
settle in Westminster and Garden Grove.
||Irvine Ranch sold
for $337 million.
||Villa Park Orchards Association
packs its last crop of oranges.
||The Crystal Cathedral
population reaches 2,000,000.
||The Orange County
Performing Arts Center opens. Rancho Santa Margarita is founded.
||The first stretch
of the Foothill (241) toll road opens.
||Orange County files
for Chapter 9 bankruptcy after a $1.5 billion investment pool loss. The
county emerges from bankruptcy 18 months later, but it will be years until
the debt is paid.
||The Knott family sells
Knott’s Berry Farm to Cedar Fair LP of Ohio.
||The El Toro Marine
Corps Naval Air Station is closed. After a long public debate and several
elections, part of the area is set aside to form the “Great Park.”
The rest will be developed.
||The Anaheim Angels
win the World Series.
||Auction of former
Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro closes, and construction of the Orange
County Great Park begins on this site.
||Villa Park Orchards
Association closes, Orange County’s last citrus packing house.
||The Anaheim Ducks
win the Stanley Cup.
crisis sends local home prices plummeting.
||Federal census sets
county population at more than three million.
||Following the bankruptcy
of Crystal Cathedral Ministries in 2010, Crystal Cathedral is sold to
the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange which announces the church will be
renamed Christ Cathedral.
of Orange (CHOC) triples in size with the construction of a seven-story