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Orange County Memories

Memories of living and working in Orange County, California

Last Build Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2018 07:08:21 +0000


Caves at Irvine Park

Fri, 06 Dec 2013 06:15:00 +0000

Photo courtesy of the Orange County Archives
An anonymous OCThen reader seems to recall exploring some caves at Irvine Park in the 1950s and 60s...

"I grew up in Santa Ana in the 1950's - 60's. I remember so many of these great memories posted. It really brings me back! I'm wondering if anyone remembers the Caves at Irvine Park? My parents took my sister and I most weekends and we would crawl around and explore these fantastic caves. Also at the park were holes in the ground where tarantula's lived. Sometimes people would pour oil (believe it or not) down the holes in order for them to come up. Then would trap them in cages, and I guess sell them."

I've never heard of them.

There is the "Robber's Cave" at Aliso Woods Canyon, but that's much further south.

Can anyone else add to this?

Westminster, CA: When Hoover Street Used To Be Named Eucalyptus Street

Thu, 05 Dec 2013 06:08:00 +0000

OCThen reader Janet Filbeck writes to us about Hoover Street in Westminster, indicating that it had originally been named "Eucalyptus Street", but was changed after a petition brought on by her grandfather. I had a series of e-mail conversations with Janet, and wanted to share this bit of Orange County history with you..."I lived on a farm (Westminster on Hoover St. once called Eucalyptus St.) until I was 6 with my grandfather and family, then we moved to Santa Ana, Ca. My grandfather took around a paper from the court to have all the neighbors sign so they could change the name of Eucalyptus to Hoover since people then couldn't spell Eucalyptus, and grandpa was tired of spelling it for people. So they changed the name. " frameborder="0" height="500" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src=",-117.977629&sspn=0.040961,0.084543&mra=dme&mrsp=1&sz=14&ie=UTF8&t=m&ll=33.759954,-117.996168&spn=0.035679,0.025749&z=14&output=embed" width="300">View Larger MapJanet's grandfather was Halsey J. Crouch, who owned a farm along what was then Eucalyptus St, and now Hoover St, along the train tracks, between Main and Hazard, where the Green Valley Growers is currently situated. Crouch came from Quakertown, CT and used to enter his crops at the Orange County Fair.I asked Janet how they came up with the name "Hoover Street"..."I talked with my aunt about the road being changed to Hoover st. She said it was around the time I was born or late 40's. She said that grandpa went to the only court house then in Santa Ana and wanted to get the street changed because no one knew how to spelled the name. Grandpa's farm was near the main st she said. He grew melon and tomatoes with his many trees. Then he grew grapes. Grandpa also rented land across the street on Hoover st to grow green beans. I would be to small to remember the change of the street but my aunt remembers it. I thought grandpa change the street name before when my mom was young (and that would be in the 1920's but my aunt said it was before she got married in the 1940's."Of course, located right behind Crouch's farm was the old Hoover School, the famed "Mexican School" that became the subject of a landmark discrimination case in 1947 concerning Mexican kids being denied enrollment at the other school in Westminster, "17th Street School". Hoover School was dedicated in 1929, and most likely named after Herbert Hoover, who had been President at the time. It seems likely that "Hoover Street" was named to align with Hoover School, but Janet seems to disagree..."My Aunt said that Hoover School was there when they moved to that farm around 1933 right after the earthquake that torn down 17th school. She said it was built of bricks and they rebuilt it with wood. She said that the Hoover school had nothing to do with the Eucalyptus Street. She said that Eucalyptus trees ran all along the street to 17th Street to Garden Grove Blvd. Grandpa moved on this farm after my great grandfather went blind and couldn't pay the taxes on the land. So my g-grandfather told my grandfather he could have the land if he paid the back taxes. So grandpa bought the land and bought a house for $100.00 and had the house moved to the land. But because of the rail road tracks he had to get a easement to move the house across the tracks and so he could get to his land. So he wrote the railroad and they granted his easement. Grandpa was the only farmer to have an easement from the Railroad on that street. Then in 1944-1946 grandpa (whole time my aunt grew up the street was called Eucalyptus St) went to the Santa Ana Court house to get a paper for all the neighbors to sign to change the name since no one knew how to spell the street name. After he got all the neighbors to sign it, he went back to the Court house and talked[...]

Orange Fights in the Orange Groves

Wed, 04 Dec 2013 04:00:00 +0000

OCThen reader Philip Slocum shares his memories of when the Santa Ana Winds blew.  He and his childhood buddies would wander into the orange groves and throw fallen oranges at each other...There was a tin weather strip across the bottom of the door to the patio. When the hot winds would start to blow, late at night, the strip would vibrate and make a noise that sounded like all the lost souls in the world were in the back yard. I wasn’t afraid. To me that sound meant that oranges were falling in the groves.  Spring training would start the next day. No, not baseball. I’m talking Orange Fighting here.  The Santa Ana’s were the precursor to all things good in my life. They signified the beginning of the Christmas season. For as soon as the City would put up the Christmas lights along the streets of Santa Ana. The Santa Ana winds would blow them down. We would ride our bicycles, like avenging demon’s, south along Flower Street. Blown by the roaring winds. Only to struggle interminably against those same winds on the way back. The temperature would soar and the sun would shine and the winds would blow and the surf was Off-Shore. This was at Christmas mind you.  I firmly believe that half the people in Southern California are there because of watching the Rose Bowl with girls in Bikinis in the crowd while they were stuck in their back East houses, besieged by snow. (they all moved the next day.)   And the fragrant groves called to us. The groves were a place where parents didn’t stand a chance in hell of finding you. A place where you could spot a Navel Orange tree at 100 yards. (Why do they taste so much better right off the tree?) The groves were the place we ran to.  We were a ragtag bunch of would be surfers, ball players, astronauts, firemen and race car drivers. There wasn’t a President, School teacher, Lawyer or Accountant in the bunch. Birds fled at the sight of us. For projectiles flew from our hands with thoughtless accuracy. If it moved or stood still for that matter, it was a target. We wore hand down camies from our Marine Corps fathers. Shoes? Our bare feet were tougher than leather. As uncaring as Kevlar. And the Oranges streaked from our hands. On hot afternoons, in the early twilight or in the light of the full moon, we ran down the green passages and played our games of war. I remember my mother being shocked by the perfectly circular bruises on my body. (an unripe orange can hurt, ouch). Oh, how I miss those carefree days.The Orange Growers hated us. We probably deserved their hate. After all, we were playing with their crops and livelihood. They carried cameras into the groves and placed photos of blurred faces on the bulletin board at the local grocery store. We would steal the photos off the board before our parents could see them. And these same growers would give us jobs tending the Smudge Pots later in the season when the temperatures dropped below the freezing point. Cash was hard to come by in those days. Yet our needs were simple. Indeed, life seemed somehow simpler then. Have I changed? Or has everything changed.Sometimes I stop at an Orange Grove somewhere off the beaten track and just walk those green hallways. I smell that glorious smell and think of the friends I had then. Glen died of a Brain tumor. Ken passed with Cancer. Doug has become a famous surf board builder. Larry is a Corporate type in California. Steve builds freeway walls. And me, I run a very exciting book store in Vietnam. There are no Orange groves in Santa Ana any more. I wish that there were. I wish that the kids of today could have a little of the freedom that we had running through the groves in the hot Santa Ana winds. Philip R Slocum,Known to the gang as Randy.P.S. My apologies to the Orange Growers of Southern California[...]

Bernie's Restaurant in Buena Park, CA

Tue, 03 Dec 2013 04:00:00 +0000

An Anonymous OCThen reader recalls eating at Bernie's Restaurant in Buena Park from the 1950s all the way until it closed up at its final location in La Habra...
How about Bernie's Restaurant on Beach Blvd. in Buena Park? 
In the mid 1950's when I attended Lindbergh Elementary School (at Stanton and 4th Street) we would, at lunch time, ride our bikes down 4th Street to Bernie's for lunch. Have a hamburger and a coke. Throughout the years, Bernie's was always there for breakfast and lunch. At one time it was even open for dinner.

In the 1970's I recall that Cliff would have a great New Year's Eve Party in the restaurant. At one of those parties Cliff went up to Mike Clewley and said, "I want no trouble here tonight, Mike, OK."

I often ate breakfast on Staurdays with my dad. As the years went by, we often ate breakfast on Sat. or Sun. I recall one man who would always wear a top hat and sat at the counter.

Connie and/or Paula would often work there too. These are Cliff and Jean's daughters. Calvin is Cliff and Jean's son and later on he ran the place. Kimmie even worked at Bernie's, Kimmie is the owner of the chain of Kimmie's Coffee Shops (restaurants) (in Fullerton, Orange, Brea, Placentia and also Reno, NV). The decor in Kimmie's Coffee Shops reflects that of Bernie's country style. It was Cliff's mother Bernie who originally started the restaurant. Artie worked there (Arthur Lucas) who was a Buena park resident. Pete, another Buena Park resident, also worked there.

Throughout the years Bernie's was always a place to go. But, alas, with the closure of some closeby businesses and certain demographic changes, the number of customers dwindled. Bernie's in Buena Park was eventually closed after being there for well over 50 plus years. Calvin moved the business to Harbor Blvd. in La Habra, but after a short while even that Bernie's was closed.
There is a short article about Bernie's Restaurant (the final location in La Habra) here:

There is also an detailed article about Kimmie (mentioned) above, which mentions Bernie's here:

OC Weekly published a brief review back in 2001, found here:

Anyone with memories, information, or photos to share about Bernie's, post a comment below or contact me.

20th Century Limited, Costa Mesa, CA

Mon, 02 Dec 2013 04:00:00 +0000

20th Century Limited was a restaurant located in Costa Mesa, inside South Coast Plaza. It opened to the public on December 1, 1975.

It was named after the famous 20th Century Limited railroad line of art deco inspired construction. The railroad connected Chicago to New York and ran from 1902 to 1967.

The restaurant was decorated with all the same accoutrements of an art deco styled passenger train. The interior was made to look like Grand Central Station in New York. Towards the front of the establishment were traditional booths, while in the back were replica Pullman cars that you could dine in.

Restaurant patrons would walk down brick platforms strewn with prop luggage, giant black engines spewing steam, and dined aboard gently rocking train cars with rear-projected scenery outside the window and the click-clack sound effects of the train tracks.

A couple of OCThen reader had posted comments throughout the site in reference to 20th Century Limited...

Anonymous (June 14, 2006) - Does anyone remember a restaurant that was located inside South Coast Plaza from the 80's called 20th Century Limited? It was a restaurant inside an actual railroad car. I remember this only vaguely from childhood.

Anonymous (July 26, 2006) - I remember 20th Century Limited. I had lunch there with a friend and her mom when I was about 8 or so. The sugar bowls had multicolored sugar in them and I thought the whole train concept was so sophisticated!

Marianne Dow (July 15, 2008) - Remember the 20th Century Limited restaurant in South Coast Plaza - it was a real train car. Good times.

Anonymous (Sep 17, 2010) - Remember the 20th Century restaurant? The one inside the train?

Anonymous (Sep 21, 2012) - when I got married we went to the 20th century restaurant with the rail car motiff quite a bit...there are a lot of great memories for me at that mall...

Anonymous (Apr 22, 2012) - Other favorites over the years were the 20th Century Limited Dining Car Restaurant.

If anyone has a photo of 20th Century Limited, e-mail me here, and I'll add it to this page.

Post your memories of 20th Century Limited below...

Buy A Coke for Bear on Harbor Blvd

Sun, 01 Dec 2013 04:00:00 +0000

Photo of the actual bear taken in the 1950s or 60s. The man in the photohad the last name, "McCoy", his wife donated the photo toJanet Filbeck who in turn sent us this digitized copy.A number of OCThen readers recall visiting a bear in a cage on Harbor Blvd (or Westminster), perhaps at a dairy in Garden Grove.  You could buy a Coke or a soda for a nickel and give it to the bear to drink.  It was a little bit of cheap amusement after a trip out to the farm fields of Garden Grove, back in the day.It makes me wonder if Coca-Cola used this piece of history for its series of "Polar Bears drinking Coke" commercials.In that time, it was common for businesses in the farming areas of Orange County to use caged wild animals as a way to lure families in.Here are the comments I found regarding the Bear in the Cage...Anonymous (July 11, 2009) - Anyone remember the bear in a cage on Harbor Blvd between Santa Ana and Costa Mesa? And the buffalo ranch. Great memories. Thanks!Anonymous (Nov 17, 2010) - Does anyone remember bear that drank soda? It was in Orange County, I think it was on Harbor Blvd. It was in a fenced in area, and you could purchase cokes or other soda pop from a machine, and the bear would drink it for your amusement. It must have been in the early 1960's.Doug Reeder (June 4, 2012) - Another highlight was stopping along old Harbor Blvd. on the way to the beach area to see the bear in the cage. For a nickle the bear man would give a small bottle of Coke to the bear and he would drink it holding it between his front paws. Anonymous (Jan 6, 2013) - And the guy with the bear was Frank ( Manny ) Mc Cubbins.Philetus (Jan 15, 2013) - The dairy on Westminster before Harbor with the zoo had a bear (or gorilla, I can't remember which) in a cage out front with a coke machine you could buy a coke and give it to the bearGlendora Hammond (Dec 1, 2013) - That poor bear was on Harbor. He loved Orange pop and was so abused. His cage was tiny and he paced back and forth. I felt so sorry for him.Janet Filbeck (Dec 1, 2013) - I remember the bear in front of a store on a chain. They would bring the bear from his cage in the morning and take him back later in the day. I don't remember it being in a cage during the day. We would buy it coke and it was fun as a kid watching it drink it. It was a fun memory as a kid. This is a picture of the bear being taken to the front of the store. Given to me by a friend of mine and her husband is in the back. His last name is Mc Coy. This picture was taken in the late 50's or early 60's she said.Carole Tibbets (Dec 1, 2013) - The bear was on Harbor Blvd., next to the driving range, between Edinger and Warner. Later, Frank had a small zoo and after, he got rid of the zoo animals, he started a boarding stables, before, he moved to Oregon. I boarded my horse there for about 8 years.Anyone with memories of this please post a comment...[...]

Macy Elementary School, La Habra, CA

Fri, 29 Nov 2013 21:11:00 +0000

Browse other vintage La Habra photographs and postcards.OCThen reader, "Monterey Jack" shares memories of attending Macy Elementary School in La Habra during the 1960's...Macy Elementary School, La Habra. In the 60's, I was a student there in the lower elementary grades.Folks out there remember some of the fine teachers ? Miss Voss ? Mrs. Morrison ? Mrs. Lewis ? Mrs. Schneringer ?I recall Miss Voss reading chapters of Anne of Green Gables to the class. It seems Miss Voss also had the class put on a production of Amahl & The Night Visitors. Mrs. Morrison would frequently rave about the virtues of yogurt, and she taught kids to be open-minded about there being more than one possible answer or interpretation to things. Mrs. Morrison was a shining example of a teacher valuing each diverse kind of student and making them feel valued and cherished - she will always be remembered as a favorite teacher.Mrs. Lewis was tuned in to some pretty "out there" stuff -- I remember her explaining the concepts of micro-particles and infinity to my kindergarten class ! She must have had great faith in the ability of 5-year-olds to grasp something about these. I will never forget her explanations, the details of which have influenced me all my life and to this very day. I have a very strong interest in speculative particle physics (quantum physics), even though I am a creative artist, and not a scientist.Mrs. Scheringer taught at Macy School, but wasn't my teacher, however she was a neighbor and her kids were some of my best friends as a child -- most were older than me by a couple grades or by several grades. Because of her daughter Judy's piano playing, she inspired my lifelong interest in music. I also looked up to Judy as a role model ; she was older and quite mature at the time for her age, which I remember as around 12 when I was about 5. Mrs. Schneringer's son Rick was one of my best childhood pals and we often discussed science topics and the French language. I remember the Scheringer family fondly, as very upbeat and positive. Mrs. S. & her kids had such a positive impact on my growing up, they were all very creative, intelligent, kind, caring, & encouraging people. The neighborhood (near Macy School) speoke very highly of the Schneringers as a model family, who reached out to others and did kind things for them.So there above is a bit of educational & social history of northwest La Habra, Orange County, California. I use the nickname "Monterey Jackson" and those wishing to share Macy School (& the neighborhood) memories may e-mail and put "Monterey Jackson" in ths subject line.Hope I brought a smile to the faces of folks who connected with this (above) account of La Habra, OC life "back then." Say cheese ! -- From "Monterey Jack"[...]

Memories of Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, and Garden Grove

Fri, 29 Nov 2013 17:58:00 +0000

Huntington Beach Pier - Browse other vintage HuntingtonBeach photos and postcards.An anonymous OCThen reader submits their memories of growing up in Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, and Garden Grove....I grew up in OC. I was born in 1958 in Whittier CA and moved to Costa Mesa from 1960 - 1968 (on Elden Street near 22nd Street) and then to Huntington Beach (Bushard & Adams) and then (Brookhurst and Victoria)and then to Garden Grove on (Morningside Dr in the Buena-Clinton area)and then on Blue Spruce near harbor Blvd) I attended Lindbergh Elementary School in Costa Mesa, Gisler Intermediate in HB and Doig Junior High and Santiago High in GG.COSTA MESA - there was a little hamburger stand on Newport Blvd near 22nd St named Russ's or something like that, it was like In & Out food before In & Out. I remember going to McDonald's near the Blue Chip Stamp Store. Ramsey's Drug Store on Newport Blvd. A Circle K or something like that where we would buy ICEE'S at during the summer, near Charlie's Chili. Pat's Liquor Store with the apartment above it on Newport and 22nd St. There was also a Der Weinerschnitzel on Harbor across from Theodore Robbins Ford where my parents bought a brand new 65 Mustang that I got to drive in High School. There was a Costa Mesa Park with a big airplane at the park that they had the fair in. There was a parade, was it called the Fish Fry? Going to Disneyland & Knott's. I remember the A-E ticket books at Disneyland. We walked to Lindbergh on Orange St and there was a house that had a statue of a bull on the corner in their yard.HUNTINGTON BEACH - going surfing at lifegaurd station 13 at the end of Brookhurst before and after school and all summer long. Going roller skating at a rink on Newport Blvd near Superior? Two Guys store on Brookhurst and Adams across the street from Save on. There was also a Thrifty's that we would buy double scoops for 5 cents a scoop. We would ride bikes all over. Hang out at Gisler and had so many friends. GARDEN GROVE - I hated the move from HB to GG but grew to love it there. We lived in an apartment that is now a gang area but it was safe back then. There was a huge slide and trampoline place on 17th St. I worked at a Jack in the Box across from Honor Plaza. We would walk to school and spend our lunch money at a Winchell's Donut Shop on the way to Doig Jr High. At Santiago we hung out at Del Taco and Bob's Big Boy after the football games in the 70's. Denny's we would go to and stay there until early in the mornings. Learned how to sneak into Disneyland by pitching in and having someone get there hand stamped and then we would transfer that stamp to 5 to 10 friends and go hang out and dance at that Terrace Theater with live bands that went up and down during the summer. There was a Sambo's Restaurant on Harbor Blvd that we had our pre-game football meals at.So many memories and so much fun. Can we go back and do it again? Anybody live in any of these areas and does any of this ring a bell? Thanks for the fun![...]

What Used to Exist in Newport Beach

Thu, 28 Nov 2013 17:21:00 +0000

OCThen reader Bob King is putting together pamphlet about things that no longer exist in Newport Beach... 
Hey all.....graduated from Seal Beach Grammar School on PCH and 12th in 1948. Still go to Seal on occasion to visit with a couple of friends and to eat at Walt's. I have a ton of memories about Seal, Sunset, Surfside, Belmont Shore, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport, but I trying to remember the location of the Victoria Station Restaurant in Newport Beach and simply can't remember.  
 Can someone out there help this old dude? Need it as I am endeavoring to put together a pamphlet along the lines of "Things That Aren't Here Anymore".

Bob King
Newport Beach
The old Bison Ranch comes to mind.  It was an old restaurant and zoo where families could spend their afternoon and then snack on some bison burgers.  It was located along Jamboree Road where Bison Road intersects.

There was Merle's Drive Inn, located on MacArthur and PCH.  In the 1960's it was renamed "The Zoo" and then in the 1970s it closed down.

Also, Sid's Blue Beet, a favorite night spot located by the pier.  It changed hands was renamed "Blue Beet Cafe".

What you do remember about Newport Beach that doesn't exist anymore?

Dakind Bar in Costa Mesa

Wed, 20 Nov 2013 23:15:00 +0000

Orange County Memories Reader Baz Rebell asks:

Anyone recall the name of the tiny but fun little beer bar on Harbor near Adams in the late seventies? The owner married his hot little blond bartender who could imitate Marilyn Monroe to a tee. The barmaids were all sexy-spectacular but alas a liquor license killed the business. It was later sold and renamed 'dakind' but never regained its earlier luster.

Do you remember the bar in Costa Mesa that Baz is asking about?

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Pioneer Chicken on Tustin Avenue

Tue, 19 Nov 2013 00:09:00 +0000

OCThen reader "Power" submitted this memory about Pioneer Chicken:
Remember Pioneer Chicken folks? Oh man I can still taste that chicken. Why did they go they were doing fine at least the one I used to go to in Orange on Tustin Avenue? They to me were as good as Kentucky Fried Chicken and different taste. And then a favorite Family restaurant also one Spoons also on Tustin Ave. Once upon a time. Sad.
According to Wikipedia:
"Pioneer Chicken, (or Pioneer Take Out, as it is officially named), is an American fried chicken restaurant which was founded in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles in 1961 by H.R. Kaufman. When Kaufman sold the chain in 1987, there were 270 stores operated by 220 franchisees. 
During the 1970s, several locations operated in Honolulu on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. There are three locations remaining in Los Angeles. It was named after Pioneer Market, a now-defunct small chain of supermarkets in Los Angeles. The original location in Echo Park was located next to the 1980s era Pioneer Market (the original 1932 market having been torn down in the 1980s) and is (now a Walgreens Pharmacy) on Echo Park Avenue and Sunset Boulevard. Due to considerable redevelopment activity in the neighborhood caused by gentrification, it was shut down in March 2009. During the 1980s, Los Angeles Lakers announcer Chick Hearn and former football player O.J. Simpson used to advertise for the restaurant."
Did your family eat at Pioneer Chicken? Do you remember the O.J. Simpson ads?

Fox Theater in Anaheim

Tue, 10 Apr 2012 03:06:00 +0000

Fox Theater, Anaheim, CA
A few OCThen readers remembering going to the old Fox Theater in Anaheim...
Johnny - Those of us who grew up in Anaheim will remember the Fox Theater on the north side of downtown Lincoln. I spent many hours there from the early 1960s until it closed in the 1970s. I saw some of the best movies, and loved the art deco architecture, even though I didn't know what to call it as a kid. Before the city developers ruined downtown Anaheim, it was always great to walk or ride bikes to the Fox Theater for matinees on Saturday! 
Cox Pilot - The Fox was where I first saw Bambe in the early '40's. We live just off Lincoln on East street, and my Mother and I would walk to the movies, and then she would do her shopping down town. Dad took the only car to work (a '29 Chev 2-door.) We finally moved to Santa Ana in 1947. 
Anonymous - Johnny, I remember the Fox Theater on Lincoln Ave in Anaheim very well. I grew up on Ball Road between Harbor and Anaheim Blvd (originally called Los Angeles Street). The house is a chiroprator's office the last I saw and it is across the side street from Oasis, a rehab/treatment center (sometimes used on the Intervention TV program). The Rose family used to live there. We had orange groves across the street and at the end of the tract on the Harbor side where we would play alot of the time. Ball Road was just a two lane street at that time and the Helms Bakery truck would come through the neighborhood, and milk was delivered in glass bottles to your front door. We moved to different areas of Anaheim through the years and my high school years were Lincoln and State College area, where somebody mentioned the Boston Store and Grant's. My mom worked at Grant's in the late 60's, early 70's. But it is my early childhood, growing up a block from Disneyland, that I remember the most fondly. Things have really changed since then.
I used to visit the Fox Theater in San Diego, in the North Park community along University Ave during the early 1970s. Us kids would come in for the matinee and watch Little Rascals, Lone Ranger, and the old black & white Popeye cartoons. Kids would run around, yell and scream, and the floor would get littered with popcorn and spilled sodas, and it only cost us $0.25 to get in.

What were your memories?

Army Navy Surplus Store Garden Grove

Wed, 20 Oct 2010 21:46:00 +0000

Mark White submits his memories of working at his father's Army Navy Surplus store at 9651 Garden Grove Blvd (between Gilbert and Brookhurst) during the 1950s...

I grew up in Garden Grove and grew up in my Dad’s Army Navy Surplus Store at 9651 Garden Grove Blvd, today it is a Korean Restaurant. I worked there from the middle of elementary school, the 1950’s, first sweeping and straightening up sections. On a Saturday I might sweep the store, using oiled sawdust and then be in charge of straightening all of the electrical section or camping gear or to stock the tools. I loved it.

Outside the door was a red Coca Cola Vending machine Dad had purchased, yes as surplus, and then purchased the 12 oz coke and stocked it himself. He would make his kids, me, buy a coke after being paid for working. With that you should have decent insight into my Dad. Every Saturday until I was on “payroll” he would buy me lunch from Zestos across the street. I can smell Zestos now. In my humble opinion, Zestos and In-n-Out ran neck and neck.

One anniversary for he and Mom, he bought a gorgeous ship's barometer and temperature set. Done in wood and brass it was beautiful on my mothers den wall. He came rushing home months later and took both telling my mother he could pay the mortgage with the money he was going to make on the set. That was Dad.

The store had camping gear, canvas, clothing, work shoes and much much more. Today Kids love Dickies. We sold the real thing, grey and tan work pants. Men from all over would come at regular intervals to buy their “gear”. When a customer my Dad recongnized as a Dickies customer would walk in the door, Dad might rush to the clothes section grab the size 40 waist 32 in seam the man would need and have the pants set for display. “Walk around the store and see what else you need and get these in a box in a moment”.

When we got Levis and army gear was popular in the sixties... I was in heaven. “What size in men’s pants do you think I need”, would ask a lovely Rancho Alamitos Senior Cheerleader. “Oh, well, turn around and let me guess”. My Dad said, “always guess two sizes smaller and hand them the proper size and one size bigger, when the young customer says these are too big for me it makes them feel good”. What a great job... What a great job, sorry lost it for a sec with some awesome memories.

Everyone from babes to boys scouts came in that store. I included a picture, I am thinking the year is 1959. My Grandfathers black Cadillac is on the side, my Dad’s truck is in front of the store. The coke machine is visible just to the right of the door in front of the store. Sorry no pictures of the soon to be hippie kids buying jeans but it sure is a hoard of wonderful memories for this Orange County Kid.


A Memory of Fess Parker

Tue, 05 Oct 2010 13:27:00 +0000

(image) Last March, an OCThen reader submitted a memory of meeting Fess Parker, the actor of the Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone television shows...

I saw in the newspaper today of the passing of Fess Parker and it brought back memories of meeting him in the 1960s.

At that time I was working for an FBO at what was then Orange County Airport, and on this day I was in the office when a single engine piper taxied up and parked on our transit line. The pilot got out and started walking up to the office. I noticed the rotating beacon on his aircraft was still on so when he walked into the office I said to him "You're going to have a dead battery when you come back."

He was kind of taken back by my comment and said, "Why is that?" I said, "You left your master switch on", as I pointed out to his aircraft with the beacon going round and round. He replied, "Oh wow thanks so much", as he rushed back out to turn it off. At that point it still didnt register who he was but he had a pony tail and was probably 6ft 6 inches tall and I thought he looked like the oldest hippie I had ever seen (this was the late 60s remember).

He came back in and said "Thank you so much for catching that, you saved me a lot of trouble." It was then that I reconized the voice and face as Davy Crockett.

An FBO, by the way is a Fixed Base Operator, similar to a service station for aircraft.

Buck's Antique Clocks - Costa Mesa

Mon, 04 Oct 2010 13:32:00 +0000

Last March, an anonymous OCThen reader submitted a note regarding the remnants of an old clock shop in Costa Mesa, and wondered if anyone can provide more information...

Last week I noticed something that piqued my curiosity. On Newport Blvd. at 17th Street in Costa Mesa.-on the south-east side of the street, the old, small Van's store sign was removed. (Van's moved to a newer and much larger spot.) Underneath the old sign, and looking very old, faded letters appeared. It says what looks like: Buck's Antique Clocks--a family tradition since 1892. Next to it faded letters that say: Escapade. Can any of you old-timers remember this clock shop? And the shop next door? I want to go get a picture before they paint over or demolish it. There are so few remnants of the past...

UPDATE: OCThen reader Gaye submitted the following photo illustrating the remnants of the old Buck's Clock and Escapade signs..


Carrie Wicket Clothes Store

Fri, 01 Oct 2010 13:55:00 +0000

A couple of OCThen readers share their memories of a 1960s and 70s clothing store located at the Orange Circle called "Carrie Wicket"...

Anonymous said...
Hello! Does anyone remember a girls (young womens) clothing store on the "Orange Circle" in Orange named "Carrie Wicket"? An old friend and I were talking about our days at Santa Ana Valley High School in the late 60's, and what a great store Carrie Wickets was. In the 70's, they opened a mens store across the street called "Sir Wickets".....I remember we could always find cute clothes at Carrie adays, you could spend a whole day at any mall and not find a thing to buy! Love those olden days!

Janie Elsey Campbell
Class of Santa Ana Valley, 1968

Anonymous said...
Yes! I recall Carrie Wicket's! My mom bought me a lemon yellow linen pantsuit that I got lots of compliments on. I was 13 or 14. Wasn't it a little upscale? At least it seemed like it at the time. If I remember correctly the racks were always well stocked and the sales ladies were very helpful. I hadn't thought of that store for decades. Thanks for the memory!!

Buena Park Home Town Days

Thu, 30 Sep 2010 13:39:00 +0000

An anonymous OCThen reader submits memories of Buena Park's Home Town Days, the predecessor of Silverado Days...

Prior to Buena Park's Silverado Days there used to be a celebration called "Home Town Days". This was typically held around May of each year.

My memories are from the late 40's to the early 50's. A parade was held and it went down Grand Ave. (Now Beach Blvd.) Local merchants and businesses would have entries in the parade.

The theme was cowboy and western and nearly everyone would dress up like cowboys and cowgirls.

They had a requirement that all men in town were required to have a beard of at least 1/4-inch long growth. If the men were caught in town without such a beard they would be arrested by the Home Town Days Sheriff or deputies and be put into a makeshift jail/cage until their trial came up. They held a kangaroo court. I can't recall exactly what it took to get out of jail but I remember the judge and the trials.

I think the celebration lasted for a few days.

Home Town Days stopped being celebrated in the mid 1950's.

It was in 1957 that the name Home Town Days was dropped in favor of Silverado Days, to coincide with the city's plans to adopt a western-style theme in downtown.

Wendy Ward Charm School Memories

Wed, 29 Sep 2010 13:06:00 +0000

(image) Tammy submits her memories of attending Wendy Ward Charm School in Santa Ana...

I grew up in Santa Ana, and one of my fondest memories is of attending the Wendy Ward Charm School which was located in the Montgomery Wards on 17th Street. Every Saturday we trekked upstairs, through the furniture department and spent a couple of hours learning how to paint our nails, walk and sit with good posture and conduct ourselves like ladies. Lots of lights and mirrors, costumes and instructional posters made that space very glamorous to my 10 year old girlie side.

Serena, with the big blond hair and long red-lacquered fingernails was our instructor. The best part was when we got to go downstairs to the girls department and pick out 3 of the prettiest outfits we could find (and matching shoes of course!), which we then modeled during a fashion show on a Saturday afternoon. They had stage risers set up and music playing. I loved it!!

Wendy Ward Charm School was something exclusive to Montgomery Ward's stores, and was offered at many of their locations across the country. The program started in the mid 1960s, and each graduating class would model themselves in a fashion show.

Bank of America Irvine & Placentia Burning 1970

Tue, 28 Sep 2010 13:50:00 +0000

In 1970, the Bank of America in Irvine burned down at the hands of arsonists. It happened only six months after the Bank of America in Isla Vista was burned down by protestors, and just a couple months after another branch in Placentia. After the Irvine burning, people began to refer to 1970 as the year of the BofA Burnings.An anonymous OCThen reader submitted the following memory, which caused me to do some research...Who out there remembers in the 1960's in Irvine across the street for UCI there was the Town Center. It had a Tick Tock Market, one of the first Kinko’s, a Jolly Rogers restaurant and a Bank of America. The Bank was bombed as a protest to the Viet Nam war. I was just a little kid, but I remember seeing the bank destroyed.I found a couple of LA Time articles that tells the story of the bank burning...Front Page of LA Times, Tuesday, October 27, 1970Photo of burned bank, caption:`BANK RUINS AT UC IRVINE - A revolutionary slogan adorns wall at Bank of America branch where arsonists poured flammable liquid under a door and set it afire just after midnight Monday.Arsonists Leave Radical Signs After Burning UC Irvine Bankby Bob Gettemy and Dial TorgersonTimes Staff writersArsonists painted revolutionary slogans on the Bank of America branch at UC Irvine early Monday, then set it afire and fled. The bank burned to a shell at an estimated loss of $125,000.It was the third Bank of America branch attacked in California this year. The Isla Vista branch near UC Santa Barbara was burned by rioters last February. Fire bombers damaged the Placentia branch last August.UC Irvine's student and offical community condemned the latest arson.The Irvine branch on Campus Drive, facing the entrance to the main part of the UCI Campus, was set afire shortly after midnight.Handwriting on the WallFiremen at the University Fire Station, a quarter mile east, got the call at 12:13 a.m. They could see the flames when they rolled from the station. When they got to the bank two minutes later it was burning wildly.The arsonists were gone. But they had left their handwriting on the wall: "All Power to the People." it said in spray paint on the tile facade of the burning building.Firemen could not save the bank, but halted the flames before they could reach a bookstore adjacent to it.Investigators found that in inflammable liquid-probably gasoline-had been poured under the west door of the bank and set afire.Bank officials reacted quickly when informed of the bank's destruction. The head of a firm which provides temporary structures was awakened at 2:30am and told to get a replacement rolling.Sheriff's detectives took into custody two signs carefully posted on the lawn of the bank branch. One, referring to a confrontation between young people and police Sunday at a Fullerton park closed by city offials read "Pigs Get Out of Hillcrest."Another, apparently referring to Black Panther leader Bobby Seale, charged with murder in Connecticut, said: "Free Bobby and Police Prisoners."The bank was still smoldering as students began to appear for classes in the 6,000 student campus. The smell of wet ashes drifted across the campus. Students watched firemen salvaging amid the ashes and student spray-painted slogans on the concrete shell."Oink of Amerikkka" it said, in the triple-K, radical version of the word America. "Death to the Pigs." The writing was neat, and the handwriting style almost feminine."This is ridiculous," said one student, Karen Cruise of San Clemente, a senior in drama. "The people who work in the bank shoudn't suffer for anything that maybe some dis[...]

Al's In-n-Out (Quick Snack) Burger, Santa Ana

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 13:27:00 +0000

During the 1950s and 1960s Al's In-n-Out (Quick Snack) served up memorable burgers, fries, and shakes on Main Street, near present-day Lathrop Jr. High. Later on, the establishment found itself in a legal battle with another burger chain of the same name. A couple of OCThen readers submitted some memories recently...Anonymous...The 1960's Does anyone remember The "In N Out" (not affiliated with today's chain) on Main St in Santa Ana - near Lathrop Jr. High - Best French Fries in the world.CoxPilot...I think EVERYONE remembers the In-and-Out (Quick Snack) on main. Check out all the comments on this site about it. There even used to be a U-Tube video from the '50s, but I think it was finally taken off. A good friend of mine (Roy Ross) delivered meat to them.I found several comments posted here on OCThen about Al's In-n-Out...July, 15, 2007...Two hamburger stands are at the top of my list. First, the In and Out on south Main St. in Santa Ana. Even the teachers from SAHS ate there. Al made the best french fries...Also there was an A&W drive through somewhere on south Bristol in the early 60's. We would stop there to get a frosty mug on the way back from the beach. Anyone remember where that was?BobNovember 11, 2007...Bob's comments regarding Al's In and Out on main and the old A&W are remarkable. I grew up in Santa Ana and Al's was the place. As a little kid of 8 or 9 I would walk to Main Street from Linda Way (Monte Vista School) to visit the Library, Santa Ana Hobby Shop, SAR, Jerry's Flying Hobbies and so much more in that little corner around Main and McFadden. Try explaining that there was a great In and Out before the current In and Out and you can find out who is one of the SA/OC oldtimers! But there was a couple of others, remember Fabulous Eddys? and what was that other big drive in on main, down near Edinger?? Russ's Burgers?? And the Zoo for a summer treat out near Corona Del Mar and who can forget the original Orange Inn and the Smoothies out on the coast highway across and down from the hourse ranch.Thanks for the mems!Dan BleskeySAV 72SAC 75CSUF 81November 20, 2007...To Dan B: I grew up in Santa Ana (1947 - 1985) and we lived on So. Olive right off of Edinger. Jerry was a good friend and I worked with him later in life. I also was good friends with the Palmers (Frank's Hobbies on Main, across from Pep Boys). Al's Quick Snack (In-and-Out) was at the top of the list, but Mel's on the coast hiway was where you showed you car. I live in the South Carolina now, and we have a Zesto's a block away.March 6, 2009...As others have said: Al's In And Out (before he had to change the name after a legal battle with guess who?) had fantastic fries.Do you have memories to share about Al's In-n-Out?[...]

Hank's Restaurant, Newport Beach

Sat, 25 Sep 2010 13:23:00 +0000

Anonymous remembers a restaurant called "Hank's" in Newport Beach during the 1970s...

Does anyone remember a restaurant called Hank's in Newport Beach? It was on a corner, down the street from where the pier is. It had the best fish and you could just walk in off the beach, very casual. This would have been during the 70's.

I did some Googling on this, but couldn't find any info. Considering this was in the 1970s, there's probably little information online.

But if you remember it, please comment.

Did the Beach Boys Play in Garden Grove?

Fri, 24 Sep 2010 13:16:00 +0000

Anonymous believes he saw The Beach Boys perform at the grand opening of a building supply store during the 1960s, and wonders if anyone else remembers that...

Back in 1960 when I moved to Garden Grove, there was a building supply store on the southwest corner of Westminster and Brookhurst, the name which I cannot remember. Anyway, for some reason, I distinctly remember for the grand opening, a band performing in the parking lot. The name of the band was the Beach Boys. I remember the band passing out albums and I believe the picture had the band on a jeep-like vehicle with palm fronds on the roof. Surfin' Safari? According to, this album was originally released in 1962.

Am I hallucinating? Is this a false memory that over time has become real?

The Yorba Room at Buffum's

Thu, 23 Sep 2010 13:09:00 +0000

An anonymous OCThen reader remembers going to the Yorba Room at Buffum's for lunch...

Is there anyone who remembers the Yorba Room at Buffum's? I lived in Santa Ana from 1954 thru 1962. As a special treat, my mother took me there for a Monte Cristo sandwich after she went shopping....There were beautiful murals on the walls of historic scenes of California, done beautifully in sophisticated muddy was an orange tree that had 3 dimensional oranges sticking out. It made such an impression on me...I am an artist today and would love to see a photo of that room....I don't think any exist.

I do remember the Buffum's in Santa Ana off of Main St., but I never went there. However, I remember when K-Mart used to have cafeterias, and my mom and I would eat lunch there.

German Style Homes in Orange County

Wed, 22 Sep 2010 13:17:00 +0000

Lori, who moved to Orange County in the mid-1990s, asks about German style architecture throughout the county...

Hi Steve,

Found your website while researching a type of home architecture/design that has me wondering about something ever since I moved to OC in the mid 90s. Maybe you have some ideas...

I have roots in Bavaria. My dad was born and raised in the southern part of Germany right at the base of the Alps. I have noticed that many, many homes in OC have what looks to me like a "chalet" type of design. "A" shaped frames attached to the front of houses, with scalloping around the edges (that seems to simulate snow) and window shutters that remind me so much of Swiss/Bavarian stlye chalets that were built specifically to keep snow from piling onto roofs. The OC homes look like little versions of those types of buildings.

My curiosity is this: Were these homes designed with the chalet look in mind, and if so why? I'm not even sure what era they come from but if I had to guess it would be maybe 50s or 60s? The only remotely possible reason that I can think of (since seeing chalets in sunny southern Ca. seems odd) is that it had something to do with Disneyland and the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride. Perhaps when Disney opened the ride it caused an interest in all things Swiss? And from there the developers perhaps started building subdivisions with that type of design?

I'd love to hear what you think. I've googled here and there and just can't seem to find anything specific.

Thank you!

P.S. I think I'll start taking photos of the homes so that I can show people what I'm talking about...

She mentions Disneyland, which if course is in Anaheim, and Anaheim of course was originally a German settlement.

Strawberry Festival and Fields of Orange County

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 13:21:00 +0000

An anonymous OCThen reader remembers the Strawberry Festival and several other "freakin cool" stuff that was unique to Orange County...

Alot of people dont remember the things that were soo freakin cool and unique to OC, like Costa Mesa's fish fry parade on Harbor, or Knotts Scary farm back when they could chase you down the street, remeber how awsome the OP pro used to be?, how about the strawberry festival, best of all- the strawberry fields, I remember riding bikes with a bunch of buddies and sneaking onto the strawberry fields and just feasting on those bad boys until the guy with the whip came and chased us away.
Does anyone remember the jungle jumps in Los Alamitos?
Good times, glad I grew up in the "real" OC!

I used to remember the Christmas Parade that would run through downtown Santa Ana in the 1980s. I used to work at the central library there, and would crawl up to the roof and watch the parade from there.