Samuel Armor.

History of Orange County, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its earliest growth and development from the early days to the present online

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Online LibrarySamuel ArmorHistory of Orange County, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its earliest growth and development from the early days to the present → online text (page 13 of 191)
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11, 1897, of 160 acres of the finest wood land in the southern part of the state.
as a perpetual playground for its inhabitants.

Some time during the seventies Rev. H. H. Messenger, a retired Episcopal
clergyinan, bought a tract of land on the mesa south of the present location of the
town of El Modena and settled a small colony of members of that denomination
on it. These people, having no water system provided and being without means
with which to develop one, soon starved out and scattered to parts unknown. A
few years later David Hewes caine down from San Francisco, bought this land
and set to work to improve it. One of the oracles in that vicinity warned him
that nothing could be done with such land. Air. Hewes answered that he could
cover the tract with twenty dollar gold pieces, if he wanted to. "You'll have to
do so, to make it worth anything," was the retort. Nevertheless, the Hewes
orchards, consisting of about 525 acres, are now worth a million dollars and the
Hewes Park is one of the show places of the county.

In January, 1920, the David Hewes Realty Company, representing the heirs
of the Hewes estate, sold the property to a syndicate of Los Angeles and Orange


County people for $1,000,000, which is an average of about $1,487 per acre for
the 672.54 acres of highly improved, water-stocked land. The improvements con-
sist of 425 acres of lemons, 212 acres of \'alencia oranges, fifteen acres in the
park, two large packing houses, pumping plant and pipe lines, ranch houses, etc.
The principal reason for such valuable property selling below the market price is
that its magnitude prevented competition among buyers. The market price for
good bearing orchards ranges from $3,000 to $5,000 per acre. In a few instances
offers of $6,000 per acre have been refused.

About a quarter of a century ago a nine-hole golf course was laid out in the
valley southeast of the El Modena grade. Among those interested in the sport,
the following names have been recalled: James Irvine, Dr. J. P. Boyd, W. H.
Burnham, R. H. Sanborn, James Fullerton and Henri F. Gardner. Golfing
parties would be made up in the diliferent communities from time to time as in-
clination prompted and the cares of business permitted until the inclination was
overborne by the cares and the sport languished. Then in 1910 the club revived
and increased its membership to about 100, drawing in such members as F. I!.
Browning, J. R. Porter, A. T- Klunk, Kellar Watson, C. F. Newton, H. T. Ruther-
ford, C. G. and A. C. Twist, J. F. Parsons, J. W. Tubbs, and George B. Shat-
tuck. In 1913 jNIessrs. Browning, Porter and Shattuck looked up the present
grounds, containing about 160 acres adjoining the city of Newport Beach west
of the bay, which the club leased for ten years with the privilege of renewal for-
another like period. The name "The Santiago Golf Club," was dropped and
June 4, 1914, the organization was incorporated as The Orange County Country
Club. An eighteen-hole course was laid out and a club house built. A tennis
court and croc|uet grounds were also provided. A professional is employed to give
instruction and look after the grounds, which are kept open the year round for the
use of members. The membership has increased to 278 and the present oificers
are: Charles G. Twist, president; F. B. Browning, vice-president; George B.
Shattuck. secretary; Harry L. Hanson, treasurer; and board of directors as fol-
lows: C. G. Twist, F. B. Browning, C. S. Gilbert, Lew ^^'allace, W. A. Huff,
Edward McWilliams, C. D. Holmes, Hugh G. Smith and George B. Shattuck.
With automobiles and good roads, groups of players come to the grounds from
anv distance for an afternoon's sport in the open air; besides special features are
nrovided at intervals in the club house for the entertainment of the members.

In 1910 C. E. Utt and Sherman Stevens bought about 600 acres of hill land
northeast of Tustin and the following year commenced to set out orchards and
build roads and drives. The eminence was christened "Lemon Heights" and earl)-
attracted the attention of Mr. Marcy, one of J. Ogden Armour's lieutenants. He
bought the original purchase of Messrs. Utt and Stevens, and later added to his
holdings over a thousand acres, purchased from others. Much of this land is
unfit for cultivation ; but with water it is susceptible of improvement as a park,
like Smiley Heights at Redlands. However, Mr. Marcy is already developing
about three hundred acres, Ixiilding scenic roads, setting out orchards and con-
veying water to the tract. The water is supplied from three wells near Tustin,
and is forced to the heights through two twelve-inch steel pipes, by electric power,
which convey 240 inches into a large reservoir on the very top of the heights,
from where such water can be delivered through pipes by gravity to all parts of
the tract. He also has a well on his own land which yields thirty inches of water.
Air. Stevens disposed of all his interests in the enterprise some time ago, but
Mr. LTtt still retains about 200 acres of the land and a large share in, if not com-
plete control of, the main water sujiply. Other former Chicagoans who are
financially interested, are Robert M. Simons, who has over ninety acres set to
oranges and lemons, and Doctor and Mrs. Bartholomew, who have about si.xty-five
acres. Of local people besides Mr. Utt there are .'Xrthur Lyon, who recently
refused $108,000 for his thirty-eight acre orange and lemon orchard ; Doctor
Waffle, who has about thirty acres of lemons, and a number of others with smaller
holdings. .\ fine view of the valleys and plains, constituting the central and soutlv


ern portions of the county, may be had from these heights; and doubtless many
]ialatial residences will be erected there in the near future, whose occupants may
thus perennially enjoy the beauties of nature enhanced by the arts of civilization.
From time immemorial San Juan Hot Springs in the canyon of that name,
has had quite a reputation as a health resort. Water may be obtained there at an}-
temperature desired, without artificial heat ; but whether it has mineral ingredients
that give it medicinal value we are not advised. It is well attested, however, that
hot baths at these springs have relieved patients afflicted with dififerent diseases,
and that the tepid mud baths have been very helpful in the treatment of rheu-
matism. Hence, if any one wishes to get rid of his rheumatics while enjoying
a pleasant outing, let liim camp at these hot springs for a few weeks, taking a
regular course of warm baths and spending the rest of the time in exhilarating
exercise and refreshing sleep.

A number of the cities and towns in the county have a plaza or public park,
a breathing place, as such places are called in the large cities. The land for this
purpose is sometimes donated to the public by the person or company that lays
out the town, and in other cases it is donated by some public-spirited citizen or
association of such citizens. In the former case the land often lies neglected for
several years, a sort of "No avian's Land," while in the latter case the improve-
ment generally follows immediately after the donation. The plaza at Westminster
is an example of the former class, and is specifically mentioned because it has
come under the care of the board of supervisors. The Stearns Land Company
donated about four acres to the community for a plaza and two acres each to
the Presbyterian Church and the public school for building sites in the year 1871.
No improvement was made on the plaza grounds for forty years. Then the com-
munity had to chip in and buy the property back, for through its own inattention
it had allowed it to be illegally assessed and sold for taxes redemption.
Nearly $400 was raised for this purpose and for sinking a well. This well flowed
for a while : but, with the capping and the light rainfall, it has ceased to flow,
in common with all the wells in that vicinity. In 1914 the care of the park was
committed to the board of supervisors and in 1916 trees were furnished by the
forestry commission. January 8, 1919. the supervisors appointed James A. J\lc-
Fadden caretaker of this park and he has bought an engine and pump ; so the
prospects for better care are brightening. This example illustrates the difficulty
of a community in having any public improvements without a local government
to take care of such improvements. It also shows that the community has the
right spirit at heart in recovering its plaza and taking steps to improve the same.
Doubtless this spirit will push the improvement until the \\'estminster Plaza will
rank with similar "beauty spots" in other cities. Santa Ana's Birch Park is almost
as popular as the County Park in attracting small groups of people for an outdoor
lunch and a c|uiet social time. The Plaza at Orange forms a picture in the minds
of the beholders that never can be forgotten, to say nothing about the pleasure it
affords citizens with leisure to enjoy its comfortable seats and grateful shade
while discussing the questions of the day. Anaheim was willing to pay six per
cent interest per annum on a twenty-acre orange orchard, vahied at $60,000,
during the life of the owner, to acquire the property at his death for park pur-
poses : but the governor vetoed the legislative act designed to legalize such a deal.
Since the blocking of that deal the board of trade has secured options from every
property owner in the library block, to purchase that property at an estimated
cost of $75,000 for a public park. Fullerton has a five-acre park now; but the
board of trade and the city trustees are advocating the purchase of the twenty
acres known as Reservoir Hill for park purposes. They are also proposing to
lav out a skyline drive, one and one-eighth miles long, on the n.earby hills, which
will give a fine view of the entire coastal plain.

At a meeting of the city trustees of Newport Beach on or about April 19,
1920, J. P. Greely, president of the board, and Lew H. \\'allace, city treasurer,




were made a committee to negotiate with the owners of a tract of land for a city
park. A tract has been offered the city for $4,000 on an easy payment plan,
which is suitable for that purpose ; it lies between Bay and Central avenues, fac-
ing Island Avenue, directly across the street from the East Newport Garage. The
tract has several big trees on the grounds and has long been used by visitors to
the beach for a camping ground.

Reference is made in the chapter on Orange County's Good Roads to the con-
struction of a road in Trabuco Canyon from the schoolhouse up to the forks by
the United States Bureau of Roads, Orange County bearing half the expense.
Trabuco Canyon is said to be one of the most beautiful in Southern California,
and to have a very fine camping ground near the Forks. The Forest Service pro-
looses to lay out this ground and lease the lots to campers, for whom it will furnish
tables and other equipment, including public toilets. Several applications have
already been made for lots on which to erect cabins. This will add another
pleasure drive and resort to the many within the county.

"Alodjeska's Home and Inn" is the business name of the idyllic retreat in the
Santiago Canyon which belonged to INIadame Modjeska for a number of years
and to which she would return for relaxation and rest after finishing a season's
engagements on the stage. The place was selected in the early days by J. E.
Pleasants, when all the sites were unoccupied. He built a commodious house
with wide porches, developed a water system and added such other improvements
as would help to make a comfortable and tasteful home for himself and family.
After Aladame jModjeska bought the property, we visited the place over thirty
years ago and were shown all about the premises by the housekeeper, in the
absence of the owner. The house was elegantly furnished with antique furniture
made of mahogany and other rare and costly woods ; the floors were covered
with rugs of intricate patterns and skins of wild beasts ; and every nook and
cranny was filled with expensive articles of vertu, curios, ornaments and various
kinds of relics. On the walls and easels were paintings of noted actors and
actresses, among which were some of Madame Modjeska in diff^erent poses in
stage attire. About the grounds were some good-sized trees that suggested to the
actress the "Forest of Arden," one of the scenes of Shakespeare's play, "As You
Like It," as a romantic name for her sylvan retreat. The flowers, shrubbery and
decorations were so placed as to add to the artistic effect of the landscape. Now,
however, the large tract originally held under oi^e ownership is being rapidly sold
of¥ in lots and acreage tracts which, of course, means more homes and more com-
munity interests, without impairing or lessening the grandeur of the mountain

"And this our life exempt from public haunt
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones and good in everything."

— Act 2, Scene 1 — "As You Like It."

Besides Mo'ljeska's Home and Inn, there are numerous houses and camping
grounds in the different canyons tliroughout the mountains. Some of the houses
are occupied all the time by families that live in the mountains for varioits reasons,
and others are occupied only in vacation or when their owners wish to take an
outing. The camping grounds are generally occupied by a few families or con-
genial friends in vacation time only, like Campt(Mivillc in the Santiago Canyon
above Orange County Park,

Most of the cities and towns along the coast appreciate the ocean as a valu-
al)le asset, not only for fishing and transportation, but also as an attraction for
pleasure seekers who spend more or less money in their midst. They accordingly
gave the deciding vote for the big bond issue for good roads to draw travel their
way : they also built bath houses, pavilions, pleasure piers and other conveniences
for the accommodation of their visitors. Residents of the interior generally go
to the beach for their annual bath in summer time when "the water is fine :" hut
tourists, accustomed to the variable climate of the East, consider California


climate as "sniiinier all the year" and, therefore, frequent the beaches without
regard to season.

Thus with over 300 miles of paved roads, including city streets, tree-lined
avenues between evergreen orchards, and scenic drives entering canyons or climb-
ing foothills that overlook the coastal plain and ocean beyond and with a great
variety of resorts and camp grounds to choose from in the mountains or at the
beach. Orange County is a veritable paradise for pleasure seekers.


Just prior to the meeting of the legislature of 1907, some representative auto-
mobile men came together at Los Angeles and drafted a road law which was intro-
duced in the legislature by Senator Savage of San Pedro. This "Savage Act"
authorized any county in the state to vote bonds for the improvement of its main
highways connecting the cities and towns, exclusive of the streets in the incorpo-
rated cities, such improvement being confined to a width of sixteen feet along
the middle of said highways, which width was later increased to at least twenty
feet, as may be seen in the following tables.

Shortly after the passage of this act an agitation was commenced to make
it applicable to Orange County ; but, some opposition being encountered, the mat-
ter was dropped for a time. Two years later the subject was taken up by the
Associated Chambers of Commerce. Petitions were circulated for signatures and
presented to the board of supervisors, asking that the question of issuing bonds
of the county for highway purposes be submitted to the electors. The super-
visors granted the petitions on March 2, 1910, and appointed C. C. Chapman, W.
H. Burnham and M. M. Crookshank as a highway commission to prepare the
preliminary work and have charge of the improvement of the highways. C. C.
Chapman served but little more than a month, resigning on account of too many
other interests that needed his time and attention, and Richard Egan was ap-
pointed to take his place. The commission employed R. T. Harris as secretary,
Daniel S. Halladay as engineer and S. H. Finley as assistant engineer. Several
months were spent in surveying and mapping the roads and in obtaining data
from all available sources ; but, ivhen the commission was about ready to report,
the approval by the people of the state's issuing $18,000,000 road bonds, caused
some doubt and hesitation.

However, after the state engineers had located the state highway through
Orange County and the county highway commission had amended its report two
or three times, said report was finally filed with the board of supervisors Septem-
ber 19, 1912, recommending a bond issue of $1,270,000. The supervisors promptly
approved the report and called the election for November 4, the day before the
regular election. The result was : Bonds, yes 5,290 and Bonds, no 2,236. The
opposition was to bonding and not to the improvement of the roads. It was
argued that, if a sum equal to the interest on bonds were put into the improve-
ment of a piece of road each year, the roads would all be improved in a few
years and the county would have no debt, or double burden, to carry meanwhile.
But over two-thirds of the voters declared in favor of the bonds in order to get
the immediate benefit of the improvement ; so the taxpayers have no just cause
for complaint of the burden which they voluntarily assumed.

In addition to the resignation of C. C. Chapman, which has already been
mentioned, the following changes in the personnel of the commission, during the
progress of the work, have been noticed in the records: On December 3, 1912,
D. C. Pixley succeeded W. H. Burnham who had resigned. On March 4, 1914,
S. H. Finley and Ralph J- JVPcFadden were joined with D. C. Pixley to constitute
the commission, but on April 21, following, jMr. Finley resigned and W. T. New-
land took his place. Seven days later ;\Ir. Finley was appointed chief engineer



with \\". W". Hoy as division engineer. June 1, 1915, X. T. Edwards succeeded
]). C. Pixley, who liad resigned from the commission.

\\'hile the "Savage Act" did not go into particulars about the kind of mate-
rials and methods to be used in improving the roads, it did require the materials
to be durable and the work to be permanent. Imbued with this spirit the highway
commission sought information from all available sources and gleaned wisdom
from the experience of others. It was decided that, after each road was properly
graded and the soil compacted, its surface should be paved with a cement con-
crete base overlaid with an oil and grit finish. In carrying out this decision the
concrete was composed of 1 part best Portland cement, 2j^ parts clean sand and
5 parts crushed rock. In some of the work the proportions were 1-2-4, respec-
tively. These ingredients were thoroughly mixed, moistened and tamped or
rolled into place to a uniform thickness of four inches. When sufficiently dry,
the surface was treated to a thin coating of heavy oil and sprinkled with finely
crushed rock. This work was all done under the vigilant eye of a competent,
trustworthy inspector employed by the county.

On ]March 3. 1915, the highway commission reported the original 108 miles
of road, estimated to be built by the bond issue of $1,270,000, as completed, with
a balance of about $240,000 left over, and recommended that such surplus be
spent in paving certain other specified roads. The board of supervisors approved
the report and authorized the expenditure of this surplus as recommended. The
final report of the commission was received and approved by the supervisors on
January 3, 1917: thus the Orange County Highway Commission, having completed
its task, was discharged with the commendation and thanks of the board of

Following is a tabulated statement of the improved roads in the county, fur-
nished by the county surveyor, in which the different widths of the paved portions
are separately grouped, as well as the sections paved by bonds and by the county
road funds; the length of each section is given in miles:

Paved Roads of Orange County


Sections of Roads — Paved by Bond

Fairview 1.51

Dyer .95

Smeltzer .62

\\'intersburg 1.0

ElToro 1.11

First Street .45

Main Street, Tustin 1.31

Newport Avenue 1.83

Westminster-Garden Grove 3.81

Laguna 10.47

Irvine Boulevard .93


Placentia-Yorba ....

Riverside No. 3 ....

Santa Ana Canyon No. 1 ....

Santa Ana Canyon No. 2 ....

Santa Ana Canyon No. 3 ....

San Juan Hot Springs ....

Santiago Boulevard 5.68

Yorba Linda 2.40

Seventeenth Street ....

Road Improvement District No. 4 ....

Paved by County



County Park

Road District Improvement No.


Sections of Roads —


Chapman Avenue



Bay City

Brea Canyon


Brea Park


Garden Grove Boulevard

Huntington Beach No. 2

La Mirada

Los Alamitos

Newport Avenue

Newport Beach Boulevard


Talbert Road

Chapman Avenue

Bradford Avenue

La Palma

Garden Grove Avenue

Edinger Street

Walker Street

Road District Improvement No. 3
Olinda Road


Paved by Bond





Sections of Roads —
Huntington Beach No. 1 .

Newport Beach

Riverside No. 1

Riverside No. 2



Paved bv Bond



Sections of Roads-
Lemon Street

Santa Fe Street

West Broadwav

Paved by Bond



Paved by County








Paved by County

Paved by CounU



Twenty-two foot Asphalt, Central Avenue, miles 4.7

Eighteen-foot Asphalt, Garden Grove, miles 9

Fifteen-foot Cement, State Highway, miles 29.6

Eighteen -foot Cement, State Highway, miles 13.8

Eight-foot Cement, Collins Avenue, miles 83


Dirt Road, estimated miles 310

County Paved, estimated miles 168.42

State Highwa}'. estimated miles 43.40

Total Aliles 721.82

As shown in the foregoing tables, the county highway commission not only
constructed more good roads with the big bond issue than the estimated amount,
but it also built many miles with county funds provided by the board of super-
visors. Since the discharge of the commission, the supervisors have continued the
road improvement policy with whatever funds they were able to command, as
may be seen from the following items of business transacted by the board :

November 5, 1919, a contract for paving East Fourth Street, Mabury Street
and Tustin Avenue was awarded to Wells & Dressier for $10,009.87 ; also, on the
same date, the bid of the same contractors to regrade the road to the County
Park for $29,238.90, was accepted.

December 30, 1919, the board of supervisors let the contract for the improve-
ment of the Buena Park-Commonwealth Road to Wells & Bressler for $14,322.64.

March 30, 1920, the bid of B. R. Ford for paving .83 of a mile of Collins
Avenue, 8 feet wide, the county to furnish some materials, for eleven and three-
quarter cents per square foot, was accepted, provided the bidder secured the
paving of the city's half of the street, which he did. This contract amounted to
$4,119.46, for the county's half and to $7,362.43 for the city's half.

On March 2, 1920, the board of supervisors awarded the contract to Wells
& Bressler for paving 1.64 miles of county roads in the Fairhaven district for
$13,080, which was the lowest of three bids. This strip of road includes portions
of South Glassell Street, Fairhaven Avenue and Grand Street, and connects the
paved street of Orange with the paved road from Santa Ana to the cemetery,
thereby making the second all-paved highway between the two cities, and giving
to each a paved road to the cemetery.

August 10, 1920, the contract for the improvement of the Fairview Road in
Fifth Road District was awarded to Wells & Bressler for $24,861.24, as the

Online LibrarySamuel ArmorHistory of Orange County, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its earliest growth and development from the early days to the present → online text (page 13 of 191)