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

. (page 8 of 191)
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 8 of 191)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

outfall and several miles of laterals reaching all the thickly settled portions of
the city.

A contract was awarded to Joseph A. Lieb on November 21, 1919, to erect
117 concrete electric light posts with single lamps complete in the business center
and principal streets of Orange for the sum of $18,000. Bonds were voted on
February 24, 1920, to the amount of $80,000 for a city hall ; also to the amount
of $12,000 for an additional city well.

According to the LTnited States census the population of the city of Orange
in 1890, two years after its incorporation, was 866; ten years later, in 1900, it


was 1,216; and in 1910 it was 2,920, having more than doubled in that decade.
The 1920 census gives a population of 4,884. Besides this good number in the
city itself, the territory surrounding Orange, and tributary to it, is thickly settled,
adding strength and support to the schools, churches and other institutions of
the city.

The elementary schools, which take the children through ihc eighth grade,
.'hereby fitting them to enter the high school, are housed in two substantial eight-
room buildings and one larger intermediate building, with all the necessary con-
veniences, which with the grounds are worth over $100,000. The Orange L'nion
high school district includes the elementary school districts of Orange, El Modena,
Villa Park and Olive. The four high school buildings, which are located in
Orange, are among the most commodious and tasteful buildings in the state, con-
sidering their cost, which was over $100,000, including the furnishings and six
acres of grounds. The St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church supports a large
parochial school at Orange, to teach the children the tenets of the church and
to give them correct instruction in the use of their mother tongue, the German
language. The school occupies two buildings valued at over $9,000.

There are nine religious denominations that are maintaining regular services
in Orange, each having its own house of worship. These church edifices range
in value from $1,000 to $50,000, including the furnishings and grounds. Lodges —
or other titles — of nearly every known organization, benevolent, educational, fra-
ternal, industrial, patriotic and social, have been instituted here and are well
supported. The Orange Public Library, containing several thousand well-selected
books, besides current papers and periodicals, is housed in a $10,000 Carnegie
building, the grounds and furnishings for which cost about $2,500 additional,
^liss Charlotte Field is the competent librarian and is assisted by her mother, ;\lrs.
Anna C. Field, who had charge of the library for many years.

The oiificers of the city at the present time are as follows : Board of trustees,
Elmer D. Hayward, president ; F. E. Hallman, W. T. Walton, O. E. Gunther, L.
W. Hemphill ; clerk and assessor, D. G. Wettlin ; treasurer, Bessie Wilkins : attor-
ney, L. F. Coburn; recorder, H. L. Dearing ; water rate collector, Florence Reavis :
marshal and tax collector, H. S. Warner ; night marshal, C. W. Pulley ; water
superintendent, W. J. Richardson; health officer. Dr. F. L. Chapline; gardener,
C. F. Saner; fire chief, A. L. Tomblin ; fire truck drivers, Wm. Vickers and D. C.
Squires ; street superintendent and general inspector, G. W. liuchanan ; board of
health, Dr. F. L. Chapline, G. W. Whitsell, Perry \'. Grout, F. A. Grote, C. C.

The Edison Electric Company supplies electricity for light and power ; the
])rincipal streets, all of the business houses and most of the private residences arc
thus lighted, while practically all the manufacturing and repair shops use electric
power. The Southern Counties' Gas Company furnishes gas for light and fuel.
The city is provided with excellent mail, express, telegraph and telephone service.

Orange made commendable progress in 1919 with quite a number of new
residences, a few new business buildings, and .several fruit packing houses, the
building cost totaling more than $100,000. The headquarters of the Orange
County Fruit Exchange are in Orange, as well as several independent buyers.
Following are some of the more expensive buildings recently erected in the city,
as shown by the building permits : The Santiago Orange Growers' Association
packing house, $52,290; Orange Union High School garage and machine shop,
$7,000; A. H. Pease, packing, $6,000; A. H. Pease, another packing house,
$6,000; N. T. Edwards, addition to offices, $2,000; Santa .Ana \'alley Irrigation
Company, garage, $2,200; George H. Pirie, remodeling building, $3,200; A. H.
Pease, addition to packing, $4,000; F. H. Kredel, business block, $7,000:
H. W. Duker. dwelling and barn, $6,500; J. Mclnnes, packing house. $7,000.

One of the first acts of the first board of trustees was to forbid the sale of
intoxicating liquors as a beverage in the city, and this opposition to saloons has
been maintained from the incorporation of the city down to the present time.


Thus the city of Orange, with much that is good and little that is evil in its make-
up, attracts and retains the best class of people for citizens.

Financial Resources of Orange District

There are two strong national banks and two savings banks in the city of
Orange, and to these may be added the Orange Building & Loan Association and
the First National Bank of Olive in estimating the financial resources of the
district. All of these institutions by their liberal assistance, carefully administered,
have done much toward the advancement of the best interests of the communit)-.
The large amount of deposits in each, in proportion to the size of the community,
shows the confidence the people have in their stability.

The deposits in the National Bank of Orange, June 30, 1920, were $1,545,-
343.27, and in the Orange Savings Bank, affiliated with it, $863,572.06, making
a total in these two banks of $2,408,915.33. The deposits in the First National
Bank of Orange on the same date were $840,514.37, and in the Security Savings
Bank, affiliated with it, $736,982.43, making a total in these two banks of $1,577,-
496.80. The Orange Building & Loan Association has deposits of $745,358.84
and the First National Bank of Olive, $169,436.51, making a total of $4,897,207.48
for the Orange district, a comfortable balance for the community after having
invested considerably over a million dollars in the five Liberty Bond issues, to
say nothing of War Savings Stamps and all the contributions to the various
relief funds.


By Linn L. Shaw

A history of Santa Ana, the county seat and principal city of Orange County,
would be incomplete and lacking in real historic value, did it not embody the tales
of the struggles and achievements of its pioneers — the men who, backing their
foresight with their limited capital, their energy and toil, selected its site in the
wilderness of mustard and cactus and made its future development possible. x'Ks
this volume contains interesting biographical sketches of nearly all these men,
wherein much is related concerning the early history of Santa Ana, the attention
of the reader is directed to them in conjunction with this article, particularly to
the life stories of W. H. Spurgeon, James JMcFadden, Samuel Ross, Granville
Spurgeon, Noah Palmer and D. Halladay. And we would also refer to the sepa-
rate article on the public library, which contains much of interest of the early
days of our municipality.

Santa Ana was founded as a settlement in October, 1869, by Hon. William
H. Spurgeon, who from that incident and from the fact that during all the years
of his activity he was a leading factor in its development, is fairly entitled
lo the distinctive title of the "father of the town," which he has always
borne. The original townsite as platted by Mr. Spurgeon, and surveyed by
George Wright, was recorded December 13, 1870, and consisted of but twenty-
four blocks ; bounded on the north by Seventh Street, on the south by First Street,
on the east by Spurgeon and on the west by West Street, or what is now officially
named Broadway. Prior to this date, however, I\Ir. Spurgeon built his plain red-
wood store, at the corner of Fourth and West streets, and the English home had
been erected on the east side of Sycamore Street, between Second and Third,
where it still remains and is being used as a blacksmith shop. December 18, 1870,
is an important date in the town's history, for upon that day the first child was
born within its borders — Lloyd Hill, a son of Jasper C. and Maria Hill.


That others than Mr. Spurgeon were attracted by news of the rich, cheap
lands of this section is attested by the record that in December in 1869 a sufficient
number of settlers had arrived to organize a school district, known as Spring.
And as usual the little American schoolhouse blazed the way for patriotic citizen-
ship — only in this instance the schoolhouse was not "red," but a rough board
affair without desks or blackboards, and provided only with long, hard benches.
Miss Annie Cozad was the first teacher and deserves a place in the history with
our local pioneers.

At this time Santa Ana was three miles off the main traveled stage road
between Los Angeles and San Diego, which crossed the Santa .\na River north of
where the city of Orange now stands, at a ford designated the "Rodriguez Cross-
ing," and continued southeasterly through Tustin, where a settlement alreadv
existed. AMth characteristic energy Mr. Spurgeon induced the stage company to
change its route to Santa Ana, and thereby secured a postoffice for the new town
in 1870. He was appointed postmaster at the munificent salary of $1 a month.
The first postoffice consisted of a wooden shoe box, with partitions to separate the
mail of the settlers. He also cut a road through the mustard connecting the new
town with the Anaheim road, with the view to making it as accessible as possible
to settlers and homeseekers. Town lots were placed on the mark-et at ridiculously
low prices and in many instances donated outright where immediate improvements
were agreed upon. The little hamlet thus struggled on for several years, slowlv
adding to its population and advantages, and receiving the benefit of a general
development of the rich, damp lands to the south and west, to which had alreadv
been applied the facetious title of the "Gospel Swamp," a term which has almost
been forgotten in the rapid march of progress. Good, pure water was easily
obtainable, and in June, 1873, Mr. Spurgeon established a plentiful supply with
an eleven-inch well, sunk to a depth of 340 feet, with a large elevated tank for
a reservoir.

The Wells-Fargo Express Company opened an office at Santa Ana in July,
1874, and the following year marked a new era of activity for the town. Just
preceding this period D. M. Dorman built the Santa Ana Hotel, a really "fine
structure for those days, at the corner of Fourth and ]\Iain streets, on the present
site of the First National Bank. This old building is now located at the corner
of Fruit and G streets. From 1873 the growth of the town gained momentum.
The ]\Iasonic brethren of the community organized Santa Ana Lodge, No. 241.
F. & A. M., which was instituted on October 1 of that year, the Odd Fellows
immediately following with Santa Lodge, No. 236, on the thirtieth of the same
month. The year 1877 marked the erection of the first brick building of Santa
Ana, which was built by j\Ir. Dodge, near the corner of Fourth and Bush streets.

Early in the spring of 1877 the Southern Pacific completed its line to Santa
Ana, from Anaheim, which for two years had been its terminus, placing its depot
at Fruit Street. The fare to Los Angeles was two dollars, and twice that amount
for the round trip, which restricted the journeys of our people and caused a good
deal of dissatisfaction. Complaint was not confined to the exorbitant fare, but the
character of the service was also bitterly condemned, as it was furnished entirely
with mixed trains and three hours was the usual running time each way. While
these complaints were apparently justified, yet the great advantage of the railroa<l
was at once manifested.

With the advent of the railroad a rival townsite, called Santa .\na East, was
platted and was expected by its promoters to attract all the business houses of the
town. The streets of this new townsite ran diagonally, parallel, and at right
angles with the railroad track, which entered the town on an angle almost due
southeast. The lots were all twenty-five foot fronts, designed for business pur-
poses, and the site extended from the railroad to French Street, including D, E,
F, G and H streets, with the cross thoroughfares from ^^'ellington Avenue to
Fruit Street. The venture was a total failure so far as any eft'ect on the business
center was concerned, which has always remained practically as outlined bv the


founder of the city, never varying more than a block or two in the swing of the
commercial pendulum.

A strong temperance sentiment in the village was indicated by the organ-
ization of a large lodge of Good Templars January 19, 1878. The last of what
might be termed the pioneer lodges was that of the A. O. U. \\'., which came into
legal existence February 27, 1879. During the month of JNIarch of this same year
Dr. J- G. Bailey began the erection of a brick block, at the corner of Third and
West streets, where it still stands. Many new dwellings now marked the site
where ten years before an absolute waste prevailed : several business houses sup-
plied the commercial wants of the people, and with its railroad, postoffice, news-
paper, express office and hotel, the inhabitants of the young city were justified
in anticipating a prosperous future. Already a bitter rivalry had developed be-
tween this lusty new aspirant for municipal distinction and the older town of Ana-
heim, which, established as it was in 1857, had held undisputed supremacy of the
valley in this regard for twenty years.

The census of 1880 was anxiously awaited by both towns, and when the
figures were finally received, showed the following population for the two
localities :

Anaheim -township 1.469 Anaheim town 833

Santa Ana township 3,024 Santa Ana town 711

Such a condition could have but one result. Santa Ana, having the advantage
of by far the most populous contiguous territory, soon forged ahead of its rival
and as early as 1882 became the chief town of the valley, a position which it has
always maintained. Just at this time, however, occurred the most discouraging
calamity of its career. The people of Santa Ana had for several years been dis-
cussing the need of a bank and in December, 1881, B. F. Seibert, a prominent
citizen of Anaheim, opened a general banking house in the new Gildmacher block,
which had just been completed at the corner of Fourth and West streets. Flis
venture was met with enthusiasm and the entire confidence of the community,
which was eloquently illustrated by the fact that his first day's deposits amounted
to $28,000. Mr. Seibert immediately became the moving financial spirit of the
town. He negotiated for business property, residences and ranch lands, inaugu-
rated a movement for a fine new hotel building and exhibited a most inspiring
and inexhaustible spirit of enterprise generally. His bank steadily grew in popu-
larity and importance until, on the fateful day of August 16, 1882, the citizens
were almost paralyzed by the news that it had failed to open its doors, behind
which $130,000 of their good money was supposed to have been safely entrenched.
Practically all the ready money of the town had passed into the hungry maw of
this unscrupulous swindler, and, as the truth of the apiialling situation became
imderstood, the temporary apathy of despair overcame the hitherto bustling little
city. Business was generally suspended and the bank failure and its probable
outcome monopolized the conversation of anxious throngs everywhere. Seibert
had discreetly vanished, and in this precaution he evinced his old-time shrewdness,
for had the outraged populace been able to lay their hands upon him at this hour
the most drastic measures would, no doubt, have been resorted to.

The general impression was that Seibert's affairs were a complete failure,
but Messrs. C. F. Mansur and Charles ^^'ilcox, who were appointed receivers of
the defunct bank, held the securities which came into their possession until ad-
vantageous sales were made and were finally able, after a period of many months
of trying circumstances, to clear up the aflfair with a total payment of seventy
cents on the dollar.

A few weeks prior to Seibert's failure a new bank, called the Commercial,
was opened on Fourth Street, near Main, being financed chiefly by Noah Palmer
and Daniel Halladay. This institution being perfectly sound and conducted on
alisolutely safe and conservative lines, assisted materially in restoring the financial
conditions of the town to a normal basis, though naturally suffering temporarily
from the general lack of confidence resulting from the previous disaster. In spite


of the retarding influence of that overwhehning loss, the tales of the wonderful
fertility of this new region served to bring new settlers and new money into the
town and its surrounding country, and improvements followed each other with
such rapidity that a genuine boom was soon in full progress.

Sycamore hall, which for some time had been used for dances and general
jniblic gatherings, was arranged for a primitive theater in May, 1881, and two
rival but enterprising citizens ]mt on the first street sprinkling wagons the same
month. The Stafford block had been built the year previous and the year 1882
was made notable by the erection of the pretentious Spurgeon block, a large
two-story brick at the corner of Fourth and Sycamore streets ; the Commercial
Bank building, at Fourth and ]\lain streets: the Dibble, Titchenal, Layman and
\ anderlip blocks, all two stories, and the Hollingsworth block, a one-story brick
structure. No less than forty good residences were erected during the year. At
this period there were eighty business houses in the town, and the religious element
was represented by five churches : the South ^Methodist. Presbyterian, Baptist,
North Methodist and the German Evangelical. The citizens were proud of their
"large new two-story school house," which by the way was later condemned and
sold by the school board, moved further north on Sycamore Street and remodeled
for a lodging house.

IMany wooden structures of more or less importance now housed commercial
enterprises of various sorts all along Fourth Street, the principal thoroughfare:
real estate agents were eagerly showing and selling ranch lands and town property
and the Griffith Lumber Company was taxed to its utmost to supply the demands
of the busy contractors. In 1883 Mr. Spurgeon's water system had a storage
ca]3acity of 20,000 gallons of pure artesian water, pumped from two deep wells,
and the taxable wealth of the town had reached the very respectable sum of
S.^Q7.785. The first fire-fighting apparatus, a chemical engine, was purchased in
December of that year, the money being raised by popular subscription.

During the summer of 1884 a handsome new hotel, the Taylor House, a large
two-story wooden building, was erected at the corner of Fourth and French
streets : and the west end of town received another important building in the D.
Gildmacher block, on the north side of Fourth Street, between West and Birch.
The winter and spring preceding marked the heaviest rainfall ever recorded in
the history of the city, the total precipitation for 1883-84 reaching over thirty-six
inches. Early in February, prior to which time the rainfall had been rather less
than the average, a season of flood began. All streams were transformed into
raging torrents, and as there were no wagon bridges, soon became impas.sable.
Railroad traffic was suspended altogether February 16, when the bridges over
both the Santa Ana River and Santiago Creek were practically destroyed and
several miles of track beyond washed out. Away to the west and south for miles
the country resembled an inland sea, and a rowboat, launched by some courageous
citizens at the western edge of town, voyaged into the Newport district, where
it was reported that human lives were in danger. These men did take several
parties out of the flooded district, but found no one in imminent peril. Mucli
property was destroyed by this flood, a few families being rendered almost desti-
tute, but such instances were readily cared for by the warm-hearted people of
the valley.

Train service to Santa Ana was not resumed until March 2f>, and was inter-
rupted several times after that by freshets. Mail, provisions, etc., had been brought
in with great hardship intermittently during the period of isolation, and while
SU])plies were often at a low ebb, there was never any suffering. As late as Jmie.
1884. the Santa Ana River was described as being one-third of a mile wide and
even in August a sudden rise of two feet in the turbulent stream, caused by the
melting snows in the mountains, washed out the dam of the irrigation company
at the headworks of their system. Wells of all depths were flowing that summer
and water was the cheapest thing in use. Authentic history of the valley records
only one similar season to this — that of 1861-62, when it rained almost contin-


uously from December 24 to April 9, and the precipitation must have been
measured in feet, if at all.

During all these years Santa Ana had existed merely as a village, under
control of the county of Los Angeles. Sentiment for incorporation as "a city of
the si-xth class" had been growing steadily and on June 1, 1886, at which time
the population of Santa Ana was about 2,000, an election was held to determine
whether the town should assume the responsibility of separate municipal govern-
nient. The advocates for corporation carried the day by forty-four majority and
the following gentlemen were elected as the first officers of the city: Trustees,
W. H. Spurgeon, J. R. Porter, T. J. Harlin, John Avas and A. Snyder; clerk,
Samuel Wilson ; treasurer, G. J. Mosbaugh ; marshal, Charles H. Peters. The new
board of trustees met June 21 and organized by electing j\Ir. Spurgeon as its
chairman. A few weeks later J. W. Turner was appointed town attorney ; C. W.
Humphreys town recorder, and Adam Foster chief of the fire department.

At this period the "boom" was rapidly approaching the zenith of its spec-
tacular existence. People were pouring into Southern California from all parts
of the country and the abnormal and unfounded demand for real property of all
descriptions had developed into a mania. Matters of location and price were not
considered and town lots several miles from a railroad, with absolutely nothing
to recommend them for such a purpose, sold readily at really enormous prices.
The unbridled frenzy of speculation was rampant all over Southern California, and
the young city of Santa Ana was soon enveloped within its dazzling folds.

This fact, coupled with the natural desire to improve the town as rapidly as
possible, placed upon its newly organized government a heavy load of business
and responsibility. On August 11, 1886, the trustees granted to M. G. Elmore
a franchise to lay gas mains through the streets and alleys of the town, and a
week later decided to purchase twelve street lamps from Mr. Elmore to be used
on Fourth Street on alternate corners from Mortimer to Olive. On this same
date steps were taken for the organization and maintenance of a fire department,
the southeast room in the Spurgeon block was rented for a city hall and the
Herald was designated as the first official paper. A communication was also
received from C. W. Humphreys asking for a franchise to build and operate the
Santa Ana, Orange and Tustin Street Railway, which was later granted. This was
the first street railway in the town and was operated for several years with horses,
finally being discontinued after heav}' financial losses. The line to Tustin was
removed entirely, but the one to Orange was continued through subsidies on the
part of the merchants for several years, when it was sold to the Pacific Electric
Company and still remains a part of that system.

The First National Bank was organized in ]\Iay. 1886, and in September 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 8 of 191)