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THE HISTORY


Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce held a breakfast to stimulate business
Main Street between 4th & 5th Streets, July 27, 1931

One hundred years ago, a scrappy little town of about 4,900 people fought off its Anaheim neighbors to become the seat of government of the newly formed county of Orange.

It was 1889, and area residents, dissatisfied with the quality of public services provided by Los Angeles County, had just voted to form their own county.

After some heavy lobbying in Sacramento, Santa Ana won the county-seat designation and became the area's political power base. It was an impressive victory for a city that began in 1869 as little more than an isolated mustard field in the middle of nowhere.

The mustard field became a town when founder William H. Spurgeon bought 74 acres from the Yorba estate and began to lay out a 24-block village.

Spurgeon set aside an entire city block for construction of an impressive stone courthouse with a tower that rose higher than any building in town. The courthouse still stands and has been restored.

Santa Ana began to boom after the Southern Pacific Railroad built a line to the area in 1877. Nine years later, Santa Ana became a city.

It experienced another boom immediately after World War II as industry sprang up, creating jobs and drawing thousands of new residents. But by the 1960s, the city's image had tarnished as business stagnated and some neighborhoods deteriorated.

In the 1980s, civic leaders have been working revitalize the city and restore its image. Santa Ana has aggressively pursued redevelopment, luring major hotels, retailers and industry. One of the more visible results is the MainPlace shopping center downtown. The mall, which opened in 1987, has created 2,000 jobs and added considerably to the city's revenue.

 

HISTORICAL SITES:

Red Hill - 11911 Red Hill Road
In early descriptions it was known as Cerrito de las Ranas, meaning the Hill of the Frogs. In the 1890s this hill became the scene of mining excitement. Its soil composition, very red in color, had caused early American settlers to name it Red Hill. Location: Church of the Covenant Elementary School,

Orange County's Original Courthouse - 211 W Santa Ana Blvd at Broadway
Built in 1900 of Arizona red sandstone, this is the
oldest existing county courthouse in Southern California. Significant and far-reaching court decisions were handed down here, including the 'Whipstock' case dealing with slant oil drilling, interpretation of farm labor law, and the Overell trial which resulted in law regulating explosives.

Episcopal Church of the Messiah - 614 Bush St
This is Santa Ana's oldest church in continuos use, completed in 1888.

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