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THE HISTORY

The past has been backed into a corner in Garden Grove, but it hasn't quite disappeared. It exists in an old farmhouse on Euclid Street. Stand in the backyard, an you're effectively transported back in time about 100 years.

The Garden Grove Historical Society intended it that way. The place is called the Stanley House, after one of its original owners, and it serves as the city's only museum. Though built in 1893, the house represents what Garden Grove was throughout the latter half of the 19th century: a farming community.

Next door to the Stanley House is a strawberry patch, one of the few left in a city once known for its berry fields. Today the city is a bedroom community with a healthy share of thriving businesses.

The stresses and strains of growth have taken their toll. "Garden Grove," a name possibly suggested by Mormons who had passed through Garden Grove, Iowa, was an appropriate one for the budding settlement of the 1870s, when it might indeed have resembled a big garden, with its fields of grapes, apricots and peaches.

But in the late 20th century, with its freeway and urban problems, including pockets of run-down dwellings, the name to some is an anachronism. Recent partnering with local corporations has helped to focus attention the the city's redevelopment. This 'Renaissance Garden Grove Program' will see an increase in both homes and hotel rooms to the city.

Garden Grove has been a "capital of" from the early days until the city was incorporated in 1956; the chili-pepper capital of the world in the early 1920s, the poultry capital of the world a little later, the egg capital of the world not long after that, and the strawberry capital of the world in the late '50s. The last is what gave Garden Grove the Strawberry Festival, a parade and carnival held every Memorial Day weekend.

The city has other claims to fame. A man named R.Q. Wickham was renting a home in Garden Grove in 1888 when he launched a political movement that would lead to the formation of Orange County.

Wickam heard that his neighbors wanted to make a new county out of the southern portion of Los Angeles County. Wickam, who was experienced in politics, drew up petitions for a county charter to get the ball rolling.

Historical Site:

Stanley House Museum - 12174 Euclid St.

Edward Ware, a prominent rancher, built the house in 1891. It is a two-story, Victorian-style farmhouse with eight rooms. His daughter, L. Agnes Ware Stanley, was a schoolteacher. The house was deeded to the Garden Grove Historical Society in 1970 by the Stanley family

Phone: 714-530-8871

 
 

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