Historic & Research Sites

We have a list of historic & research sites for you to visit to learn more about your local community! Field Notes is a series of posts dedicated to highlighting current exhibitions, research facilities, and cultural events in your community. Enjoy our events page with upcoming and past activities.

Orange County Archives, Libraries, & Organizations:

Orange County Archives, Tom Pulley Postcard Collection

Orange County Archives: “serves as the main repository for historic property documents, vital records and other materials from county government. The Archives is open daily to offer assistance to local historians, property researchers, genealogists and students.

The Archives is also home to a vast collection of historic photos and archival materials from affiliated government agencies, as well as the Knott’s Berry Farm Collection, the federal court record of the county’s 1994 bankruptcy, Orange County directories and many local historic newspapers and magazines.”

OC Parks, “encompasses regional, wilderness and historical facilities, as well as coastal areas throughout the County of Orange in California. Featuring 60,000 acres of parkland, open space and shoreline, Orange County’s award-winning parks and programs are enjoyed by millions of residents and visitors each year, in ways as diverse as the parks themselves.”

Interactive Parks Map: http://www.ocparks.com/gov/occr/ocparks/map.asp

Address: 13042 Old Myford Rd, Irvine, CA 92602
Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-5pm

Arden: Helena Modjeska Historic House and Gardens, “Fee: $5 per person for a docent led tour. For reservations, please contact the South County Historical Parks office at Heritage Hill Historical Park in Lake Forest at (949) 923-2230 or heritagehill@ocparks.com.

Docent led tours of the historic house and gardens are currently offered Wednesdays and Saturdays, by advance reservation only. This walking tour will take you through the years Madame Modjeska resided in her canyon home, and along the rock lined pathways of what she so fondly called the Forest of Arden. Tours are approximately 1 1/2 hours.”

  • Helena Modjeska Foundation, “to assist the County of Orange, California, in the promotion, development, and perpetuation of the house formerly owned by Helena Modjeska, located in Satiago Canyon, California, as a major historic and cultural landmark, to provide a broad spectrum  of public and private interest in the site including (without limitation) the following: Fund raising and expenditure, public relations, research education, publications, and volunteer services.”

Cooper Center, “OC Parks’ John D. Cooper Center is managed through a partnership with California State University, Fullerton. Since 2009, the partnership has been committed to the preservation, curation, and management of the fossils and artifacts within Orange County for the purpose of scientific research, outreach, and education.

The artifacts and fossils managed in the Cooper Center have been accumulated over the last four decades from sites in Orange County that have undergone Cultural Resource Management studies. Such studies are conducted as part of the permitting process for constructing houses, office buildings, roads, freeways and other urban developments. The collections at the Cooper Center include artifacts and fossils collected since the 1920s, some hundreds of millions of years old.

The Cooper Center is a research facility, and is not open to the public. However, visit the Cooper Center’s Exhibits page for places to go to view Orange County fossils and artifacts. If you are a professional paleontologist or archaeologist interested in doing research in the Orange County collections, visit the Collections page for more information on arranging a visit.

Heritage Hill Historical Park, is located at 25151 Serrano Road Lake Forest, CA 92630-2534. You can contact them at (949)923-2230 or heritagehill@ocparks.com. “Park open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m.. to 5 p.m. The park is closed for county holidays. Heritage Hill Historical Park’s 4.1 acres includes , four fully restored and furnished historic buildings that span the early history of the Saddleback Valley and El Toro area from the Mexican Rancho era (Serrano Adobe, circa 1863), to the founding of the town of El Toro (El Toro Grammar School, 1890; St. George’s Episcopal Mission, 1891), through the citrus farming days of the early twentieth century (Harvey Bennett Ranch House, 1908).

Guided tours through the buildings are provided for the public Wednesday through Sunday. The tours offer an interpretation of Saddleback area history through the artifacts, events and people associated with each building. Landscaping of the park is in keeping with the historic nature of the buildings. The grounds are also available for weddings and special events, by appointment. Park staff and associated community interest groups offer special events each year including the annual Victorian Christmas held on the first Saturday of December.

There are no fees for entrance or public tours of Heritage Hill Historical Park for groups of seven or less. Groups of eight or more must make advance public tour reservations and the fee is $2 per person. Please contact park staff a minimum of three weeks in advance of your requested tour date. Voluntary donations are accepted and aid the park in historical program presentations. The Amigos de la Colinas volunteer docent group assists the park staff by conducting tours and special programs.”

Irvine Ranch Historic Park, is located at 13042 Old Myford Rd. Irvine, CA 92602. You can contact them at (714) 973-6865 or ocparks@ocparks.com. Park Hours: Monday – Thursday: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday – Sunday: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Irvine Ranch Historic Park is a 16.5 acre special use park that retains 24 original ranch structures that represent the proud agricultural history of Orange County and, specifically, the Irvine Ranch. It was once one of the world’s greatest producers of Valencia oranges, and a leader in dry farming and livestock.”

George Key Ranch Historic Park, is located at 625 W. Bastanchury Road Placentia, CA 92870. You can contact them at (714) 973-3191 or keyranch@ocparks.com. Please note that the historic home and grounds are currently closed due to, “the La Habra earthquake in March 2014, and is closed for assessment and repairs until further notice. No weddings, special events, or tours will take place until the property reopens.

Historic George Key Ranch is a historic house, museum, garden and orange grove, located in the City of Placentia. This beautifully landscaped site totals 2.2 acres. Located within the park is the George Key home, built in 1898 and listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks, a collection of farm equipment and hand tools, a one-acre orange grove and 3/4-acre verse garden.”

Old Orange County Courthouse, is located at 211 W. Santa Ana Blvd. Santa Ana, CA 92701. You can contact them at (714)973-6605 or oldcourthouse@ocparks.com. Open: Mon. – Fri., 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The building is closed for county holidays. Admission to the Old Courthouse Museum is free. Metered parking is available in the lot on the north side of the Old Courthouse.

“The landmark Old Orange County Courthouse is Southern California’s oldest court building, and has been witness to many of the events which shaped present day Orange County. From its dedication in 1901, this granite and sandstone building has been the traditional home of county government. Today the 30,000-square foot building has been restored to look much as it had at the turn of the last century. The building contains the Orange County History Center (which includes the Old Courthouse Museum, the Orange County Archives, and the library of the Pacific Coast Archaeological Society) as well as government offices. The building is on the National Register of Historic places and is a State of California Historic Landmark.”

Ramon Peralta Adobe Historic Site, is located at 6398 E. Santa Ana Canyon Road Anaheim, CA 92807. You can contact them at (714) 973-3190 or keyranch@ocparks.com. The adobe is open to the public on the first Saturday of each month from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., except May.

“The Ramon Peralta Adobe is located on land that once was part of the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana. While the Peralta Adobe was not the oldest adobe built in the Santa Ana Canyon, it is the only one still standing in the canyon today. The Peralta Adobe contains a small museum featuring the history of the Santa Ana Canyon from the first Spanish explorers to the area in 1769 to the present. Historical exhibits are available for public viewing including artifacts excavated on site and a timeline mural. A furnished period room and numerous photographs tracing the history of the first European settlers to the canyon are on exhibit.”

Historic Yorba Cemetery, is located at Woodgate Park Yorba Linda, CA 92886. You can contact them at (714) 973-3190 or keyranch@ocparks.com. Yorba Cemetery Tours: 10 a.m.-11 a.m., first Saturday of each month, except May. Tour dates may be scheduled by reservation. Please call (714) 973-3190 for more information.

“Located in the neighborhood Woodgate Park, the Yorba Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Orange County. The cemetery was established on land originally part of Bernardo Yorba’s 13,000 acre Rancho Cañon de Santa Ana, the Canyon of Saint Anne, granted to him in 1834. After his death in 1858, Bernardo’s will deeded property to the Catholic Church containing the San Antonio Chapel and the cemetery. Residents of the Santa Ana Canyon, many of them descendants of pioneering rancho-era families, were buried at this cemetery from 1860 till the cemetery’s closure in 1939. Today, the Yorba Cemetery is a historical site operated by Orange County Parks.”

Orange County Historical Commission: is an advisory body to the Orange County Board of Supervisors and “was established by the Board of Supervisors in 1973 in response to requests by interested County residents. Orange County families, businesses, libraries, schools, churches, and other institutions have traditionally fostered interest in history since their beginnings.” You can view the monthly agenda and list of Orange County Historical Commissioners via their website.

Historical Commission
211 West Santa Ana Blvd
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714)973-6607
oldcourthouse@ocparks.com

O.C. Public Libraries, “network of community libraries in your neighborhood or as near as your computer. We have 33 branches as well as an outlet in the Orangewood Children’s Home to provide a variety of services to residents throughout the County. Some of the branches are operated within the jurisdiction of the county’s 33 cities and some within the county’s unincorporated area.”

  • Acquisition, Cataloging & Evaluation of Library Materials: Send email
  • O.C. Stories, Historic Images & Videos

California Research Centers:

National Archives, Pacific Region, “holds more than 60,000 cubic feet of archival holdings dating from about l850 to the l990s. In addition to one-of-a-kind textual records, we hold architectural drawings, maps, and photographs. These records were created or received by Federal courts and nearly 80 Federal agencies in Arizona, southern California, and Clark County, Nevada. Federal law requires that agencies transfer permanently valuable, noncurrent records to the National Archives.

We are open to the public Monday through Friday, 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Textual research room closes at 3:30 P.M. (last pull is 3:00 P.M.) No appointment is necessary,however, we can better serve you if you call in advance of visiting. If you would like to view original records, please contact us in advance. Closed on Federal holidays.”

National Archives at Riverside
23123 Cajalco Road
Perris, CA 92570-7298
Telephone:(951) 956-2000
Fax: (951) 956-2049
Email: riverside.archives@nara.gov

California Digital Newspaper Collection,  is a “project of the Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research (CBSR) at the University of California, Riverside. The CDNC is supported in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.”

The Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History (COPH) at CSU, Fullerton, “Established in 1968, the Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History is a teaching, training, research, publication, and public service archive located at CSU Fullerton’s Pollak Library. It contains more than 6,000 oral histories covering a wide range of people and topics from California and beyond.”

COPH Student Forms:

COPH Student Reference Materials:

CSU, Long Beach Virtual Oral/Aural History Archive, “VOAHA enables you to access the full audio recordings of oral histories that have been deposited in Special Collections of the University Library. You can hear the voice, pitch, and rhythm of the narrations as well as the emotions these convey. You will hear the actual spoken words of oral history narrators, rather than seeing a written version of them in the form of a transcript. The CSULB oral history collections have been assembled from a number of sources and cover topics ranging from women’s social history, labor and ethnic studies to Long Beach Area history and the musical developments in Southern California. Some of the interviews in the Asian American, Mexican American and women’s history collections were recorded as early as 1972 and include interviews with narrators who were born in the mid to late 19th century. Presently, more than 1000 hours with 350 very diverse narrators are available online.”

Chapman University Leatherby Libraries, “The Library is open to the Chapman University community and the public. Use of the collections may be made during normal operating hours or by appointment. Please contact the professional staff before visiting the library with any in-depth questions regarding the collections or to make an appointment for extended research. All cataloged items can be searched ahead of time using the online catalog.”

The Getty Research Institute, “The Getty Research Institute is dedicated to furthering knowledge and advancing understanding of the visual arts and their various histories through its expertise, active collecting program, public programs, institutional collaborations, exhibitions, publications, digital services, and residential scholars programs. Its Research Library and Special Collections of rare materials and digital resources serve an international community of scholars and the interested public. The Institute’s activities and scholarly resources guide and sustain each other and together provide a unique environment for research, critical inquiry, and scholarly exchange.”

“The Getty Research Institute Library is open to all inquiries from the public. Three levels of reader privileges are available as needed:
  • Plaza Reader: Materials from the stacks and storage may be paged for use in the Plaza Reading Room during regular open hours.
  • Stack Reader: Access to the Research Library open stacks and Special Collections during regular open hours. Materials from storage may be paged for use.
  • Extended Reader: Extended hours of access to the Research Library open stacks for specialists requiring concentrated use of the library and its collections. Access to Special Collections during regular open hours. Materials from storage may be paged for use.
All Readers may request materials for in-house consultation. Materials do not circulate outside of the Research Library. Stack Readers, Extended Readers, Getty staff, in-residence Getty scholars and fellows, and Getty interns may consult the Research Institute’s Special Collections and Institutional Archives in the Special Collections Reading Room, Monday–Friday, 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Please refer to the guidelines and policies below before making an appointment.”
  • Getty Primo Search, search their books, journals, archives, and digital collections
  • Getty Photo Archive, “The Photo Archive’s two million photographs provide supplementary and original pictorial research for the study of fine arts from antiquity to the modern period. The archive’s strength lies in the photographic reproduction of western art, architecture, and decorative arts.”
  • Getty Vocabularies, “The Getty vocabularies contain structured terminology for art, architecture, decorative arts, archival materials, visual surrogates, conservation, and bibliographic materials.”
  • Getty Research Portal, “Access digitized art history publications, rare books, and related literature.”

The Huntington Library, “The Library’s collection of rare books, manuscripts, prints, photographs, maps, and other materials in the fields of British and American history and literature totals more than nine million items.

For more than 80 years The Huntington has collected rare books, manuscripts, maps, photographs and other textual and graphic materials important for the study of British and American history and literature, the history of science and technology, and the history of the book. The Library provides access to these materials in its reading rooms, where they may be studied by qualified scholars, known as readers. For information about becoming a Huntington reader please review the Reader Requirements and Application for Reading Privileges on Aeon, The Huntington’s collection management and reader registration system.

Orange County California Genealogical Society, “established in 1963 is a non-profit, educational organization in Huntington Beach with 400 members. Its purpose is to collect, preserve and disseminate knowledge and information in regards to genealogy and related historical, biographical and heraldic data.

First American OC Historical Photo Archive, 13,000 historic photos. “The collection of Orange County photos dates back to the late 1800s and is organized primarily by city. Visitors are able to order photographic prints in a variety of sizes. Production time is usually 1-2 weeks and customers only pay for the cost of the prints. All photos must be picked up at the First American home office location. Photocopying, digital photography, or other means of reproduction are not allowed.” Call 714.250.3000 to speak with Bob Lakeman to schedule an appointment on Mondays, Tuesday, and Wednesdays from 9-4pm.

USC Libraries, “has 23 libraries and information centers and the USC Digital Library.” View the USC Archive to “search across all USC Libraries’ archival collections for detailed information contained in finding aids and collection descriptions.”

USC Shoah Foundation, “The Institute currently has more than 55,000 video testimonies, each one a unique source of insight and knowledge that offers powerful stories from history that demand to be explored and shared.

The testimonies are preserved in the Visual History Archive, one of the largest digital collections of its kind in the world. They average a little over two hours each in length and were conducted in 64 countries and 42 languages. The vast majority of the testimonies contain a complete personal history of life before, during, and after the interviewee’s firsthand experience with genocide.”

UC Irvine Special Collections & Archives, “collections of rare books, manuscripts, archives, photographs, and other rare and special materials. We welcome students, researchers, and the community members to visit and use our collections and services within our reading room.” They have the following collections:

Explore Digital Collections, Artists’ Books, Critical Theory Archive, Faculty Papers, OC Regional, Performing Arts, Political Literature, Southeast Asian Archive, University Archives

UCLA Library Special Collections

UC Berkeley Oral History Center

Cal Trans Historical Resources Evaluation Report (Aug 2011)

Concordia University Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling in Quebec, Canada

OC Museums, Historical Societies, and Historic Sites:

Bowers Museum: “The Bowers Museum holds in its collection more than 120,000 works of art. These works were donated from 1935 to the present and represent many regions and cultures of the world. The museum’s largest collections are in the areas of Native American art, Pre-Columbian art, Asian art, art of the Pacific, art of Africa and Orange County history. Represented here are only brief descriptions of the largest sections of the museum’s collection. An online catalogue of the collection is linked to this website.”

Orange County Historical Society: “Orange County Historical Society is a research, archival, and educational organization, dedicated to the discovery, preservation, and dissemination of the history of Orange County, of its people, and the surrounding area for the benefit of its members and the general public.”

“The Society includes in its collections a reference library of more than 1,200 volumes of content pertaining to local families, historic buildings, events, and sites. Among this collection are photos, some of which have been scanned in and made available for purchase. Visit the Photo Gallery to browse these images.”

Preserve Orange County, ” was founded in 2016 by a group of county residents who identified a need for a central organization concerned with historic preservation in the whole county. As a nonprofit membership organization, our mission is to work through education and advocacy to promote conservation of our county’s architectural and cultural heritage.”

City of San Juan Capistrano’s History, “San Juan Capistrano is unique in Orange County and a rarity in California, a community whose foundation was laid by the earliest people to inhabit the land, and a community still evolving after more than 220 years.”

Mission San Juan Capistrano, is a, “historic landmark and museum, is the Birthplace of Orange County. It was founded more than two hundred years ago as the 7th of 21 missions statewide and features a chapel still standing where Saint Serra once celebrated Mass. Today, it is a monument to California’s multi-cultural history, embracing its Native American, Spanish, Mexican and European heritage. Originally built as a self sufficient community by Spanish Padres and Native Americans, the Mission was a center for agriculture, industry, education and religion.”

San Juan Capistrano Historical Society: “Take a journey into the past on a 1 1/2 hour tour of our historical town. You will visit adobes built in the 1790s and the Victorian Pryor House. Stroll down Rios Street the oldest preserved residential street in the state. Have fun locating the buildings from the 1800s and learn about the people who lived in them. Hear the tales of Buchard the pirate, Juan Flores the bandito, Chola Martina the bruja and much more. The tours are given every Sunday at 1p.m. Meet your guide at the railroad depot platform on Verdugo Street. The tour covers approximately four city blocks. Donations of $2.00 per adult and $1.00 for children are accepted and go to several projects, including Save the Adobe Fund. Group tours can be booked on request by calling the Historical Society at 949 493- 8444.

The Historical Society has thousands of photos archived. You can view many of our favorites on this SmugMug site. In addition you can purchase from the site and have the photos printed and delivered to your home or business.”

San Clemente Historical Society, “The San Clemente Historical Society was founded in 1973 to stop the wholesale destruction of the city’s original 1920’s Spanish type buildings. Our all-volunteer organization maintains a large and growing collection of artifacts, records, and stories from our city’s past. Our goal is to educate the public about our city’s cultural and architectural historic resources. We advocate for preservation issues with city government and community groups. ” Contact (949) 492-9684 or P.O. Box 283
San Clemente, CA 92674. Visit their Facebook page for additional information.

Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, “The Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California, is situated on nine acres in southern California just 15 minutes from Disneyland.

The permanent galleries opened to the public on October 14, 2016. In addition to these newly opened galleries, the grounds include President Nixon’s Helicopter and Birthplace. The Helicopter and Birthplace may be closed due to inclement weather, including rain, wind, and excessive heat. Please contact us on the day of your visit to inquire of their status.”

City of Dana Point Historic Preservation, “In recognition of the rich history of the City of Dana Point, the City adopted a historical preservation ordinance in 2001. The Historic Resources Ordinance establishes a voluntary program for property owners of historically significant structures to be included on the City of Dana Point Historic Resource Register. Inclusion on the Register makes available fiscal benefits and zoning and/or zoning and building code incentives to preserve the historical exterior aspects of their properties.

Dana Point Municipal CodeTitle 9 ZONING Chapter 9.07 SPECIAL USE STANDARDS

Dana Point Historical Society, “advocates for the historic buildings that contribute to the eclectic visual character of the community and serve as reminders of Dana Point’s rich and colorful past, for the enrichment of current and future generations. Museum Hours: Tuesdays 1-3, Thursdays 1-3 and Saturdays 1-3 except holidays.

temp-museum

Mailing Address: PO Box 544, Dana Point CA 92629
Museum Address: 33282 Golden Lantern St., Suite 104 Dana Point, CA 92629
Phone Number: 949-248-8121
Fax Number: 949-481-7409
Email Society: Museum@danapointhistorical.org
Email Newsletter: DPHSNewsletter@gmail.com

Monthly Meetings: Unless otherwise posted on this website, every 4th Wednesday at 7pm. Check upcoming events on this site for the locations of meetings and events.

City of Orange, Preservation Online “is where old buildings meet modern technology to bring you historic property information conveniently. Preservation Online is a portal to an interactive map application that allows you to access parcel-based historic resource data through the City of Orange internet site.”

Orange Public Library & History Center, “Local History Collection is available for use when the History Center is open. If your research will involve extensive assistance, please call (714) 288-2465 in advance for an appointment or to have materials gathered for your research. All materials are for in-library use only and do not check out. You can order copy prints of our historical photographs; plan for a minimum turnaround time of one week.  Our historic Digital Collection consisting of photographs, local city directories and newspapers, and oral histories is available 24/7.”

Heritage Museum of Orange County, “Is a cultural and natural history center in Southern California. The centerpiece of the museum, which covers nearly 12 acres in all, is an historic plaza featuring several buildings from the 1890s set amid extensive floral gardens and citrus groves. Among the buildings is the Kellogg House familiar to teachers and students throughout Orange County as a favorite field trip destination for over 30 years. Another highlight of the museum is a fully operational blacksmith shop. It is the home of the Orange County Blacksmith Guild and members hold regular blacksmith classes. Recent additions to the museum include a hydroponics and aquaponics garden, and a traditional produce farm.”

Howe-Waffle House – Santa Ana Historical Society, The Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House and Medical Museum is located at 120 Civic Center Drive, Santa Ana, California. “Currently, the house is open for tours on the first Saturday of every even month (Feb, April, June, Aug, Oct, Dec.) from 12 noon until 4 pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors or SAHPS members, and $3 for students. Call our message line at 714 547-9645 for more information or if you have questions. Or you can email us at sahps@sahps.org

The House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as a California Historic Point of Interest,
and as a landmark building on the City of Santa Ana’s Historic Register.”

Fullerton Museum, is located at301 N. Pomona Avenue Fullerton, CA 92832. You can contact them at (714) 738-6545 or FMC@cityoffullerton.com. “The Fullerton Museum Center presents the best in multidisciplinary exhibitions and educational programs in the areas of history, science, art and humanities. The main goals of FMC are to present exhibitions and activities which stimulate dialogue, promote critical and creative thinking, and serve as vehicles to learn about ourselves and our world.”

Heritage House – Fullerton Arboretum, “Heritage House was built in 1894 as the home and office of Fullerton’s pioneer physician, Dr. George C. Clark. In 1972 the house was moved from its original town site at the corner of Amerige and Harvard (Lemon) to the Fullerton Arboretum. The restored house now serves as a museum of family life and medical practice of the 1890s. Heritage House is an excellent example of Eastlake Victorian-style architecture, prevalent in Orange County during the late 1800s.”

Brea Museum & Historical Society, “The Museum is located in historic City Hall Park at the intersection of Brea Boulevard and Elm Street in Brea California. Admission is always free and parking is located behind the building. We are open on Thursdays from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm and on Saturdays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.”

Newland House Museum — Huntington Beach Historical Society, “The stunningly preserved home of William & Mary Newland stands as a testament to our Society’s dedication to historical preservation. Restored from its abandoned condition in 1976 by the Historical Society, the 1898 Queen Anne Victorian Farmhouse remains a treasured part of our community. The Newland House is open on the 1st and 3rd weekends of the month between 12PM – 4PM – admission is a suggested $2 donation for adults, $1 for children. Special Tours can be booked by emailing HBHistory@aol.com.”

City of Newport Beach, “was incorporated September 1, 1906 and the current City Charter was adopted in 1954. The City operates under a Council-Manager form of government. Its seven City Council Members are elected by district, but are voted on by the population as a whole. They serve four-year terms. The Council consists of the Mayor and six other members and is responsible for policy-making, passing local ordinances, adopting the budget, appointing committees and hiring the City Manager, City Attorney, and City Clerk. The City Manager is responsible for carrying out the policies and ordinances of the City Council, for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the City, and for appointing heads of departments.”

Sherman Library & Gardens: “Sherman Library is a historical research library specializing in the history of the Pacific Southwest – including southern California, Arizona, northern Mexico and adjoining areas. The Library’s collections document the development of the region through books, archival collections, photographs, maps, aerial photographs and newspapers. Sherman Library is also home to a collection of California impressionist art, including works by William Wendt, Edgar Payne, Clarence Hinkle and Anita Hills.”

Irvine Historical Society, “is dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of the Irvine Ranch. Once one of the largest private ranches in the United States, the Irvine Historical Society is headquartered at the Irvine Historical Museum – the oldest standing structure of within the boundaries of the Ranch.”

The James Irvine Foundation, “California’s 1arts and cultural nonprofits play an initiating and pivotal role in this ecology. They are important shapers of the state’s internationally renowned cultural industries. They preserve, commission, and present a cornucopia of music, performance, heritage, and visual arts to people in all of the state’s regions, across age groups and ethnicities at all levels of income and wealth.”

Laguna Niguel Historical Society, “The Laguna Niguel Historical Society was formed in 2010 in order to preserve the history of the city. The founding members of this 501c3 organization recognized that the drive for cityhood needed to be documented while the records, memorabilia and champions of that period of the city’s development were readily available.”

City of Aliso Viejo

Tustin Area Historical Society, “The Museum, located at 395 El Camino Real, is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. weekdays, and every first and third Saturday from 12 noon until 3 p.m. See our Tour the Museum link for specific dates.”

City of Costa Mesa Historical and Cultural Resources Element

Costa Mesa Historical Society: “The Costa Mesa Historical Society office, archive, museum and library are open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays from 10:00am until 3:00pm, or at other times by appointment. The building is located near the downtown library and recreation center at 1870 Anaheim Avenue. The Diego Sepulveda Adobe is open to the public for tours on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of every month from 12 Noon to 4PM, or at other times by appointment. The adobe is located in Estancia Park, 1900 Adams Avenue, Costa Mesa. Please contact us at the above address or phone number for more information.”

City of Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach Heritage Committee , “advise City Council and design review authority on matters pertaining to historic preservation in the City, including evaluation of alterations to historic structures, requests to place structures on the Historic Register, and recommendations of properties for Mills Act contracts. Members of the Heritage Committee serve two-year terms.

The Heritage Committee generally meets on the third Monday of the month at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers at 505 Forest Avenue. See the City Calendar for our next meeting date. The monthly meeting dates and submittal deadlines are also posted here.”

Laguna Beach Historical Society, “The Laguna Beach Historical Society hosts events and presentations relating to Laguna Beach history at the Laguna Beach City Hall about five times per year.”

Laguna Woods History Center, “is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “preserving today for tomorrow.” Our purpose is to collect, conserve and convey information, documentation and artifacts related to the history of Laguna Woods as a public service, in perpetuity. This website is intended to serve as your gateway to the community’s rich past and dynamic present. It is Your Place In Local History! Our office and archives are located next to the Laguna Woods Village Library near Clubhouse One. If you are a visitor to our community, please call ahead to schedule an appointment and Gate One access.”

Laguna Woods History Center
24266 Calle Aragon
Laguna Woods, CA

Telephone: (949) 206-0150

Mission Viejo Heritage Committee, “The City of Mission Viejo Heritage Committee was formed in the fall of 1992. It is composed of local residents who have volunteered to assist the Mission Viejo Community Services Commission in the following functions:

– Research and preserve the history and heritage of Mission Viejo.
– Research historical sites and make recommendations for monuments and/or markers.
– Plan programs and activities to relate historical information to the public.
– Serve as docents for tours of the Heritage House exhibits, if interested.

The Heritage Committee meets the 1st Wednesday of the month at Mission Viejo City Hall in the Saddleback Room, 200 Civic Center Drive, at 6:00 p.m. or as posted. Meeting agendas and minutes can be viewed by clicking here.”

“The City of Mission Viejo Heritage Committee invites you to view the Heritage House exhibit: “The Rancho Era”. The Heritage House is open by appointment only and located at Melinda Park, 28951 Melinda Road, on the corner of Melinda Road and Santa Margarita Parkway. At one time, Rancho Mission Viejo was part of a 200,000-acre land grant given in 1845 to John Forster. To learn more or to schedule a tour call 949-470-8440 and a committee member will lead you and/or your group on a historical journey. All ages are welcome!”

Mission Viejo Arts Commission , “The Committee develops coalitions for planning between the City’s Library & Cultural Services Department, the California Arts Council, Arts Orange County, the Heritage Committee, Saddleback Art League, Saddleback College, the Saddleback Valley School District, the Capistrano School District, and the Chamber of Commerce. It also facilitates the use of Mission Viejo Television for cultural arts performances and art instruction/demonstrations.”

Casa Romantica Cultural Center & Gardens, ” is the historic home of the founder of the city of San Clemente. Casa Romantica provides programs for all ages in arts, music, history, horticulture, and literature and is a premier Southern California cultural center.”

Society of Hispanic Heritage and Ancestral Research, (SHHAR) “is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization, founded in 1986, with the goal of helping others research their hispanic genealogy and family history.”

Genealogical Society of North Orange County California, “is a registered nonprofit whose purpose is to encourage interest in genealogy and to provide opportunities for genealogical education and programs for the people of Northern Orange County, California. We meet monthly in Yorba Linda.”

Old Courthouse Museum Society, “was formed in 1977 to help establish an Orange County historical museum and archives in the Old Orange County Courthouse. Its purpose is to gather and preserve materials relating to the history of Orange County. In cooperation with the Orange County Historical Commission, the Society supports Old Courthouse activities with a docent program, souvenir sales, exhibits, and publicity, as well as arranging meetings and other events.”

San Diego Archives, Libraries, & Organizations:

San Diego History Center, “Our vast regionally and even nationally significant collections encompass 45 million documents – business, public and architectural records, maps, diaries and manuscripts; 2.5 million historic photographs, one of the most important collections in the western U.S.; 1,700 oral histories, the largest collection in California; 1,500 films, some rare and historic; 15,000 historic objects, including artifacts dating back to the Kumeyaay; 7,000 items of historic clothing, one of the finest collections in the U.S.; and a significant collection of San Diego artwork.” Visit their research page for online collections.

City of Carlsbad

Del Mar Village

City of Oceanside, “The early California period was the time of massive Mexican land grants. On May 10, 1841, Pio Pico and his brother, Andreas, received a grant of 133,441 acres from Governor Alvarado. Known as Rancho Margarita and Las Flores, this land grant is the present site of the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base. The rancho changed hands several times throughout the years. Andreas tired of the quiet life of a California Don sold his share to Pio for $1,000. Pio, in turn, sold his share to his brother-in-law John Forster, an Englishman, for only $14,000.

Forster died in 1882, and Richard O’Neill, a wealthy San Franciscan, purchased the rancho from the Forster estate for $250,000. O’Neill sold half interest in the rancho to the “Bonanza King of California,” James C. Flood. The heirs of O’Neill and Flood held the property until 1942, when it was sold to the United States Navy.

About the time O’Neill and Flood purchased the rancho, the California Southern Railway, a branch of the Santa Fe, was constructing a railway linking San Diego with San Bernardino. Completed in 1883, the railway opened the beach area of San Diego County for development and the real history of Oceanside began.”

Online Research

JSTOR, “provides access to more than 10 million academic journal articles, books, and primary sources in 75 disciplines.”

ProQuest, “content collection that now encompasses 90,000 authoritative sources, 6 billion digital pages and spans six centuries. It includes the world’s largest collection of dissertations and theses; 20 million pages and three centuries of global, national, regional and specialty newspapers; more than 450,000 ebooks; rich aggregated collections of the world’s most important scholarly journals and periodicals; and unique vaults of digitized historical collections from great libraries and museums, as well as organizations as varied as the Royal Archives, the Associated Press and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.”

Google Scholar, “provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. “