Most maps – paper or digital – take us where we want to go, but sometimes they take us where we’ve been. Such is the case with the new Orange County 125th anniversary commemorative map produced through the cooperation of the Orange County Historical Commission and the Automobile Club of Southern California.
The Orange County Quasquicentennial Historical Map will be distributed today, Friday, Aug. 1, “Orange County Day” at the OC Fair, where a special ceremony begins at 12:30 p.m. at the Hangar building honoring the county’s birth with 1880s period music and a slideshow of vintage photos from the county archives. The map also will be available at the Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 5.
Orange County was officially born on Aug. 1, 1889, after a majority of residents voted to break away from Los Angeles County, formed a county seat and elected county officers. The first Board of Supervisors meeting was held on Aug. 5, 1889.
“The Orange County Board of Supervisors is honored to celebrate our 125th year of history and service to the people of Orange County,” said Supervisor John Moorlach, who will serve as master of ceremonies for the OC Fair ceremony. “Orange County has a rich and vibrant history that we’re excited to showcase and share with the Automobile Club.”
The new map is completely updated from the county centennial map prepared by the historical commission and Auto Club. The 100-year version was created using film technology and light tables while the 125th anniversary map was created digitally, according to Alyson Stanton, the Auto Club’s cartography manager. But the two maps share a common thread -- the same staff members at the historical commission and the same Auto Club cartography staff produced both, lending accuracy, care and continuity, she added.
One side of the Quasquicentennial map summarizes Orange County history and its ultimately successful effort to separate from Los Angeles. This side also lists the first 16 of 132 Orange County Historical Points of Interest, a countywide map with the points tagged with oranges and also notes each of the county’s 34 city incorporation dates.
The other side contains the bulk of the noteworthy historical points such as buildings, historical sites and physical features. Points are noted with Orange County Historical Commission, California Historical Landmark or National Register of Historic Places designations.
Points of interest include adobes and cemeteries, the Anaheim Union Pacific Depot, Blakely Historical Park, Bowers Museum, Bradford House, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, the Irvine Ranch Historical Park, Mission San Juan Capistrano, Ole Hanson Beach Club, the Plaza Historic District, Santa Ana’s Birthplace, Seal Beach’s Anaheim Landing, Talbot Real Estate Office and Yorba Hacienda Site.
The map lists nearly all OC Parks, featuring 60,000 acres of parkland, open space and shoreline ranging from Saddleback, a geographic landmark formed by the two highest peaks in the Santa Ana Mountains and the ridge between, to the Crystal Cove Historical District on Newport Coast. Orange County’s award-winning parks and programs are enjoyed by millions of residents and visitors each year, according to its web site.
Auto Club color photographs and OC Historical Society black and white photos combined with graphics make the map a unique tool for exploration. It’s also a testimony to the transformation of a once-rural area covered with orange groves that gave way to a collection of suburban bedroom communities now edging closer to a diverse urban environment. The map notes that today the county is home to 3.1 million residents, making it the sixth most-populous in the U.S.