History is a pageant, a passing parade of events. Centennial celebrations should be a sampling of the whole procession. Certainly, the cavalcade of Orange County's first century is among the most colorful found anywhere. But with all the pageantry surrounding our centennial observance, let us not forget that what we are really celebrating is a revolution.
Orange County was carved out of the lower third of Los Angeles County only after a 20-year struggle. Ultimately, it took a legislative act, a governor's proclamation, a plebiscite, a court decision, a county-seat election and another court case to win our freedom.
The reasons behind our rebellion were manifold. No doubt the determination of a cocky young offspring to chuck the "old Imperial Mother" (as our press was pleased to call Los Angeles) had much to do with it. Not least was a desire to make our own mistakes rather than having them foisted upon us. We've always believed we were bright enough and bold enough to solve our own problems.
Orange County has long put a premium on the right to be different. Historically, our chronicles are enriched by such characters as Anaheim's first mayor, Max von Strobel--entrepreneur, soldier of fortune and father of Orange County's independence movement (see Page 38). Equally independent, if less flamboyant, was Fanny Bixby Spencer--a fervent Socialist, pacifist and philanthropist who made headlines in the '20s. That such people could flourish here is a tribute to the county's tolerance.