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CELEBRATE! : ORANGE COUNTY'S FIRST 100 YEARS : CREATING A COUNTY : YEAR BY YEAR : An accounting of what took place and when.

May 22, 1988


Orange County separates from Los Angeles. Official business begins Aug. 1.

Modesta Avila becomes the first felon convicted in the county. Avila, unable to convince Santa Fe Railroad officials that the railroad is trespassing on her property, stretches a clothesline across the track just outside of San Juan Capistrano and hangs her wet laundry. The stationmaster is alerted and the laundry taken down before the train arrives, but Avila is arrested and tried on charges of obstructing the railroad. Sentenced to three years in prison, she dies two years later at San Quentin.


First Orange County Fair is held.


County's first high school opens in Santa Ana.


The Southern California Fruit Exchange, which will become Sunkist in 1952, is founded in Fullerton to assist farmers in spraying, picking, packaging and marketing their crops.


County jail is completed in courthouse plaza in Santa Ana at a cost of $23,000.


Santa Ana's Company L of the California National Guard is activated for the Spanish-American War.


John Norton establishes the county's first golf links--a six-hole course in Laguna Beach--and forms the Laguna Club. Later in the year, James Irvine II forms the Sunset Golf Links, which will become Santiago Golf Club. A nine-hole course with "greens" of oil-soaked sand and fairways of native soil opens in Peters Canyon, near present-day Cowan Heights, on July 1, 1900.


County Courthouse opens in Santa Ana, and at its dedication, balloonist Emil Markeburg plunges to his death before 8,000 spectators.


Santa Ana Tin Mine in Trabuco Canyon opens.


Saloons abolished in Santa Ana.

Contractor George Washington Smith's crew, while laying pipe near Old County Park Road (about where Orange Park Acres is today) finds a small metallic box containing $5,020 in $20 gold coins--none dated later than 1856. Heirs of Santa Ana saloon owner Edwin Bessonette, who had died in 1895, unsuccessfully try to claim the money.


Henry Huntington's red cars reach Huntington Beach. Envisioning a clean, electric transportation system linking four Southern California counties, Huntington had started the interurban Pacific Electric Railway in Los Angeles to carry passengers and freight to more cities at a lower cost than traditional railroads. Service eventually reaches Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Balboa and Garden Grove.


Santa Ana's Company L is sent to San Francisco to help provide earthquake disaster relief.

Santa Ana's Chinatown, an area of redwood shanties at Third and Bush streets, is burned by the city after officials reportedly find a man dying of leprosy and declare the area a health menace.

Balboa Pavilion opens.

Balboa Ferry begins operation.

Newport annexes Balboa.


Cleveland National Forest is created by joining the San Jacinto and Trabuco Canyon reserves.


Glenn Martin builds the first biplane in Orange County in an abandoned Santa Ana church and tests it in an Irvine Ranch pasture just south of Santa Ana.


James Irvine II organizes the Santa Ana Cooperative Sugar Co. to process crops. The factory will be acquired by Holly Sugar in 1918.

The county's largest single crop of tobacco is produced--40,000 pounds of Turkish tobacco raised by the Pacific States Tobacco Co.


Women in Orange County get their first opportunity to vote. The chief ballot measure is on local option. In Tustin, 199 out of 400 votes are cast by women, and the town goes dry. In San Juan Capistrano, one woman is registered to vote, and the town stays wet.


Aviator Glenn Martin crosses 34 miles from Newport Bay to Catalina Island in 37 minutes and sets a record for the longest flight over water.


Fullerton Junior College opens. (It is now the oldest continuously operating junior college in the state.)

Richard Nixon is born in Yorba Linda.


Santa Ana's Company L is sent to New Mexico to pursue Pancho Villa.

The county's worst flood to date maroons local communities and inundates west county lowlands.


Santiago Coal Mine, the last coal mine in the county, closes.


The largest bean field in the world--17,000 acres--is cultivated on Irvine Ranch.

Politician and orator William Jennings Bryan visits the county to sell "Baby Bonds" valued at $100 or less.


Silent-film star Bebe Daniels is caught driving 56.5 m.p.h. through Santa Ana and jailed 10 days for speeding.


Duke Kahanamoku, an Olympic champion swimmer from Honolulu, visits Corona del Mar and introduces surfing to the county. Four years later, Delbert (Bud) Higgins (later a Huntington Beach fire chief) makes the first surfboard in the county out of a pine plank. The board is 10 feet long, 4 inches thick, 26 inches wide and weighs 136 pounds.

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