Early Costa Mesa, CA (IMG) (Images of America)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Three emerging communities from the partitioned Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana formed the improbable start for a city that would eventually proclaim itself the “City of the Arts.” These farming communities—Fairview, Paularino, and Harper—attracted families and businesspeople. Community leaders then took pragmatic steps to meet local needs such as schools, churches, and a water supply. Harper’s first land developer appealed to folks of modest means by advertising, “You! Five Acres.” By 1920, Harper needed a broader identity and a local businessman proposed a naming contest, offering a $25 prize. “Costa Mesa,” recognizing the area’s heritage and geography, reaped the reward. Eight years later, voters handily defeated the City of Santa Ana’s annexation attempt by a margin of five to one. The Great Depression, the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, and the 1938 Santa Ana River flood then besieged the fledgling community. Undaunted, Costa Mesa continued to grow. By 1939, the stage had been set for the postwar miracle that would become the modern city of Costa Mesa.
bits” had passed—the posted price had risen to 35¢. Other businesses sharing the building were a drugstore, Safeway grocery, and poolroom. See the bottom of page 102 for an outside view of the modern Patterson building in 1933. The E&E Service Station, located on the northeast corner of Rochester Street and Newport Boulevard, was owned and operated by David H. Elmer and Harold N. Elmer. When this photograph was taken in 1927, gasoline was 19.5¢ per gallon. Another element of roadside Americana
bicycle in front of 595 West Wilson Street. However, part of an orchard can be seen to the left behind Claire’s back. Agriculture would not be finished in Costa Mesa for many years to come. (Courtesy of Joyce Brown.) Organized youth activities enjoyed increasing popularity in town. Shown here is a group of Camp Fire Girls meeting at the Rochester Street home of Costa Mesa’s dentist, Dr. Clarence Huston, on April 12, 1937. The girls pictured here include, in no particular order, Lottie Rogers,
schools were opened by 1931. January 1932 saw a setback with the closing of the Costa Mesa branch of the Bank of Balboa. The effects of the Depression were aggravated at 5:54 p.m. on March 10, 1933, when a severe earthquake shook Orange and Los Angeles Counties. Costa Mesa was hit hard. The epicenter was located about 4 miles southwest of Newport Beach along the Newport-Inglewood Fault. Buildings were severely damaged, but luckily there were no deaths in Costa Mesa. The community sprang back
unidentified friend at the “Doc” Stevens place located on today’s Bristol Street south of Baker Street. Mrs. Yetter took care of Stevens in his later years. According to May Chatterton Hallowell, “In later years, she took in two or three old men to care for. They gave her their life savings to keep them as long as they lived.” At first, Paularino children attended school at Fairview. Sometime before 1912, the local populace decided to form their own school district and built a one-room
several land investment companies. Within a year after placing the 5-acre lots on the market, more than 200 had been sold. In April 1907, Stephen Townsend filed a tract map for a new subdivision, Newport Mesa, situated west of Newport Boulevard. The availability of 5-acre lots and irrigation water would create lasting change on the mesa—from large-scale grain farming to small-scale family farming. Among the early families to settle in the Newport Mesa Tract were the John H. Monroes from Wayne