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 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY
1878 Anaheim is incorporated with a population of 881.
1886 Santa Ana is incorporated with a population of 2000.
1888 Orange is incorporated with a population of 600.
1889 Orange County separates from Los Angeles and Santa Ana is named the County Seat.
The first Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting is held on August 5.
1890 The first Orange County Fair.
1891 County’s first high school opens in Santa Ana.
1892 Oil fields discovered in Brea creating oil and land booms for North Orange County.
1894 Permanent train depot constructed in San Juan Capistrano, further opening South Orange County to Los Angeles.
1897 The first auto comes to Orange County. By 1900 there were only three cars in the county.
1904 Pacific Electric Railway (Red Cars) reaches Newport Beach and links Orange County with Los Angeles.
1902 Santa Ana Valley Hospital, the County’s first, opens its doors.
1904 Fullerton is incorporated with a population of 1,719.
1906 Newport Beach is incorporated with a population of 445.
1908 The Plaza, Orange County’s first mall (intersected at Chapman and Glassell), becomes the symbolic center of the Orange community.
1909 Huntington Beach is incorporated with a population of 915.
1913 Fullerton Junior College is established. It is now the oldest continuously operating junior college in the state.
1915 Seal Beach is incorporated with a population of 250.
1917 Brea is incorporated with a population of 732.
1917 The largest bean field in the world - 17,000 acres - is cultivated on Irvine Ranch.
1920 Walter Knott begins farming boysenberries in Buena Park.
1923 Eddie Martin Airport opens on property just north of today’s John Wayne Airport.
1925 La Habra is incorporated with a population of 2,100.
1926 Pacific Coast Highway opens connecting Huntington Beach and Newport Beach.
1926 Placentia is incorporated with a population of 800.
1927 Tustin is incorporated with a population of 500.
1927 Laguna Beach is incorporated with a population of 1,900.
1928 San Clemente is incorporated with a population of 650.
1931 Doheny Beach State Park opens on Capistrano Beach property.
1932 Local artists exhibit their paintings in the first Laguna Beach Festival of Arts.
1943 El Toro Marine Base opens on 4,000 acres of Irvine Ranch.
1952 Los Alamitos race track opens.
1953 Buena Park is incorporated with a population of 5,483.
1953 Costa Mesa is incorporated with a population of 16,840.
1954 Santa Ana freeway (I-5) opens.
1955 Disneyland opens.
1955 City of Dairyland is incorporated, changing its name to La Palma 10 years later.
1956 Stanton is incorporated with a population of 1,500.
1956 Garden Grove is incorporated with a population of 42,000.
1956 Cypress , initially called Dairy City due to its dominance in the county’s growing cattle industry, is incorporated with a population of 1,500.
1957 Fountain Valley incorporated with a population of 597 and named for its natural underground water wells.
1957 Westminster is incorporated with a population of 10,755.
1960 Los Alamitos is incorporated with a population of 1,750.
1961 Leisure World opens in Seal Beach and Laguna Hills soon after.
1961 San Juan Capistrano is incorporated with a population of 1,287.
1962 Villa Park is incorporated with a population of 830.
1965 UCI Irvine graduates its first classes on what is now a 1,500 acre campus.
1965 Mission Viejo’s master plan is approved by the County.
1966 Anaheim Stadium opens as home to the California Angels baseball team.
1967 Yorba Linda is incorporated with a population of 11,433.
1967 Fashion Island opens at Newport Center.
1967 South Coast Plaza opens in Costa Mesa.
1971 Dana Point Harbor opens.
1971 Irvine is incorporated with a population of 14,231.
1971 Placentia is the first U.S. city to be designated an “All-American City” by the National Municipal League.
1975 Irvine Spectrum begins construction.
1980 Crystal Cathedral is completed in Garden Grove and becomes the largest religious structure in California.
1985 The 21-story Center Tower Building is completed in Costa Mesa. It is currently the tallest building in Orange County.
1986 The Orange County Performing Arts Center opens.
1986 First building completed in the 5,000 acre Rancho Santa Margarita master-planned community.
1988 Huntington Beach begins its downtown renovation with the approval of the destination resort, The Waterfront.
1988 Mission Viejo is incorporated with a population of 70,293.
1989 Dana Point is incorporated with a population of 29,972.
1989 Laguna Niguel is incorporated with a population of 42,998.
1991 Laguna Hills is incorporated with a population of 22,938.
1991 Lake Forest is incorporated with a population of 56,065.
1993 The Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim opens. It becomes home to the Mighty Ducks hockey team.
1994 The County of Orange files Chapter 9 Bankruptcy with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court after identifying a $1.5 billion investment pool loss.
1995 The Comprehensive Pool Settlement, one of the largest ever presented to a bankruptcy court, is approved, resolving approximately $7.4 billion in disputed claims.
1996 Orange County emerges from bankruptcy after only 18 months.
1997 The County of Orange regains investment grade rating with Moody’s Investor Service.
1998 Anaheim Stadium is renamed Edison International Field of Anaheim.
1998 The five-year Strategic Financial Plan, the County’s first long-range plan is adopted.
1999 El Toro Marine base officially shuts down on July 1.
1999 Laguna Woods is incorporated with a population of 18,000.
2000 The County’s 1996 Recovery Certificates of Participation (COPs) received two ratings increases, resulting in an A+ credit rating.
2001 Aliso Viejo is incorporated.
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