Historical Markers in
Orange County, California

126 Main Street 1895 Sack Storage Warehouse A Utopian Dream Acjachemen people Aliso Creek Adobes "All Saints Anglican Church" Alpha Beta Store 1924(c) Amerige Brothers Realty Office Amerige Park Anaheim Cemetery Anaheim Landing Andrew and Anna Hoffman Architectural Sampler Arley & Alice Forster Leck House Auditorium Auditorium and Tower Autonetics Avila Adobe Balboa Pavilion Balboa Pavilion Balboa Saloon Balboa Village Bank of Balboa, Costa Mesa Branch 1923(c) Battle of the Paracel Islands Memorial Big Red Cars Birdcage Theatre Birthplace of Richard Milhous Nixon Blacksmith Shop Blacksmith Shops Blas Aguilar Adobe Boysen Cactus Garden Braddy's Barber Shoppe 1921(c) Bradford House Bruce Brown (1937-2017) Buddhist Church Buena Park Woman's Clubhouse Bulk Storage Silo Warehouse 1949 California's Highway 1 California's Mustard Seed Trail Callens Home Camino Real Bell Cañada De Los Bueyes Capistrano Depot Capistrano Home Like Mission at Old Town Capistrano Union High School Carthay Circle Theatre Carving Farmland into a Lake Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens Cascade Falls Castaways Park Challenger Crew Chapman Billiard Parlor 1928(c) City of San Clemente Lifeguards Coast Live Oak - Historical Legend Colonia Jaurez Columbus Tustin Combs House Costa Mesa Garage 1922(c) Courreges Ranch Crystal Cove Historic District Cypress Police Memorial Dana Point Dana Point Dana Point Dana Point Elevator Dana Point Inn Dana Point's Early Years Davis Barbershop & Soda Fountain 1921(c) Death of the California Grizzly Delta III Rocket Diego Sepúlveda Adobe Disneyland Monorail System Doheney State Beach Doheny State Beach Domingo Yorba Adobe Don Gaspar de Portolá Don Hansen, Dana Wharf Sportfishing Duke Kahanamoku Early People of Capistrano Valley Egan House "El Adobe de Capistrano" El Camino Real El Camino Real El Camino Real El Toro, the Early Years Esslinger Building F.M. Bloom Shoe Repairs 1923(c) Farming the Upper Oso Lease First Advent Christian Church First City Hall / First School First Ferry Service Between Balboa and Balboa Island First Water-to-Water Flight Florence "Flo-Jo" Joyner Memorial Florence Joyner Olympiad Park Fossil Fossil Reef Fountain Valley Drive-In Frances Packing House Franciscan Plaza Frederica and Wilhelm Stroschein Fullerton College Garcia Adobe Gisler Home Grijalva Adobe Site Hang Gliding Hanging Tree Harbor / Pilgrim Helena Modjeska Helicopter Landing Pad Helm Tract Heritage Hill Historic Park Heritage Hill Historic Park Hewes Mansion Historic Moss Point Historic Town Center Park / The Mendelson Inn History History Speaks Softly Hobie Alter / The Surfboard King Hobie Cat / Innovation and Hard Work Hoffman House Horse Ranch Hotel, Store, Hamilton Bungalow In 1776 In Memory of Jim Olson Irrigation in Orange County Irvine Bowl Irvine Park Ishii Home John Severson (1933-2017) John Wayne Airport Joint Outfall System Jose Dolores Garcia Juan Avila Adobe Judge Egan House Judge Richard Egan House Kate and Ella 1895 Knott's Classic Carousel Knotts Berry Farm La Cristianita La Habra Pacific Electric Depot La Habra's Birthplace La Paz Road & Chrisanta Drive Lafitte's Anchor Laguna Beach Art Museum Land of the Acjachemen Late 1700s and 1800s The Endurance of a Culture Lion Country Safari Lisa Anne Frost Loara School Bell Los Alamitos Sugar Company and Town's Founding Los Rios Street Los Rios Street Historic District Macadamia Tree Manuel Garcia Adobe Marine Corps Air Station Tustin Mariner's Mile May Festival McCoy-Hare House McFadden (Newport) Wharf McFadden Square Centennial Men's Individual Road Race Mesa Cleaners 1926(c) Mesa Tavern 1928(c) Metalworking Furnaces Meyers Department Store 1924(c) Michelle Carew Community Courtyard Middaugh Shoes 1929(c) Midway City Women's Clubhouse Mission Bells Mission Orchard Wall Foundations Mission San Juan Capistrano Mission San Juan Capistrano Mission Yard & Reservoir Site Mixocetus Baleen Whale Model Drug Store 1928(c) Modjeska's Home Montanez Adobe Mormon Battalion Marker Mother Colony House Mother Colony House Mother Colony House Nakayoshi - Good Friends Native Ways New Mission Church Newland House Nick's Café Nimocks Home North Gate of City of Anaheim Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial O'Neill Museum O'Neill Park Old Anaheim Library Old Betsy Old City Hall Old Landing Old Santa Ana Old Town Irvine Olinda Olinda Historic Trail Olinda Oil Museum and Trail "Oliveras Home" On the Mesa Orange County Courthouse Orange Plaza Orange Street Cars Orange's First Bank Orange's First Public Schoohouse Original Circus Site / First Post Office / Country Stores Outdoor Living Ozment General Store & Post Office 1908(c) Pablo Pryor Adobe-Hide House Pacific Electric Red Car Pennant Bakery 1925(c) Peralta Adobe Petrified Tree Phil Edwards (b. 1938) Pink's Drugs 1933(c) Pizza Pete's Cafe Plaza de La Paz Post Brother's Plow Post Office 1925(c) Provincial Building Rancho Lucero Ranchos of Orange County Red Hill Red Hill Reese Joseph Imhoff Rendezvous Ballroom Richard Henry Dana Jr. Richard Jerome O'Neill Richard Nixon Richard Nixon Birthplace Richard Nixon — A California Native Son Rios Adobe Rivera School Roger Seitz Safeway Store 1929(c) San Clemente San Clemente Island & Catalina Island San Clemente Pier San Clemente World War II Honor Roll San Juan Capistrano Jail Cell San Juan Capistrano Mission San Juan Capistrano Regional Library San Juan Elementary School Site San Juan Hot Springs Dance Hall Santa Ana Army Air Base Site Santa Ana's Birthplace Santa Fe Depot And Park Santa Fe Train Depot School Bell School House Scout Cabin Seal Beach Section Houses Section of the Cajon Canal Sergeant Jose Francisco Ortega Sergeant Matt Davis Park Sid Goldstein Silvas Adobe Silverado Site of 3rd National Boy Scout Jamboree Site of Carbondale Site of Don Bernardo Yorba Hacienda Site of Lily Creamery Site of San Pedro Gate Site of the S.R. Bowen Buildings Site of the Valenzuela Adobe Slaughter House St. Isidore Historical Plaza St. Michael's Episcopal Church Stagecoach Stop Stanley House Museum Starting in The Mid 19th Century Submerged Dam Surfin' Dana Point Sycamore Park Talbert Drainage District Talbert Home Telephone Office TeWinkle Hardware 1922(c) The Bluff The Diego Sepulveda Adobe The Endless Summer The Episcopal Church of the Messiah The Founding Documents of Mission San Juan Capistrano The Freedom Tree The Historic Cajon Canal The History Beneath Your Feet: Concrete Curb and Sidewalk Stamps The Legend of Flores Peak The Old Irvine Blacksmith Shop The Oldest Protestant Church Building in Use in Orange County The Orange Plaza The Original Hass Avocado Tree The Pelton Wheel The Richfield Tower The Serrano Adobe The Steam Donkey The Villa The William C. Steinriede North Creek Stormwater Diversion Project Third National Jamboree This Big Saw This Big Saw This Boulder Thomas Hittesdorf Tibor Rubin Tony Forster Topanga Formation Torch Run U.S. Submarine Veterans W.W. II Upper Newport Bay Vietnam War Memorial Wardlow Home / Red Car Warne Family Barn Warne Family House Water Tower House Wayside Market 1920(c) Welcome to Our Petting Zoo Welcome to the Balboa Island Museum Welcome to the Los Rios Historic District West Coyote Field, The La Habra Research Laboratory Whale Fossil White House Restaurant Building Who Made This Wagon? Wind and Water / Anaheim Agriculture Women's Individual Road Race Yorba Cemetery Zoeter School “Big Red Cars” “Big Red Cars” “Big Red Cars” “Big Red Cars” “Big Red Cars” “Big Red Cars” “Big Red Cars”
The first European to set foot in California was Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese explorer sailing for the Spanish crown. He arrived in what is now San Diego Bay in 1542 and explored the coast for several months.
Orange County, California has a rich and diverse history dating back to prehistoric times. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Tongva and Acjachemen tribes, who lived off the land and practiced agriculture. Spanish exploration and colonization began in the late 18th century, when California became a Spanish territory. Mission San Juan Capistrano was established in 1776 and became a significant center for agriculture and trade in the region.

During the Mexican period in the early 19th century, the land that now makes up Orange County was granted as ranchos to prominent Mexican families. Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana, established in 1810, covered much of present-day northern Orange County and was known for its cattle and agriculture. With the American takeover of California in 1848, the area transformed once again.

The mid-19th century brought significant changes to Orange County, when waves of settlers arrived during the California Gold Rush and following the completion of the transcontinental railroad. Agricultural development boomed, with citrus groves, especially orange orchards, becoming a prominent industry. This led to the area becoming known as Orange County. Irrigation and transportation infrastructure, such as railroads and the Santa Ana River, fueled further growth and expansion.

Orange County experienced tremendous growth throughout the 20th century, fueled by its favorable climate, beautiful beaches, and proximity to Los Angeles. The area saw rapid suburbanization, the creation of new cities, and the development of iconic landmarks such as Disneyland, which opened in 1955. Today, Orange County is a vibrant and diverse region known for its thriving economy, picturesque coastal communities, and world-renowned attractions. It continues to attract residents and tourists seeking the California dream.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Orange County, California.

  • 1889 - Orange County is officially established, separating from Los Angeles County.
  • 1901 - Oil fields are discovered in the northern part of the county, leading to a boom in oil production.
  • 1920s - The county experiences significant growth, with the development of agriculture and the expansion of the citrus industry.
  • 1942 - During World War II, the U.S. military establishes various bases and facilities in Orange County.
  • 1955 - Disneyland, the iconic theme park, opens in Anaheim, becoming a major attraction and driving tourism in the region.
  • 1967 - The city of Irvine is founded and quickly grows into a major planned community.
  • 1970s-1980s - Orange County becomes known as a center for technology and innovation, with the growth of the aerospace, electronics, and computer industries.
  • 1994 - The county faces a financial crisis, becoming the largest municipality in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy.
  • 2007 - The Great Park in Irvine, a redevelopment project on the site of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, begins development.
  • 2018 - Orange County becomes the third most populous county in California.