We are truly lucky to live in such a wonderful hidden spot here in Santa Ana. Our neighborhood has a unique history of people, events and architecture. Upcoming newsletters will begin to highlight some of this. If you have interesting pieces on the subject for upcoming articles, we are eager to hear from you via [email protected].
Story #1 – From Fields to Families – Written by Erica Moir
Years before the likes of 1950’s Architects such as Ralph Allen, Gates Burrows, Herbert Brownell and Clifford Yates were hired to design unique family homes in our neighborhood for the expanding post-war boom, the neighborhood we now call home was actually the Potts Borden Sidwell Tract.
Established in 1869, the city of Santa Ana was quickly being purchased and planned. A map from 1889 published by the H.S. Crocker & Co. of San Francisco identifies 5B, 8 and 9 as what we now know as our Fisher Park neighborhood. As a side note, you can also see the land below Flower st. (known as Hanna St. in 1908) was owned by Santa Ana’s first physician Dr. Eli F. Greenleaf, who was invited to move here in 1871 by William Spurgeon.
Some neighbors have recently noted the last 2 remaining Walnut trees on the Sharon and River loop. In the late 1880s, many diseased vineyards in Anaheim and elsewhere were replaced with walnut groves. Around 1890, Orange County became one of the biggest walnut producing regions in North America. Soon the Santa Ana Valley Walnut Growers Association and walnut packing houses would spring up throughout the area.
By the mid-1930s, the cost of maintaining a walnut grove in Orange County were about 10 times higher than in Northern California, where heartier varieties thrived. Our local farmers began moving toward more profitable citrus. In the Thomas Bros. map from 1938, you can see that Flower St. finally went through but there was still no development in 5B, 8 and 9.
By the late 1950s, only about 800 acres of walnut groves remained in Orange County. This was the same time that the development of the Potts Borden Sidwell Tract would change from agricultural land to homes. The 1959 map from Thomas Bros. shows that Jonquil, Park, Sharon and River arrived, but Greenbriar was still to come in 1965 and complete the loop.