Aneheim Before Walt Disney?

When Disneyland first opened on July 17, 1955, it was located in a semi-rural area, located 22 miles away from Los Angeles, in the small town of Aneheim. Although, due to the overwhelming success of Disneyland, Aneheim immediately grew and prospered into a bustling city. Although, no one thinks of what Anehiem was like, before Walt Disney built Disneyland.

A timeline of events from the early days of Anehiem, to now.

1857: German immigrants from San Francisco buy 1,165 acres near the Santa Ana river from rancher Juan Ontiveros, and establish the Los Angeles Vineyard Society.

1875: A railroad line connects Los Angeles and Anaheim, shortening what had been a three-day ride.

1876: The city of Anaheim is incorporated. It’s original boundaries: North, South, East and West streets. The area around Disneyland was not annexed until the park was built.

1885: A grape blight wipes out the thriving Anaheim wine industry. Settlers plant chiles, walnuts and citrus trees to restore their fortunes.

1887: The Santa Fe depot opens.

1897: The Rea family builds the first of two homes, now located at 125 W. Elm St. The ranching family had two daughters, Kate and Ella, and named their spread the Katella Ranch in their honor.

1908: Carnegie Library opens, built with funds from the Carnegie Foundation. Today, it serves as the Anaheim Museum.

1938: In the early morning hours of March 3, the city was awakened by a flood. During a five-day period, 9.17 inches of rain fell in the city, 3.35 inches of which fell during the last 24 hours of the storm. In all, 19 people were killed, 600 acres of agricultural land were destroyed and another 10,000 acres were badly damaged. Virtually every building within the city limits was damaged by the flood.

1955: Walt Disney opens Disneyland, starting a tourist resort boom that continues today.

1966: Anaheim Stadium opens. The stadium was nclosed for arrival of Los Angeles Rams in 1980. In 1998 renovated by Walt Disney Co. , reopens as Edison International Field of Anaheim.

1967: Anaheim Convention Center opens, later renovated four times. Current renovation and expansion project scheduled to be completed by 2001.

1970: City officials begin a period of intensive redevelopment, culminating in the razing of most downtown commercial buildings by 1990. Growth begins in the canyon area known as Anaheim Hills. City border stretches to Riverside County line.

1978: Volunteers perform first comprehensive historic survey of original township. A five-year campaign fails to result in creation of a preservation bureaucracy at City Hall, though some buildings are moved to save from demolition.

1988: City demolishes the Pickwick Hotel, which was on the National Register of Historic Places, and builds City Hall West.

1995: City begins redevelopment of the resort district, including removal of historic “Googie” kitsch signs erected in the 1950s and 1960s.

1996: Volunteers begin intensive research on 200 buildings within the Anaheim Colony, and work to establish a historic district. They are aided by a newly hired neighborhood preservation coordinator who works for the city.

1997: Construction begins on widening of the Santa Ana (I-5) Freeway through Anaheim. Work begins on second theme park on Disneyland parking lot, Disney’s California Adventure.


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