GARDEN GROVE, CA--One of the most interesting and
enjoyable tours in the state takes place at 1:30 p.m. on
the first and third Sunday every month at the Garden
Grove Historical Society's Stanley Ranch Museum and
Historical Village at 12174 Euclid St., Garden Grove.
(Special tours for 8 or more during the week can be
arranged through the office, 714-530-8871)
knowledgeable docents lead you on a 1-2 hour
tour, where you'll enter history through several
fascinating buildings, including the garage, used as a
studio by Walt Disney in 1923. It was then located at
his Uncle Robert Disney's North Hollywood property. Walt
reportedly worked on his animation machine to produce
cartoons as well as drew his characters in the garage.
There's a precious photo of Walt by it and an
assortment of Disney memorabilia inside. The
structure was donated, dismantled, then reassembled at
its current location. Several former cartoonists and
friends of Walt, including Mickey and Minnie, helped
dedicate it's rebirth just a few miles from Disneyland.
There are 16 other incredible historical buildings
located on two acres of the Stanley Ranch that were
donated to the historical society by Agnes Stanley in
1970. A year later, her son, Emerson, donated the
Ware-Stanley House, a barn and tankhouse.
Be sure to get a superb brochure on the museum and
village that explains in detail the history of the
buildings as well as what's inside them. The
Ware-Stanley House was built in 1891 by Edward Ware, a
horticulturist, who co-developed the Eureka walnut and
introduced the first Valencia orange trees to the area.
Several other structures were donated and moved to the
impressive historical village over the years, many
fortunately saved from demolition, to educate and
entertain current and future generations.
You'll see the
old Schoolhouse, where visiting student
programs put pupils back in the 1890s; they wear earlier
era costumes and learn from McGuffy Readers, write on
slates and sit at antique desks. A
Post Office, built in
the 1880s, has package weighing scales, letter-sorting
boxes, a postal carrier bike. You'll see a Barber Shop
and Electric Shoe Shop as well as an early
complete with equipment, and the medical bag and other
memorabilia from Pioneer Garden Grove Physician Dr. C. Violette,
who lived to be over 100!
The Schnitger House, a California bungalow from 1916,
has displays of early Garden Grove businesses and a
photography collection of vintage cameras. Part of
Arthur and Helen Schnitger's residence is dedicated to
early musical instruments and shows off a piano,
clarinet, horn, accordion and other instruments as well
as fascinating period furniture and appliances.
The village even has a replica of the first
Station, complete with Garden Grove's first
a 1926 La France, a 1926 smoke mask, signal lanterns and
other firefighting apparatus and even a letter from Gov.
Ronald Reagan to the retiring fire chief. And we've just
scratched the surface of what amazing sights are in the
village. There are plows and other farm equipment, a
lumber building, blacksmith shop and auto garages (plans
call for the Reeder Garage to be part of an oldtime gas
station). Be sure and visit the general store, where you
can purchase historical books, vintage postcards,
special t-shirts and other items.
We want to thank Head Docent Nancy Phillips and Docents
Jim Stainer, Larry Porraz, Megan Galway and all the
hardworking volunteers at the Garden Grove Historical
Society for keeping history alive through their
passionate tours. This is one of the neatest historical
villages around. There are others in San Diego, San Jose
and some additional spots in California. We'll let you
know about them in future. Stay tuned to seecalifornia.com.