Category Archives: History

100 Years Ago in Costa Mesa…

In 1910, Costa Mesa’s first commercial apple orchards were planted by George Waterman & George Huntington.

Also, a 2-room schoolhouse opened at the corner of 17th St. and Orange Street. One hundred years later the Costa Mesa Omlette Parlor sits on this land.

Many thanks to the Costa Mesa Historical Society for this information!!! We appreciate the volunteers at this non-profit organization who keep track of Costa Mesa’s past.

Ruby's flier

What will Costa Mesa look like in 2110? Let’s help the Costa Mesa Historical Society continue to track Costa Mesa’s story. One way to help is by eating at Ruby’s Diner on Thursday, May 6, 2010. The diner will donate 20% of all food and non-alcoholic beverage purchases to the Costa Mesa Historical Society. Stop by – the event goes on all day long!

About Torelli Realty: Torelli Realty is proud to represent Costa Mesa real estate. We’ve been meeting the needs of Costa Mesa home buyers & sellers since 1984. Torelli Realty also deals with Costa Mesa rentals, Costa Mesa property management, and offers home improvement and home staging tips to help your home’s value throughout Costa Mesa and in Mesa Verde. We also have an expert on staff, Holly Schwartz, who came to us as a producer from Home and Garden Television (HGTV) and extensively studied home values and markets locally and nationally. Feel free to contact Torelli Realty for a consultation and for all your real estate needs.


Incredible Unsung People Who Changed Costa Mesa And Society for the Better

Costa Mesa has a rich history and the Costa Mesa Historical Society does a great job of informing the public about the past of the city.  This weekend the society is hosting a free talk given by Pulitzer Prize Nominee Craig MacDonald called “Incredible Unsung People Who Changed Society for the Better.”  This is a great opportunity to learn about exceptional people who impacted Costa Mesa.

Pic of Craig MacDonald

Craig MacDonald

MacDonald has done extensive research to prep for his talk and will speak about not only the men, but also the women, who deserve recognition for their part in Costa Mesa’s growth and development.  It takes the vision of ALL members of the community for it to thrive.  We welcome the positive message that the historical society is sending out about invaluable people who sought to make society better for those who followed them.

For Costa Mesa residents, it’s a huge benefit to have the non-profit Costa Mesa Historical Society as a public resource.  It’s a great place for families to spend time together or just to drop in and learn more about the city we call home.

Doors will open for the program on Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 2pm.  The admission is free and refreshments will be provided.  Let us know if you check out this event… We’d love to hear your thoughts about some of the unsung heroes of Costa Mesa.

Costa Mesa Historical Society Features Native Sons of the Golden West

On Wednesday, January 20, 2010 the Costa Mesa Historical Society featured a presentation by Richard Kimball at its annual dinner.  Kimball represents the Native Sons of The Golden West, which is a philanthropic organization that protects California’s historic landmarks & buildings, as well as puts up historic sign markers.

Pic of Richard Kimball

Richard Kimball of Native Sons of the Golden West

Since the inception of the Native Sons group in 1875, they have welcomed California men and women who were born in California to protect the state’s history.  In addition to this, the group also sponsors essay contests at schools, provides scholarships, partners with other historical organizations, and contributes to hospital research.

Richard Kimball is a past grand president of the Native Sons.  He is also a veteran who is very involved in the community and currently serves as the president for the Conference of California Historical Societies.

The Costa Mesa Historical Society was founded in 1966 to keep history alive in our community.  We are fortunate to have a record of our rich past and programs at our disposal to keep our historical structures in intact.  One of Costa Mesa’s most well known historic landmarks is the Diego Sepulveda Adobe.  We greatly appreciate the volunteers at the historical society.  The resources available there are perfect for students, families, and anyone with a desire to know more about the emergence of Costa Mesa.

Orange County’s New Lyon Air Museum

Costa Mesa, nicknamed City of the Arts, has gained another attraction in our neighbor city of Santa Ana – The Lyon Air Museum.

Picture of Lyon Air Museum

Lyon Air Museum

The museum is next to the John Wayne Airport and displays aircraft and autos from the 1930s and 1940s.  Major General William Lyon opened the museum as a way to teach people in his home area about the efforts of American servicemen during World War II.  Military veterans will serve as docents and a lot of them even served during WWII.

The 30,000 sq. ft. Orange County museum broke ground in 2007 and opened during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009.  Lyon Air Museum  serves to educate the public about the “Greatest Generation of Aviation.”  There are plenty of amazing features like a 1939 Mercedes-Benz Model G4 Offener Touring Wagon used by Adolph Hitler during World War II, as well as an authentic truck from Helms Bakery, which was used locally in the 1940s.

One of the greatest missions of the museum is to provide services to local school districts so that our youth will have a chance to learn first-hand about WWII.  Costa Mesa students and the surrounding communities are very fortunate to have so many fantastic resources at their disposal.  Make sure to visit the Lyon Air Museum and take advantage of yet another wonderful  treat near Costa Mesa.

Shedding Light on Mesa Verde Local Park

Costa Mesa is full of parks and recreational areas and today we’re highlighting Fairview Park. Recent improvements to the park have been made and now it’s time for the community to take a firsthand look during a guided tour that will be held this weekend on Saturday, October 17 at 9am (it will last about 90 minutes). Afterward, there will also be a brief ceremony to celebrate the Fairview Park Friends Committee and uncover a dog/human bi-level drinking fountain, which was paid for by the committee’s fundraising efforts. Feel free to bring the family – the weather is going to be gorgeous!

Since Fairview Park is a large area of our community and a landmark in Mesa Verde, let’s take a look at its history. You may have seen the signs around the neighborhood that say Fairview Park est. 1500 B.C.

Costa Mesa Historical Marker

Costa Mesa Historical Marker

Yes, it’s true, researchers have been able to trace human occupation of the site back to 1500 B.C. In the 1700s the Spanish developed the area and built the Estancia Adobe, which remains today.

Costa Mesa Site - Estancia Adobe

Costa Mesa Site - Estancia Adobe

Following that the land was used for agricultural purposes and remained undeveloped. In 1994 the park was officially recognized by the City of Costa Mesa as an area that would preserve Costa Mesa’s need for public space, including wildlife and nature trails.


Ever since, residents of Costa Mesa have enjoyed the beauty and scenery of Fairview Park. It’s a wonderful place to go for a walk or ride a bike on the trails. There’s also a picnic area and even an area where kite flying and model airplane groups can hold meetings. The park provides Mesa Verde residents and the City of Costa Mesa with a fantastic recreational spot.

Preserving the environment is important and it does affect the quality of life that a community provides, which is a big factor among homebuyers as they consider Costa Mesa real estate. Mesa Verde is so fortunate to have so much recreational space. Thanks to the efforts of the Fairview Park Friends Committee the park is able to enjoy some improvements that will increase the desirability of the park for Costa Mesa residents today and well into the future.

WHAT: Guided Tour of Fairview Park
WHEN: Sat., October 17. 9am-10:30am
WHERE: 2525 Placentia Ave.
INFO: Carol Proctor (714) 754-5688

Read this article on for more info on the tour or learn more about Fairview Park history here.


Costa Mesa Renovations of Yesterday Meet Today

Most Costa Mesa homes were built in the 1960s and 1970s.  But here’s an interesting bit of trivia – historians believe that the Diego Sepulveda Adobe was built between 1817-1823, making it not only the oldest building in Costa Mesa, but the second oldest in all of Orange County!  The adobe originally served as a shelter for herdsmen from Mission San Juan Capistrano.  The herdsmen were responsible for watching over cattle and horses (as you know, I love animals!).  This past weekend the Costa Mesa Historical Society sponsored an event called Early California Days, which featured the recent renovations on the adobe.

It’s a fact of life that you can learn from the past so I think it’s noteworthy that renovations are just as necessary in our homes today as they are in an old adobe.  The Diego Sepulveda Adobe got a new tile roof, some electrical work, refurbished floors, and whitewashed walls. Some of these upgrades and others I suggest to sellers to get top dollar.  Each home is different, and I meet with my clients before putting the home on the market and identify what areas need attention AND get the most return on the dollars put in.

The history of Costa Mesa is important to a lot of homebuyers and it’s exciting to see how the city strives to preserve its heritage by educating and entertaining the community.  Costa Mesa holds numerous events, which helps to make it a desirable area and a frontrunner in real estate. The next time you look into renovating your home, think about how it really can be a long-term investment!

Diego Sepulveda Adobe

For more information on real estate in Costa Mesa or tips on how to renovate your home please contact Torelli Realty.

To read more about the event check out this article in the Daily Pilot, 9/20/09.