Yorba Linda History

Historic Documents

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close this bookThe Yorba Legacy
by James V. Granitto, Mary Ruth Erickson, Shakunthala S. Rajan,
Yorba Linda Public Library
View the documentDedication
View the documentThank You
View the documentChapter 1 - Gabrielino Indians
View the documentChapter 2 - The Yorba Linda Family
View the documentChapter 3 - Historic Sites in Yorba Linda
View the documentChapter 4 - Yorba Linda's Early Years
View the documentChapter 5 - Becoming a City - Incorporation
View the documentChapter 6 - Richard M. Nixon
View the documentChapter 7 - Yorba Linda's Early Settlers
View the documentChapter 8 - Important Dates in Yorba Linda's History
View the documentFacts About Yorba Linda

Chapter 4 - Yorba Linda's Early Years

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After Bernardo Yorba's death in 1858, his land was divided among his wife and children. By 1907 some of the land was bought by Jacob Stern, a resident of Fullerton. The next year, the Janss Investment Company in Los Angeles bought stern's land. They named the area Yorba Linda-Yorba being the last name of its original owner, Bernardo Yorba, and Linda, which means beautiful in Spanish.

Life was not easy for Yorba Linda's first settlers. There were no paved roads, electricity, or telephones, and water had to be hauled in barrels from a nearby reservoir. There were no schools in Yorba Linda, and children had to walk about three miles to the nearest school, which was in the town of Olinda. But the settles were hard-working people, and they made Yorba Linda a good place to live.

By 1911 about thirty-five people lived in Yorba Linda. Many of them were farmers who owned orange and lemon groves. During this year the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company put in telephone service, but one of the most important events in 1911 was the building of [19] Yorba Linda's first school. The people decided that a school should be built in their town. So they set out to build a one-room school. The Janss Investment Company donated $50.00, and many people donated from $2.50 to $30.00 toward building the school. Others helped in building the school, or gave lumber, windows, roofing, doors, or gravel.

The first day of school was September 18, 1911, and the teacher was Amanda Longnecker. Proud of their school, the people of Yorba Linda held a party there on October 13, 1911. Gingerbread, pumpkin pie, and coffee were served. The original school is now located at 4866 Olinda Street. [20]

The year 1912 was also an exciting year in Yorba Linda. The Southern California Edison Company put in electric service, and Yorba Linda built its second school. The town's population grew so much that the school on Olinda Street became overcrowded. This led the people of Yorba Linda to build another school, which was located on School Street between Lemon Drive and Arroyo Street.

In 1912 the Pacific Electric Railway Company extended its service to Yorba Linda and build a depot in the town. Because few people had cars during this time, the depot was very important to Yorba Linda. Many people needed to travel to other southern California towns or needed to have lumber, farm equipment, and other supplies sent to them. [21]

Trolley cars traveled from the Yorba Linda Depot to Los Angeles and back nine times daily. The earliest left Yorba Linda at 6:28 A.M., and the latest left Yorba Linda at 10:03 P. M. The Pacific Railway Company stopped passenger service on January 22, 1938. By that time, many people owned cars and were not traveling by trolley car. The building is still located at 18132 Imperial Highway.

By 1912 farming had become important to Yorba Linda. Many people grew orange or lemon trees. However, few had the time or money to send the fruit to the store. In that year, some of the farmers formed the Yorba Linda Citrus Association. The association helped them build a packing house and send the fruit to stores all over the United States.

The town decided to build a church in Yorba Linda. Many of the first settlers of Yorba Linda belonged to the Society of Friends (Quakers). They, along with others in Yorba Linda, worked together to build the church. The first Sunday church service was held on August 11, 1912. This church is still located on School Street between Lemon Drive and Arroyo Street.

In April of 1913, Gertrude Welch thought that the people of Yorba Linda should have their own library. A group held a meeting and made plan to start a library. The Yorba Linda School District gave the people permission to put the library in a room in the school on School Street.

Volunteers installed bookshelves and helped to redecorate one of the rooms of the school. Gertrude Welch donated sixty-three books to the new library. Many of the members of the Yorba Linda Woman's Club donated books and money.

The library opened on May 2, 1913, with Gertrude Welch as the first librarian. Books could [22] be checked out for only one week, and a fine of two cents a day was charged for overdue books and magazines. The library was open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 3:00 P.M to sunset. During the first month the library was open, twelve library cards were given out, twenty-seven cents in fines were paid, and thirty-one books and magazines were checked out.

As the number of books grew, the library moved several times. The library is now located at 18181 Imperial Highway. The year 1917 was important because it was the year in which Yorba Linda's first road was paved, and the Yorba Linda Star began printing. Before 1917 Yorba Linda had dirt roads which were not in good shape and which became too muddy to drive on when it rained. The first paved road was Yorba Linda Boulevard. The printing of the Yorba Linda Star [24] was important because the Star, unlike other newspapers, mainly wrote about events in Yorba Linda. The Yorba Linda Star is still being printed weekly as a supplement to the Orange County Register.

Yorba Linda went through few changes between 1920 and 1960. In those forty years, Yorba Linda's population grew from 350 to 1198. The town's main business continued to be farming.

Even though the town did not change very much, some important events did happen. For example, the Yorba Linda Citrus Association's wood-framed packing house was destroyed by fire on June 29, 1929. The fire also destroyed 103000 boxes of fruit. However, the association immediately built a new concrete building on the same spot, 19200 Yorba Linda Boulevard. It cost $115,000 to build and opened on May 3, 1930. The building was considered to be the most up-to-date packing house of its time. The building is presently used by a number of businesses.

In the 1960s Yorba Linda's population grew from 1198 in 1960 to 11433 in 1967, when it officially became a city. During these years many farmer sold their land to real estate developers who replaced the citrus groves with homes and shopping centers. Farming became less important to Yorba Linda. [25]

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