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 3 - Historic Sites in Yorba Linda

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Rancho San Antonio

Bernardo built his adobe home, the Rancho San Antonio, in 1835. After Bernardo's death, his family continued to live there until the 1890s, when the adobe walls began to fall down. By that time, the land surrounding the house belonged to Samuel Kraemer and his wife, Angelina Yorba.

In 1926, the Kraemers wanted to give the adobe home to Orange County. But the county government turned down this opportunity to preserve one of the state's finest examples of an early California hacienda. They claimed that it would be too costly to restore and maintain the home. In 1927, the Kraemers were left with no choice but to demolish the deteriorating home.

Eight years later, the site of the Rancho San Antonio was registered with the state as a historical landmark, and in 1950 a monument was built on the site. The monument stands on Esperanza Road, about one-half mile east of Imperial Highway. Esperanza Road was named for Bernardo's granddaughter who died as a child. [13]

San Antonio Chapel

During Bernardo's lifetime there were few churches in Orange County, and they were usually far away from where people lived. So in the 1850s, Bernardo decided to build a church next to the Santa Ana River. It was called the San Antonio Chapel, and was dedicated on April 28, 1860. But by the 1890s the church's adobe walls began to deteriorate, and a new wooden church was built next door. Lack of money prevented upkeep, however, and the church was demolished in 1956.

Yorba Cemetery

The Yorba Cemetery is the second oldest cemetery in Orange County, established after the one at Mission San Juan Capistrano. It is a one-square-acre plot of land that was given to the Catholic Church after Bernardo's death. As many as 400 Yorba family members and friends were buried in the cemetery.

In 1923, road construction in downtown Los Angeles led to the closing of the Calvary Cemetery where bernardo was buried. The remains of Bernardo and nine other members of the Yorba family were returned to Orange County and laid to rest in the Yorba Cemetery. Sixty-five years after his death, Bernardo was returned to his beloved rancho.

The county took over the cemetery in 1967 and has restored it. By that time, many of the gravestones were stolen and vandals had damaged others. Most of the vandalism occurred on holidays, especially Halloween. [15]

Today, tours can be taken of the cemetery, where visitors can learn about the Yorba family and some of the legends associated with the cemetery. One such legend, known as the “Pink Lady,” tells of an early twentieth -century accident victim who is said to haunt the cemetery.

The legend says that she is Alvina De Los Reyes, a member of the Yorba family who was [16] killed at age thirty-one in a carriage accident while riding home from a dance with her husband. The woman fell from the carriage, hit her head and was killed. She now roams the cemetery in even-numbered years on June 15, wearing the pink gown she wore when she died.

Susanna Bixby Bryant Ranch House and Museum

In 1875, John Bixby purchased land from Bernardo Yorba's Rancho Cañon de Santa Ana and called it Rancho Santa Ana. After his death in 1887 the property was inherited by his widow and two children, Fred and Susanna. Following her mother's death, Susanna Bixby Bryant began to take an active interest in the ranch, and in 1916 she built herself a ranch house. She managed to take an active interest in the ranch while her brother ran the cattle business. In 1925, Susanna Bixby Bryant became sole owner of the Rancho Santa Ana and decided to establish a botanic garden as a memorial to her father and his love of the outdoors. In 1927, 200 acres of the ranch were developed as the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. In 1946 Susanna Bixby Bryant died, and the property was distributed to her children and the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. The garden was moved to Claremont in 1950, and family members managed the property until in was sold in 1978. The ranch site became property of the City of Yorba Linda in 1983.

Originally, the ranch contained twenty buildings and a number of barns. Today only the ranch house remains, which is open to the public. It serves as the site for the Yorba Linda Heritage Museum, where visitors can glimpse some of Yorba Linda's unique heritage. Each room depicts a different period of the area's history, from Indian times to the first settlement by [17] the Yorba family, and into the modern age. A small replica of the original botanic garden is located on the property. The ranch house is located at 5700 Susanna Bryant Drive. [18]

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