(949) 631-5918 Thursday - Friday 10am - 3pm

Adobe Plaque Dedication

Join us as Orange County Historical Commission dedicates a new plaque at the Diego Sepulveda Adobe on January 12. The restored adobe is the second oldest building still standing in Orange County.

The plaque will recognize the adobe and the surrounding Native American site. As part of this free event, the adobe will be open for tours.

So come on down to Estancia Park and celebrate the recognition of one of Orange County’s — and Costa Mesa’s — gems.

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2018 Year in Review
Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

2018 Year in Review

Wow, hard to believe, but yes, another year just flew by! And what a year it was!

Our accomplishments include:

  • The opening of The Hull Story. Curated by society volunteer Nancy Pedersen, this exhibit honors the wood and fiberglass boat builders and manufacturers that transformed Costa Mesa from an agricultural-based town into “the Hub of the Harbor” from the 1950s-80s.
  • Applying through the Orange County Historical Commission’s historic plaque program to receive county recognition for the Diego Sepulveda Adobe and surrounding Native American site.
  • Debut of the society’s enhanced website with expanded features. To go with this new look, we are re-designing our logo, letterhead and brochures.
  • Participating in community events including booths at the 71st Annual Fish Fry, Concerts in the Park, and Orange County Archives in Action.
  • Hosting successful speaker events which attracted new members to the Society including January’s installation dinner with Orange County Register columnist David Whiting; February’s Bring A Friend event; author Craig MacDonald and the amazing story of Charley in March; journalist Chris Epting and the “Camping Trip that changed America” in April; our annual Early California Days in May at Estancia Park featuring cultural anthropologist Stephen O’Neil; Jeff Rountree and the History of John Wayne Airport in June; author Tony Burica and his story Seeking Freedom: A Five Year Odyssey in October; and Fred MacDowell and A Salute to Veterans program in November.

In 2018, society volunteers surpassed 6,000 hours of service. Thank you to our dedicated members including:

  • Board officers & directors: 1st VP Terry Shaw, 2nd VP Tess Bernstein, recording secretary Estelle Hughes, treasurer Susan Weeks, head archivist Mary Ellen Goddard, Dave Rusher, Bob Palazzola, Cynthia Humphreys;
  • Lead volunteer Art Goddard;
  • Docents Kathy Bequette, Alex Golson, Vicki Alcala Kelley, Lynn Alcala;
  • Volunteers Nancy Pedersen, Karl VonHerzen, Hope VonHerzen, Sid Hallburn, Jean & Craig Nomura, Sharon & Dan Dearing, Jan Rovan, Dolores Minerich, Ursula Hartunian, Beth Refakes, Mona & George Hill, Rob Braun, Wanda Garro, Helen Humphreys, costume designer Cynthia Corley, and intern Agustin Espinoza.

Lastly, thank you to centenarian Gladys Refakes for her 38 years of very active service to the society. 

Best wishes and enjoy the holidays. We’ll see you next year!

Dave Gardner
President, Costa Mesa Historical Society

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Fred McDowell on World War I
Fred McDowell poses in front of period rifles

Fred McDowell on World War I

Join us 
2 p.m. Sunday, November 18 as Fred McDowell, Costa Mesa Fire Captain, helps us commemorate the  “War to End All Wars.” In a presentation featuring authentic military artifacts, costumed re-enactors, and a slide presentation, McDowell will discuss America’s largest battle (the Meuse-Argonne Offensive), the “The Lost Battalion,” and Sgt. Rochester, the young Costa Mesan who tragically lost his life in that battle. You won’t want to miss this!

Download the full brochure (PDF)

Directions

Please note that the Park Avenue entrance is currently closed due to library construction. Please enter from Anaheim Avenue.

Costa Mesa Historical Society Museum
1870 Anaheim Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

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The World War I Diary of George Vincent Fox
George Vincent Fox's dog tag from World War I.

The World War I Diary of George Vincent Fox

One of the treasures of the historical society’s collection is the daily diary kept by George Vincent Fox, an artilleryman in World War I. Fox documents his journey across the Atlantic, his time on the front lines, and his postwar duty as peacekeeper. Although the prose is sparse and matter-of-fact, it vividly captures both the thrill and the tedium of war and peace.

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The Society Shuffle
Items in storage boxes are checked against catalog records in the Society’s PastPerfect database.

The Society Shuffle

No, it wasn’t a two-step dance and it certainly wasn’t a cakewalk. But this Society Shuffle was performed at the Historical Society’s downtown museum September 22-26. Under the direction of Archivist Mary Ellen Goddard, the Historical Society’s storage area for collection items was cleared out, cleaned, and boxes re-shelved after checking their numerical order. This was a major effort, preparing the Historical Society for reviewing collection holdings and making space for new items. The photos tell the story.

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Do You Love Working with Old Photos?

We’re looking for volunteers to assist us in the preservation of our local history. Do you like old photographs? Do you enjoy seeing them come back to life? We need your passion and your skills!

Photo preservation and restoration is a key part of the Costa Mesa Historical Society’s mission. If you would like to learn more about this fun and gratifying volunteer opportunity, fill out the form below, give us a call at 949-631-5918, or drop us a line. Thanks for your help!

Areas of Interest

Volunteer work in which you are interested:


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Society Elections November 18th
Historical Society Museum

Society Elections November 18th

The Costa Mesa Historical Society elections will take place at the beginning of the Sunday Speaker Program on November 18th. The slate of current candidates will be presented at the meeting. Nominations from the floor will be accepted at that time. The election will take place in public and anyone can nominate someone from the floor. The positions open for nomination are: President, 1st Vice-President of Programs, 2nd Vice President of Membership, Secretary, Treasurer and Board Director.

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Remembering 2018’s Concerts in the Park

As the days get shorter and the air gets cooler, we remember the fun we had last summer. Thank you, Estelle Hughes, Jean Nomura, and Augustin Espinoza for manning the booth this year at the Concerts in the Park. From a booth decorated with large historic photos of Costa Mesa, the volunteers handed out candy, sold memorabilia, and promoted the society, all while benefiting the Costa Mesa Foundation.

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Three Generations Tour Museum
Jeani Hibbard, Katie Hibbard, and Bonnie Murray tour the Hull Story boatbuilding exhibit.

Three Generations Tour Museum

Three generations of special women toured the society’s boatbuilding exhibit in September: Jeani Hibbard,  Katie Hibbard, and Bonnie Murray.

Bonnie Murray’s husband Arland “Buzz” Murray was a key player in the Costa Mesa boatbuilding industry. Together he and Mel Potter built Mel-Craft dinghies and sabots. The family posed for a photo next to a model of one of Mel-Craft’s most popular crafts, a 12-foot sailing pram.

A fun bonus came when Mary Ellen Goddard helped find a picture of Bonnie’s sister in the society’s archives!

Boatbuilding played a significant role in Costa Mesa’s postwar industry. Plan a visit to the society museum and explore this fascinating history yourself

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