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

The Edrick Miller Collection

This is the first of a continuing series that will take a peek inside the society’s rich archives. At any given moment, only a small fraction of the collection can be displayed. The rest, however, is of interest both to the researcher and the layperson alike. This month we look at the important Edrick Miller Collection.

Who donated the collection?

Edrick Miller is a retired city employee, aerospace worker, and army lieutenant from Tustin, California. Miller wrote three books: A Slice of Orange, The Hayburners of Orange County, and The SAAAB StoryA Slice of Orange is to this day considered the definitive history of Costa Mesa. Miller served as a director of the Costa Mesa Historical Society and the Costa Mesa Bicentennial Committee. In recognition of his contributions to the understanding of Costa Mesa history, he received the society’s Living Memorial Award in 1982.

What’s inside the collection?

The bulk of the sprawling collection consists of research materials for Ed Miller’s three books. As such, the collection provides an essential resource for those interested in early Costa Mesa, Orange County transportation, and the Santa Ana Army Air Base history. The collection comprises newspaper clippings, city reports, property development records, oral histories, manuscripts, maps, and some 5,000 photos. Collectors of coffee and spice cans will also be interested in his Ben Hur Memorabilia Check List and other assorted artifacts.

When was the collection donated?

The collection’s first major accession occurred around 1980, with additions being made to the present day.

Where do I find the Edrick Miller collection?

The collection can be found at the Costa Mesa Historical Society Museum. The museum can be visited every Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. or by appointment. A volunteer or the archivist will be happy to help you research the collection.

Why is the collection important?

Miller’s books on Orange County and Costa Mesa in particular remain landmark histories 40 years after publication. His works are lauded for their thoroughness and accuracy. There are few topics Miller did not cover. A researcher can use Miller’s original sources and unpublished supporting documents as a springboard for further research. Above all, Miller’s vast photo collection, which form the core of the society’s collection, offers a rare and vital glimpse into the past.

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Seeking Freedom – A Five Year Odyssey

The Costa Mesa Historical Society is pleased to announce that Tony Burica, owner of Tony’s Boat Shop, will be our speaker on Sunday October 21, 2018 . as he presents his life’s Journey from Croatia to the United States and more!

Tony Burica, owner of Tony’s Boat Shop in Costa Mesa, is known to generations of Newport Beach sailors for his superb craftsmanship in repairing Sabots, Lido 14s, and other small boats. After first working for Schock boats for 20 years, Tony opened his Boat Shop and began repairing the boats being sailed on the Bay. After nearly thirty years and many thousands of boats repaired, he finally retired, but the legend lives on in this newly published book about his life. Now we all have the opportunity to meet Tony at the Costa Mesa Historical Society Sunday, October 21st (doors open at 2pm), and to hear more about his great odyssey.

What is not generally known about Tony is how he came to Newport Beach in the first place. His life story is truly amazing. As a young man, not willing to become part of the communist regime of Marshall Tito, he fled Croatia by sailing a boat to Italy. As a stateless person without documents, he was held in a refugee camp for six months, eventually getting a job at an American Army base in Germany. Then he embarked on a journey that took him and his friend Ivan to Sweden, and then eventually to Spain and the Canary Islands. Their goal was to somehow reach America and freedom.

Never giving up, he and his friend Ivan finally arrived in Los Angeles. After getting established at Schock Boats in Newport Beach, Tony returned to Croatia and married his high school sweetheart, Tereza, who had never given up hope and waited 16 years for him. Theirs is a love story that will restore your faith in human beings.

Come join us at the Costa Mesa Historical Society at 1870 Anaheim Ave, Costa Mesa, 92627. We invite you to come and meet Tony, and perhaps purchase an autographed copy of SEEKING FREEDOM, A FIVE YEAR ODYSSEY.

So bring a friend and join us on an odyssey you will long remember! 

Seating is limited, for RESERVATIONS call (949) 631-5918.    Doors open at 2:00, program at 2:30. Free admission and refreshments. We are located at 1870 Anaheim Ave. northwest corner of the Lions Park complex.Visit www.costamesahistory.org   or go to facebook/costa mesa historical society for more information.

Program Flier: 181021 tony burica odyssey

(Note: Please enter the Costa Mesa Historical Society Museum parking lot by entering from Anahem Avenue. The Park Ave. entrance will be closed due to construction.)

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25th Artistic License Fair Returns this October

The Artistic License Fair returns to Estancia Park Friday, October 26 and Saturday, October 27 from 10 a.m-4 p.m. Browse fine crafts from 50 artisans based in Orange, Los Angeles, and Riverside counties. Now in its 25th year, the annual event began as the Denwar Crafts Fair over fifty years ago. The Diego Sepulveda Adobe will be open for visitors on both days. For more information, go to artisticlicensefair.com.

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New Fire Station to Exhibit Historical Society Artifacts

Fireman’s turnout coat dating from the era of Costa Mesa’s Volunteer Fire Department.

Costa Mesa’s newest fire station, the Royal Palm station, will be dedicated Saturday, September 29 at 10 a.m. This modern facility will serve the Mesa Verde area with the finest in first-responder equipment, training, and personnel. Working with Captains Rob Gagne and Fred McDowell, the Society has loaned a fireman’s turnout coat and helmet to be placed on display in the station’s lobby. Opposite the display case is a wall-sized enlargement of a historical photo of the original Royal Palm Station, designed by former Costa Mesa Mayor Willard T. Jordan.

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71st Lions Club Fish Fry a Success!

Thank you to all who visited us at the 71st Annual Costa Mesa-Newport Harbor Lions Club Fish Fry September 21-3. We hoped you enjoyed watching Echoes from the Fields or purchasing gifts from the booth we shared with the Friends of the Library. 

Most of all, a big THANK YOU to the volunteers who donated their time and made the event such a success. We couldn’t do it without you!

See you again next year!

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The Costa Mesa Songbook
A detail of the sheet music to Joan Hoadley's "Costa Mesa Plateau", the first song written about Costa Mesa.

The Costa Mesa Songbook

Did you know that over two dozen songs have name-dropped Costa Mesa? Over ten of them have appeared in the past five years alone. And in a variety of genres, too: rock, reggae, alternative, Christian, electronica, you name it. Everyone loves to sing about our town.

We’ve selected a few notable tracks below. Find a full list of songs at the bottom of the page. Let us know if there’s anything we missed!

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