This Month in Costa Mesa History

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The Sunday Speaker Series is on hiatus until September. But history never rests. Many notable events in Costa Mesa history happened in July.

On July 22, 1769, Portolá first entered Orange County. 41 years later an expedition member and his nephew (José Antonio Yorba and Juan Pablo Peralta) received a land grant for Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana. Costa Mesa sits on the southwest portion of the rancho.

Costa Mesa’s first church, the Fairview Methodist Episcopal Church, was dedicated on July 15, 1888. Bishop Charles Wesley Burns dedicated a new Methodist Episcopal Church on July 30, 1928. That landmark, still standing at 19th Street and Harbor Boulevard, will celebrate its 90th birthday this year.

In July 1920 Harper became Costa Mesa after voters chose the new name in a contest. In 1953, a month after incorporating, the city adopted a new seal emphasizing education and nautical interests. The motto promoted “The Hub of the Harbor Area.” The city’s first library opened in July 1923 and the Placentia Avenue fire station opened in July 1967.

The Costa Mesa (aka Balboa Bay) airport opened this month in 1946. It was located between Placentia and the river, north of 19th street, where the Freedom Homes are now. In July 1970 the police helicopter began patrolling the skies.

The Paulo Drive-in opened on July 8, 1949, while the Costa Mesa Municipal Golf Course, 51 years young, opened in July 1967.