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

Hostile Skies – the F-105 in Vietnam with Gary Barnhill

In honor of Veterans Day, The Costa Mesa Historical Society presents its annual salute to our veterans with U.S. Air Force Captain Gary Barnhill on Sunday, November 17, 2019.

Captain Gary Barnhill, illustrious Air Force pilot whose missions included hazardous and challenging F-105 missions over North Vietnam in the highest threat air environment of the entire Viet Nam War, will share his presentation “Downtown, everything is waiting for you” from Petula Clark’s 1964 hit song. “Downtown”  referred metaphorically to Hanoi.  “Everything is Waiting for You” was the pilot’s gallows humor for the SAM missiles and Anti-Aircraft Artillery that greeted each entry into North Vietnam airspace. He will briefly describe flying the high-accident-rate F-100C in Europe circa 1958 and sitting Nuclear Alert as a still maturing young lad of 22. The main topic is flying the F-105 Thunderchief in 1965 during Rolling Thunder; the air campaign to bomb targets in North Vietnam, which lasted until late 1969.  He will “take you along” on an aerial refueling episode with an extremely unusual ending.  He will also “take you along” on an interesting Hunter Killer “Experimental” mission to find and destroy a SAM missile, which up to that time, had never been accomplished. After 11 years in USAF, there was a brief flirtation with CIA, a career with Trans World Airlines, air show pilot, and founder of a B-747 pilot leasing firm.

Decorations & Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal.2nd AD, Good Conduct Medal, Armed Forces expeditionary Medal w/star, Vietnam Svc Medal, Armed Forces Longevity Svc Award w/OLC, Armed Forces Reserve Medal

Mr. Barnhill belongs to the Freedom Committee of Orange County (http://fc-oc.org) whose members speak to high school students and civic groups to bring “living history” into the classroom and instill a sense of patriotism in future generations. 

Bring a friend and join us to hear this “from the cockpit” narrative of the war in the sky! 

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.

Note: Due to construction, entry to parking lot must be made from Anaheim Ave.

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Fairview Register October 2019
Halloween of Yesteryear. Photo courtesy Tess Bernstein.

Fairview Register October 2019

In the October 2019 Fairview Register, we look back on the life of Refugio Leon, tell some scary stories, preview the society elections, and look forward to theater legend Tom Titus’s opening of this year’s Speaker Series.



Fairview Register October 2019

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2020 Society Elections of Officers and Board Members

November is fast approaching and so are our annual elections. This is where you, our members, have the opportunity to become a candidate or nominate another member for any of the following positions: President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Board Director.

Our officers and board members can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, aren’t faster than a speeding bullet, or more powerful than a locomotive.

They are just ordinary people from the community who are interested in preserving our local history. If you’re interested or need more information, please call or stop by.

If you’re not interested in any of the positions above, perhaps you would enjoy participating by being on one of our committees. Why not check us out? We could use you.

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The Other Side of History
Halloween of Yesteryear. Photo courtesy Tess Bernstein.

The Other Side of History

By Tess Bernstein

Have you ever seen those TV shows that investigate hauntings? They always end up at the local historical society to research the history of the house or land. In fact, the West Coast wing of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS), the organization behind the hit TV show Ghost Hunters, once contacted the Costa Mesa Historical Society for info. But it’s not just professional ghost hunters we hear from. We get lots of visits from regular Costa Mesans who want to know about the things that go bump in the night. This month we celebrate Halloween by sharing a few of the spooky inquiries we’ve gotten.

The Sisters

One day a call came into the society. Gladys answered the phone, and we overheard her becoming increasingly blunt. “Well, you will just have to come in,” she said until she hung up. Later that day, two young sisters came in very upset wanting to know the history of their house. After we talked for a bit, they finally told me “the real reason” for their visit. Once while home alone they heard footsteps coming from upstairs and listened as the noise descended the stairway. Another day they heard the front door open and close and what sounded like keys thrown on to the counter. When they looked, no one was there, there were no keys, and the door was still locked.

Theater Ghost Lady 

A girl came into the society and wanted to know the history of the _______ movie theater because she believed it to be haunted. When she and her friend walked into theater 9 one day, they saw an older woman wearing 19th-century clothes. She appeared almost translucent, then, just like that, she vanished. For reasons of her own, the friend sat in the same seat the specter had occupied. It wasn’t long before she felt ill and left. The girl stayed to finish the movie but found herself distracted by a bone-chilling cold around her seat, colder than the rest of the theater.

Haunted Apartment

Once we received an email from a woman who didn’t mince words about why she was inquiring. She lived in a fairly new apartment — so what were those strange noises she heard every night? She wondered if it was built on top of… something.

DEA House

A young man came in one day and wanted information on the house he had just rented. We looked up his address and talked for a bit. Then he said, “Let me tell you the real reason I’m here.” He had only lived there a short while when things seemed to fly off the shelves, and he heard strange noises and loud bangs. His wife and three kids were so frightened they didn’t want to stay there alone. So these days what would you do? He Googled his house and found a photo of DEA agents swarming all over it Could this be the source for the strange activity? 

The Costa Mesa Historical Society has old phone books, newspapers, photos, and other databases available to help you answer both your normal and paranormal historical questions. Do you have unusual activity in your house? Knowing the history may shed some light. We’d love to hear your stories. Just tell me “the real reason why.”

More Haunted Places in Costa Mesa

There’s no shortage of places in Costa Mesa that people believe are haunted. The October 27, 2006, Orange County Register lists a few:

Costa Mesa City Hall Some claim to have seen a ghost dressed as a 19th-century police officer at the building’s entrance. Witnesses claim the Victorian is ticketing a “scantily clad” woman.

Estancia High School Many have reported crying babies and faulty light fixtures in the science department, as well as an extreme chill apparently unrelated to the school’s subzero air conditioning. Others claim to hear athletic ghosts taking a dip in the pool or shooting hoops.

South Coast Plaza If it’s 3 a.m. you may want to stay clear of Nordstrom’s… unless you want to get hit by a flying mannequin.

Tess Bernstein is a long-time society volunteer and board member. She first got involved with the society to investigate her own haunted house.

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Shop with us on Amazon

Every time you start your order with Amazon Smile, Amazon will donate to the Costa Mesa Historical Society. Visit smileamazon.com before making your next purchase, being sure to check “charitable organization” and selecting the Costa Mesa Historical Society when prompted. You can use your existing Amazon.com account on AmazonSmile.

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