January Event: The LAB and Other Unique Places created by Linda Sadeghi

The LAB stands for “Little American Business” and that’s exactly who Linda Sadeghi strives to support. The LAB began its journey to combat retail monotony in 1993 when it was recycled from a night-vision goggle factory located in Costa Mesa by The LAB Team, with Linda Sadeghi as the current steward.

As owner/operator/designer, Linda is celebrating The LAB’s 30 years as a successful retail, restaurant, art, and entertainment venue for the “young at heart”. At the core of her efforts is her mission to renovate historic buildings and repurpose them.

The Costa Mesa Historical Society is pleased to have her as guest speaker at our January 14th event. It will take place in the Adams Room at the Donald Dungan Library.
The event begins at 2 pm.
Light refreshments will be served.
Admission is free but R.S.V.P. is required. Please call (949) 631-5918 by January 10th.

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New Historic Homes Calendar

Renee Pina has produced another Historic Homes calendar, this time featuring the city’s most historic properties. In fact, most of the properties are eligible for the city’s historic register. Each month features an image of the property as well as a little history from its owners, making it a community-driven project. Help us to raise awareness about the value of these homes to Costa Mesa and that they are vital to protecting the charm and nostalgia of our neighborhoods!

Now available for sale here in our online shop, as well as in person at the Historical Society Museum.

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Diego Sepulveda Adobe Reopening

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The grand reopening of the Diego Sepulveda on October 1st also celebrated this historic structure’s 200th birthday. Mayor John Stephens and Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley spoke a few words and each presented the Historical Society’s president Barbra Steck with framed certificates honoring the occasion.

Head Docent Cindy Humphreys gave special recognition to Jason Minter and Daniel Jojola of the City of Costa Mesa and Mark Sauer of Sauer Construction for their dedicated efforts in renovating the Adobe. Cultural Anthropologist Stephen O’Neil spoke on local history. Then guests were treated to refreshments provided by Grocery Outlet. There were several crafts for the children. The group Sweetwater Creek played some bluegrass to the delight of all.

Special guests for the day were Lynn and Vicki Alcala whose family were the last to live in the Adobe. They are the living history of Costa Mesa, and we were so pleased to have them join us.

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Interactive Map Featuring Orange County Historic Sites

Last year, Preserve Orange County launched an interactive map featuring historic sites throughout the county. From their website:

What’s on the map?

  • The map includes all sites that are designated historic at county, state and national levels, under these programs:
    • National Register of Historic Places
    • National Historic Landmarks
    • California Register of Historical Resources
    • California Historical Landmarks
    • California Points of Historical Interest
    • Orange County Historic Sites
    • Orange County Historical Site Plaques
  • It also includes undesignated sites — places that have historic significance but have not yet been officially recognized.
  • Not included at this time are places that are listed on local historic registers.
  • The map indicates if a site is open to the public. If it is not, it may be viewed from the public right-of-way only.”

Phase 2 of the map, with more sites added, is due to launch this year.

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Costa Mesa Small Business Appreciation Spotlight the Iconic ” El Matador ” – VIDEO

El Matador restaurant opened its door 56 years ago. The building was constructed in 1923, and is one of the most historic commercial storefronts in the city. Our friend Renee Pina takes us on a tour of this iconic restaurant.

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Historic Eastside Costa Mesa Home Tour

Last month, with the help of Renee Pina, we premiered our calendar highlighting historic homes in Eastside Costa Mesa. Costa Mesa Television had the opportunity to tour ones of these beautiful houses. Join them as they walk through 280 Magnolia, November’s featured home, and learn about the unique history of this interesting property!

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Read more about the article New 2022 Calendar Highlights Historic Costa Mesa Homes
281 Magnolia St., Eastside. This California Spanish Bungalow was built in 1929 and lovingly restored and expanded. This image marks the month of June in the calendar.

New 2022 Calendar Highlights Historic Costa Mesa Homes

A new volunteer at the Costa Mesa Historical Society, Renee Pina, has spearheaded a new, full-color calendar of 12 vintage Eastside Costa Mesa homes.

All homes featured were built, or believed to have been built, between 1900 and 1930, and have been loved and cared for by their present owners.  The Society hopes to learn more of the history of each of these homes.

12 local businesses have helped to sponsor the pages in the calendar.  They are:  Pina & Co., French’s Cupcake Bakery, Kean Coffee, Doggie Daycare, El Matador, Dick Church’s, Eastside Mini-Mart, Shirley’s Bagels, Al’s New York Café & Catering, Haute Cakes Caffe, Goat Hill Tavern, and Mi Casa.

A copy of the calendar can be purchased at the Costa Mesa Historical Society for a donation of $10.00.

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Read more about the article The Lost Landmarks of Mayor Willard T. Jordan
Willard Jordan, AIA, called Nabers Cadillac at 2600 Harbor Boulevard “as good as I have ever designed.”

The Lost Landmarks of Mayor Willard T. Jordan

Willard T. Jordan (1913-1981) is perhaps best known for his public service, both in politics and in philanthropy. Not only did he serve as mayor from 1966-68 and as councilman for a decade, he received, among other honors, the OCC’s Outstanding Citizen’s Award for Distinguished Community Service and Man of the Year awards from both the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce and the City of Santa Ana.

“I never heard anybody say anything but the very best about him,” said local historian and friend George Grupe. “And that’s hard to happen to you if you’re the mayor of the city.”

With such an honored public reputation, it’s easy to forget that privately, Jordan, AIA, was a prolific architect. Nevertheless, he designed many Costa Mesa landmarks over the course of his 30-year career. 

In a 1978 interview with the historical society, Jordan was asked which of his buildings he was most proud of. Sadly, developers haven’t been kind to his legacy. Much is now lost. Below we find out what has befallen this significant Costa Mesa architect’s favorite projects .

330 West Bay Street

This award-winning facility served as the home of the Daily Pilot for nearly six decades. But after the newspaper moved to the LA Times building in 2004 the structure was demolished to help ‘revitalize’ the area, as was said at the time. It is now the home of a housing development, the Bungalows of Bay Street.

2803 Royal Palm Drive

Built in 1961, Fire Station No. 1 once served as the headquarters for the Costa Mesa Fire Department. In 2017 it was determined the structure — by then aging, cramped, out of date, and out of code — would be cheaper to rebuild than to renovate. A new $10-million, 11,740-sq. ft., state-of-the-art station opened in the summer of 2018.

2850 Mesa Verde Drive East

Jordan designed this medical, dental, and professional building in the early 1960s. In 2017, the Costa Mesa Planning Commission determined the site was “not an efficient use of land and really no longer functional”. The building was demolished to make way for 11 new houses in phase 2 of the Miraval housing development.

2600 Harbor Boulevard

The iconic Nabers Cadillac earned Jordan an “Award of Honor” in 1968 for its creative, functional, and dramatic use of concrete. “Nabers Cadillac is probably as good as I have ever designed,” said Jordan in 1978. In 2014 the building was demolished by Orange Coast Buick GMC Cadillac and replaced by a “state-of-the-art dealership with 32 indoor service bays and two ‘Internet-driven’ showrooms.”

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Read more about the article The Shamrock: Costa Mesa’s First Cocktail Bar
An August 1980 shot of The Shamrock, later The Helm, at 1824 Newport. Today it is a retro lounge, The Boulevard.

The Shamrock: Costa Mesa’s First Cocktail Bar

Costa Mesa’s first cocktail bar opened at 1824 Newport in August 1944. The bar, first called the Shamrock and later the Helm, survived nearly seven decades before closing in August 2011.

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