Friday Field Trip: Yorba Linda, California

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Sam Wylder is Clarie Jordan’s love interest in Us, Now and Then. He lives in the North Orange County town of Yorba Linda. His home is part of a nicer-than-average housing development surrounding the country club built in the 1960s. Think rolling hills, swimming pools, and signs warning of golf carts crossing the road. The fictional Wylder Nursery is also here.


History

As long ago as 4000 years, the area was occupied by the Tongva, Luiseño, and Juaneño tribal nations, however Spanish colonization between 1769 and 1840 changed not only the culture, but also the ecology of the region. In 1810, the Spanish crown granted José Antonio Yorba 63,414 acres of land, much of which became Orange County. Then in 1834, following Mexico’s independence from Spain, Yorba’s most successful son, Bernardo Yorba was granted over 13,000 acres north of the Santa Ana River.

When Bernardo died his land passed to his widow and children. Some was sold off as farmland and its bare hills were soon covered with orange and lemon trees.


By 1911 Yorba Linda had about 35 residents, mostly farmers. 1912 served as a turning point for the tiny community when a train line was extended to get produce to market in Los Angeles. It was also the year Southern California Edison installed electrical service, as well as when the first Post Office and church were built.

Yorba Linda remained a sleepy agricultural community until the 1960s when several housing developments brought something of a boom. By 1967 when the town was incorporated, the population had grown to 11,000. Today Yorba Linda is home to about 67, 000 residents. The town calls itself the “Land of Gracious Living.”

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A portion of the city’s land is still owned by descendants of Samuel Kraemer, who acquired it through his marriage to Angelina Yorba, the great-granddaughter of Bernardo Yorba. History is preserved, if not fully appreciated, as I attended Kraemer Middle (formerly Intermediate) School in neighboring Placentia, near the intersection of Angelina Drive and Kraemer Boulevard.


Richard Nixon Birthplace

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Because I grew up in nearby Placentia, I knew that Richard Nixon had been born in the small, white house set back off Yorba Linda Boulevard. It was pointed out nearly every time we drove that stretch of the road. By the time the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum opened in 1990, I had already moved to Nevada. It wasn’t until the fall of 2018 while in town for my 50th high school reunion that I visited. Yes, I graduated in the decidedly turbulent and tumultuous 1968.

I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by the context the museum provided for the life and times of this complex man and his legacy. The exhibit begins with his resignation and then looks back at his life in politics—the highs and the lows. Even for this old lifelong Democrat who was never a Nixon fan, I found the exhibit enlightening.

Here is a sample of my photos from that day.

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