Whether you live in Orange County or not, there are certain things most of us know about. But, even for the most experienced Orange County resident, there’s a ton we bet you don’t know.
1.) There’s a hidden “lighthouse” in a Laguna Beach cove
Most OC residents don’t know it, but there’s actually a structure which resembles a lighthouse on Victoria Beach. Known to locals as “Pirate Tower,” the 60 foot structure in Laguna Beach was actually built by California State Senator William E. Brown in 1926 to allow him and his family a way to get to the beach from his home on the cliff. How to get there? Hidden in an alley between homes on Victoria Drive, you’ll want to take the stairs down to the beach and head right. The steps are pretty steep so be careful!
2.) Fender Guitars was founded in a garage in Fullerton
You wouldn’t think it, but the world’s most recognized guitar brand can trace its history to a garage in Fullerton. Leo Fender, the founder of the legendary guitar, was an electronics guru at his start up “Fender’s Radio Service” who ended up getting involved with guitars through chance. Known around town for his skills, people would bring their guitars to be repaired. Today, Leo Fender is responsible for outfitting some of the world’s top musicians including Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and countless others.
3.) Dana Point was the scene of the US’ biggest bank heist in 200 years
Known as the ‘United California Bank Burglary,’ this bank heist occurred on March 24, 1972 when seven burglars stole an estimated $30 million from the bank. The gang was able to force their way in using dynamite to blast a hole through the concrete and make way with the loot. The thieves, from Youngstown Ohio, were actually targeting President Richard Nixon who they believed stored his money in a safe deposit box there. But, they wen’t to the wrong bank instead of Nixon’s home branch, Bank of America in San Clemente.
4.) The man who wrote baseball’s most famous song is buried in Anaheim
Singer, songwriter and vaudeville performer Jack Norworth is most famously known for his contribution to baseball. He is credited as the author of baseball’s most well known songs you’ll hear in most parks during the 7th inning stretch. Yes, that’s right. He wrote “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” in 1908 and is actually buried at Melrose Abbey Memorial Park, which can be seen from the upper deck at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
5.) Taco Bell’s headquarters are in Irvine and it was founded in Downey
Founded by Glen Bell in 1962 in Downey, Taco Bell was not Bell’s first endeavor. In fact, Bell got his idea for a Mexican chain after owning some hamburger and hot dog restaurants and seeing local competitors restaurants and how popular they were. Today, Taco Bell is headquartered in Irvine and is one of the world’s most successful fast food chains.
6.) Disneyland’s original bandstand now sits in a gardening business
Disneyland’s original bandstand, which used to sit in the middle of the park’s Town Square, has been on the move a lot over the years. Before visitors were even introduced to Disneyland, Walt Disney decided that it was shielding people’s view of the Sleeping Beauty castle and moved it to Carnation Plaza Gardens, and then to New Orleans Square. By 1975 though, it was moved to Roger’s Gardens and now sits within an operational gardening business.
7.) Anaheim is home to the original Carl’s Jr. Restaurant
In 1941, Carl Karcher and his wife borrowed just $311 against their car to purchase a hot dog cart which they operated in Anaheim. After growing their carts from one to four in less than five years, Karcher eventually opened his first two Carl’s Jr restaurants in Anaheim and Brea and the rest is history.