Frquently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Yorba Linda Local History

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 

Can you tell me about Richard Nixon’s time in Yorba Linda?

Which Native American tribes used to populate the area?

Who was Bernardo Yorba?

When did Yorba Linda begin as a town?

Who was Mabel Paine and why did they name a school after her?

When did Yorba Linda open its first school?

Who was Jessamyn West Park named for?

When did the first library open?

Does Yorba Linda have a ghost?

What can you tell me about the Yorba Family Cemetery?

Is there a museum with information about Yorba Linda history?

How do I contact the Yorba Linda Historical Society?

How did Yorba Linda get the city motto: Land of Gracious Living?

 

 

Can you tell me about Richard Nixon’s time in Yorba Linda?

Richard Milhouse Nixon was born on January 9, 1913 to Francis and Hannah Nixon in Yorba Linda. The house he was born in has been preserved by the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum at 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd, Yorba Linda CA 92886. Their website is: https://www.nixonlibrary.gov/. Richard Nixon and his family moved to Whittier when he was nine years old. The Yorba Linda Public Library has oral history transcripts about his early years in Yorba Linda. Go to http://yorbalindahistory.org, then choose Digital Collections, and scroll down until you see the Richard M. Nixon Oral History Project.

 

Which Native American tribes used to populate the area?

The Tongva, Luiseño and Juaneño tribes all used the Santa Ana River as seasonal campgrounds.

 

Who was Bernardo Yorba?

Bernardo Yorba (1800-1858) was the son of José Antonio Yorba. The Mexican government gave Bernardo Yorba a land grant of 13,328 acres (53.94 km2) which he called Rancho Cañón de Santa Ana. He built a large adobe hacienda, Hacienda de San Antonio, near the present day city of Yorba Linda. The “Yorba” of Yorba Linda is named in honor of Bernardo Yorba. He was buried in Los Angeles.

 

When did Yorba Linda begin as a town?

In 1908 the Janss Corp bought land in the area and began selling plots for it in 1909. They named the town Yorba Linda after Bernardo Yorba. Some sources say Linda was chosen because it is the Spanish word for pretty; other sources say Linda is named after Olinda, a nearby town of the time. In 1911 Yorba Linda’s population totaled 35 people. It was incorporated as a city in 1967.

 

Who was Mabel Paine and why did they name a school after her?

It was in the fall of 1915, when Mrs. Mable Paine came to Yorba Linda School as principal. She held the position for thirty-two years until her retirement in 1947. Before 1915 she taught at the school in Olinda.

 

When did Yorba Linda open its first school?

The first school house opened in 1911. It was a one room building built with volunteer labor and donations. Amanda Longnecker was the first school teacher and she became one of our librarians later. The building is still standing; it is Salon Taylori on Olinda Ave. Previous to this, students walked three miles to Olinda for school. Church services, Sunday School and many meetings were also held in the Yorba Linda School. It was only used for one year as a school. The second school building located on School St opened in 1912. In 1954 the building was deemed unsafe and had to be razed.

 

Who was Jessamyn West Park named for?

Jessamyn West was an author who spent her early years in Yorba Linda. She wrote a best-selling book called Friendly Persuasion which was made into a movie. The movie received six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Fun fact: she loved checking out books from the Yorba Linda Public Library.

 

When did the first library open?

The first library opened in 1913 and was located in a 300 square-foot spare room in the school on School St. If you were 15 years old or over, you could purchase a library card for 50 cents per year. That 50 cent yearly fee would cost $12.21 in 2016. Gertrude Welch was the first librarian. In fact, she spearheaded the movement for Yorba Linda to have a library and donated 63 of her own books while her sister in New York donated an unknown number more. Other needed funds were raised by the Women’s Club.

 

In 1917 the library moved to its own building and stayed in that building until 1960, when it moved into the current building.  The building in 1960 was one story and the entrance was off of Lemon Street. This building was the base for the current library. By 1970 the library was too small for the number of books and the population, so a addition was made, creating a three level building. This added 17,425-square feet. In 1992, this building was enlarged again to 28,530-square feet.

 

In 2016, this building was deemed 50% too small for the needs of the community. Plans are underway for creating a new joint-use site with the Community Center at Lakeview Ave and Lemon Dr.

 

Does Yorba Linda have a ghost?

The Pink Lady is the local ghost. It is said that every 2-5 years a young female ghost in a pink dress wanders the tombstones of the Yorba Family Cemetery, visiting relatives. The origin of the ghost story belongs to a Yorba Linda Librarian. One year she needed a slightly scary story for storytime on Halloween and she made up the Pink Lady on the spot. For more information, see the Digital Collections at http://yorbalindahistory.org/index.html.

 

What can you tell me about the Yorba Family Cemetery?

The OC Parks Department is responsible for the upkeep and tours of the Yorba Family Cemetery. Tours are held the first Saturday of the month from 11am to noon. More information is here http://ocparks.com/historic/cemetery. The Yorba Linda Public Library owns a book with information on the interments in its California Reference Collection: http://catalog.ylpl.net/Record/2553892/Home.

 

Is there a museum with information about Yorba Linda history?

 

The Background:

 

Susanna Bixby Bryant inherited about 6,000 acres of ranch land from her family. In 1911 she decided to take control of its management and planted orange groves. Then, in 1925, Susanna began to plan a garden of native plants and devoted herself to the establishment of a California Native Botanic Garden north of the railroad line on the ranch. She built this garden in honor of her pioneer father, John Bixby.

 

When Susanna Bixby-Bryant died in 1952, the botanic garden was shut down and moved to Claremont, where it still exists. The house she lived in and that later became the ranch headquarters is now the Yorba Linda Heritage Museum.

 

For more information about Susanna Bixby Bryant and the Botanic Gardens, go to http://www.yorbalindahistory.org/index.html, choose Digital Collections and then click on Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Collection.

 

The Museum:

 

The Yorba Linda Heritage Museum is located in the historic Bryant Ranch House and is run by the Yorba Linda Historical Society. Each room in the museum documents a different period or aspect of the area’s history. It includes information about when Native Americans walked the land, about the Yorba family’s settlement of the area, and includes actual pieces illustrating past living conditions to the modern age.

 

The museum is open to the public visits and tours from 1 – 4 pm Sunday afternoons.

 

The address is 5700 Susanna Bryant Dr, Yorba Linda, CA 92887.

 

 

How do I contact the Yorba Linda Historical Society?

Please call the Yorba Linda Historical Society at 714-694-0235 on Sundays from 1-4 pm. You can write them at PO Box 396, Yorba Linda CA, 92885.

 

How did Yorba Linda get the city motto: Land of Gracious Living?

Yorba Linda has had this nickname since at least the 1920s according to Vanishing Orange County by Chris Epting. More than that is unknown.

 

 

 

For questions about this information, please call the Local History Librarian of the Yorba Linda Public Library at 714-777-2873 ext 6 or email local.history@ylpl.org.