Anaheim 


While Anaheim is the 2nd largest city in Orange County, it is known as the entertainment capitol of the region.  Home to Disneyland, Edison Field, Mighty Ducks Hockey team and the largest convention center on the West Coast when renovation is complete, there is one word to describe it: destination. 

 

Since 1955, Disneyland has attracted millions of annual guests (around 15 million in 1999) but as Disneyland branched out with theme parks around the world, Anaheim began to show its age and looked dated. The city could have easily gone to decay so companies were offered attractive packages to stay and invest.  Computer conventions in the 1980s brought the city to its knees as traffic tied up the freeways and streets for hours. Such events dropped Anaheim and went to bigger digs in Las Vegas. So the combination of events and changing landscape meant that the city had to do something. Today, jack hammers and construction testify to bigger, newer city. Down the pike are likely several more Disney theme parks and the nation's first surf and ski park called Gotcha Glacier.

 

Anaheim was named for nearby Santa Ana river and "heim," which is German for the word home. The "home by the river" dates back to 1857 when a colony of German farmers and vintners surveyed 200 acres which now comprise the city's downtown area, bounded by North, South, East and West streets. 

 

Its roots were farming and one can only imagine what a different place Anaheim might have been had a plague in the 1870's not wiped out commercial vineyards. In their place, hearty groves of citrus trees were planted. Oranges, walnuts and chili peppers were but a few of the crops seen dotting the landscape. Orange crops were extremely successful and provided a bounty of work for artists who designed the fabulous crate labels seen in antique stores today. It seems that not only did Anaheim's forefathers have green thumbs but also red and pink and purple ones for their artistic skills in painting. Writers, artists and musicians were drawn to the scenic and temperate region and their first public buildings were a school and an opera house.