Garden Grove, California Photos and Information

Garden Grove -- Centrally located 6 miles from the beach near Disneyland, California Adventure, Knotts Berry Farm, Soak City, Little Saigon and The Block in Orange, Garden Grove is the easiest of locations to access the attractions tourists seek most often  in Orange County, California. A namesake Garden Grove Freeway known as the "22", runs through the city East - West approximately 8 miles and transports travelers any place they want to go as it connects to four major freeways.

Throughout the world people know about Garden Grove as they watch religious services in a program called HOUR OF POWER, broadcast weekly from the breathtaking Crystal Cathedral. One of Southern California's finest architectural monuments, it was designed by American Institute of Architects gold medal winner Philip Johnson with his partner John Burgee. The Cathedral building's shape is a four-pointed star, and is larger than the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris. It has more than 10,000 windows of  tempered silver colored reflective glass that are held in place by a lace-like frame of white steel trusses, allowing 8% of outside light into the church for an interior "underwater" appearance.  The supporting structure is a triodetic steel frame that's engineered to work as a giant chimney, allowing heat to rise out of the building and preventing a greenhouse effect. Two 90 foot tall doors open electronically behind the pulpit, exposing the sky and air from outside for the beauty and comfort of up to 3,000 people at one time.  A  bell tower called Tower of Hope is comprised of highly polished stainless steel prisms houses a 52 bell carillon with a chapel located at the base of the steeple.  The church grounds include gardens, reflection pools and numerous statues. There's also a gift shop with books, CD's, videos and more. Tours are provided free Monday - Saturday, beginning at 9:30 AM with the last tour at 3:30 PM. Address: 13280 Chapman Avenue, Garden Grove, California 92840, Information: 714-971-4000.


Historical background of Crystal Cathedral: On March 26, 1955, a 26-year old Reverend Robert Schuller and his wife Arvella climbed into a temporary handmade staircase of two-by-fours to the roof of the snack bar in a drive-in move theater in Orange to conduct their first church worship service. Arvella played the organ, Robert gave the sermon and a collection plate passed around the parking lot yielded $83.75. Two years of parking lot services and Schuller's continuing popularity attracted the largest crowd ever in 1957 when America's best-selling author, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale spoke to the drive-in congregation. Then in 1961, architect Richard Neutra designed the world's first walk-in/drive-in church structure to accommodate a congregation that now exceeded 4,000 in two Sunday morning services. In 1968, the world's first church-sponsored 24-hour live telephone crisis and suicide prevention hotel was established and operated out of the 8th floor of the newly constructed Tower of Hope, another Richard Neutra designed-building. In 1970 the Hour of Power television broadcast was born and and today is seen by over 20 million people weekly on TV stations throughout the world.


Historical background of Garden Grove:  After California gained its independence from Mexico and  became a state in 1850, a man named Abel Stearns bought large tracts of land in Southern California in 1868 and divided some of it into smaller lots to sell to settlers. In 1874, Alonzo Cook purchased 160 acres of land in the area for about $15 an acre. Recognized as Garden Grove's Founding Father, he later donated land north of Main Street and Garden Grove Boulevard for use as the site of the first schoolhouse and post office. Cook suggested the name "Garden Grove" for the school and surrounding village. Though it did not look like the descriptive title, in a few short years he was able to turn it into a beautiful spot befitting its name. 


Garden Grove grew and changed, losing its groves as most of Orange County has. After World War II ended and the the community began to take shape as a modern day city, it was  incorporated on June 18, 1956. With over 1,000 people per month moving to and settling there, Garden Grove was named the fastest growing city in the United States in the late 1950's. Today, many of the children born and raised in Garden Grove during the 50's live there as adults, raising their families. Communities with names such as "Garden Park" hold special meaning to those who love their neighborhoods and never want to leave.


Like the quiet residential enclaves off bustling streets with modern day Costco and Home Depot chains,  Main Street is tucked away near Garden Grove Boulevard and Acacia.  Colorful flower baskets and American flags provide a patriotic atmosphere to this three-block long row of shops and restaurants. 


Tacos and burritos, burgers at an old fashioned Tommy's Drive In and ethnic treats at Garden Grove's Korean shopping district provide an international flair to this modern American tail of a city where Anglos, native American Indians, Koreans and Hispanics work and reside. 


Here are some special events and attractions worth investigating in Garden Grove:  Free Summer Concert Series in the park held in the Village Green Park. Call 741-5280. Bring the whole family to enjoy jazz, rock, pop and swing. Names such as jazz great, Pancho Sanchez, have played in Garden Grove.  The Stanley Ranch Museum - Owned and maintained by the Garden Grove Historical Society,  is a two-acre park with  several of Garden Grove's oldest homes and commercial buildings. The Ware-Stanley House, built in 1892, is the focus home at the museum. Also included at the site are homes dating from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Garden Grove's first post office, opened in 1877, the Electric Shoe Shop/Barber Shop, and Garden Grove’s #1 fire engine, a 1926 American La France are part of the exhibits. One of the most popular attractions is the Walt Disney Studio Garage which was relocated to the former ranch site in recent years.


Guided tours of the museum facilities are provided on the third Sunday of each month from 1:30 pm.  For information, call 714/530-8871. (Always call first before going. Information is subject to change without notice) Strawberry Festival  is the largest community-sponsored event in the 13 western states has over 300,000 visitors and participants. A parade, celebrity autograph breakfast, four-day carnival and an arts and crafts fair and is  held Memorial Day weekend on the Village Green. The Strawberry Festival Association for information 714-638-0981 Tet Festival Sponsored by the Vietnamese Community of Southern California, celebrates the arrival of spring and the first day of the lunar year. The event is held in the Garden Grove Park. The park is located on Westminster Blvd. between Magnolia and Brookhurst.  Korean Festival  Celebrating Korean history, tradition and culture, this family oriented event features a parade, and carnival, the event includes an open-air market.  Korean Chamber of Commerce 714-6381440. 


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