28 November 2011

1924 Map of Olinda Oil Field and Surrounding Areas, Part Three

Two months later  . . . this detail shown here of this map focuses on the area in and around Sleepy Hollow, although the listing of property owners does not necessarily mean that they had possession of those parcels in 1924 and, in fact, most of the land involved had passed on to others.

This post concerns the three privately-held properties, setting aside the corporate Chino Land and Water Company and Chino Real Estate Company, which controlled lots 1 and 35 that straddled the county boundaries of Los Angeles (above the horizontal dotted line moving from center to left and to the left of the angled line moving from the number 35 and to the lower right corner) and San Bernardino and Orange, which are divided by this angled line.  Incidentally, those familiar with the religious compound, St. Joseph's Hill of Hope will know that it sits on the lot 35 property.  Lot 1, meantime, is the area south of Sleepy Hollow heading out into Soquel Canyon in both modern Brea and Chino Hills.

Unfortunately, the property probably most likely to have embraced the area that became Sleepy Hollow was listed as owned by a Charles A. Hall and nothing has been found on this individual.  As to the others, however, there are some interesting north Orange County connections.

First is Charles C. Wagner.  Wagner was born in November 1873 in Elizabeth Lake, a remote area of northern Los Angeles County west of the Palmdale/Lancaster area.  His mother was Josefina Andrada, daughter of 1859 migrants to California from Monterrey, Mexico and there is a place name there today called "Andrade Corners."  Wagner's father was Charles C. Wagner, Senior, born in Wüertemberg, Germany and who lived for many years in Grand Rapids, Michigan before migrating to California during the Gold Rush of 1849.  He may have been the Charles Wagner who briefly held half of the title to a ranch in Sonoma County known as the German Ranch and on which is the noted coastal planned community of Sea Ranch (whose chief developer died within the last few weeks.)

In any case, Charles, Sr. migrated to Los Angeles County, became a sheep rancher and had several children with Josefina Andrada, the eldest of which was Charles, Jr.  Before 1880, the Wagners relocated to what became Placentia and Charles, Sr. maintained his occupation as a sheep rancher and wool grower, owning 150 acres of land near Valencia Avenue and Yorba Linda Boulevard and grazing his animals in Brea Canyon.  Not long after the federal census of 1880 was taken, the 35-year old Charles, Sr. was carrying bricks in a wagon from the Anaheim Landing wharf in what is now Seal Beach, when he evidently feel asleep and fell off the wagon and was killed.

The widow soon married her brother-in-law, John Wagner, shortly afterward and the marriage lasted fifteen years until Josefina's death about 1898.   Meantime, the Wagner family, led by Charles, Jr. moved from sheep raising to agriculture, trying grapes before moving into walnuts and, more importantly, oranges.  In fact, in 1883, the Wagners planted the third orange grove to be developed in what later became Orange County.  Charles spearheaded these efforts and was a founder of the Placential Mutual Orange Association and the Placentia Orange Growers Exchange.  In 1899, Charles married Maud Taylor, a native of Missouri and the two had one son, Merwin, born in 1903.  With all of his success in orange and walnut growing, Charles was able to build a substantial Colonial Revival home in 1920 on the ranch.  He and his wife lived in the house until their deaths in the 1960s, after which their son owned the home for about a decade.  The building passed through a series of owners, including the Calvary Chapel religious organization, but is now the "Wagner House Wedding Center" (see here for the Web site.)  Meantime, the Wagner name also lives on with Charles Wagner Elementary School and Wagner Park, near the house and on the old family ranch.

Why Charles, Jr. acquired the land on the San Bernardino County side of Carbon Canyon is not known, though it is likely that, because the oil boom at Olinda fueled (!) speculation throughout the area, Wagner hoped an investment in the Canyon might yield success in that industry, though no oil of any significance has been found that far north and east of the Olinda field.

This was undoubtedly true for the second property owner covered in this post, Joseph Hiltscher.  That name will be familiar to those who know about Fullerton's Hiltscher Park, a great resource for horse riders and walkers as the park winds through neighborhoods between Euclid Street and Harbor Boulevard south of Bastanchury Road.

Hiltscher was born in Sternburg, Austria in February 1874 to weaver August Hiltscher and Frederika Bochisen.  When he was thirteen, the family migrated to the United States and made their way to Fullerton, where 20 acres was purchased along Orangethorpe Avenue in west Fullerton.  The ranch was planted to apricots, peaches and walnuts under the management of August Hiltscher until his death in 1891.

Meantime, Joseph and a brother went into the meat market business in Fullerton and ran a successful operation for many years.  This enabled Joseph to acquire thirty acres along Romneya Avenue in Anaheim, not far from his family's Fullerton ranch, a little below today's 91 Freeway between Harbor Boulevard and Euclid Street and on which an orange grove was developed.

While the Hiltscher name has long been known in Fullerton, not just for the bucolic park named for them, but also for political activity and a longtime family photography business that was shuttered (!) not long ago, a recent posting by Gustavo Arrellano in the Orange County Weekly's blog (see here) revealed a more controversial side to the family.  In the 1920s, when the Ku Klux Klan experienced a resurgence throughout the United States in a time of growing political conservatism, ethnic antagonism, fears of Jewish and Roman Catholic influence and other related issues, the local scene featured its own KKK revival.  For example, in 1924-25, four Klansman, without revealing so publicly, secured election to the Anaheim Board of Trustees [City Council].  A recall election in early 1925 led to the removal of the four (see here for some information on this ignoble part of OC history.)  Meanwhile, Herman Hiltscher, Joseph's brother, was a Fullerton planning commissioner (it was he who secured the naming of the park after his family) and city engineer and Arrellano's post identifies records (though noted as vague) that showed Herman to be a KKK member.

Back to Carbon Canyon  . . . it would appear that Hiltscher's land is actually just north of Sleepy Hollow, embracing oart of the area that is slated for an approved housing development off to the west of Canyon Hills Road and north of Carbon Canyon Road, just above the old Ski Villa site.  Wagner, meantime, looks to have owned only a small part of the Sleepy Hollow community at the end of Francis Drive and much of Grandview Drive at the eastern and southern extremities of the neighborhood with his holdings continuing out to about where Red Apple Lane and the top of the Mountain View Estates tract (subdivided in 1925 along and around Canon Lane south of Carbon Canyon Road) are located.

As to the bulk of Sleepy Hollow, this, evidently excepting the small segment along East Lane (ironically, at the far west end of the neighborhood) which was owned by the Chino Land and Water Company, falls within the land once owned by Charles A. Hall, of whom, as noted above, nothing has been found so far.  It is possible that the name was misslabeled and this could be Charles V. Hall, the Olinda oilman who has been profiled elsewhere in this blog.  This makes some sense, again considering the likelihood that much Carbon Canyon land acquired from the mid-1890s until the mid-1920s would almost certainly have been for speculation in the light of the oil boom at Olinda.  This, however, needs to be confirmed, if possible, by further digging.

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