Know the Neighbors
Orange Community Historical Society
The Orange Community Historical Society keeps its eyes on the past while looking toward the future. Volunteer members (from left): Bill Utter, sales director; Bill Barron, secretary; Arla Barron, member; Barbara Resnick, program committee and past president; Cathy Dencklau, president; Margit Ischovitsch, walking tour coordinator and Dan Slater, program director.

Helping to preserve the historical archives of the local community, Orange Community Historical Society will mark its 40th anniversary in 2012.

Since its inception, the society has sponsored an impressive array of projects including historic home tours, educational speaker programs and downtown walking tours. In fact, just after the organization was founded in the early 1970s, its first big project involved the inaugural Orange International Street Fair. Members also led the effort to place the Plaza and the downtown area on the National Register of Historic Places.

According to Board President Cathy Dencklau, the society is currently working very hard on two projects: Oral history books featuring life stories shared by Old Towne residents, as well as the restoration of the Orange bicentennial plaques at several sites in town, including McPherson School where the town of McPherson once existed. Others can be found at the Wells Fargo building, St. John’s and Moreno’s.

“We have collaborated with Cal State Fullerton to produce bound books of oral histories that are available at the Main Library,” Cathy “We’ve already featured Old Towne residents Art Pargee, Herb Douglass and Bill Austin, and are in the process of publishing the books about Lydia Schroeder and Ralph Shannon. It’s another way to get the history of Orange out to the public.”

On January 26th, the society will host its annual banquet at Villa Park Catering, which is located on the corner of Shaffer and Katella in Orange. Ticket information is available at Regularly scheduled meetings are held every other month, and the public is invited to attend.

With approximately 215 members, the society’s main focus continues to be the collection, protection and preservation archives for the library. When the library receives donations of photos and illustrations, the society helps finance the archival reproduction of the materials.

“We meet some amazing people who have been around forever,” Cathy said. “The stories they tell are fascinating. You can’t help but be interested in history when you live in Old Towne.”

Orange Community Historical Society
P.O. Box 5484, Orange, CA 92863

Published in the Jul/Aug 2012 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review

Written by Karen Anderson, Photograph by Jeanine Hill

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