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Author Chris Jepsen

 

O.C. Answer Man: La Palma originally was called Dairyland? Are you serious?

The city was created to keep cows in and people out. After World War II, suburban growth pushed many dairies out of Los Angeles County and into rural Orange County. When suburban sprawl caught up with them once more, the resettled dairymen fought against being pushed out again. In 1955, the same year another D-land opened in O.C., they incorporated as Dairyland, with ordinances against residential development. Read more...

O.C. Answer Man: Old Saddleback sometimes gets snow. Can I ski there?

Assuming you could find more than a dusting of snow, the slopes of the Santa Ana Mountains are no place for schussers. Seismic activity along the Elsinore-Whittier fault began pushing the Santa Anas skyward millions of years ago, but they’re still comparatively young mountains, full of jagged rock instead of smooth eroded slopes. Read more...

O.C. Answer Man: The first capture of a killer whale was in Newport Harbor?

True. In November 1961, a team from Marineland of the Pacific on the Palos Verdes Peninsula struggled nine hours to capture an orca that had swum into Newport’s turning basin. Read more...

O.C. Answer Man: How did land-locked Villa Park end up with a holiday boat parade?

In 1981, five teens launched the tongue-in-cheek Villa Park High School Yacht Club. At a 1982 holiday party, one member’s father, Chuck Beesley, expanded the idea by proposing The First Annual Unofficial Non-Sanctioned Villa Park Dry-Land Holiday Lighted Boat Parade, poking fun at Newport Beach’s famous tradition. Read more...

O.C. Answer Man: How did Cypress get its name?

The town took its moniker from the Cypress School District—founded in 1896—which, according to historian Phil Brigandi, was named for the then-popular ornamental tree. But Cypress easily could have ended up with another name. In the early years, some called it Waterville, highlighting the area’s many artesian wells. Read more...

O.C. Answer Man: What’s your favorite Orange County Halloween tradition?

A: Halloween concerts of the ska-infused new wave octet Oingo Boingo were a tradition from the 1980s until their final show in ’95. At the height of the band’s popularity those shows were at Irvine Meadows, now Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Read more...

O.C. Answer Man: What dark secret does Santa Ana’s Centennial Park hold?

What appeared to be a large farm on the site during World War II was actually a government spy operation. Read more...

O.C. Answer Man: Rodeos, Goat Hill, The OC

Q: Were rodeos ever held in Orange County? A: There have been contests of skill among cowboys ever since vaqueros tended the herds of Mission San Juan Capistrano. In the rancho era, rodeos were a regular thing, and that continues today. Read more...

O.C. Answer Man: Opossums, Indian Words, Laguna Beach Without a Pier

Q: If opossums aren’t native to California, why are they in my yard? Q: Do any local Indian words remain in our dialect? Q: Why is Laguna Beach the only O.C. coastal city without a pier? Read more...

O.C. Answer Man: Surfing Memorials, Scenic Drive, Anaheim attractions

Q: Huntington Beach has two surfing memorials— isn’t that redundant?
A: Maybe so, but the Surfing Walk of Fame and the Surfers’ Hall of Fame have somewhat different criteria and methods for induction. And what’s wrong with having twice as many nice things to say about skilled sportsmen? Anyway, as you might expect from a bunch of laid-back surfers, the rivalry between the organizations on opposite sides of Main Street is pretty friendly. Sometimes, when they honor the same notable surfer, the two split the airfare for the inductee. Read more...

Trailside by El Viaje de Portola, Joseph McCarthy, Garden Grove strawberry or oranges?

**Q: What’s with those plaques left trailside by El Viaje de Portola?**
The markers are left by the equestrian group, formed in 1963, which raises money for restoration projects at Mission San Juan Capistrano. Members include big landowners, businessmen, politicos, and even some real cowboys. Read more...

Belisle’s Restaurant, Medieval Fairs and O.C. questions

Illustration by Devon Bowman Read more...
READ NOW: Serial Killer Seduction

Our "Center of the Universe" story is being read all over the world right now. Click here for the story.

 

Who Did Randy Kraft Seduce?

Current photos of author Jay Roberts.

 

A Fact-Checker's Journey to a 1980 Afternoon

Our intrepid intern tracks down the details in Roberts' story.

 

Why Isn't Randy Kraft Dead?

Our original piece on one of California's deadliest and most depraved serial killers. 

 

Editor's Letter, October 2013

Our editor considers "Center of the Universe" to be compelling—and incredibly frightening. Click above to find out why. 

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