Q: How can the beige, planned city of Irvine take a walk on the wild side?
Bring back the lions! From 1970 to ’84, more than 400 lions, zebra, and other wild animals roamed freely among visitors’ cars at Irvine’s 140-acre Lion Country Safari, site of the recently closed Wild Rivers. Imagine how much faster the dash from your office to your car would be if you knew panthers might be prowling the parking lot, or how much more exciting golf would be if you knew rhinos might come crashing out of the rough. This could provide life-affirming, survival-oriented excitement for the cubicle-and-condo set.
Q: What’s with the old church in the parking lot of Moreno’s Mexican Restaurant in Orange?
I’d love to report that someone established a religion around Mexican food, but the truth proves almost as interesting. Orange County’s first Quaker house of worship was built on that site—now 4328 E. Chapman Ave.—in 1887. Sadly, the Friends’ building plans didn’t take Santa Ana winds into account, and within weeks, the place literally was blown apart. The sturdier, 1888 replacement building that served the Quakers for about 80 years now is used for events and overflow seating at Moreno’s.
Q: Why are there two major avenues named for Mr. Chapman in Orange County?
Actually, they’re named for different Chapmans. Chapman Avenue in Fullerton is named for Charles C. Chapman, a pioneering Valencia orange grower who also made a fortune in oil and real estate and became the city’s first mayor. Chapman Avenue in Orange is named for L.A. attorney Alfred B. Chapman, who, along with partner Andrew Glassell, founded Orange—which they originally called Richland—in 1871. If that clears things up, allow me to reconfuse you: Chapman University, not far from Chapman Avenue in Orange, is named for Fullerton’s Chapman.
Illustration by Devon Bowman
Chris Jepsen is the O.C. Answer Man. Have a question? Send it to email@example.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue.