Why We Love O.C. | The History Behind Buena Park, Yorba Linda, and Cypress

We turned to community leaders, residents, statistics, history, and even a few former presidents to tell you something incredible about every one of the 34 cities we call home.

Buena Park

A brief history of the attraction that put this city on the map.

Knott’s Photo Courtesy: Orange County Archives.

In the 1920s, Walter Knott rented 20 acres of land to grow and sell berries, including the newly crafted boysenberry, a cross between a blackberry, loganberry, and red raspberry. He then opened a chicken dinner restaurant. To entertain customers as they waited up to four hours in line, the Knotts created a replica ghost town, promoting attractions such as a jail, a sheriff’s office, and a blacksmith shop. Knott’s Berry Farm is regarded as one of the world’s first theme parks, attracting 4 million visitors each year.

Yorba Linda

Richard Nixon is the city’s most famous native son.
Below are excerpts from “RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon.”


was born in a house my father built. My birth on the night of Jan. 9, 1913, coincided with a record-breaking cold snap in our town of Yorba Linda, Calif. Yorba Linda was a farming community of 200 people about 30 miles from Los Angeles, surrounded by avocado and citrus groves and barley, alfalfa, and bean fields.

“For a child the setting was idyllic. In the spring the air was heavy with the rich scent of orange blossoms. And there was much to excite a child’s imagination: glimpses of the Pacific Ocean to the west, the San Bernardino Mountains to the north, a ‘haunted house’ in the nearby foothills to be viewed with awe and approached with caution—and a railroad line that ran about a mile from our house.”

“In the daytime, I could see the smoke from the steam engines. Sometimes at night I was awakened by the whistle of a train, and then I dreamed of the far-off places I wanted to visit someday.”


The home of horse racing in Orange County for more than seven decades.


orget its namesake, Los Alamitos Race Course actually sits on the north side of Katella Avenue in the City of Cypress. And the 71-year-old track might be nearing its end.

Despite dwindling attendance, the track makes money, says the course’s facilities manager Frank Sherren. But owner Edward Allred, a retired doctor, is 81 with no direct heirs, and his track sits on 155 acres of prime real estate. There will be an initiative on the ballot in June’s election to have the land rezoned for residential and commercial use.

“Doc’s going to continue to keep the racetrack open as long as he’s healthy,” Sherren says. “But Doc’s not a developer. He just doesn’t think anyone would buy and operate it.”

The track picked up three thoroughbred meets after the closures of Hollywood Park and the Pomona Fairplex. Satellite waging continues, but turnout is light. So evolution appears inevitable, and a veritable county institution prepares for a new life of routine suburbia.

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