When Anaheim was first settled in the 1920's and 1930's it was a large, flat area of semi-desert
which could be made arable
only by irrigation
. The water came from deep well
s, and was metered so that each farmer paid for the water pumped for that farm. There were largely orange groves
with some row crops, like corn
. The area, as the name implies ("Anna's Home") was settled largely by German
immigrants; St. Boniface
, patron of Germany
, was the partron of the parish church. (I believe that St. Boniface Church is still there.)
Highway 101, now the Santa Ana Freeway, was a two lane country road through town, one lane each way. My parents had a knocked-together fruit stand by the side of the road where they sold oranges, avocados and Coca Cola, in the old, recycled, waist-shaped bottles. A creek ran through our acreage, usually dry, but once in the 1930's it flooded and most of our possessions were destroyed or ruined.
We barely made it. The farm, only about 12 acres, was nearly sold for mortgage twice during the Depression; even into the 1950's we used to go behind the local market and dig bruised fruit out of the garbage to eat. There were pigs, chickens, ducks, rabbits, geese and the inevitable oranges of course, but none of it was well managed I guess.
I went by about ten years ago. There's a big apartment complex now where our house stood. The whole town looked even more discouraged than it did when I was a boy.