Olive Through the Ages

Timeline of events in Olive: 1871-1891

8000 BC-800 AD  |  1769-1869  |  1871-1891  |  1892-1957  |  1958-Present


The A.B. (Alfred Beck) Chapman Canal is completed and further irrigates the area. Ten miles long, eight feet wide at the top, four feet across at the bottom, and two-and-a-half feet deep, the canal extends the irrigation ditch the Yorbas created to bring water to their Olive area property from the Santa Ana Canyon region.69 The ditch follows the natural contour of the land, and its path can be traced today along Canal Street which winds behind The Village at Orange—formerly known as the Mall of Orange, built in 1971;7 under new ownership since 2002.19

Desiderio Burruel establishes an unofficial post office within his general goods store. He sells stamps and picks up mail for local residents from the post office in Anaheim. (Source: Tom Pulley)


March 10: Henry Watson deeds land to James R. Toberman, which Toberman names "Olive tract."65

June 6: Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors authorizes the formation of the Olive School District.56

The Chapman Canal irrigation ditch is now 15 miles long and 10 feet wide on the bottom, having been blasted through solid rock.69

1877 Olive Grammar School begins operating16 a half mile south of Olive, out of a home on the site where Heim Elementary School8 would open in 1963 at 16461 E. Heim Avenue52—designated in 1971 as 901 E. Heim Avenue.54 Heim Elementary School (Kindergarden through the 6th grade) would close at the end of the 1983-84 school year due to declining enrollment.20 Shortly thereafter, the school grounds would be purchased by St. Paul's Lutheran Church down the street—at the southwestern corner of Heim and Canal Street—and St. Paul's Lutheran School (Kindergarden through the 8th grade) would begin operating at this site.9

August 6: The Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company (S.A.V.I.) incorporates to provide water to farmers in the Olive area, Orange, Santa Ana, and Tustin.7 The company owns the Chapman Canal which is now called the S.A.V.I. canal.69
1878 Olive is comprised of the Barr and Wakefield Ranch (formerly the Olive Ranch) and F.G. Mitchell Ranch.17 A few years later, "Burruel Point" would also become known as "Olive Point,"9 a name that would be short lived. (NOTE: Burruel Point has been identified on maps to this day as being situated to the east of Santiago Boulevard, where the road runs north and south. This is not the location referenced at this Web site.)

The S.A.V.I. canal to the two completed wooden tunnels is enlarged to 10 feet wide at the bottom, 22 feet wide at the top, and four feet deep.18
1881 Merchant-miller Thomas Dillin, his wife Hester, and sons Curtis, John, and William from Iowa arrive in the Santa Ana Valley. The railroad brings farmers to the region.18
1882 January 16: Tom and Curtis Dillin are granted a lease by the S.A.V.I. Board of Directors on water and power on five acres of land in Olive.8 They build a three-story flour mill beside the irrigation canal, at what today is the northwestern edge of Eisenhower Park in Orange.18 The site of this flour mill—designated today as 1405 E. Lincoln Avenue21—is marked by a bronze plaque on a brick monument, erected by the Orange North Rotary Club on February 3, 1976. During the 1880s, a reservoir was created which Eisenhower Park visitors have always known as the park's lake.22

November 4: The Dillin Mill (or Santa Ana Valley Roller Mill) begins operating.18
1883 January 31: German emigrant Louis Schorn—a miller, tradesman, and farmer, whose wife is the sister of Curtis Dillin's spouse—buys a half interest in the Dillin Mill.18 The Dillin Mill is the principal industry in the Santa Ana Valley. Wheat is brought in from Pomona, Spadra, Wilmington, and San Fernando.8

The title to Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana is confirmed in favor of the Yorba family and their heirs. However, the successful partitioning of the land had already taken place.16

May: The Olive tract map shows the tract is roughly bordered by the following streets we recognize today: St. James Avenue and Lincoln Avenue to the north, Orange-Olive Road and Northumberland Road to the west, Heim Avenue and Cumberland Road to the south, and Tustin Street to the east. (Source: Plat of the Olive Tract, courtesy Orange County Archives)
1885 Olive's first post office is founded (Source: Charles S. Knowlton, Post Offices of Orange County, CA, Past and Present, 1947), though not housed in an official building at this time.

Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe (A.T. & S.F.) Railroad extends its rails over the Cajon Pass into Southern California, thus beginning the "Boom of the '80s" that would bring tourists and homeseekers to Southern California.7
1886 The Southern California land boom hits the Santa Ana Valley. Many people come to the area to purchase property, and to work and live.18
1887 February 2: An official U.S. post office opens in Olive.37

May: Thomas Dillin forms the Olive Milling, Land & Improvement Company with Louis Schorn, C. Culvert, and Washington Martin (Source: An Illustrated History of Southern California, Vol. 2, Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co., 1890). The company purchases and subdivides the land west of the mill, constructing the Olive Heights tract. The original tract includes the following avenues running north and south: Railroad Street (now called Orange-Olive Road), Olive Avenue, Magnolia Avenue, Orange Avenue, Palm Avenue, Ocean View Avenue, and Mill Street (no longer exists); and the following streets running east and west: Buena Vista Street, Main Street, Hope Street (now called Lincoln Avenue), and Short Street (exists in part).18 The tract is named for the Olive school of 1876 and James R. Toberman's Olive tract.8 At one time, Toberman owned most of the land between present-day Olive and Katella Avenue.18

Pepper trees are planted on the heights. Many of these trees still exist today.18

Around this time Schorn opens the Olive Heights Hotel on Main Street at the southeastern side of Orange Avenue. The hotel is situated just north of Hope (Lincoln). Olive also has a store and saloon at this time. Antune's saloon (owned and operated by Miguel Antunez*) is located on the southeastern corner of Hope (Lincoln) and Railroad (Orange-Olive).18

A.T. & S.F. Railroad's chief engineer establishes a train depot and water tank at Saint James (the Anglican name for Santiago), an up and coming boomtown located a half mile south of Olive—St. James Avenue is all that remains of this town today.18 The dimensions of the frame depot are 18 feet by 30 feet.39 In 1889, A.T. & S.F. Railroad would consolidate its branch lines and form the Southern California Railway.46
1888 Tom Dillin retires from his position at the Olive Milling, Land & Improvement Company. Of the Dillins, only Curtis remains at the Olive flour mill. The rest of the family moves to Los Angeles.18

The great Southern California land boom ends.18

California State Gazeteer and Business Directory lists the following businesses in Olive: saloon (M.C. Antunes); general store (N.T. Bush); hotel (A.V. Howard); physician (A.H. Millar); Olive Milling Land and Improvement Co., flour mill; saloon (Guardo Presciado); physician (A.H. Rowan).66

August 2: Louis Schorn purchases lots in Olive Heights65 and soon builds a Victorian style home that still stands today on the western corner of Bixby at 8571 Ocean View.

December 26: J.R. Toberman sells his land at Olive tract to R.B. Taylor.65
1889 September 16: Tom Dillin passes away, and soon after Louis Schorn becomes president of the Olive Milling, Land & Improvement Company.18

September 29: Fire destroys the Olive flour mill.18
1890 April 8: The rebuilt Olive flour mill opens at a new site with access to the railroad. At the request of the Olive Milling Company, A.T. & S.F. runs a spur track along Hope Street to the mill. The site of the new mill is identified today at the southwestern edge of Eisenhower Park, approximately where Lakeside Professional Building stood from 1972 until 2019.18

August: A.T. & S.F. relocates its depot from St. James to Olive. The wooden depot—with hip roof and recessed western and southern walls—is positioned to the east of the tracks on Railroad Street, just north of Hope Street.18

June 30: Seventeen-year-old Cloromiro Antunez (son of Miguel Antunez, owner of Antune's saloon) dies after being thrown from a horse on a railroad bridge two miles north of Olive.57

October: The Olive flour mill is advertised as the most important manufacturer in Orange County. Louis Schorn receives a nomination from the Democrats for the position of Orange County Supervisor. He is subsequently seated as the third district Supervisor.18

Mike Antunez, son of Miguel Antunez (owner of Antune's saloon), is born.*
1891 The Bush general store is located near the Olive Mill.18

September: Antune's saloon closes.18

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