Buena Park Historical Society holds Installation

Newly-appointed Buena Park Mayor Fred Smith initiated the Oath of Office to the 2020 officers of the Buena Park Historical Society recently during the group’s monthly dinner meeting at the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel.

Officers are sworn in for two-year terms and include President Chris Brown, who also serves on the Savanna School Board and is the immediate-past president; 2nd Vice President Verl Stanford; Treasurer Pricilla Perez and Trustees Barbara Gonzales, Shirley Patterson and Pat Donnelly, who also is the President of the Buena Park Noon Lions Club and the General Chair of the Annual Silverado Days during the third week of October.

Officers of the Buena Park Historical Society Board of Directors pledge to support efforts of the Society to collect and preserve local history of Buena Park and to maintain the vintage and historic collection within the Whitaker-Jaynes Estate and Bacon House Museums.

The Historical Society Curator is Councilman Art Brown, who is the immediate-past Mayor of Buena Park.

“We try to recruit new members all year long,” said Brown. “Our current membership is 86 members ranging in age from 18 years-old to in the 90s.”

Brown said the Historical Society works to preserve the history of Buena Park and to maintain historical items such as the Whitaker-Jaynes Estate with its furnishings and the Bacon House, located in Plaza Buena, 6631 Beach Blvd., in Buena Park (across from City Hall) and next to the Historic First Congregational Church.

Both museums are currently undergoing renovations to keep them in good working order for public viewing throughout the year.

The Historical Society is working to repair the ceilings of both museum houses, which are owned by the City of Buena Park; however, the Historical Society takes care of donations made to the museums.

Brown said when the refurbishing of the museums is complete, the museums will be open for self-guided tours Monday through Thursdays from Noon to 4 p.m. The tours are free but donations are accepted.

“It’s a very educational and great place to bring children to learn about life before all of the modern luxuries,” said Brown, noting that the museums were originally homes where early-settling families actually lived before there was electricity; clothes had to be hand-washed; there wasn’t any heat nor air conditioning and no indoor bathrooms.

The Whitaker-Jaynes Estate was the home of Andrew W. Whitaker, brother of Buena Park’s Founder, James A. Whitaker.

“The Whitaker-Jaynes Estate was eventually retro-fitted with electricity but the Bacon House never was,” Brown said.

Also, to raise money, the Historical Society is selling engraved red bricks for individuals and corporations to purchase from $50 up to $1,000, which will pave the walking area of Plaza Buena; “It’s a way for citizens to become a part of the past, present and future of Buena Park by purchasing a commemorative brick and to contribute to the continuous historical projects and preservation of the museum houses, historical photographs and preservation of local historical signage,” said Board member Rinda Berry, who is taking care of the “Brick” project donations.

Membership in the Historical Society is $15 per family, for a one-year membership.

What’s coming up next? The Historical Society’s Olde Tyme Spring Picnic that’s held at Plaza Buena in the Spring.
Board member Verl Stanford has lived in Buena Park since 1943; his mother and father settled in Buena Park in 1919 and so the family is celebrating more than 100-years as residents. Mayor Smith said that Verl’s father was responsible for paving nearly every street in Buena Park.

Sharing a little more history, Mayor Smith said that the Whitaker Jaynes Estate House used to have horses tied in front of it as a main means of transportation before cars were popular.

“At the age of 16, Verl had a 1949 Mercury car that he took completely apart and put back together,” said Smith. “He went on to attend school and became an engineer.”

Smith said that Andrew Whittaker, founder of the current City of Buena Park, came to Southern California from Chicago, Illinois to originally go duck hunting and ended up getting a land grant here; naming the local Buena Park in Orange County, after their home in Buena Park, Illinois, which is a neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois.

“At one point, there was an electric car, the Pacific Electric, that came through Buena Park,” Smith explained. “There had to be five cities in order to get the train to stop here; some of those early cities included Savanna, Olive Crest, Centralia, Anaheim and Buena Park.”

According to Smith, Anaheim tried everything they could, to have the area called, “Anaheim County,” and all of the currency at that time had the “City of Anaheim” printed on it.

For Historical Society information, to tour the museums and/or to order a Commemorative Brick, call 714-562-3570.

Featured Photo: The 2020 Buena Park Historical Society board members and officers were sworn in recently during their annual general membership meeting held at the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel. Pictured from left are Trustee Pat Donnelly, Treasurer Priscilla Perez, Mayor Fred Smith, President Chris Brown, 2nd Vice President Verl Stanford and Trustees Barbara Gonzales and Shirley Patterson. Background photo courtesy of Buena Park Historical Society.