Happy Birthday I am 100 years old!
By Al Ricci
You may have seen the signs in Old Towne advertising that "I am 100 years old." The sign is referring to the house, not the proud owner of the home. This year marks the 19th consecutive year that Ricci Realty has sponsored a birthday celebration for homes and commercial buildings that turn 100 years old.
The biggest year of construction in Old Towne Orange was 1909, with over 183 buildings, both residential and commercial, constructed that year. As anyone who has been on the Friday night trolley tour will tell you, that was a result of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. After the earthquake, property owners advertised across the nation for tradesmen to come to California and work on the earthquake-damaged buildings. The pay was $10/day. That was good money back then. By 1908, the work was completed, and many construction workers migrated to Southern California to help build towns. Orange was no exception.
The year 1920 was the second biggest year of construction, with 146 homes and commercial buildings built in that year.
Look for the signs that will display the birthdays in 2020, right after the holiday decorations come down.
This year, one special building, 401 West Chapman, the former home of Mansur Motors and Selman Chevrolet, will turn 100 years old. The Potting Shed, the business that currently occupies that building, has decided to relocate on the Plaza. It will allow our celebration to be held in that building on Feb. 22. This special event will be a gathering of the proud owners of the homes and commercial buildings to share their love and experiences of their 100-year-old properties. It’s just another event that makes our City of Orange a special place in history, and for the future.
We are but a snapshot in time of a much larger picture.