Orange County has an extensive history and some of that history can be viewed along the Santiago Creek Bike Trail (SBCT). Here are the points along to path to check out on your walk, bike or run along the trail.
Historic Sites Along Santiago Creek Trail
A. Submerged dam at Santiago Oaks Regional Park; early water diversion project, circa 1890.
B. Santiago Oaks vicinity: Camp Jotham Bixby, Orange County’s first Boy Scout camp, circa 1921.
C. Grijalva hide tanning vats on north side of creek, below Cannon St. bridge; remnant of the early cattle operations on Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana (largely destroyed by floods of 1916).
D. Grijalva Adobe at Hoyt Hill, (east of the intersection of Hewes and Rancho Santiago Blvd., probably built shortly after 1800. The existing Victorian-era home was built on this site in 1887. A remnant of a rock wall foundation is all that remains of the Grijalva Adobe.
E. Conrock and Blue Diamond (or Bond) Pits: the legacy sand and gravel mining and consequences for the creek, 1900-1980; adaptation as water recharge basins by Orange County Water District, 1990s.
F. Southern Pacific Railroad, Tustin Branch bridge (north of Walnut); tracks laid in 1888 to reach fruit packing plants in agricultural era. Destroyed by flood in 1969.
G. Site of the first orange grove in Orange (end of Walnut, north side of creek), planted circa 1872 by Patterson Bowers (1825-1898).
H. Portolá expedition campsite near Grijalva Park (east edge of creek, one-half mile north of Chapman Avenue; exact site unknown): the first Spanish overland expedition in California, 1769. Party named it Santiago Creek, according to the diaries of Fray Crespi.
I. Town site of McPherson, 1886; grapes were the primary local crop.
J. Orange, McPherson & Modena Street Railway, crossing at Chapman Avenue first constructed for horse-drawn streetcar during the “boom” days of the 1880s (destroyed by flood in 1891).
K. Flippen Ranch (Yorba Park)
L. Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company (SAVI) aqueduct through “Sycamore Crossing” (former Santiago Golf Course).
M. William O. Hart Park, once known as Orange City Park, the first municipal park. Hart was editor of the Orange City News. Rockwalls built in creek by WPA. Park was home to the Lionettes, a women’s softball team.
N1. Chinatown (north side creek, just below Glassell St.); early 1890s until early 1920s. Lower end of Gardner family ranch.
N2. Indian campsite (same general area). Relics found by Garner family, who established ranch on site in 1875.
O. (Entire creek) Major flood events: 1825, 1861-62, 1884, 1916, 1938, 1969.
For an in depth history of Orange County and these historical spots on the trail we’d suggest checking out OC History Land. For instance, did you know that Orange County and the City of Orange did not get their names from their history with Oranges and Orange Groves?