Early Costa Mesa 15 Historic Pcs, CA (POA) (Postcard of America) (Postcards of America)

 
9780738569789: Early Costa Mesa 15 Historic Pcs, CA (POA) (Postcard of America) (Postcards of America)
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Costa Mesa boasts a rich history.

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In this collection of vintage-photograph postcards, the Costa Mesa Historical Society explores the city’s past.

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Title: Putting city history in print

Author: Alan Blank

Publisher: Daily Pilot

Date: 5/7/09
It didnÂ’t take Art and Mary Ellen Goddard long to connect to the historical pulse of Costa Mesa when they moved to the city in 1977 from the Midwest.
“After we got settled into our house I would say the first thing Mary Ellen did was join the historical society,” Art Goddard said.
Just a year later, in 1978, she conducted a series of 46 lengthy interviews with the city fathers and business and social leaders for the cityÂ’s 25th anniversary.
The husband-and-wife team recently released a history, “Images of Early Costa Mesa,” published by Arcadia Publishing (a company known for the thousands of local history books it produces and puts on the shelves of retailers like Barnes & Noble and Borders throughout the country).
It’s not the first history ever published about the young city — historian Edrick Miller wrote one called “A Slice of Orange,” and former Mayor Robert Wilson wrote one much more recently called “From Goat Hill to City of the Arts” — but unlike its precursors, the Goddards’ history is mainly a visual one.
The content comes largely from Mary EllenÂ’s interviews and similar interviews conducted by Miller, along with materials tucked away in the historical societyÂ’s archives.
The book quickly touches on early Native American history before delving into the townÂ’s first booms around the turn of the 20th century.
Instead of a long-form, cohesive narrative, the authors analyzed collections of old photographs that depict the cityÂ’s origins and print them with extended captions for context.
“Pictures convey a lot of information that you can’t convey in text,” Art said. “This allows people to look at the photos themselves and come to their own conclusions.”
For instance, a shot of the Fairview School house — a Victorian-looking wood building with a brick chimney and a rectangular steeple with a pyramid top — juts out of an empty landscape, surrounded by acres of open fields.
One of the first classes of students stands out in the sun in the front along with the teacher, wearing a straw boater hat.
The school was established in 1891 and had only about 25 to 35 students for much of its 24-year existence, according to the authors.
Another picture, which looks like it was yanked from a Western movie, shows the two-story, rectangular, wood-shingled OzmentÂ’s General Store, which went up in the early 1900s as the townÂ’s first commercial building near Newport Boulevard and East 18th Street.
A horse-drawn carriage is pulling up in front.
Costa Mesa is a geographically small area. It would be hard for a resident to read through the book and not find several locations that they recognize.
“I hope the book gives people a sense of place and an opportunity to connect with it if they want to,” Art said. --Daily Pilot

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