Great Value for Orange Landlords
Members of the Tongva and Juaneño/Luiseño ethnic group long inhabited this area. After the 1769 expedition of Gaspar de Portolà, an expedition out of San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico, led by Father Junípero Serra, named the area Vallejo de Santa Ana (Valley of Saint Anne). On November 1, 1776, Mission San Juan Capistrano became the area's first permanent European settlement in Alta California, New Spain.
In 1801, the Spanish Empire granted 62,500 acres (253 km2) to José Antonio Yorba, which he named Rancho San Antonio. Yorba's great rancho included the lands where the cities of Olive, Orange, Villa Park, Santa Ana, Tustin, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach stand today. Smaller ranchos evolved from this large rancho, including the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana.
Don Juan Pablo Grijalva, a retired known Spanish soldier and the area's first landowner, was granted permission in 1809 by the Spanish colonial government to establish a rancho in "the place of the Arroyo de Santiago."
After the Mexican–American War, Alta California was ceded to the United States by México with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, and though many Californios lost titles to their lands in the aftermath, Grijalva's descendants retained ownership through marriages to Anglo-Americans.
Since at least 1864, Los Angeles attorneys Alfred Chapman and Andrew Glassell together and separately, held about 5,400 acres (22 km2) along both sides of the Santiago Creek (Glassell also had a 4,000-acre (16 km2) parcel where Costa Mesa is today). Water was the key factor for the location of their townsite (bordered by Almond Avenue on the south, Lemon Street on the west, Glassell Street on the east, & Maple Avenue on the north). Glassell needed a spot he could irrigate, bringing water down from the Santa Ana Canyon and the quality of the soil may have influenced his choice. Originally the community was named Richland, but in 1873 Richland got a new name. In the book, "Orange, The City 'Round The Plaza" by local historian Phil Brigandi, it states, "In 1873 the town had grown large enough to require a post office, so an application was sent to Washington. It was refused, however, as there was (and is) already a Richland, California in Sacramento County. Undaunted, the Richlanders proposed a new name – Orange."