Anaheim Chamber Of Commerce
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History

Anaheim is now the tenth largest city in California, which began in 1857 as colony of German farmers and vintners. Founding member George Hansen surveyed the original 200 acres, which now comprises the city’s downtown area, bounded by North, South, East and West streets. The City’s name is a composition of “Ana” from the nearby Santa Ana River and “heim,” German for home. Those early pioneers considered this location their “home by the river.”

Between 1880 and 1960, Anaheim was host to several orange growers and processors who used their orange crate labels to identify their brand and advertise a golden California lifestyle.

The city was incorporated in 1876 with a population of 881. By 1920, the population had risen to 5,526, an agricultural community as tightly knit as small towns can be. In 1887, the construction of the Santa Fe depot linked Anaheim’s citrus growers with the East, providing vital markets for their golden crops.

A local tradition, which began in 1924 and was recently restarted, again is the Anaheim Halloween Parade. At the height of its popularity, over 150,000 spectators would view the parade along the downtown streets and from La Palma Park grandstand.

In the early 1950’s, a man by the name of Walt Disney had an idea of creating a park for families, a unique playground where they could find happiness and escape the pressures of the day. He first took his idea to the city of Burbank, who denied his request, concerned that the project would become a permanent carnival.

Lucky for us, he drove down the Santa Ana Freeway to Orange County and found that Anaheim was a lot like his boyhood home in Marceline, Missouri. On April 2, 1954, construction of Disneyland in Anaheim, California, was announced. Opening day would be July 17, 1955.

The grand opening was less than auspicious. About 33,000 people showed up while millions witnessed ABC’s live broadcast. Many things did go wrong that day, but they were all corrected and after only seven weeks after opening, Disneyland’s one-millionth guest passed through the turnstiles, into the tunnel and onto Main Street.

Anaheim became a modern day boomtown by the end of the 1950’s. Anaheim’s reputation as a good place to live, work or run a business has turned Anaheim into the 2nd largest city in Orange County, the 10th largest city in California and the 59th largest in the nation. The fact that the city operates it’s own utilities is one of the main reasons many of the businesses have relocated to Anaheim. The city has directly negotiated lower rates with companies as an enticement to relocate. Anaheim residents also pay considerably lower utility bills than their neighbors in surrounding cities.

In the 1960’s, Anaheim joined the major league baseball by announcing the Angels would start the 1966 season in a brand new stadium in Anaheim. Ground was broken on August 31, 1964, on the new stadium and the rest is history. Many changes have been made to the stadium since it was first built. The first major change came when the Los Angeles Rams football team moved to Anaheim and the stadium was enclosed and enlarged to 70,500 seats for the 1980 football season. After the Rams moved to St. Louis, the stadium was once again remodeled to it’s present look and renamed the Edison International Field of Anaheim.

Another impressive achievement that the city has produced is the building of the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim. Groundbreaking was held on November 8, 1990 on this $103 million area. In March on 1993, Walt Disney Company announced that the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim would begin playing in the Anaheim Arena in the fall of 1993. The arena has been used to host several events from concerts to sporting events.

The latest change to the Anaheim area has been the renovation of the resort area, the redevelopment of the downtown area and the building of Disney’s California Adventure Theme Park and the Grand Californian Resort Hotel.

Anaheim has been transformed from a small farming community to a major sport, entertainment, recreational, and industrial community. Anaheim is truly the best place to live, work and play.