HISTORY OF THE CITY OF ANAHEIM
In the late ’40s and early ’50s, California experienced its third population shockwave The first had occurred a hundred years earlier during the Gold Rush; the second took place in the latter part of the 19th century when the rate war between the 2 railroad giants, Southern Pacific and Santa Fe, led to cheap and easy transportation to the West. With fares as low as $1 from Kansas City to Los Angeles, Easterners flocked to California to speculate on rich farmland and real estate.
The nation’s new affluence brought leisure time — time to build family relationships, to enjoy the bounty of the good life, and to explore the once distant world. In Los Angeles, people took to the roads. Among these was a man named Walt Disney.
Walt Disney’s dreams were like few others. For years he had toyed with the idea of creating a park for families, a unique playground where they could find happiness and escape the pressures of the day. Local parks, he had discovered on visits with his daughters Sharon and Diane woefully lacked imagination. Walt finally put his vision down on paper, planning to build his dream on an 11-acre lot across the street from his studios in Burbank.
This park — called Mickey Mouse Park — would feature activities for families to enjoy together — a lake stocked with fish so parents and children could sit on the shore and enjoy fishing together, an island in the center of the lake for children to explore, boats to row to and around the island. A carousel, a bandstand and a replica of a traditional “Main Street” would bring the turn-of-the-century small-town American experience to modern families. A special feature would be a miniature train, one of Walt’s favorite hobbies.
With a schematic of the park drawn by his studio artists and a $10,000 construction budget, Walt presented his plan for approval by the city of Burbank. To his stunned dismay, city officials, concerned that the project would become a permanent carnival, denied his request.
Walt began revising his plans to make the project acceptable. But as he worked, new ideas filled his mind. One area of the park would be dedicated to the American frontier. In another, children would dream of frontiers in space in the world of tomorrow. The more he thought, the more he realized the 11-acre Burbank site would hardly be adequate to contain his new vision.
Taking a break from work 1 day, Walt jumped in his car and headed south in the freshly-paved asphalt of the 2-lane Santa Ana Freeway. As he drove out from downtown Los Angeles, the brownish haze of the sky dissipated into a deep blue, white clouds poked out from beneath the blanket of smog and homes and businesses grew farther and farther apart. When he finally entered Orange County, it was like being transported back to the Midwest. Miles of open farmland scented with the fragrant perfume of orange blossoms stretched out before him, interrupted only occasionally by a modest farmhouse. Victorian-style homes were common and their distinctive gingerbread architecture seemed to be an odd transplant from another era, but 1 in which Walt Disney felt comfortable.
In 1952, Walt created WED Enterprises for the purpose of building his dream. The initials were his own, but the investment was open to everyone. He put all his personal assets into the company and bent the ear of anyone who might want to join him as a partner. As the vision of Disneyland expanded, so did the cost of opening its gates, rising from an initial $10,000 to $4 million.
The then-fledgling ABC Network was looking for alliances that would give it instant credibility and stature — a partnership with Walt Disney would do just that. A deal was struck: ABC would invest $500,000 in the park and be a partner with WED. ABC would also guarantee $4.5 million in loans to cover construction. In return, Disney would produce a weekly hour-long series.
This “Disneyland” television show would be integral to the park’s success. Walt would use it as a vehicle to promote the park and the show would feature movies from the Disney Studio’s portfolio, as well as original episodes.
In addition, the Interstate 5 freeway was just being completed and it cut through the heart of Anaheim. The highway would connect the small agricultural town with downtown Los Angeles, tapping into its tourist base. Visitors staying in L.A. could be inside Disneyland’s main gate within 45 minutes. The freeway also guaranteed to bring more residents to Orange County. The geography and weather which made the county prime land for growing oranges were also ideal for attracting tourists.
Construction of Disneyland in Anaheim, California, was announced on April 2, 1954. Opening day would be July 17, 1955. This date was critical to the park’s success. August was Americans’ traditional vacation month, so the July date would allow Disneyland to cash in on the peak summer tourist trade. If delays pushed the opening into the fall, the park would sit virtually idle through the off-season. The press would have little mercy and Disneyland would be branded a failure.
The grand opening of the Magic Kingdom was less than auspicious. Some 33,000 people showed up, many uninvited and so anxious to see Disneyland they forged their tickets. A gas leak closed Fantasyland. Rides broke down. The heat of the day caused guests to search for water fountains that had yet to be installed. The heels of women’s shoes left the newly-paved asphalt filled with indentations. And it all took place before the largest television audience ever, as millions witnessed ABC’s live broadcast. In later years, Walt would refer to the first day of operation as “Black Sunday.”
As Anaheim’s reputation as a good place to live, work or run a business mushroomed, the city government rushed to meet the demand, creating an environment in which these tremendous changes could flourish. The city annexed 1,493 acres in 1953 to accommodate new development. The following year, an additional 2,700 acres were annexed. In 1955, the year Disneyland opened, 3,300 more acres were included within the city limits. By the end of that year, Anaheim was four times the size it was in 1953.
Stories hit the international news wires about the little California town that was making things happen in a very big way. In fact, Anaheim grew faster than any city in the nation during the decade and every three years, its size and population doubled.
The unprecedented growth of the 1950s set the stage for Anaheim to grow and mature into a major city in the coming years
WHERE DOES ANAHEIM CITY WATER COME FROM?
Anaheim’s water supply is a blend of groundwater from our own wells and water imported from Northern California and the Colorado River by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). The source water for our wells is an aquifer that is replenished with water from the Santa Ana River, local runoff, imported water, and purified recycled water.
Managed by the Orange County Water District (OCWD), the groundwater basin is 350 square miles in area and lies beneath most of northern and central Orange County. Anaheim and more than 20 cities and retail water districts pump from the groundwater basin to provide water to homes and businesses. Your water source depends on where you live or work within the boundaries of our community. Generally, the source of water for areas east and south of the 57 and 91 freeway interchange is imported water. The central and western portions of Anaheim mostly receive groundwater or a blend with imported supplies.
Groundwater Replenishment System
In an effort to create a more reliable and local resource, the city is participating in the Groundwater Replenishment System.
The Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) was constructed as a joint project of OCWD and the Orange County Sanitation District to recycle wastewater and provide a drought-proof source of water for our region.
The GWRS uses advanced treatment technologies to clean wastewater and then returns it to groundwater via recharge basins in Anaheim and direct injection near the coast. The water is further cleaned by layers of soil and rock and ultimately refills local water aquifers over time. It is important to remember that GWRS water does not go directly into your drinking water. Instead, it goes into the ground, where it will be naturally filtered by thousands of feet of soil and it will remain in the ground for years before it reaches drinking water well.
You can find additional information on the GWRS by visiting the website or by calling OCWD directly at 714-378-3333.
ARE THERE CONTAMINANTS IN ANAHEIM CITY WATER?
The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs and wells. As water travels over the
surface of the land or through the layers of the ground it dissolves naturally-occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animal and human activity.
Contaminants that may be present in source water include:
Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban stormwater runoff, and residential uses.
Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.
Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production or mining activities.
Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally occurring or result from urban storm runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining and farming.
Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gasoline stations, urban stormwater runoff, agricultural application, and septic systems
SHOULD I DRINK AND BATHE WITH ANAHEIM CITY WATER STRAIGHT FROM MY FAUCET?
Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised people, such as those with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have had organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly persons and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.
The USEPA and the federal Centers for Disease Control guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from USEPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern Time (7 a.m. to 1 p.m. in California)- source: 2017 Anaheim Water consumer confidence report.
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