Vintage Snapshots: Southern California In The Mid 1970s

Unlike most Puerto Ricans, my uncle didn’t move to New York when he had a chance. Instead, he took to Southern California in the late ’60s, settling in Gardena. And when I met him there in the 1990s, the way he talked about the California of the ’60s and ’70s just made it sound like paradise.

These photos from the Orange County Archives date from a few years after his arrival, and they seem to fit the ideas he planted in my head long ago. It’s all nice weather, ample roads, and a lovely environment. Looking at these, I can easily picture him driving around in his new 280Z, cigar in hand, enjoying the California life he so much loved.

Talking about which, the opening photo is at S. Glassell at the Plaza, in Orange, shot in 1975. And behind the white Beetle by the curbside, a 280Z not too different from my uncle’s.

Downtown Fullerton, 1975.

The Crab Cooker, Newport Beach, 1975.

Alpha Beta grocery store, Tustin Ave. at 17th St., Santa Ana, 1974.

City Hall, Huntington Beach, 1975.

West Coast Theater, Main St., Santa Ana, 1974.

El Gordito Market, W. 5th Ave., Santa Ana, 1974.

Cinedome 20 Theater, 3001 Chapman Ave., Orange, 1974.

Disneyland sign, Anaheim, 1974.

Brea Hotel, 108 N. Brea Blvd., Brea, 1975.

Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park, 1975.