Stanley Ranch Museum & Historical Village – Garden Grove

The Garden Grove Historical Society owns and maintains an impressive museum snugly tucked in amongst modern track housing communities. The Stanley Ranch Museum & Historical Village consists of a 2-acre plot packed with 17 historic buildings, some replicas and others original. Each building is uniquely themed with accompanying artifacts. Many of these structures and relics date back to the 19th century.

1 Ware-Stanley House  - Stanley Ranch Museum & Historic Village

The city of Garden Grove is home to a fair amount of early 20th century dwellings, not to mention the many historic homes throughout the rest of Orange County.

2 Dining Room in Stanley Ware House - Stanley Ranch Museum & Historic Village

Grant, a local history teacher and volunteer for the museum, led the tour during my recent visit. His extensive knowledge of historical practices and artifacts is truly singular.

The tour started in the beautiful Ware-Stanley house, which was built in 1891 by Edward G. Ware. The porch was restored to its original state, complete with its charming gingerbread trim, after having been a bathroom for much of the 1900s. The house was passed on through the generations. It’s most noted occupant and owner was Agnes Ware Stanley. Agnes was well known for being a highly educated woman for the times. The home is filled with many of the family’s belongings.

Grant led us through the home, describing the daily activities and hobbies of the former residents. He would periodically present the tour group with guessing games in which he would introduce an object and ask us to guess its function. For example, Grant showed off a hot-coal-heated foot warmer and a vacuum cleaner in which the user pumps the handle to produce suction at the base. Grant also showed us a nifty “refrigerator” with lazy Susan shelving. The antique fridge even features a spigot on its side to pour cold water melted from the ice blocks in the icebox. My favorite part of the tour had to be when Grant played a Beatles song on the pump organ in the dining room for us. I was so impressed with not only Grant’s excellent playing, but also that the 124-year-old organ can still play, and so beautifully, too.

Another impressive building is the Fire Station, a replica of the station originally located on Garden Grove Boulevard. The station is a one-story building with a garage, office, and accommodations for the firemen. The building displays old firemen suits, outmoded fire control artifacts, and an original fire hose, which is slung within a small tower, as it would have been for drying.

3 Fire Truck - Stanley Ranch Museum & Historic Village

The Fire Station provides shelter for a magnificent 1926 La France fire truck. The Garden Grove Fireman’s Association maintains the truck, which is still drivable to this day. Grant explained that since the fire truck is still registered as such, only firemen may drive the vehicle. We did get the pleasure of hearing its horn, which Grant demonstrated for the group.

4 Disney Garage - Stanley Ranch Museum & Historic Village

The Disney Garage is likely the most famous structure on the property, particularly with Disney fans. The one-car garage sat behind the home of Walt Disney’s uncle and was the first workplace where Disney practiced animation starting back in 1923. A group called the “Friends of Walt Disney” donated the garage to the Garden Grove Historical Society in 1984. The society was the only group contacted by the Friends of Walt Disney that would accept the garage and keep it permanently on display. The Garage was delivered to the site and assembled there. It came with nothing but it’s boards and beams but is now filled with a collection of Disney memorabilia and animation-related apparatuses, including an antique film projector. Grant did show us one discovery – etched writing on an inner door with a list of quantities of various fruits and preserves.

5 Film Projector Inside the Disney Garage - Stanley Ranch Museum & Historic Village

The Barber Shop and Electric Shoe Shop structure features a collection of barber tools and electric shoe manufacturing machinery used by the former owners of the building. The building also displays the dental equipment and medical devices, including a few items belonging to Garden Grove’s long time physician Dr. Violette.

6 Barber Shop and Electric Shoe Shop - Stanley Ranch Museum & Historic Village

Other buildings visited along a tour include the General Store, Schoolhouse, Post Office, Schnitger House and Emerson Hall.

7 General Store - Stanley Ranch Museum & Historic Village

Touring the Stanley Ranch Museum and Historical Village was a fun learning experience. A special thank you to Grant for an exceptional tour of the grounds and to the Garden Grove Historical Society for maintaining such a great collection of historical artifacts and structures. It never ceases to amaze me how much Orange County cherishes its historical sites and neighborhoods.

8 School House - Stanley Ranch Museum & Historic Village


The Stanley Ranch Museum & Historical Village
12174 Euclid St.
Garden Grove, CA 92840

Tours are held at 1:30pm every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month. The tour lasts 1-2 hours. The suggested donation is $5 per adult and $1 per student (up to the age of 18). For more information, visit the Stanley Ranch Museum website or call the Garden Grove Historical Society at 714.530.8871.


Anaheim Packing District – Celebrating the Past with Community

Downtown Anaheim is a treasure trove of history and culture. The Anaheim Packing District, a newly renovated historical site, is nestled in the heart of the downtown area and features dining, and event space.

Touring Downtown Anaheim – Certified Farmers’ Market and Craft Fair

Center Street Promenade in Downtown Anaheim bustles with excitement every Thursday afternoon and early evening during the certified farmers’ market and craft fair.

Neighborhood Spotlight : Old Towne Orange

South Carolina has Savannah, Louisiana has the French Quarter in New Orleans, and Massachusetts has the preserved whaling community of New Bedford, but to experience the essence of California, there’s no better location than Old Towne Orange.

Neighborhood Spotlight – Anaheim Colony

When you think of Anaheim, your first thought is probably about Disneyland. But Anaheim has more fun to offer than just Disneyland. Why not visit a place that can be “the happiest place on earth” for both you and the kids? Winter is the time to check out the Anaheim Colony, a quaint historic district […]

Historic Holiday Memories in Orange County

Winter is the perfect season to discover historic homes in Orange County. Why not explore historic homes as a low-cost (and sometimes free) holiday activity? Here are several suggestions of historic homes in Orange County to visit.

Near-Downtown Value in Santa Ana Home

Don’t be “spooked” this Halloween by the location. This near-downtown Santa Ana home checks a lot of the right boxes at an eye-popping sub-$350k price point. It’s a fairly walkable location with great access to freeways. A point that I like to make (and one that I don’t think I’ve made in a while) is how a home like this compares to a condo, in terms of payment. Remember, a condo usually has an HOA fee of $200+. Assuming a $300/mo HOA fee, this home at $319,900 (the present list price), will equate to a condo costing about $250,000. In light of that, this home seems like a bargain, and it is.

19th Century Mansion

This home is located just North of Downtown and just South of Floral Park and is a 19th Century Mansion. In most parts of the country, the presence of a 19th century home isn’t too big of a deal. But when you realize that Los Angeles was a city of just about 100,000 people in 1900 — you begin to realize there weren’t that many houses around before the turn of the century and few of them survive today. In 1900, Santa Ana was the largest city in Orange County, but with only 4500 residents. As a two-story home, this was most likely the home of a large landowner and it is built in the farmhouse style. Due to it’s more urban setting (it isn’t too far from the original downtown), it seems to have some more ornate trim than would have been found in a midwestern or prairie farmhouse.

Laguna Canyon Fairytale – Historic Home of the Week 9/5/2013

We’re doing something a little different this week. This home has been very extensively renovated, and most of the time, we tend to gravitate towards the properties that preserve as much of the original fabric as possible. However, the reality is that doing so isn’t always possible. While we always think of beautiful tree-lined streets and older, established neighborhoods — things change. In no city is that more true than Laguna Beach and especially Laguna Canyon.

Prime Anaheim Colony

Sometimes you run into a home that really has a little bit of everything .Right location in Anaheim Colony. Right price. Right size. Two baths. Great paint scheme. A home like this is hard to fault and at below $500k, we can actually call it an affordable home. It’s even more affordable that the price would suggest due to the Mills Act contract on the property, which puts the property taxes at about $2100/yr. Normally, a property like this would have taxes that were approximately $5600/yr — that’s a savings of $200/mo.