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. The Packing District was at the heart of the county’s citrus production during the height of the area’s agricultural era. The district has been reinvented and is now poised to be a popular community-gathering place for food, education and fun. The Packing District houses the Packard Building, the Farmers Park and the Packing House.

01 Packard Building Street View - Anaheim Packing District

The Packard Building, also called the Packard Showroom, was constructed in 1925. The building initially showcased the Packard luxury car. The structure underwent many changes over the years. The mission revival style building has been renovated to reflect its original state. Lush landscaping and antique lighting fixtures line the building. Its extensive patio dining space is the perfect space for large parties with broad views of the Farmers Park.

Two trendy restaurants, Umami Burger and Anaheim Brewery now occupy the renovated Packard Building. Foodies flock to Umami Burger for delectable gourmet hamburgers, including the Welsh Rarebit, for which the recipe dates back to 1919. Anaheim Brewery has a legacy of its own to lend to the historic district. The brewery was originally established in 1870. In 1920 Prohibition forced Anaheim Brewery to cease production. 90 years later in 2010, the brewery was re-established in the Packard Building and offers its original brews, such as Anaheim 1888, as well as new recipes.02 Packard Building Dining - Anaheim Packing District

The Farmers Park connects the Packard Building with the Packing House. It features beautiful landscaping and wide-open spaces ideal for large gatherings. The two-acre plot comprises an olive grove, redwood boardwalk, grassy knoll and community gardens where visitors can find many grow beds containing tomatoes, artichokes, lettuce and more plants. The park also has an outdoor Ping-Pong table ready for use – just bring your own ball and paddles!

03 Farmers Park - Anaheim Packing District

The park has a packed schedule with unique events occurring each month. For example, in March the park hosted “Firkfest”, Orange County’s first Cask Ale Festival. Starting June 1st, the Farmers Park Market, a California Certified Farmers’ Market, will take place every Sunday from 10am to 2pm. More exciting events to be held at the site include the summertime Farm Folk Festival, Annual Halloween Parade Float viewing, German Christmas Market and Farmers Park Flicks outdoor movies.

04 Artichoke at the Farmers Park - Anaheim Packing District

The Packing House was constructed in 1919 along the Southern Pacific Rail Line. It was a center of commerce for area farmers who came to the building to sell their citrus harvest.

05 Packing House Grand Opening - Anaheim Packing District


The Packing House is now set to be a go-to space for chowing down. The former Sunkist packing facility has been renovated to accommodate as many as 25 restaurants. Cafes and kiosks will serve food and beverages. The two level building features a large central atrium with food court-style dining. Patrons can also enjoy outdoor picnic gardens and a building-length dining porch looking out to the Farmers Park. The Packing House will have its Grand Opening celebration on May 31st from noon to 10pm.

06 Packing House Rail Car - Anaheim Packing District

The Anaheim Packing District in Downtown Anaheim is a great example of Orange County’s emphasis on community celebration of the past. In addition to these historic hubs, Orange County features many beautiful historic homes. These houses frequently come on the market but disappear fast. If you are looking to get into your own historic dream home, then Better Living SoCal is your go-to resource. Contact us today to take the first step towards owning your perfect home.

Extra Packard Building Dining Area - Anaheim Packing District

Visit the Anaheim Packing District website for event information, directions and more details on the historic significance of the area.

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. The two blocks between Anaheim Boulevard and Clementine Street fill with smiling vendors and their colorful booths offering assorted crafted goods, garment collections, gourmet condiments, produce, snacks, meals, plants, flowers, and more during the Downtown Anaheim Farmers’ Market.

My husband and I recently had the opportunity to explore the event. The farmers’ market was especially exciting to us as we are new Anaheim residents. We parked in the adjacent parking structure and entered through the craft fair.

1 Walking up to Downtown Anaheim's Certified Farmers' Market and Craft Fair

We immediately noticed the Park & Read, a mid-century aluminum trailer home surrounded by a wood deck, potted pine trees, chairs and tables. The trailer, outfitted with bookshelves, offers a plethora of literature. The set-up created such a peaceful, whimsical vignette. How could you not stop in your tracks and admire the scene? Imagine walking out of one of the two coffee shops lining the Park & Read, plucking a story from the shelves and settling into a chair to soak up the sun and sip on an iced coffee.

2 Park & Read at Downtown Anaheim’s Farmers’ Market

We continued on through the craft fair where we saw hand-made jewelry and soaps, antique knick-knacks, vintage clothing, accessories, artwork, amongst other interesting finds.

Next up was the food area where you could find anything from humus, tamales and pupusas, to honey, roasted corn and assorted gourmet teas. The air was filled with mouthwatering aromas.

3 Delifornia in Food Court at Downtown Anaheim’s Farmers’ Market

We ended up grabbing some yummy dollar tacos and a delectable sandwich at the food court. The dollar tacos at Cervantes Mexican Kitchen were delicious. You could definitely get a great lunch without spending more than $5. We had the al pastor, beef and chicken tacos. The seasoning on the tacos was perfect. The meat, onions and cilantro were all extremely fresh. The tacos came with perfectly fried flour tortilla chips.

4 Food Court at Downtown Anaheim’s Farmers’ Market

We also visited Delifornia where we picked up a Sourdough Club from the winter menu, which has crispy prosciutto, roasted turkey, tomato, avocado, wintergreens with garlic dijonnaise. The sandwich was gone in seconds it was so scrumptious. For our side we got the very tasty potato salad. We will definitely head back to both Cervantes and Delifornia to try out more of their menu.

5 Delifornia sandwhich from the Downtown Anaheim’s Farmers’ Market

Our next initiative was to stock up on fruit and vegetables. The selection was ample. All the fruit we sampled was so sweet and fresh. We decided to shop at the stand offering organic produce and picked up some ripe strawberries, celery, cilantro and broccolini for a great price.

6 Organic Produce Available at Downtown Anaheim’s Farmers’ Market

At the far end of the farmers’ market we found a hidden gem of a booth, “The Cactus and Succulents Fat-Plant Man” stand. There, Cliff sells an impressive collection of beautiful plants. He grows his plants with care and can tell you anything about the many species he raises. His booth’s banner states in bold lettering “The Fat-Plant Man.” Cliff will explain the meaning behind his nickname is that his plants are so plump and that it doesn’t refer to his round shape whatsoever. He smiles when one chuckles in response. Cliff’s character is big and very sweet. He will give anyone a hug as soon as he or she walks under the canopy. Stop by and say “hi” to him for me.

7 Cactus and Succulents for Sale at Downtown Anaheim’s Farmers’ Market

Downtown Anaheim’s Farmers’ Market may be a little difficult to find on your first visit. I got a bit lost on the way over myself. If you habitually use Apple Maps or Google Maps on your smartphone to get around like I do, then keep in mind the following tips, as using a map app may get you close but not there.

The Farmers’ Market is on Center Street and Lemon Street. The best place to park is in the parking structure on the north corner of Center Street and Anaheim Boulevard. My advice is to take the I-5 to Lincoln Avenue. Head East on W Lincoln Avenue and turn right onto Anaheim Boulevard. You will see the parking structure on your right – turn in and park. More directions can be found here.

More information on the Downtown Anaheim Certified Farmers’ Market and Craft Fair can be found here.