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Fullerton is a city located in northern Orange County, California. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 135,161. It was founded in 1887 by George and Edward Amerige and named for George H. Fullerton, who secured the land on behalf of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Historically it was a center of agriculture, notably groves of Valencia oranges and other citrus crops; petroleum extraction; transportation; and manufacturing. It is home to several educational institutions, notably the California State University, Fullerton.
A Little History of Fullerton
Evidence of prehistoric animal habitation, such as saber-toothed cats and mammoths, is present in Ralph B. Clark Regional Park in the northwest of the city. Europeans first passed through the area in 1769 when Gaspar de Portolà led an expedition north to establish Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, after whom the local American Indian population were dubbed the Gabrieliños. The land later became part of Rancho San Juan Cajón de Santa Ana, granted to Juan Pacifico Ontiveros, a Spanish soldier.
Ontiveros began to sell parcels of the Rancho to migrant Americans settling and developing California in the aftermath of the 1849 Gold Rush, including Massachusetts native Abel Stearns. In the 1860s, Stearns sold in turn to Domingo Bastanchury, a Basque shepherd.
In 1886 while in the area on a duck hunting vacation, Malden brothers George and Edward Amerige, heard rumors that the California Central Railroad, a subsidiary of the Santa Fe Railway, was looking for land. Sensing opportunity, they arranged to buy 430 acres (1.7 km2) north of Anaheim for approximately $68,000.
They then began negotiations with George H. Fullerton, president of the Pacific Land and Improvement Company, also a Santa Fe subsidiary. They offered free right-of-way and half interest in the land to the railroad if Fullerton’s survey were revised to include the proposed town site, and on July 5, 1887 Edward Amerige formally staked his claim at what is now the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue.
In 1894 Charles Chapman, a retired Chicago publisher and a descendant of John “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman, purchased an orange orchard in eastern Fullerton. The Valencia variety of oranges he promoted from his Santa Ysabel Ranch, well suited to the local climate, proved a boon to producers; Fullerton boasted more orange groves than any other municipality in the United States. Cultivation of walnuts and avocados also flourished, and the Western railroad town became an agricultural center. Fullerton incorporated in 1904.
Did You Know About Fullerton?
Fullerton is home to a vibrant music scene. It was a center for the Orange County hardcore punk music scene, producing acts such as The Adolescents, Agent Orange, Social Distortion, D.I., and T.S.O.L., the “fathers of hardcore punk” The Middle Class, Gwen Stefani, lead vocalist of the alternative rock group No Doubt, was a student at CSUF and the group performed there regularly. Other popular groups from the area include The Offspring and Lit. The popular singer-songwriter Jackson Browne also attended Sunny Hills High School in the city.
Contributing greatly to Fullerton’s musical heritage was the Fender musical instrument company, whose products such as the Stratocaster and Telecaster electric guitars, Precision Bass bass guitar, and Twin Reverb guitar amplifier revolutionized the music business and contributed greatly to the development of rock and roll. (A list of notable rock performers who did not use a Fender product at some point in their careers would be very short.) Leo Fender sold the company to CBS in 1964; production continued in the Fullerton plant until 1985, when the then-ruined company was sold to a group of private investors. (It was later reconstituted as Fender Musical Instrument Corporation, with its major production facilities in neighboring Corona and across the US-Mexico border in Ensenada, Baja California, and its headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona.) In 1980, Leo Fender and his original partner George Fullerton (relation to the Fullerton founder of the same name unknown) reunited and started a new company, G&L (George and Leo) Guitars, which currently occupies the old Fender factory in Fullerton.
The Muckenthaler Cultural Center on Malvern Avenue near Euclid Avenue houses art galleries and a theater group. The former estate of the Muckenthaler family, it was donated to the city by Harold Muckenthaler in 1965.
The Fullerton Museum Center is a multidisciplinary exhibit space housed in the old Carnegie Library downtown.
Fullerton is also home to the Fullerton Public Library. The Main Library is located on Commonwealth Avenue in Downtown Fullerton and adjacent to the City Hall. There is also a branch library, called the Hunt Branch on Basque Avenue.
Fullerton is also home to a diverse and ever-growing theater scene. The Fullerton Civic Light Opera, one of the largest theater companies in Southern California, is based at the Plummer Auditorium. Local educational institutions, such as Fullerton College and Fullerton High School’s Academy of the Arts, are the source of numerous large-scale productions. There are also several storefront theaters, including the Maverick Theater, Stages Theater and the Hunger Artists Theatre Company. The Maverick Theatre is the host for the “World Famous Skipper Stand Up Show.” Held six times a year, the The Skipper Stand Up Show has, since 2006, showcased former and current skippers from Disneyland’s famous attraction, the Jungle Cruise.
Fullerton maintains more than 50 city parks and is home to Hillcrest Park, the Craig Regional Park and Ralph B. Clark Regional Park. The Fullerton Arboretum comprises 26 acres (105,000 m²) of sculpted gardens and unusual plants in northeastern Fullerton. Additionally the city features approximately 200 acres (0.81 km2) of recreational land in the Brea Dam Recreational Area, plus an equestrian center and trails, two golf courses, a tennis center located behind St. Jude Hospital and the Janet Evans swim Complex.
The city is also one of the few Southern California municipalities to be served by a completely independent newspaper, the Fullerton Observer. The Observer is an all-volunteer paper that is printed two times a month. It was founded in the late 1970s by Ralph Kennedy, a fair housing and civil rights activist who advocated saving Coyote Hills as open space.In 2010, the city of Fullerton and the Orange County Register came out in court against the 32-year-old Fullerton Observer in its request to adjudicate the paper. In response to the city of Fullerton and the Orange County Register’s request the Fullerton Observer prove itself a newspaper, the Fullerton Observer dropped its court case to be adjudicated a newspaper.
Fullerton is also home to the Golden Baseball League’s Orange County Flyers (formerly known as the Fullerton Flyers). The team’s home is Goodwin Field, home to the Cal State Fullerton Titans.
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