German farmers and vintners founded Anaheim in 1857. George Hansen, a founding member, inspected Anaheim’s 200-acre downtown area (bounded by North, South, East, and West streets). “Ana” from the Santa Ana River and “heim,” German for home, form the city’s name. Early pioneers called Anaheim “home by the river.”
After a pandemic in the 1870s decimated the vineyards, citrus orchards replaced them. Anaheim’s hills shielded the first commercially grown oranges in Orange County from mountain winds. Chilies and walnuts were also grown.
Early settlers were writers, painters, and musicians, and the earliest public buildings were schools and opera houses.
881 people incorporated Anaheim in 1876. For decades, the small rural community grew slowly. The Santa Fe terminal connected Anaheim citrus growers to East Coast markets in 1887. Anaheim was an agricultural town with a population of 5,526 in 1920.
Disneyland began in 1955, transforming Anaheim from an agricultural hamlet into a bustling metropolis. Tourism, manufacturing, and construction drive Anaheim’s economy. Disney’s California Adventure and the West Coast’s biggest convention center are in Anaheim. Anaheim’s Canyon Technology Corridor, Orange County’s largest industrial region, attracts high-tech enterprises.
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