The History of Garden Grove
picture from "Images of America" courtesy of Garden Grove Historical Society

From The Desk Of Walt Unger:

Bob Iding recommends reading the three-volume history of Garden Grove, which was written by Leroy L. Doig, Ed.D. (a former superintendent of the Garden Grove Union High School District and former member of the Garden Grove city council). These three volumes are:

  • The Village of Garden Grove, 1870-1905, by Leroy L. Doig (Pioneer Press, 1962)
  • The Town of Garden Grove, by Leroy L. Doig (Pioneer Press, 1966)
  • The City of Garden Grove, The First Twenty Years, 1956-1976, by Leroy L. Doig (Santa Ana: Friis-Pioneer Press, 1977).

All three volumes are available for purchase from the Garden Grove Historical Society (GGHS).

The Orange County Public Library also has copies of these three books available. The call number is 979.496.

About the Garden Grove Historical Society:

The Garden Grove Historical Society is located on two acres of land. The property is known as the Stanley Ranch Museum Historical Village. The Society offers tours on the first and third Sundays of every month. The tours start at 1:30 pm and last about one and one-half hours. Only one tour is offered per day. Groups of ten or more people can request special tours on other occasions.

In 2005, the Garden Grove Historical Society (GGHS) published a book of historical photographs (with some text) entitled, Images of America Garden Grove -- GGHS price: $21.50 including tax. Information about this 128-page book can be found online at:

Among other things, this Amazon site says, "While its name connotes a pastoral vision beyond a pleasant wide place in the road, Garden Grove has expanded exponentially since pioneers founded it in 1874. Early cattle ranches gave way to walnut and citrus groves during the 20th century, as this land between the cities of Long Beach and Anaheim grew into one of Orange County's most populous municipalities, incorporating in 1956. Hotels sprang up in Garden Grove in reaction to the nearby vacation draws of Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, and the county's popular beach communities. In later decades, Garden Grove's distinctive identity was further shaped by its role as home to one of the largest Korean-American communities outside of Korea and home to tel evangelist Robert Schuller's famed Crystal Cathedral."

"In this charming retrospective, more than 200 vintage images were gathered by the Garden Grove Historical Society, from their own extensive archive, to illustrate the landscapes, people, events, businesses, and other aspects that shaped Garden Grove's past."

The Garden Grove Historical Society's usual hours are Tuesdays and Fridays, 8:00 am to 1:00 pm The Society has a collection of most Garden Grove newspapers on microfiche from 1900 to present. Twice each year, the Society sponsors a "Book and Barn Sale," which is its primary fund-raising event. The next "Book and Barn Sale" will take place on October 22-24, 2009.

The Historical Society has a copy of each of the Rancho Alamitos High School yearbooks for 1958 through 1962.

Some Interesting Facts:

The City of Garden Grove was incorporated in June 1956.

The Garden Grove Unified School District (GGUSD) headquarters' building is located at 10331 Stanford Avenue, Garden Grove, CA 92840-6353, Tel: 714-663-6000,
Laura Schwalm, Ph.D., is the GGUSD Superintendent.

The Garden Grove Unified School District was established July 1965. The district encompasses 28 square miles of territory, serving most of Garden Grove and portions of six surrounding cities -- Anaheim, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Santa Ana, Stanton, and Westminster. The 2008-09 GGUSD budget is $503.2 million, making the district the largest enterprise in Garden Grove.

The district is the third largest among 28 public school districts in Orange County with 48,487 students, ranks 11th in size of more than 1,000 school districts in California, and is the 89th largest school district of 17,700 in the U.S. The district employs more than 5,000 staff members and operates 70 schools: 47 elementary, 10 intermediate, seven high schools, two continuation schools, two adult education centers, and two special education schools.

Construction of Rancho Alamitos High School (RAHS) began in 1956 with the greater part of construction being completed in 1959. 1957 was the first year students attended RAHS. RAHS held its first senior class graduation in 1958.

Orange County Through Four Centuries, a book by Dr. Leo J. Friis, is available through the Orange County Historical Society (for $16.00): P.O. Box 10984, Santa Ana, CA 92711 -- Email: URL: The society provides an interesting timetable of Orange County at:

According to Wikipedia, "Disneyland is an American theme park in Anaheim, California, owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division of The Walt Disney Company. It was dedicated with a press preview on July 17, 1955, and opened to the general public July 18, 1955. Disneyland holds the distinction of being the only theme park to be designed, built, opened, and operated by Walt Disney."

For a history of Robert H. Schuller's Crystal Cathedral church in Garden Grove, see: This website says, "The Rev. Robert H. Schuller and his wife Arvella founded the Garden Grove Community Church -- today's Crystal Cathedral congregation -- in 1955 under the auspices of Schuller's denomination, the Reformed Church in America, which provided the young couple with $500 to start the ministry."

Population of Garden Grove:
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the city of Garden Grove, California, was:

  • 165,610 persons on July 1, 2007, up from 165,196 on April 1, 2000
  • 143,050 persons on April 1, 1990, up from 123,307 on April 1, 1980
  • 122,524 persons on April 1, 1970, up from 84,238 on April 1, 1960, and up from 3,762 persons on April 1, 1950 (which is six years before Garden Grove was incorporated and the city boundaries had not yet been specified)

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in terms of population, the city of Garden Grove, California, was the 120th largest city in the United States of America on April 1, 1990, up from the 127th largest city on April 1, 1980.

According to Leroy L. Doig, Ed.D., the population of the city of Garden Grove, California, was 41,238 persons on June 18, 1956, which is the date the city was incorporated. At this time, the city was comprised of 11.2 square miles; thus, the average population density was 3,682 persons per square mile in 1956.

In 1970, Dr. Doig reports the population of the city of Garden Grove, California, had grown to 123,200 persons, and the city incorporated an area of 17.4 square miles; thus, the average population density was 7,080 persons per square mile in 1970.

In other words, Garden Grove's population density per square mile nearly doubled during the 14 years between 1956 and 1970.

The following graph tracks the Population of Garden Grove from 1956 to 2007. Thanks to Mike Lewis for creating the graph.

Garden Grove, CA Population

Links, References, and Sources:

Garden Grove Historical Society
12174 Euclid Ave
Garden Grove, CA 92840
(714) 530-8871
Timothy Dull, Chuck Lake, Terry Thomas (archivist), and Beulah Miller, GGHS volunteers

Crystal Cathedral:

Orange County Public Library

Orange County Historical Society
PO Box 10984
Santa Ana, CA 92711
Judy Moore (OCHS membership director)
The society provides an interesting timetable of Orange County at:

Garden Grove Unified School District

The City of Garden Grove, The First Twenty Years, 1956-1976, by Leroy L. Doig (Santa Ana, CA: Friis-Pioneer Press, 1977), p. 49