The Colony, Anaheim

While most people think of Disneyland when they think of Anaheim, few realize that the city has a rich and diverse historic district. In fact, many of Anaheim’s homes are among the best preserved historic properties in Orange County.

The city was founded in 1857 and was originally intended to be subdivided into vineyards and home lots. Initially the wine industry flourished, but it wasn’t long before the vineyards were decimated by disease and the local economy collapsed. In the wake of that disaster, many citizens realized that Southern California climate was ideal for growing other crops and the vineyards were quickly replaced with groves of chili peppers, walnuts, lemons, and of course, oranges. The orange crops did so well that Anaheim was once the world’s leading producer of Valencia oranges.

With so many successful business ventures in the city, it was natural that the wealthy would build homes consistent with their success. Initial construction occurred during the Victorian and Queen Anne periods and many superb examples of these homes exist today. However most of the development of Anaheim’s downtown core occurred in the early 1900s while bungalows were popular and the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement was strongest. There are also numerous examples of the Spanish Revival style of homes that were popular during the 1920s.

The Anaheim colony is one of the largest historic districts in Orange County with over 1000 homes that are considered to be contributors to the Historic District. Established in 1997, the Historic District is an important part of the effort to preserve the history of Orange County. Despite the many fantastically preserved properties in the Colony, unfortunately there are also many non-historic structures scattered throughout the Historic District. Pressure to offer mass amounts of affordable housing during the 1960s led to the development of large apartment complexes right in the midst of the many historic homes. For this reason, it’s possible to have an incredibly amazing historic home sandwiched between two sixteen unit apartment complexes.

Among the historic districts in Orange County, home prices in the Colony are generally cheaper than others making it a great option for people who seek a fine historic home centrally located in the county.