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History Abounds Around Yorba Linda’s Homes

You expect the Yorba Linda homes developed by Brandywine to be well-built, expansive, and up-to-date because those define a quality new home. What may be a bit of a surprise is that the surrounding area seems equally bright and shiny. Nothing looks like it’s older than 50 years. But don’t be deceived by the modern architecture and well-tended facades. Yorba Linda, which means “beautiful Yorba” in Spanish, actually has a history dating back centuries. You can easily find evidence of the storied past if you know where to look. 

Yorba Family Cemetery

The city is named for Bernardo Yorba, who settled here in 1835, having been granted over 13,000 acres by Mexican territorial Governor Jose Figueroa. You can find his grave, as well as those of his many descendents, here. Considered one of the oldest cemeteries in the state, this area was deeded by the family to Orange County. The last burial took place here in 1933.

Come June 15 and you may see “The Pink Lady,” who is the ghost of Alivina de los Reyes, a Yorba descendent. She apparently died on that day in 1910 during childbirth. However, legend has it that a buggy accident claimed her life when she was returning from a dance.

About nine minutes west on foot lies the site of Rancho San Antonio, or Yorba Hacienda, where Bernardo Yorba constructed a two-story adobe house that at the time was one of the biggest in all of Alta California. After his death in 1858, the hacienda declined so that today, all that remains is a plaque designating the area as California Historical Landmark #226. 

Susanna Bixby Bryant Museum and Botanic Garden

If you want to know how the locals used to live before your Brandywine home was built, check out this home and museum, which was built in 1911 on land once owned by Bernardo Yorba. The structure boasts furniture dating from the late 1800s to 1930. You’ll find many objects once owned by the Yorba family as well an assortment of interesting items such as baby mastodon jaws and Native American artifacts. If you’re a garden lover, you’ll enjoy the variety of plants from the original botanic garden. 

Richard Nixon Library

Arguably, the only site of national importance in Yorba Linda is the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, which is within walking distance of all Brandywine developments in the city. While the museum contains many objects related to our 37th President, the structure itself is hardly historic, having been built in 1990.

However, the grounds do contain Nixon’s boyhood home, which was built in 1912 by his father. The farmhouse contains period furniture and is typical of the homes built to tend the citrus groves that once dominated Orange County. A more modern artifact on the grounds is Army One, a six-ton Sikorsky helicopter constructed in 1960 and used to transport presidents from Kennedy to Ford. It is on loan courtesy of the National Museum of the Marine Corps. 

Yorba Linda Public Library

If you want to find out more about local history, then visit the Local History Collection at the main branch of the Yorba Linda Public Library. Among the documents located here are biographies of the Yorba family, oral history transcripts, photographs, books, maps, and the microfilm version of The Yorba Linda Star dating from 1920 to the present. The librarians are happy to answer your questions and point you to parts of the collection.

If you want to know more about Yorba Linda, or want to tour any of our developments in the area, please contact us.