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Spotlight Irvine

Where to Stay

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Irvine offers 15 full and select service hotels with 3,610 sleeping rooms. The majority of the properties are within minutes of the airport. MORE


2014-2015 Visitors Guide

Visitors Guide

Whether here for a business trip or a family vacation, let our free Visitors Guide be your constant companion. MORE

History of Irvine

 

OC 125th Anniversary

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Throughout 2014, Orange County will celebrate its 125th anniversary, also known as the Quasquicentennial. Find events

History of Irvine

The history of Irvine is not a long one. In fact, today's growing city is less than 50 years old. But the Irvine region has a long and rich history, owing much to ranching, agriculture and, of course, education.

2,000+ Years Back

Archaeologists have found evidence that people inhabited the Irvine area at least 12,000 years ago. We know that the Gabrielino Indians were living in the San Joaquin Valley when Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola arrived in 1769. (In that same year, on the other side of the country, colonists first formally opposed taxation without representation in the lead up to the Revolutionary War).

Mid 1800s

Claim to the San Joaquin Valley passed from Spain to Mexico and ultimately to the United States. The land that would become the City of Irvine was divided among large ranches supporting tens of thousands of cattle and horses: Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana, Rancho San Joaquin and Rancho Lomas de Santiago.

Ultimately, through court rulings, sales and debt settlements, the ranches became the property of the Bixby, Flint and Irvine families. In 1878, James Irvine bought out his partners for $150,000, creating the great Irvine Ranch -- more than 110,000 acres stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Santa Ana River. (Read our blog post about the Irvine Ranch Historic Park.)

Late 1800s & Early 1900s

Gradually the Irvine family shifted operations from ranching to agriculture, growing mainly lima beans, though crops would ultimately include olives, barley, avocados, asparagus, strawberries and oranges.

In the late 1800s, the Santa Fe Railroad placed the "Irvine" station nearby, James Irvine, Jr. incorporated The Irvine Company, and a town slowly grew up around the agricultural center, what is now the preserved area just off of I-5 known as Old Town Irvine.

Mid 1900s

Beginning in 1942, the great mass of land that had been devoted to ranching and farming for 100+ years began to diversify when The Irvine Company sold parcels of land to the U.S. government for two Marine Corps Air Stations. In 1960, the Irvine Company sold the University of California 1,000 acres for a new "Irvine" campus (UCI) at the hefty price of $1, and Irvine's modern history was born.

1970 & Beyond

Beginning in 1970, the Irvine Company would oversee plans to transform 43 square miles of undeveloped land near the new UCI campus into a master-planned community of 50,000 people. Houses and neighborhoods took the place of crops as Irvine became California's fastest-growing city.

And while the city now supports a thriving community of more than 214,000, Irvine will always be graced with a very special legacy of its founding family: nearly 60,000 acres of wild-lands and parks designated as permanent open space throughout Orange County.

Old Town Irvine

Old Town Irvine stands today as a testament to the rich agricultural past of what has become one of California's most heavily urban counties. Founded in 1887 as the distribution and storage center of the 125,000-acre Irvine ranch, Old Town Irvine was to develop over the years a bean and grain storage warehouse (1895) and granary (1947) known as the Irvine Bean and Grain Grower's Building, a blacksmith's shop (1916), a hotel (1913), a general store (1911), and an employees' bungalow (1915). All of these structures have been rehabilitated for commercial uses and their exteriors have been painstakingly maintained.

La Quinta Inn & Suites
The hotel was once part of the dry-crop shipping center for the entire Irvine Ranch. The hotel houses 101 rooms inside the former lima bean and grain silos. The original building was a wood structure built in 1889. The wood structure burnt down in 1948 and was re-constructed the next year out of concrete. The new building was built as 32 hexagonal silos in a 3 wide x 11 long configuration. Each concrete silo is 33 feet high.

In 1986, the silos were converted to the hotel. To preserve it as a historical landmark, the original tin roof was utilized and none of the silos were painted in keeping with accordance with the standards set by the Irvine Historical Society. The center hexagonal concrete silos are now the interior corridors serving the rooms located in the exterior facing silos and the tin shed, kept mostly intact including the original main lift, is utilized as the area where the hotel serves breakfast.

The hotel has a picture display including a brief history and description of "Historic Old Town Irvine."


Location: Sand Canyon Ave and Burt Rd, Irvine
Historical Marker Database

 

 

Upcoming Events

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Celebration of Orange County's "Quasquicentennial."

Sep 18 – Dec 31
OC's 125th Birthday - Quasquicentennial In 1889, locals voted to separate from Los Angeles…

Style Week Orange County

Sep 18 – Sep 21
Style Week Orange County®, the OC's biggest and original fashion week, returns this fall to Fashion Island®, Irvine Spectrum…

Then and Now: 100 Years of Plein Air Painting

Sep 18 – Oct 2
The tradition of painting beautiful landscapes nearly died out with the onset of Modernism in the 1940s, and…

Cars and Coffee

Starting Sep 20
Hundreds of proud drivers congregate to kick tires and have a cup of coffee. There is something for everyone to enjoy; classics, exotics, concepts,…

Knott's Scary Farm Irvine Hotel Packages

Sep 25 – Nov 1
Dying for a Knott's Scary Farm vacation getaway? Combine admission to Knott's Scary Farm with an Irvine area hotel to…

Irvine Global Village Festival

Sep 27
Now celebrating its 13th year, the Irvine Global Village Festival - the City's largest and most attended community event is also…

Where to Eat

Dining

Irvine offers global cuisine, with a selection of foods from India, Persia, Thailand, Vietnam and other distant shores. MORE