Buena Park, California
Buena Park is a city in northwestern Orange County, California, about 12 miles (20 km) northwest of downtown Santa Ana, the county seat. As of Census 2010 its population was 80,530. It is the location of several tourist attractions, including Knott’s Berry Farm. It is located about 24 miles southeast of Downtown Los Angeles and is within the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
Original Spanish explorers settled on the enormous ranchos by land grants made by the King of Spain. Manuel Nieto of the Portolà expeditions received such a grant in 1783, which was divided by his heirs into five separate ranchos in 1834. One of them, 46,806-acre (189.42 km2) Rancho Los Coyotes, included the current site of the City of Buena Park. The rancho’s adobe headquarters lay on what is now Los Coyotes Country Club’s golf course.
The area was transferred from Spanish authority to Mexican rule in 1822 and ceded to the United States in 1848 at the end of the Mexican–American War. California was granted statehood in 1850. Americanization further expanded in the area after completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 and its connection to Los Angeles in 1875. By then, Abel Stearns had acquired Rancho Los Coyotes in consideration for loans made to Pio and Andrés Pico. In 1885, James A. Whitaker, a wholesale grocerfrom Chicago, purchased 690 acres (2.8 km2) of this land from Stearns. In 1887, Whitaker founded the City of Buena Park in conjunction with the railway development of what we now know as Orange County.
The exact derivation of the name Buena Park is uncertain. One theory is that Whitaker used the name of a Chicago suburb: Buena Park, Chicago, Illinois, although the community in Illinois was also named in 1887. Another theory relates to the artesian well and its park-like grounds once located at the current intersection of what are now Artesia and Beach Boulevards. Local settlers referred to the area as “Plaza Buena” which means “good park” in Spanish.
The city was incorporated on January 27, 1953. An agricultural center when founded (particularly dairy, wine and citrus products), Buena Park is now primarily a residential suburb and commercial hub.
The Murder of Stuart Tay occurred in 1992.
In 2009, the body of swimsuit model and reality TV star Jasmine Fiore was found stuffed in a suitcase and dumped in an apartment building dumpster near the 7400 block of Franklin Street in Northern Buena Park by a resident searching for recyclables.
Points of interest
Buena Park’s E-Zone district, located along Beach Boulevard, is home to several well-known tourist destinations: the venerable Knott’s Berry Farm theme park and its sister water park Knott’s Soak City, Pirate’s Dinner Adventure Show, and a Medieval Times dinner show. The E-Zone has also been home to the Movieland Wax Museum, one of the largest of its kind in the world until it closed in 2005; a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum, across the street from the Wax Museum; and the Japanese Village and Deer Park on Knott Avenue.
Los Coyotes Country Club, located in the northeast of the city, boasts a 27-hole championship course originally designed by Billy Bell in 1957 and redesigned by Ted Robinson in 1998. The Los Coyotes LPGA Classic golf tournament has been hosted there.
The 105-acre Ralph B. Clark Regional Park (originally Los Coyotes Regional Park), nestled at the foot of the West Coyote Hills, is one of Orange County’s prominent parks. Opened in 1981, it is home to an amphitheater, nature trails, and a stocked fishing pond, as well as the Interpretive Center, a small museum which features ice age fossil and local geology exhibits.
The City of Buena Park has its own local history park on Beach Blvd just south of Interstate 5. On these grounds, the city has preserved several historic buildings. These include the Whitaker-Jaynes House (which serves as the city’s local history museum) the Bacon House – possibly the oldest surviving structure from the area, the Stage Stop Hotel (which houses the California Welcome Center-Orange County) and the Tice House. The Buena Park Historical Society manages and maintains the historical content of the museum. The Dreger Clock, a 75-year-old multi-faced street clock, best known for the time it spent at Knott’s Berry Farm, was installed in front of the Whitaker/Jaynes house overlooking Beach Blvd in September 2009 after a two-year restoration project.
A Nabisco factory on Artesia Boulevard was known for many years as a Buena Park landmark. The red “Nabisco” sign was visible from the Freeway, and visitors to the town could often smell cookies. The factory produced Honey Maid graham crackers, Ritz Crackers, and Nilla Wafers, among other Nabisco products, before shutting down in 2006.