Anaheim's name is a blend of Ana, after the nearby Santa Ana River, and German -heim meaning "home", which is also a common Germanic place name compound (compare Trondheim in Norway and many place names in Germany).
The city of Anaheim was founded in 1857 by 50 German-Americans who were residents of San Francisco and whose families had originated in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Franconia in Bavaria. After traveling through the state looking for a suitable area to grow grapes, the group decided to purchase a 1,165 acres (4.71 km2) parcel from Juan Pacifico Ontiveros' large Rancho San Juan Cajon de Santa Ana in present-day Orange County for $2 per acre.
For $750 a share, the group formed the Anaheim Vineyard Company. Their new community was named Annaheim, meaning "home by the Santa Anna River" in German. The name later was altered to Anaheim. To the Spanish-speaking neighbors, the settlement was known as Campo Alemán (English: German Field).
Although grape and wine-making was their primary objective, the majority of the 50 settlers were mechanics, carpenters and craftsmen with no experience in wine-making. The community set aside 40 acres (16 ha) for a town center and a school was the first building erected there. The first home was built in 1857, the Anaheim Gazette newspaper was established in 1870 and a hotel in 1871. The census of 1870 reported a population of 565 for the Anaheim district. For 25 years, the area was the largest wine producer in California. However, in 1884, a disease infected the grape vines and by the following year the entire industry was destroyed. Other crops – walnuts, lemons and oranges – soon filled the void. Fruits and vegetables had become viable cash crops when the Los Angeles – Orange County region was connected to the continental railroad network in 1887.
Polish actress Helena Modjeska settled in Anaheim with her husband and various friends, among them Henryk Sienkiewicz,
Julian Sypniewski and Łucjan Paprocki. While living in Anaheim, Helena Modjeska became good friends with Clementine Langenberger, the second wife of August Langenberger. Helena Street and Clementine Street are named after these two ladies, and the streets are located adjacent to each other as a symbol of the strong friendship which Helena Modjeska and Clementine Lagenberger shared. Modjeska Park in West Anaheim, is also named after Helena Modjeska.
Early 20th Century
Anaheim High School, c. 1900
During the first half of the 20th century, before Disneyland opened its doors to the public, Anaheim was a massive rural community dominated by orange groves and the landowners who farmed them. One of the landowners was Bennett Payne Baxter, who owned much land in northeast Anaheim that today is the location of Angel Stadium. He came up with many new ideas for irrigating orange groves and shared his ideas with other landowners. He was not only successful, he helped other landowners and businesspeople succeed as well. Ben Baxter and other landowners helped to make Anaheim a thriving rural community before Disneyland changed the city forever. Today, a street runs along Edison Park which is named Baxter Street. Also during this time, Rudolph Boysen served as Anaheim's first Park Superintendent from 1921 to 1950. Boysen created a hybrid berry which Walter Knott later named the boysenberry, after Rudy Boysen. Boysen Park in East Anaheim was also named after him.
In 1924, Ku Klux Klan members were elected to the Anaheim City Council on a platform of political reform. Up until that point, the city had been controlled by a long-standing business and civic elite that was mostly German American. Given their tradition of moderate social drinking, the German Americans did not strongly support prohibition laws of the day. The mayor himself was a former saloon keeper. Led by the minister of the First Christian Church, the Klan represented a rising group of politically oriented non-ethnic Germans who denounced the elite as corrupt, undemocratic, and self-serving. The Klansmen aimed to create what they saw as a model, orderly community, one in which prohibition against alcohol would be strictly enforced. At the time, the KKK had about 1200 members in Orange County. The economic and occupational profile of the pro and anti-Klan groups shows the two were similar and about equally prosperous. Klan members were Protestants, as were the majority of their opponents; however, the opposition to the Klan also included many Catholic Germans. Individuals who joined the Klan had earlier demonstrated a much higher rate of voting and civic activism than did their opponents, and many of the individuals in Orange County who joined the Klan did so out of a sense of civic activism. Upon easily winning the local Anaheim election in April 1924, the Klan representatives promptly fired city employees who were known to be Catholic and replaced them with Klan appointees. The new city council tried to enforce prohibition. After its victory, the Klan chapter held large rallies and initiation ceremonies over the summer.
The opposition to the KKK's hold on Anaheim politics organized, bribed a Klansman for their secret membership list, and exposed the Klansmen running in the state primaries; they defeated most of the candidates. Klan opponents in 1925 took back local government, and succeeded in a special election in recalling the Klansmen who had been elected in April 1924. The Klan in Anaheim quickly collapsed, its newspaper closed after losing a libel suit, and the minister who led the local Klavern moved to Kansas.
Disneyland and the Late 20th Century
Aerial view of Anaheim and Disneyland in 1965
Construction of the Disneyland theme park began on July 16, 1954, and it opened to the public on July 17, 1955. It has become one of the world's most visited tourist attractions, with over 650 million visitors since its opening. The location was formerly 160 acres (0.65 km2) of orange and walnut trees, some of which remain on the property. Hotels and motels began to spread and residential districts soon followed, with increasing property values.
In 1970, the Census Bureau reported Anaheim's population as 9.3% Hispanic and 89.2% non-Hispanic white. In the late 20th century, Anaheim grew rapidly in population. Today, Anaheim has a diverse ethnic and racial composition.
During the large expansion of the Disneyland resort in the 1990s, the city of Anaheim recognized the Anaheim Resort area as a tourist destination. It includes the Disneyland Resort, the Anaheim Convention Center, the Honda Center, and Angel Stadium.
In 2001, Disney's California Adventure (renamed Disney California Adventure Park in 2010), the most expansive project in Disneyland's history, opened to the public. In 2007, Anaheim celebrated its sesquicentennial.
In July 2012, political protests by Hispanic residents occurred following the fatal shooting of two men, the first of whom was unarmed. Protesting occurred in the area between State College and East Street, and was motivated by concerns over police brutality, gang activity, domination of the city by commercial interests, and a perceived lack of political representation of Hispanic residents in the city government. The protests were accompanied by looting of businesses and homes.