Brea Old and New: The go-to source for "All things Brea"!

Who’s Who

  • College ranked NCAA golfer learned the game of golf in Brea

    6 years ago by

    Hannah Basalone of Brea was the only girl on the boy’s golf team at Whittier Christian High School. She is now attending Seton Hall University on a full scholarship. (Courtesy photo)

    Brea's Hannah Basalone is a college ranked NCAA golfer and is not the product of a golf club or a junior golf academy. Hannah truly is a product of the two small public golf courses in Brea.  After first picking up a club in Tucson at the age of four, she developed her game when she moved to Brea in the 4th grade and took lessons at Brea Creek Golf Course and Birch Hills through the Brea Parks & Recreation Department.

    Brea’s Hannah Basalone enjoyed the competition of being the only girl on the varsity boy’s golf team at Whittier Christian High School for four years.  She held her own. Hannah was captain of the team in her junior year and made Second Team All-League.  Hannah had an exciting senior year.  The talented golfer won seven straight matches. She was named WCHS Scholar Athlete of the Year and captain of the team, Orange County Register Scholar Athlete of the week, led the golf team to an 8-0 record, and was presented a full ride plus books to Seton Hall University.  Her coach Phil Underwood said Hannah had an unbelievable work ethnic always trying to get better and noted she was humble and unpretentious.
    Hannah continues to win golf tournaments in college and make a name for herself.  In October she won the Lehigh Invitational in a playoff, the first ever individual victory in the school’s history. The golfer still maintains an A average. Asked if she plans to become a professional golfer Hannah said she didn’t know. Hannah does know she loves nearby New York City, reading and going to the movies.
    Her current Golfweek ranking is #570 (and climbing) out of 1428 NCAA Division 1 golfers.
    Story by Susan Gaede

  • Modeling at 80 years, Fern Smith of Brea celebrates her 104 B-day!

    6 years ago by

    Fern Smith recently celebrated birthday number 104. Mayor Don Schweitzer gave her a certificate from the City of Brea at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor.

    Fern Smith’s 104th B-day party: Fern was given a birthday party by her  family at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor and loved every minute of it.  Primary  children of LDS Third Ward presented the birthday gal with 104 roses. Mayor Don  Schweitzer presented her with a certificate from the City of Brea.
    Fern has lived in Brea since 1943. She was born in  Diamond, Missouri in 1908.
    Fern is an amazing gal and you never know she  was 104. She started modeling when she was 80.
    Teddy Roosevelt was President and Henry Ford  started producing his first Model T automobile.She has 2 daughters, 3 Grandchildren, 5 great Grandchildren and 9 Great-Great  Grandchildren.
    Her motto: “Do the best you can everyday of your  life and the Lord will take care of you”
    Story by Susan Gaede


    6 years ago by


    1979 Brea Olinda High School grad John Denis with OSCAR

    People: 1979 Brea Olinda High Brea grad John Denis is Executive Producer for Pixomondo. Pixomondo won best visual effects for HUGO.

    Susan Gaede

  • Kimberly Wolfe to report for BBON

    6 years ago by


    Kimberly Wolfe, our newest BBON Team Member

    Since we began, we have had volunteers help BBON in our effort to unite and promote Brea through great articles and videos of interest. Some of the volunteers have been short-term while others have been with us for quite awhile. We thank everyone for their contribution on BBON and would like to take the opportunity to announce our newest BBON TEAM MEMBER, Kimberly Wolfe.  Kimberly is a big fan of Brea and is thrilled to be covering Brea on BBON.  She is a very talented writer.  To learn more about her please visit our "about section" on Brea Old and New.  And please WELCOME Kimberly to our team of BBON contributors!!

  • BOHS Ladycats move on to the CIF Division 1AA Finals

    6 years ago by

    Keitra Wallace gives a stunning performance in Ladycats victory over Orange Lutheran

    IT AIN'T OVER 'TIL IT'S OVER, as the BOHS Ladycats return to the CIF Division 1AA finals!
    Ladycats recap and agenda:
    • The BOHS Ladycats victor over Orange Lutheran, 57-50, to advance to the Division 1AA quarterfinals.
    • QUARTER FINALS: Saturday, Feb 25. Ladycats defeated Edison Chargers, 72-49.
    • SEMI-FINALS: Thursday – Saturday, February 29 -March 3.
    • FINALS: Sweet victory at Anaheim Arena on February 28, as the Ladycats defeated Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits 49-23, RETURNING to the CIF Division 1AA finals.
    • FRIDAY Ladycats face Mater Dei in the championship game at the Anaheim Arena on March 2, 8:45pm. Tickets are $13/$7/$7 and parking is $12

  • The Schweitzer Family: A Long Legacy of Serving Brea, Pt. 1

    6 years ago by

    When Wilhelm and Maria Schweitzer immigrated from Germany to the United States in 1864, they arrived at New York Harbor, most certainly excited at their prospects for the future in their newly adopted country.

    Eventually settling in Toledo, Ohio, the Schweitzer's set about raising a family and by 1877, Franz (Frank) Schweitzer was born. Pre-ceeded by a sister, Ana Bertha in 1873, the young Schweitzer's were soon joined by another sister, Emma Rosa in 1880.

    Wilhelm and Maria Schweitzer, ca. 1870's

    Young Frank Schweitzer. Jr (right front), with his Grandparents in Toledo, Ohio









    Near the turn of the 20th century, Frank, then in his late 20's, learned of an opportunity for a position at a machine tool company in Olinda, CA, owned by W.D. Shaffer. He sent Shaffer a resume of his qualifications, as well as a letter of introduction. Later, he would learn Shaffer was not only impressed with the resume, he was equally impressed by his clear, neat penmanship. Frank was hired, and by 1905, after traveling by rail and wagon, Frank and his new bride Julia Schweitzer were settled in Olinda, CA living on an oil lease, where they made their home until 1912.

    By 1912, the township of Brea began to flourish and had officially become a city. After several years of fits and starts, newspapers in the area ran advertisements describing Brea as "the best located townsite in all the country" and recommending Brea as "a rare opportunity for businessmen hunting a location". With homesites priced at $225 to $450, and water piped to the lots, within months twenty-five residential lots had been sold. One of those was a site on Madrona, near todays Edwards Cinema 2. It was here that Frank and Julia built their first home and where Frank Schweitzer,Jr was born.

    Frank and Julia Schweitzer, 1907 Olinda, CA

    Soon Frank, Sr. and Julia became leaders in their new community. Julia was involved in women's service groups, who organized to provide transients and the less fortunate with food and clothing. Frank, after filling a vacancy on the city council,  helped find ways to bring more much needed water to Brea, as well as participating in the design of City Hall Park and designing the landmark “Brea Welcome’s You” sign that once spanned Pomona Ave (now Brea Blvd). Frank, Sr's Brea City Council career spanned 21-years, and during that time he also helped Brea form it's first Fire Department.

    In the midst of Brea's growth, Frank Schweitzer, Jr was also growing with the city. After attending Brea-Olinda High School and Fullerton Junior College, Frank continued his education at UC Berkeley. On one of his trips home while attending Berkeley, he met Ruth Huntington, an Anaheim girl. They soon became engaged and married in 1939.


    Frank Schweitzer, Jr, BOHS Graduation Picture 1929

    In 1950, Frank, Jr. was elected to a City Council seat and served the city for twelve years. In 1960, while serving  as Mayor, Frank oversaw the renaming of Pomona Ave to Brea Blvd, and the naming of the rose as the official city flower. As Brea continued to flourish, Frank, Jr saw an opportunity and became the leading advocate for annexing Olinda into Brea's city limits. The City of Fullerton also had designs on annexing Olinda, and had they succeeded, Brea would be bordered by Fullerton on it's East, West, and South sides. Beating the county filing deadline, and Fullerton, by one day, Frank Schweitzer, Jr became instrumental in helping shape todays modern Brea.

    Frank, Jr and Ruth Schweitzer

    The Schweitzer Family, 1963. From left, clockwise; Frank, Jr, Charles, Don, Ruth, Jim





    Among Frank's other notable accomplishments, he served as Co-Chair of Brea's Golden Jubilee, co-founder Chair of Brea Bonanza Days (today's 4th of July Country Fair), and co-founded the Brea Historical Society with LaVeta Daetweiler.

    BBON would like to thank Mayor Don Schweitzer for his time and assistance with this history. All images are used with permission of the Schweitzer family.


    6 years ago by

    Tiina Mittler

    Tiina Mittler, manager of the Curtis Theatre in Brea, has written a new play which will debut at Stages Theatre this weekend.  “Subterfuge,” her drama of family relationships and searching for meaning after a husband’s death, was inspired by the song, “Home,” a hit performed by the Dixie Chicks and written by Maya and Randy Sparks.   By the conclusion of the show, the main character discovers Laurel  that some family secrets are best left buried.  Although Tiina has been acting and directing for years, this is her first creative venture for the theater.  It all began when she was contacted by a friend who was in charge of a play writing challenge for Stages Theatre.  One of the contestants in the challenge had dropped out and the friend wanted Tiina to take her place.  Because the idea for a play had been rattling around in her creative mind for a while, she agreed.   Although she did not win the contest, she did come in second. Tiina has been managing the Curtis Theatre for the City of Brea for several years now.  She has successfully navigated through the financial challenges which have plagued the theater world in the last few years.  Under her leadership the theater has survived by dint of innovation and creativity. “Subterfuge,” opens this Saturday, January 21, at 5 p.m. and runs through February 18.  Tickets are $18 for adults and $16 for students and seniors.  Stages is located at 400 E. Commonwealth, Suite 4, in Fullerton. The idea of having your own work performed on stage is “interesting and fun,” explains Mittler.

  • Brea Pays Respects to Shirley Bickel

    6 years ago by

    Shirley Bickel, 2011

    When I left my apartment on Saturday morning to attend the Mass at St. Angela's for Shirley Bickel, I knew I would see many well-known Breans in attendance. And why not? Shirley is well-known in the city, herself. As a volunteer at the Senior Center, serving on various Boards and Committees, investing her time and energy in so many projects, Shirley has been such a familiar face in the city for so long, I knew OF Shirley Bickel, before I ever even met her. And when I met her, just like everyone else, I loved her bright smile.

    When I arrived at the Church, even half-an-hour before the service, the parking lot was already full. I parked on the street, and with others, walked up the sidewalk to where people were gathered. As I watched, more people were walking from their cars to queue up, like me, to sign the guest book. I was pleased to see we had all followed Shirley's wishes and dressed in bright colors. Then, as we were ushered in and seated,  waiting for the service to begin, I started to notice the well-known Breans who had come to pay their respects. Mayor Don Schweitzer, Councilmembers Marty Simonoff and Roy Moore, city leaders past and present, Pastors Dave Rader and Doug Green; all of whom not only counted on Shirley's no-nonsense opinion, they counted her as a friend.

    Then, I noticed something else. There were many well-known Breans at the service, but the number of UNKNOWN Breans...Breans just like me...was staggering!

    Looking around me, I saw people young and old, smiling, teary. All of us unknowns, there to honor a woman who had touched our lives. Someone we count as a friend.  What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful lady. I think Shirley would have smiled.

  • A Brea Tradition – Ron & Wayne’s Automotive

    6 years ago by

    The old foundry building, 1983.

    Ron & Wayne's. If you don't know them, you probably have seen the name. But, where? Ah, yes! That's right! The Brea Downtown, near the corner of Brea Blvd and Bracken. Ron & Wayne's Automotive.

    Ron Piattoni came to a quiet, rural Brea in 1964, at age 16, after graduating from South Gate High School. With his brother, Wayne, he took a job at a Mobil Oil Station, once located at Central and Brea Blvd, and in 1967 the brothers bought the business from owner, Ted Vliss. It became known as Ron & Wayne's until 1983, when the brothers bought the old foundry building on Brea Blvd. They enlisted family and friends to help  with construction improvements and after learning of the foundry's history, the brothers maintained as much of the buildings original appearance as possible.

    Most Breans are aware that the Ron & Wayne's Automotive building has an historic significance to the city, because it served as the place where Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, and other celebrated baseball players changed into their uniforms before "The Big Game", played on Halloween Day in 1924 at the Brea Bowl.

    Built in 1916, the building was originally constructed as a pillar to post foundry, providing oil well parts to a thriving local industry. While making improvements and modifications, the Piattoni brothers discovered that the foundry had once utilized a horse and buggy loading dock on the north end of the site, and there was a steel beam spanning the center of the building that had served to move heavy equipment by pulley. The beam remains, but had to be relocated to the side of the garage area.

    According to Ron, the one-story buildng, built two-stories high, stays suprisingly cool in summer heat and still retains some of the original trappings of the foundry such as aluminum siding and steel posts sunk 9 feet into the ground.

    Ron told me that a few years ago, an older man stopped by asking if he could see a small building behind the garage shop where, he said, his father once tested diesel engines for wind machines that warmed citrus orchards on cold winter nights. The gentleman was the son of Fred Thaheld, who also designed diesel engines for aircraft that were tested and flown at the two airports that once flanked the Brea city limits.

    Several of Thaheld's innovative engine designs are housed at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

    With so much history in it's past, this long standing building still serves Breans, making new history as the family-owned home of one of Brea's favorite businesses, Ron & Wayne's Automotive. Wayne retired a few years ago and Ron enjoys semi-retirement, with the help of his son, Rod, who has worked with his dad since his days of attending Brea-Olinda High School. Although Ron says he enjoys that freedom, he has no plans for full retirement.


    Ron (right), and Rod Piattoni at Ron & Wayne's Automotive

    In business in Brea for over 40 years, Ron & Wayne's Automotive provides good, old-fashioned service from fan belts to differential overhauls, for Domestic and Foreign cars (with the exception of German automobiles).

    Ron & Wayne's has a long tradition of great service, fair prices, and they'll give you a ride home when you drop off your car!

    Full disclosure: I am a Ron & Wayne's customer. They're professional, they will answer your questions, they won't try to sell  you unnecessary repairs, and they do a great job! And they're really nice guys!

    Looking for a car mechanic? Shop Brea! Give Ron & Wayne's Automotive a  call.

    Located at 227 N. Brea Blvd, Ron & Wayne's Automotive is open Monday thru  Friday, from 8am until 6pm. (Not open on weekends) 714-529-5756 or 714-529-5757


  • Charlie the Rockin’ Clock in Brea History’s Biggest Hits!

    6 years ago by

    Charlie the Clock and his kid crew in front of the Wildcat statue at BOHS - Brea Olinda High School.

      "Tick-Tock, History isn't So Boring After All!" ™

        Where there is unity there is always victory. Publilius Syrus

          Hi everyone!

            And welcome to our site! I'd like to give you a background about Brea's 1st young person's book: Charlie the Rockin' Clock in Brea History's Biggest Hits! -- a centennial celebration.

              In early 2015, I had an idea and contacted Heather Ashlyn Collins, a 2006 BOHS grad and recent grad of CSUF, to draw an animated caricature of Brea’s historic iconic "Charlie’s Clock." Thereafter I contacted a local print shop to make a cutout of the character. Charlie’s Clock was renamed “Charlie the Clock” as the clock belongs to everyone. We then held “The Face of Brea” contest at Edwards Brea Theater West 10 to celebrate Brea’s 98th birthday, followed by local events exhibiting the clock cutout. While in the process of making many, many, many people smile along the way, Charlie the Clock cutout served as a fun symbol and creative education tool in getting people excited about our centennial year. (See theater photo caption)

                You'll see Charlie the Clock soon at Edwards Brea Stadium East 12 , Brea SummerFest, Brea Country Fair, and maybe our schools! 'Charlie the Clock' caricature cutout dazzled the crowds at the 28th annual Brea Summerfest, the 36th Brea Country Fair, and for a time was on exhibit at the Brea Museum, where he was taken out to visit events at our elementary schools fall 2015. Also, 'Charlie the Clock' was invited back to Edwards Brea Stadium West 10 the week of November 16, and sister theater Edwards Brea Stadium East 12 extended Charlie's visit through the week of Thanksgiving!

                  What fun we had once again as "Charlie the Clock" caricature cutout was invited back to Country Hills PTA's Annual Cougar Color Run Fundraiser 2016!

                    It was my hope that Charlie the Clock would become a mascot for the City of Brea celebrated as a symbol and learning tool in representing Brea’s rich history.

                      In February of 2016, I thought of a children’s centennial book featuring Charlie the Clock -- soon after discovering that it would be the first young person's book in Brea.

                        In a collaborative effort -- I brought together a team of very talented community people to create the book and subprojects. Former longtime Brean and author of the city's best-selling history book, Brea: Celebrating 75 Years and A Centennial History of the BOUSD, Teresa Hampson, was contacted to write the young person's history book. Also I connected with Heather Ashlyn Collins again to illustrate the book.

                          BOHS GITA Instructor Todd Salesky enlisted three of his students: Kyle Tam, Zoya Kahn, and Jennifer Choi, to build CharlietheClock.Club website. The book’s theme song: "Back Home" was written and sung by a 2017 BOHS senior choir member, Hayden Mangum.

                            A promotional video to the "tune of "Back Home" is planned as a celebratory centennial party to be filmed at Brea Downtown, BOHS quad area, and Olinda Oil Museum & Trail Museum, showcasing students of Stagelight Performing Arts, Farrell Ice-cream Parlour staff members, and Edwards Brea Stadium West 10 attendants, with with an animated Charlie the Clock dancing in Brea Downtown. And best of all, every person in Brea is invited to join in the celebration which mimics the book's last chapter: "Party Time" where people young and old gather to celebrate the hook of the book, a secret I cannot reveal right now!

                              The book features Brea school kids, grades 3rd-6th: Roman M., Lauren T., Jarred G., Jesse H., Madison M., and Skyler S. along with Orange County Register longtime local news columnists, Susan Gaede aka “Newsy Suzie,” Terri Daxon, elementary teacher Jill Berrner, and former Brea student, Valeria Z.

                                We also conducted a “Kids Imagine Brea Essay” contest, resulting in four winning essays on Brea's future from elementary students: Jessica L., Lauren A., Mollie C. and Haylee R., chosen by the Brea Education Foundation. The winning essays and photos will be showcased in the book.

                                  Additionally, we scheduled a panoramic photo shoot to feature as many local kids as possible in the book. Instead of the photo, it will be a an illustration spread across two pages.

                                    Read what BOUSD superintendent and local dignitaries had to say after reading the centennial children's history book:

                                      "I applaud the efforts of so many people rallying around Charlie the Clock to tell the history and timeless story of the City of Brea. The engaging story is told by Charlie the Clock and through the eyes of local children living in Brea. Charlie the Clock is a wonderful read for children of all ages." - Brad Mason, Ed.D. Superintendent, Brea Unified School District

                                        "What better way for our young students to experience Brea's past than a children's book! And not just any children's book but one that has a clock as its historical tour guide. They will remember the journey they are about to take for years. A journey into what made Brea the city it is today." - Don Schweitzer Former Brea Mayor

                                          "In order to make learning history both exciting and informative, the use of “Charlie the Clock” to travel through time to the various stages of Brea’s history is a creative new idea. It is an approach which will do much to help countless young people understand and appreciate the culture and history of Brea." - Wayne D. Wedin Former Brea City Manager and Councilman

                                            Charlie's Clues Re: Cover of book. What does 10 and 12 mean in Brea?????

                                              Of note: Part of the proceeds from the book will go back to Brea Olinda Unified School District through the Brea Education Foundation.

                                                They Say Good Things Take Time!


                                                    Carolyn Campbell 😊

                                                      creative business development/project manager

                                                        Brea's landmark, Charlie's Clock, located in Brea Downtown on the corner of Birch Street and Madrona Avenue. Photo courtesy of Greg Voisan Panoramic Photography

                                                          The Test of Time: A Brea Landmarks List

                                                            Good Old Brea Clock, 300 W. Birch St. (at Madrona)… The two-sided timepiece served as the stationmaster’s clock at the Santa Fe Railyards in Riverside, but both the duration of its time there and its origin remain unknown. It was brought to Brea in 1975 by a man named Charlie to advertise his clock shop in the old Brea Hotel building (east side, Brea Boulevard at Ash Street). In 1979, a car ran into it, causing major but repairable damage. When Brea began to redevelop its old downtown, there were plans to preserve the Brea Hotel and other buildings in a historic block, but developers couldn’t be found to take on the potentially costly project. Instead, in 1994, the buildings were razed and the clock (which the city had bought because local folks had come to consider it a landmark) went into storage. As Brea’s new downtown approached its opening in the late 1990s, the clock was completely renovated. Today, its base, post and the casing around its face remain original, but its mechanism has been recast and reassembled, and the unique calligraphy of its original face and hands has been carefully recreated, with neon added so it can be read at night. During the city’s centennial year, Charlie the Clock has experienced new life. Recreated in costume form and starring in this book, Brea’s landmark timepiece has become a fresh symbol of Brea’s historic heritage.

                                                              Written by Teresa Hampson