Brea Old and New: The go-to source for all things Brea and beyond!

Who’s Who

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

    5 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.

  • CURTIS THEATRE MANAGER’S PLAY DEBUTS IN FULLERTON

    5 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

    5 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

    5 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

     

    • slideshow

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

    5 years ago by

    Hey there!


      And welcome to our site! I'd like to give you a background about Brea's first children'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 fun symbol and learning 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! Background: '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! Once again, Charlie the Clock cutout was invited back to Brea Country Hills PTA’s 2nd Annual 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 children’s book in Brea.

              I brought together a team of talented community people to create the book and subprojects. Former longtime Brean and author of Brea: Celebrating 75 Years, Teresa Hampson was contacted to write the children’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 was written and sung by a 2017 BOHS senior choir member, Hayden Mangum. In addition, a video is planned showcasing students of Stagelight Performing Arts dancing with with an animated Charlie the Clock that will be drawn by 2017 CSUF grad Alejandra Mertz.

                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 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 panoramic illustration.

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

                      We are currently waiting to hear word about sponsorship for the notable book project.

                        Stay tuned!!

                          Sincerely,

                            Carolyn Campbell

                              Book project coordinator

                                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

  • Brea Florist: Community business, Customer loyalty.

    6 years ago by

     

    Brea Florist, at its current location of 341 South Brea Blvd

    Brea Florist had been a fixture on Brea Blvd for forty-three years, before it relocated to West Central Avenue in 1990 due to downtown redevelopment.  Since that move, despite early concerns, the business continued to thrive and soon residents familiar with the old location found their favorite florist at the new location.

    In 2010, Mary Jo Britt, who purchased the business in 2007, moved the shop back to Brea Blvd, at 341 South Brea Blvd, just one block south of their original location of forty-three years.  Mary Jo, who was employed at the business for twenty-four years before buying it, credits 35-years of customer loyalty, as well as new clients from the internet and a more visible storefront, for their continued success. She recently told BBON, "The unexpected move worked out great!"

    With her devoted staff, (Anna Davidson, who is a prior owner and semi-retired; Roxanne Whitney, who has worked with Mary Jo for 23-years; and Ruben Gallegos, making floral deliveries for 8-years) Mary Jo hopes Brea Florist will continue to serve the community for another 50 years.

    BREA FLORIST 1947 - 2011

    1947 - Brea Florist opens at 235 South Brea Blvd

    1978 - Mike and Linda Jacoby purchase Brea Florist

    1983 - Mary Jo Britt gains employment at Brea Florist

    1990 - Brea Florist relocates to West Central Ave due to downtown redevelopment

    1991 - Anna Davidson purchases Brea Florist

    2007 - Mary Jo Britt purchases Brea Florist after 24-years of employment

    2010 - Brea Florist relocates back to Brea Blvd, to their current location at 341 South Brea Blvd

    Visit Brea Florist

  • DWIGHT MANLEY Q&A

    6 years ago by

    By Carolyn Campbell


      Dwight Manley is Brea's hometown successful businessman who purchased a huge portion of Brea Downtown in 2003. When approached by BBON for an interview, traces of his boyhood shyness are evident in his short answers.

        Dwight Manley


          BBON: What kind of a kid were you, when at an early age you discovered a deep passion for collecting coins?

            Dwight: I was shy. I loved coins + went to the Brea coin shop where Yard House is now all the time!

              BBON: In 2003, you made community headlines in purchasing Brea Downtown. Today Brea Downtown is a destination location. What do you foresee for Brea Downtown in five to 10 years?

                Dwight: It's only going to get better!

                  BBON:From successful rare coin expert, sports agent, real estate developer, to television producer, what’s next for you?

                    I take each day one at a time. So we'll have to see!

                      BBON: Tell us what it was like growing up in Brea in the 70’s and early 80’s?

                        Dwight: It was a lot of fun: watching open fields + orange groves become the Brea mall!

  • BBON interviews Brea’s own Randy Jones – part 1

    6 years ago by

    Beautiful Brea Old and New interviews Brea's own famous baseball player and Cy Young award-winner Randy Jones. This is part 1 of his fascinating interview on growing up in Brea and his baseball career.

  • Beautiful Brea Old & New Sandra Lynn Interview

    6 years ago by

    On November 1st, 2010,Beautiful Brea Old & New (BBON) embarked on its 1st BB video adventure featuring Sandra Lynn Modic of Sandra Lynn Music. Sandra Lynn is a 2003 Brea Olinda High School Grad who has a chance at Country Pop Stardom! In October of 2011, Sandra Lynn married David Ellison, Executive Producer of Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol. David is the son of Larry Ellison of Oracle Software. We congratulate the newlyweds and wish them a lifetime of happiness!

«