Brea Civic & Cultural Center
For the past 11 years third grade students from Brea’s elementary schools celebrate History Days in Brea. On May 23 and 24, BOUSD students will take a two-day field trip around town to learn about Brea’s history.
With every significant project implemented, there is a story. Over a decade ago, Mayor Don Schweitzer's eldest daughter, now in the second year of college, came home from her third grade class and told her dad that her teacher said they were going to learn about Brea’s history. Don figured the teacher was going to take her students to our little history museum/store located where Guitar Center is now situated. So he contacted his daughter’s teacher and was surprised, when the teacher said she did not know Brea had a museum. At that point, Don offered to take the children to the museum, the teacher agreed, word traveled, and all the third grade classes wanted to participate. And so History Days in Brea began!
Today it is a well organized event. The two day event will consist of three busses per day taking students on a history tour to locations such as Craig Park and Brea Canyon. They will also stop for 45 minutes at the Brea Museum, Brea Civic Center, and Olinda Oil Museum and Trail. Brea Olinda High School ASB students and museum staff will meet the children dressed up in historical garb wearing costumes such as oil workers, baseball players, school teachers and aviation workers. The kids enjoy the added effect of role playing while learning the story of Brea’s rich history. Over at the Civic Center, a mock council meeting is held to give the children an understanding of what goes on in a city council meeting. Right down to needles and thread, everyone does a great job to add to History Days in Brea, as ASB students make the costumes needed for the occasion.
One teacher’s idea, one person’s action and 11 years later, a wonderfully fun history lesson is given to area students!
1.) In 1980, the theater at the Brea Civic & Cultural Center was named for Dr. C. Glenn Curtis, a transplanted Georgian, who opened his practice in Brea in 1927. "Doc" Curtis' devotion to his family, friends, and community, as well as his enthusiastic support of the Arts in Brea earned him a place in our history and on the marquee.
2.) The Brea Civic & Cultural Center not only houses our seat of local government, but it is also the home of the Brea Gallery, the Brea Public Library, and the Curtis Theater.
3.) The address of the Brea Civic & Cultural Center was 800 East Birch Street on the day it was dedicated and was changed to 1 Civic Center Drive soon after.
4.) The land that is now the Brea Civic and Cultural Center, the Brea Mall, and several acres of downtown Brea was once an enormous barley field on the Yriarte Ranch. Early Brea pioneers Patricio and Pascuala Yriarte settled in Randolph in 1905, the small town that would become Brea. They soon acquired 160 acres where they grew oats, barley and hay, and eventually provided the city with one of its first water wells.