100 Years of Brea
Celebrating 100 years, Brea Chamber of Commerce with the help of the city, esteemed contributors and volunteers, including Brea Olinda High School students, put together a video celebrating 100 years in Brea. From a mighty gusher - the start of a thriving town in 1898 - to the origins of Brea Chamber of Commerce, local historic organizations, Brea Mall to Brea Downtown, and a look to our future, it’s “Good Old Brea.”
bbonadmin Every year the Brea Chamber of Commerce hosts a Membership & Awards Gala and this year was no different than past events with the exception of including a milestone celebration, 100 years in serving the business community in Brea! The gala held on Friday, January 25, 2013 was the first of many events planned by the Chamber to celebrate their centennial this year.
As part of celebrating community excellence the Chamber recognized and acknowledged those individuals and companies that have made a significant impact from generating a unity of community involvement, creating jobs, to advocating for a strong local community. Following is a list of 2012 award recipients:
Business of the Year – Manufacturing UTC Aerospace Systems
Business of the Year – Retail Mother’s Market & Kitchen
Business of the Year- Service Coldwell Banker Excellence/Alex Horowitz
Innovation Award - Chevron Corporation
Outstanding individual in the Brea Community:
Citizen of the Year Don Schweitzer
Ambassador of the Year The Rudy Rodriguez of the Direct Mail Network
Chairman’s Award of Excellence Veterinary Pet Insurance Company
bbonadminYesterday during a regular scheduled Brea City Council Meeting it was announced that council member Ron Garcia is Brea's new Mayor and Brett Murdock will continue as Mayor Pro Tem for the second time. Roy Moore, Marty Simonoff, and the recently elected Christine Marick are fellow council members. Don Schweitzer retired from council as mayor after serving eight years.
Mayor Ron Garcia just finished serving a one-year term as a council member, and this is his second time serving as Mayor.
The Brea City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers, Plaza Level, 1 Civic Center Circle, Brea, California. Live and on-demand broadcasts of the council meetings are available on the City of Brea’s website, cityofbrea.net. Live presentations and replays of the meeting are broadcast on Cable Channel 3. For more information, please call the City Clerk’s office at (714) 990-7757.
Back in the mid 1970's, Wayne Wedin, former city manager and mayor, and Rex Gaede, former mayor, were the gutsy go-getters responsible for the construction of the Brea Mall, which brought significant growth to little old Brea! Mayor Don Schweitzer (Mayor Pro Tem at the time of the interview) is our gracious host for this fascinating interview!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Part 2 of the FASCINATING story of how Randy Jones grew up in Brea and his storied baseball career!
The Brea War Memorial is a project 93 years overdue. On October 16, 1918, Private Homer T. Pumphrey was killed in action while in France during World War I. He was the first of about fifteen Brea residents we have identified thus far that have been killed while defending our country. We will finally have a memorial to honor them and properly recognize their sacrifice. read more