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Anaheim History and How It Got Its Name

Anaheim History Fun Facts - Anaheim Streets
Headshot of Matt Claiborne
Matt Claiborne
September 24, 2021

Today, Anaheim is world-famous. Visitors flock here to visit Disneyland, enjoy vacation time, and spend time in the California sun. Anaheim has over 150 years of history and fun facts.

How Anaheim Got Its Name‍

Anaheim is named after two words: Ana and heim. Ana comes from the nearby Santa Ana River. Anaheim's first settlers were former residents of San Francisco with German roots. In German, Heim means home. The Anaheim combination was a natural fit for the German Americans settling by the Santa Ana River.

Anaheim's Early History‍

Aerial Shot from Anaheim

Anaheim began in 1857 when German vintners and farmers sought a settlement. Anaheim was the perfect location for their home on the river. The first settlers focused on farming and growing grapes for wine.

When a plague damaged the grape crop in the 1870s, the farmers replanted with citrus trees. Oranges became a profitable and successful crop. Anaheim's hills seemed to protect the groves from robust and cold mountain winds. The farmers also had success with chili peppers and walnuts.

Anaheim was incorporated in 1876. In 1887, the railway gave farmers a vital link to sell their produce.

Residents held their first Anaheim Halloween Parade in 1924. This parade was known as the Greatest Night Pageant West of Mardi Gras and drew up to 150,000 visitors at its height of popularity.

Orange County's First City‍

Anaheim was initially part of Los Angeles County. The large county split in 1889, and Orange County was created. Anaheim was Orange County's first city.

Famous Residents‍

Anaheim has a long list of famous residents. For example, Gwen Stefani, a renowned musician, and celebrity went to high school in Anaheim. Before joining No Doubt, Stefani attended Anaheim's Loara High School and successfully launched a solo career.

Other famous residents include Rudolph Boysen, who invented the boysenberry. Vans founder Paul Van Doren is from Anaheim. If you love Carl's Jr, you'll know the founders’ Carl and Margaret Karcher were Anaheim residents and opened their first restaurant in Anaheim.

Anaheim, home on the river, is also home to professional athletes, musicians, and successful business owners. Stephen Hillenburg, SpongeBob's creator, grew up in Anaheim.

The Anaheim Convention Center is a Big Draw‍

Anaheim Convention Center

The Anaheim Convention Center is the largest on the U.S. West Coast. Prevalent conventions such as VidCon and Anime Expo are hosted here. It has also served as the backdrop of movies and TV shows, including Star Trek: Picard. Various 1984 Summer Olympic Games were hosted at the convention center.


Disneyland is one of Anaheim's most significant tourism draws and is Anaheim's top employer. Disneyland employs over 31,000 employees. While Disney initially struggled to finance his park, Disneyland opened just one year after construction began. Opening day was July 17, 1955, and Disneyland originally featured just 18 attractions.

Disney built Disneyland in Anaheim because he was able to buy a large amount of land. Disney purchased 160 acres of orange and walnut trees to create his iconic amusement park. Some of the original trees still stand on the property.

Angel Stadium‍

Angel Stadium Aerial Shot

Angel Stadium opened in 1966 and is the fourth oldest active baseball stadium in the United States.

The City National Grove‍

The City National of Grove of Anaheim has played host to a variety of significant events and celebrities. Seal, Bob Dylan, Julio Iglesias, B.B. King, Jamie Foxx, and others have entertained at the City National Grove of Anaheim.

‍Enjoy Your Anaheim Vacation‍

If you're looking for a Capri hotel near me, stop looking and book your Anaheim getaway today!

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