Nestled in northern Orange County, Placentia is a bedroom community well-known for its tranquil neighborhoods and safe streets. It is also well-known for the finest Mexican restaurants in Orange County, and the downtown area of the Placita- Santa Fe District is home to many of the quaint restaurants with authentic culinary delights.
Placentia’s rich history began in 1837 when Juan Ontiveros was given the land grant for Rancho San Juan and Cajon De Santa Ana by the governor of Mexico. This land grant included the areas that today comprise Placentia, La Habra, Fullerton and Anaheim. After the Mexican American War in 1846, ownership changed and California was annexed to the United States. Three of the first pioneers were Daniel Kraemer and William and Sarah McFadden. Kraemer purchased 3,900 acres and McFadden acquired 1,000 in 1865. The community was slowly developed, and local schools and churches were built.
Under the suggestion of Sarah McFadden, the city was named Placentia which means “pleasant place to live.”
Placentia was put on the map in 1910 with the Santa Fe Railroad. Under the urging of A.S. Bradford, the railroad was re-routed through Placentia and shortened the rail distance to Los Angeles. Packing houses and a railroad station were constructed to suit the town’s burgeoning citrus industry. In commemoration of Bradford, Bradford Avenue retains his name today.
Because of the city’s Mediterranean climate and rich soil, the area of Placentia was well-suited for growing grapes, avocados, walnuts and citrus fruits. In 1926, its 500 citizens voted to incorporate and Placentia became the center of Valencia Orange Growing and Packing. By 1960, the population was 5,000. However, a phenomenal growth spurt occurred during the early 1970s, and the population increased to 25,000. Today, Placentia is still a thriving community with 45,000 residents, excellent schools, upscale suburban homes and lots of recreation.
Placentia is a close-knit community with a warm hometown feel. Every year, the community sponsors the Placentia Heritage Festival and Parade. Beginning with an early morning pancake breakfast, the parade with over 100 entries marches to the Tri-City Park. Entertainment is stretched out along Kraemer Boulevard with DJs, jugglers, mimes, slot car racing, face painting and roving entertainers. The food court area offers tempting treats of kettle corn, Hawaiian food, Mexican tapas and freshly made ice- cream. The classic car show features over 200 hot rod, custom and antique cars with a drawing to win a car.
Placentia is also less than a half hour drive to some of California’s most picturesque seaside villages, including Corona Del Mar, Dana Point, Laguna Beach and many more. Corona Del Mar is nestled on the foot of the San Joaquin Hills fronting the Pacific Ocean. This seaside village offers spectacular views, beaches and tide pools. Dana Point sports an incredible marina with cruises for whale and dolphin watching from November to March. The scenic harbor also has rows of restaurants with water views and gift shops for souvenirs. Laguna Beach is quaint with beach cottages that line the bluffs above the sandy coves. With its colorful reefs and rocky covers, its beaches are popular with snorkelers and scuba divers. All of the beaches along the coastline are great for surfing, sailing, jet skiing, fishing and swimming.
With close proximity to Disneyland Park, Knott’s Berry Theme Park, SeaWorld San Diego and the Santa Ana Zoo, residents of Placentia can enjoy the world’s best amusement parks in California’s Mediterranean temperature all year round. Disney storybook characters come to life at the Disneyland Park, thriller rides at Knott’s Berry Theme Park engage the daredevils and dancing whales at SeaWorld San Diego delight audiences.
Placentia is a picturesque city with a hometown feel that attracts newcomers every year. With fine schools, cultural amenities and, of course, delicious tapas, it’s a great place to call home.