El Modena, California
El Modena, California
Unincorporated area in Orange County, CA
El Modena is an neighborhood surrounding El Modena High School and the city of Orange, California. It is located near and east of the intersection of Hewes Street and Chapman Avenue. Much of the area was annexed by Orange in the 1960s and 1970s, but there are still enclaves of unincorporated county land to the east of the high school.
The area was historically, and remains, a barrio or colonia settled by Hispanics of Mexican heritage, as well some Californio and Spanish American settlers in the first half of the 19th century (1790-1850) before the annexation of California by the United States during the Mexican American War (1846-1848). In 1883 Quaker settlers arrived and established a local chapter of the Society of Friends.
El Modena's agricultural days have had a rich cultural impact on the town's history. Between the time of its foundation in the 1880s to the suburban development boom in the late 1950s, El Modena was an area filled with citrus groves. Roses grown and shipped to Eastern markets were also a major part of the agricultural industry. It is now fully urbanized with the majority of its residents being low to middle income families; the annexed areas of the city became upper income in the real estate booms of the 1990s and 2000s (decade). The original Quaker church still exists and currently operates as a Mexican restaurant.
Like the trailer parks of western Santa Ana facing the Santa Ana River, and Panorama Heights within Orange and facing Tustin, the El Modena neighborhood is among the poorest parts of Orange County. By the 1970s, much of the older residential areas were poorly maintained: No paved streets, no gutters or sewer caps, poorly dimmed street lighting and mobile home parks without proper utilities. As time progressed, however, El Modena's living environment has gradually improved.
In June of 1993, the city of Orange opened the El Modena Family Resource Center to combat gang violence in the area. The project valiantly succeeded, and gang related crime dropped drastically, as well as violent incidents. The center and surrounding neighborhood is declared neutral turf by the members of the rival Pearl Street and Varrio Modena Locos gangs, mutually agreeing on keeping relations peaceful between members when in the area.
- Alexander, Karen (3 October 1999). "Old Town Is Gone, but Neighborhood Ties Remain". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
- David W. Kean, Wide Places in the California Roads: The encyclopedia of California's small towns and the roads that lead to them (Volume 1 of 4: Southern California Counties), pp. 62-3
- Web Page: Cause for Celebration : With Gang Truce Holding, Life in El Modena Area Is More Livable
- "The Turf's Neutral : 2 Gangs Find a Rare Haven From Violence at El Modena Center". Los Angeles Times. 1993-10-26. Retrieved 2021-02-04.
- "Tustin". coastdaylight.com. Retrieved 2021-02-17.
- Web Page: Pacific Edge: Three Californias (Three Californias Series)
- El Modena Branch Orange Public Library
- El Modena Park
- 1920s postcard of David Hewes Realty Corporation in El Modena
- 1952 AAA map showing the location of pre-annexation El Modena