This community is in the northern part of the city of Orange, and is two miles (3 km) west of Anaheim Hills, as well as near the Anaheim border. It is set on a small berm (about 50 feet (15 m) higher than the surrounding area) of land, and was created in 1887 by a developer in the Olive industry. Since the community's creation, many of Olive's original 63 lots have been subdivided, and are now at a minimum of 1/4 acre, which is county code for the area. A condominium complex is currently in the planning stages, a project which residents feel will threaten the rural feel of the community, as do the city of Orange's attempts to incorporate the area into the city itself.
With fewer than 200 residents, Olive is one of the smallest "island communities" in Orange County to be recognized with a name of reputation.
Many Olive residents appreciate their community's rural appeal The area lacks sidewalks, and its many pre-1930s houses are set deep on their lots. Although Olive is small in size, there is no through traffic in the community, keeping the area convenient for its residents. The only signage identifying the community is the entrance that reads "Olive Heights" at the corner of Palm and Lincoln Avenues. The students who live here attend Olive Elementary, which closed temporarily in the 1990s due to lack of student enrollment.
Members of the Tongva and Juaneño/Luiseño nations long inhabited this area. After the 1769 expedition of Gaspar de Portolà, a Spanish expedition led by Father Junipero Serra named the area Vallejo de Santa Ana (Valley of Saint Anne). On November 1, 1776, Mission San Juan Capistrano became the areas first permanent European settlement in Alta California, New Spain.
In 1801, the Spanish Empire granted 62,500 acres (253 km2) to Jose Antonio Yorba, which he named Rancho San Antonio. Yorba's great rancho included the lands where the cities of Olive, Orange, Villa Park, Santa Ana, Tustin, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach stand today. Smaller ranchos evolved from this large rancho including the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana.
In 1875, when American settlers were considering renaming the town of Richland, Olive was one of the proposed names, along with Lemon, Walnut, and Orange. When the city was renamed Orange, California, the other three names were assigned to streets in the new town. Orange Olive Rd. roughly bisects the Olive community.
- Olive Through the Ages - History of Olive, CA
- "Neighbors balk at proposed condo project in Olive Heights", Orange County Register, November 13th, 2006