Santa Ana, California
Santa Ana is the county seat of Orange County, California. With 330,920 residents as of 2012, Santa Ana is the second most populous city in Orange County and the 57th most populous city in the United States. Of U.S. cities with a population over 300,000, Santa Ana is the fourth most densely populated, trailing only New York City, San Francisco and Chicago.
Founded in 1869 and named for the Santa Ana River that flows through the city, Santa Ana became the center of Orange County government in 1889. Population grew in the early 1900s as a result of the Pacific Electric Railway extending to Santa Ana from Los Angeles. During WWII, the Santa Ana Army Base was opened and used as a training center. Following the war, returning veterans moved to the area to raise families. The Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5) opened in 1953, also helping to fuel continued population growth.
Santa Ana serves as the corporate headquarters for a variety of businesses, including Behr Paint, First American Corporation (financial services), Ingram Micro (electronics), and Powerwave Technologies (telecommunications). Rickenbacker, maker of electric guitars and bass guitars, was founded in Santa Ana and remains a business fixture in the city. For decades well-known rock guitarists have used various Rickenbacker models.
Santa Ana has many notable points of interest, including the Bower Museum (noted for a large collection of Central American artifacts), Santa Ana Zoo, Heritage Museum of Orange County (including a complex of historic buildings dating from the 1890s), and the MainPlace Mall.
Once in decline, the downtown is undergoing a revitalization effort. For example, the residential Santa Ana Artist’s Village was created around Cal State Fullerton’s Grand Central Art Center in the heart of a mixed residential, commercial and educational area.
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