Books by Phil Brigandi

The Plaza. A Local Drama in Five Acts (1982)

Looking Back . . . on the Ramona Pageant (1985)

A New Creation. The Incorporation of the City of Orange, 1888 (1988)

A Place Called Home. Orange’s Architectural Legacy (with Karen Wilson Turnbull) (1990)

The First 100 Years of West Orange Elementary (1990)

Garnet Holme: California’s Pageant Master (1991)

Prayers, Presence, Gifts and Service. A Centennial History of the Hemet United Methodist Church, 1894-1994 (1994)

Orange, The City ‘Round the Plaza (1997)

The Ramona Pageant. A Pictorial History, 1923-1998 (1997)

Temecula, at the Crossroads of History (1998)

First Church. A 125th Anniversary History of the First United Methodist Church of Orange (1998)

Watson’s Drug Store. A Downtown Orange Tradition. A Centennial History, 1899-1999 (1999)

100 Years of Headline News (1999)

Building the Future. The Story of the Eastern Municipal Water District (2000)

Old Orange County Courthouse; A Centennial History (2001)

Borrego Beginnings. Early Days in the Borrego Valley, 1910-1960 (2001)

“Out Among the Groves of Orange” A History of Orange Union High School, 1903-1953 (2003)

Barnstorming the Desert. The Life of Randall Henderson, Founder of Desert Magazine and a Pioneer Pilot of the Desert Southwest (2004)

Orange County Place Names A to Z (2006)

Images of America: Orange (2008)

On My Honor, A Century of Scouting in Orange County, California (2010)

A Brief History of Orange, The Plaza City (2011)

Orange County Chronicles (2013)

Visiting Orange County’s Past (2014)

A Call for Reform, The Southern California Indian Writings of Helen Hunt Jackson (with Valerie Sherer Mathes) (2015)

Reservations, Removal, and Reform; The Mission Indian Agents of Southern California, 1878-1903 (with Valerie Sherer Mathes) (2018)

About Me

Phil Brigandi has been researching and writing local history since 1975, and is the author of more than two dozen books and hundreds of articles on the history of Orange, Riverside, and San Diego counties. A native of Orange, California, he joined the board of directors of the Orange Community Historical Society at age 19, and became a member of the Orange County Historical Commission at age 23. He has served as Orange County Archivist (2003-08), historian for the Ramona Pageant Association (1990-2003), and curator of the San Jacinto Museum (2001-03).

He has served as a historical columnist for the Orange City News, The Hemet News, the Borrego Sun, the Valley Chronicle, and the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review. His articles have appeared in The High Country, the Journal of San Diego History, the Ventura County Historical Society Quarterly, The Branding Iron, Overland Journal, Orange Countiana, and the Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology.

He was a member of the City of Orange Centennial Commission (1986-88), the local Commission on Archives and History for the United Methodist Church (1995-98), and the Estudillo Restoration Association (1995-2003). He has been active with the Orange County Historical Society (journal editor, 2010-17), the Los Angeles Corral of The Westerners (publications editor, 2008-10), the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association, and The Ancient & Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus.

Beyond his work as a local historian, he has a special love for the hills and deserts of Southern California, where he has off-roaded, hiked, and backpacked for decades. An Eagle Scout, he has volunteered for many summers on camp staff at Schoepe Scout Reservation at Lost Valley. He currently lives in Orange, California, less than a mile from where he was born.

Praise for Phil Brigandi’s work . . .

“He writes with the enthusiasm and verve of a dedicated aficionado. He loves his subject and conveys that love, as well as his intimate and detailed knowledge of the city’s … residents.”

Journal of Orange County Studies

“The book is well organized, detailed in coverage, expertly documented, generally unbiased in tone, and communicated in vivid prose style…. [But] the book is too short. On finishing it, I was ready for more….”

Journal of Orange County Studies

“Anyone with an interest in southern California history will find this little book valuable, informative, well-written, and – in regard to some entries – humorous.”

The Branding Iron

“It is not just a ‘must read,’ but a ‘must have’ volume for all serious students of California history.”

The Branding Iron


For more from Phil Brigandi on other parts of Southern California, visit his old website at