History of CtrCity Anaheim

The history of Anaheim can be found in many places throughout the city, but in particular, CtrCty (Center City) is emerging as one of the most vital, interesting and historic areas for both tourists and locals alike. The city of Anaheim was founded back in 1857 when it was still part of Los Angeles County. There was something at this site called the “Historic Colony District” that was comprised of North, South, East and West Streets, which was the original grid pattern of the city. But today it has been reimagined as Center City and it’s in the hub of many interesting things, both old and new.

CtrCty Evolution & Revolution

Thanks to many interesting restaurants, shopping options and entertainment, the area is quickly evolving into one of the most vital creative urban environments in Orange County.

For many people, it starts with the Anaheim Packing District. The Packing District is home to the Anaheim Packing House and Packard Building, Farmers Park as well as the newest addition, MAKE building.

The Anaheim Packing House is a massive 42,000 square-foot gourmet food hall that people come from all over Southern California to experience. It opened back in 2014 to rave reviews and continues to evolve. And why not?  Who couldn’t love a 1919 former Sunkist citrus packing house, built in the Spanish colonial revival style and chock full of interesting food vendors? Interestingly, it’s one of the few remaining packing houses in the county and the only one left in Anaheim. In 2015, the Packing House was added to the National Register of Historic Places as the Anaheim Orange and Lemon Association Packing House. 

As their website describes, “Local farmers arrived to unload trucks of freshly picked citrus to begin the process of washing, grading and eventual packing into wooden crates. Once completed, the crated and labeled citrus would be loaded onto rail cars parked on the side of the building to be shipped nationwide.

The restored Packing House is a food hall reminiscent of the great public markets of South America and Europe. These markets serve as a resource for the neighborhood (daily food production) and a community gathering space (restaurants and entertainment). The two level Packing House features a large central atrium with communal dining surrounded by cafes and kiosks of varying sizes as well as outdoor picnic gardens and a building-length dining porch looking out to the outdoor marketplace, Farmers’ Park.”

Another highlight located inside the Anaheim Packing District is Farmers Park. This park connects two historic landmarks, the Anaheim Packing House and Packard Building, all while offering a vibrant community gathering place. The Packard building, a gorgeously renovated 1925 Mission revival style building, is now home to Anaheim Brewery and Umami Burger. Lastly, the newest addition to the area is Anaheim MAKE. This 10,500-square-foot building was once was a marmalade factory in the 1900s, and is now home to Unsung Brewery, Pali Wine Co. and Jav's BBQ. 

The food choices are many, there is music and other events and no visit to Anaheim is complete without a visit to the Anaheim Packing District.

The Magical History of MUZEO’s Carnegie Library

As it is described, Muzeo is “A new model for urban cultural centers; a 25,000 square foot complex encompassing Anaheim’s original Carnegie Library and a state of the art gallery space opened in 2007, the Main Gallery. The museum has been seamlessly integrated into an urban setting, surrounded by loft living and street-level retail.”

As for the historic 1908 Carnegie Library building, it provides “a storehouse of artifacts that highlight the history of Anaheim and the surrounding area. Artifacts in the exhibition range from fossil findings and ancient Indian wares to 19th-Century winery and citrus-farming tools, along with display cases filled with treasures from Anaheim and Orange County’s past. The exhibition has a unique collection of items that once belonged to the city’s founders and leaders, as well as memorabilia from Disneyland, Anaheim Stadium and other historic locations.” Most Carnegie libraries, of which there were once hundreds, now number but a few. That Anaheim preserved and protected this one is a testament to responsible historic preservation. The Classical Revival style building was designed by John C. Austin, opened in 1909 and was a public library until 1963 (during the 1970s it served as the personnel office for the City of Anaheim).

Center Street Promenade

Another vital piece of the CtrCity puzzle is the Center Street Promenade. Bordered by the Carnegie Library, Muzeo Museum, the Gehry-designed Rinks Anaheim Ice and just a mere trolley-hop from the Anaheim Packing District, the Center Street Promenade is another interesting piece of Anaheim’s original, historic downtown. Located between Harbor and Anaheim Boulevards, it features a tantalizing array of boutiques, restaurants, street fairs, art shows and more. It’s one of the new “hearts” of the city, pulsing with interesting things to do, every day of the year.