Fairview — to the west of Paularino — started in 1887 when a syndicate bought the land, subdivided and laid out a town with shops, a bank, school, hotel, etc. But with nothing to sustain a town, it collapsed, and by 1911 all that remained were the schoolhouse, the hotel and a few scattered houses.
Harper grew like topsy, in large part because a general merchandise store opened in 1908 at 18th Street and Newport Boulevard to serve nearby homes. By 1923 the town was renamed Costa Mesa and had its own library, which was one of the first branches in what has become the Orange County Public Library.
Forty-two years and many thousands of people later, the Mesa Verde Library was built in the section of town that had been Fairview. In 2001, 116 years after the first settlement of Paularino by the Boston colony, the Costa Mesa Technology Library opened on Bristol and Paularino streets.
It is said that in 1886, a farmer from another area visited the Paularino community.
He went home laughing and told his wife: "You know, there was this man plowing, and guess what? He was reading a book at the same time — Emerson's 'Essays,' he said it was — holding it up in one hand and trying to guide the horse with the other. Did you ever hear of such crazy goings on?"
I like to think that farmer with the book would like to know that there is a handy library in Paularino now. And I am pleased that the love of reading has such a long tradition in our town. I hope this tradition will guarantee support for a new central library to serve our community.
These early efforts mean that you can enjoy programs like the following: At our Costa Mesa/Donald Dungan Library, at 1855 Park Ave., Adult Services Librarian Samantha Hathaway will lead the Mystery Book Club with the book "Orange Curtain" by John Shannon. Yes, the book is set in Orange County.