Albert, Peggy Muckenthaler
“An Oral History with Peggy Muckenthaler Albert” Interviewed by Clay Spencer
Dates: March 16, 23, 2006
Project: Orange County Pioneer Council
Status: Complete transcript, 47 pp.
Abstract: Daughter of Shirley Zoeter Muckenthaler and Harold Walter Muckenthaler; granddaughter of Nora Muckenthaler who lived at what is now the Muckenthaler Cultural Center describes early childhood in Fullerton including making snowman in 1949.
Fire destroyed Hawaiian Punch plant in Fullerton and another destroyed a 3-story building; children marched in city parades with decorated wagons and pets; trips to library and soda fountain; describes St. Mary’s 4-room school with 8 grades. Childhood games hunting bugs, riding horses. Father cared for grandfather’s orange groves, had to smudge against frost, installed wind machines.
As housing encroached on groves, people stole the oranges and avocados so family tore out orange trees and leased land to strawberry farmers.
Provides current landmarks to locate the land. Remembers her dad cutting weeds with tractor. Names maternal great-grandparents, Angelina Yorba and Samuel Kraemer, who lived in Placentia and gave Peggy’s grandmother a piano that she still owns. Kraemer land in Placentia was left as one unit that is jointly managed by the family descendents. Peggy’s father farmed her grandmother’s section. He also hunted in Wyoming and taught his daughters to handle guns and shoot doves. Details Kraemer family genealogy back to Mexican land grant and grandfather Walter Muckenthaler’s family history to 1850s. Muckenthalers bought land and operated a dairy near the orphanage that later became St. Catherine Military Academy in Anaheim. Grandfather and father were both in US Navy and trained in same North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego. Explains later land development and property management handled by family, including East Lake Village in Yorba Linda and areas in Las Vegas and Palm Springs. Gives history of Daniel Kraemer and relation to Yorba family; Daniel’s wife was independently able to live with daughters in Anaheim after divorcing Daniel. Peggy’s life was more directly involved with Kraemer ancestors and she recalls spending holidays with them. Mentions changing styles of dress, construction of Muckenthaler Cultural Center; weekends with grandparents; child drowning in water reservoir; Japanese gardener during World War II; vacations on ranch in Idaho and at Wyoming dude ranch; attended school in California and Switzerland; summer experiences at the beach; civil rights and hippie movement, feminism and Vietnam war in 1960s. Tells about raising her own children and grandmother experiences, changes in local environment.
Describes programs offered at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center, volunteering there, and her role on the board of trustees; recalls family members working at Knott’s Berry Farm, going to Disneyland, and TV shows she watched as a child.
In the second interview discussion focuses on Cold War, anti-communism, Cuban missile crisis, and family roles in local politics. Comments on presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Bush and Nixon. Businesses in Fullerton, like the Fox Theater and Fullerton Hardware among others, night life in town, and homes of ranchers are described briefly. Short comments on ethnic mix in Fullerton population. ##
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