City of Cypress

5700 Orange Avenue ~ Cypress, CA 90630 ~ 714-229-6780

World War II Brought Changes

World War II brought many changes to Cypress, just as it did to most of Orange County. Even before the war began, the United States Naval Air Station was moved from Long Beach to Los Alamitos adjacent to Cypress. Only a short distance away, the Navy also built the Seal Beach Ammunition Depot on 5,000 acres of land.

Santa Ana was the site of the United States Naval Air Station, whose hangars housed the blimps that patrolled the California coastline. The Santa Ana Army Air Base was the west coast cadet reception center, where Air Force inductees received their preliminary training. At El Toro, the Marine Corps prepared its men for the rigors of the air war.

Even Irvine Park was taken over as an Army infantry training camp. Many from the Cypress area worked at these military establishments while others commuted to Long Beach or Santa Monica to work in aircraft plants or shipyards.

The community also saw a large number of its young men go into the armed forces. The result was an acute shortage of labor in the fields. The situation was alleviated by the introduction of braceros (workers brought from Mexico through treaty arrangements).

Even German prisoners of war were employed to assist in harvesting the crops. A main prisoner of war camp was in Chino, but a temporary one was established for a brief period of time at Garden Grove.

In 1910, a local farmer named George Miller formed the Southern California Dairy Association, and by the 1940's, dairies emerged as the community's leading industry. Back then the area was referred to as "Moo Valley" as there were some 1,000 residents and 13,000 cows, and this was the third largest dairy district in the United States. In the early 1950's, an increase in residential development occurred and many areas surrounding "Moo Valley" began to incorporate and to expand. 

BACK | CONTINUE

The preceding history is from the News-Enterprise Archives, written by Eileen Wheeler and Dr. Warren Beck. It is reprinted here with permission