Brea's History

Brea - Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Nestled in the foothills on a plateau at the northern tip of Orange County, Brea was known as a place where tar seeped from the hills. The word "Brea" means tar in Spanish. In early history, Indians and pioneers used chunks of the oil-soaked earth for fuel and domestic purposes like heating their homes and waterproofing their roofs. Then came the big oil boom! Read more about Brea - Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow.

Brea Museums Preserve Brea's History

Brea is fortunate to have two museums dedicated to preserving nearly 100 years of history. Both the Brea Olinda Oil Museum & Trail along with the Brea Museum & Historical Society are always looking to enrich their collections for everyone's enjoyment. Read more about the Brea Museums Preserve Brea's History.

A pictorial history capturing the story of Brea has been published by the Brea Historical Society. Brea:Then and Now presents a visual tour with hundreds of images from both public and private collections. This limited edition book makes a wonderful gift and proceeds support preservation of Brea history. It is sold at the Brea Museum. Info: (714) 256-2283.

Brea's Historical Icons

Be sure to notice the “Brea Welcomes You” sign and the Brea clock in downtown Brea. Both of these historic icons are prominently displayed on Birch Street. The next time you're downtown catching a movie, shopping,or grabbing a bite to eat, check them out for yourself and become a little part of their history. Read more about Brea's historical icons and their historical ties to our city.

Old Timers Luncheons Add to Legacy

A monthly lunch has been established on the first Wednesday of each month for "old-timers" to gather at the Olinda Oil Museum and Trail. Join the group to help build upon the legacy of this area. Learn more about the old timers luncheons and how you can add to the legacy.