Placentia-Yorba Linda School Celebrates 50th Birthday

A 10:30 a.m. assembly will start the festivities that will feature each grade level performing skits about each decade since the school opened in 1963. The school is named for early Placentia settler Charles Wagner. His great grandson, who is also named Charles Wagner, will be one of the featured speakers. The program will close with the kindergarten students singing “Happy Birthday” to their beloved school.

Wagner Elementary is one of 34 schools in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District. The school has an Academic Performance Index of 909 and is a 2012 California Distinguished School.

The excerpt below was provided by Mr. Charles Wagner, great grandson of the school's namesake:

Charles Wagner was born on December 6, 1844 in the village of Kuchen, Württemberg (present day southern Germany). In April 1857, Charles immigrated to the United States with his father, Karl Eberhard Wagner, and his sister, Anna Maria Wagner. Charles’ two brothers, John and Conrad would immigrate separately to the United States. The Wagners settled in Michigan and started farming. Charles would soon strike out on his to make his fortune. Together with his business partner, Edward Newhan, he drove a herd of sheep from Montana to Southern California. It was in 1871 that he purchased the 100 acres of land that included this land for $1.50 an acre, with the intent to graze sheep and start a vineyard. Wagner said he was attracted to his land because it had the tallest mustard plants for miles around. He grazed sheep on the property for years, but was unsuccessful with the vineyard. Sometime around the end of the 1870s he set aside 22 acres of the property to plant seedlings for an orange grove. The school is built on part of the acreage. Charles Wagner was accidentally killed while hauling a load of bricks in June of 1880. His widow, Josephine, married Charles’ brother, John Wagner, who took over care of the estate. The family continued to manage prosperous orange groves well into this century. Charles Wagner Elementary School was dedicated in December 1963 to honor one of Placentia’s early settlers. Happy birthday, Wagner School!
Published Print