Modjeska Canyon, California

Modjeska is an unincorporated community on the western slope of the Santa Ana Mountains in eastern Orange County, California. It is a suburban community of several hundred residents, with a small park and a volunteer fire station.

The canyon is also the location of the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary. Most of the canyon is bordered by the Cleveland National Forest. The community of Modjeska is very tight knit, hosting several in-canyon events, such as pot lucks, dance lessons, movie nights at the park, Fourth of July parades, as well as Christmas and Hallowe’en parties.[1] The parties are usually held in the Modjeska Community Center and the Fire Station. They also hold events for non-residents to come and enjoy, such as an arts and crafts fair held in early spring at the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary.[2][3]

Mary Teegarden Clark, an early resident of nearby Orange, described a late 1800s community picnic in Modjeska in her memoirs, Pioneer Ranch Life in Orange.[4]

Modjeska is named after the 19th-century Polish stage actress, mother of the famous bridge engineer Ralph Modjeski, Helena Modjeska, who settled in the canyon in the late 19th century.[5] Her home from 1888 to 1906, "Arden," is a National Historic Landmark. The house and gardens are fenced in, so if you are looking to see the house you must make a reservation for the tour. The house is typically open only once or twice a month, so it is important to make reservations in advance.[6][7]

The Brotherhood of Eternal Love was incorporated as a non-profit organization in Modjeska on Oct 26, 1966 — a few months before John Griggs and other founding members relocated to the Woodland Drive neighborhood of Laguna Beach, CA (later known as 'Dodge City').[8]

For most of the 70's and 80's a caretaker named Bob Higgins lived on the Modjeska property maintaining the grounds and most importantly the original home and water line that ran directly from the dam to the home. An agreement between the County and the Modjeska family allowed for the water line to exist forever.

Bob loved the Modjeska property and devoted many years of his life to maintain it just as it was. He left when it was purchased by Orange County.

The canyon was affected by the California wildfire of October 2007. About 14 homes in Modjeska were destroyed by the fire and another 8 homes were damaged (out of a total of roughly 220 homes in the canyon). Mandatory evacuations were issued prior to President George W. Bush declaring the site an emergency.

The ZIP Code is 92676, and the community is inside area code 714.


  1. "Upcoming Canyon Events". Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  2. "Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary". Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  3. "Modjeska Canyon & Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary". Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  4. Clark, Mary Teegarden (2013). Pioneer ranch life in Orange : a Victorian woman in Southern California. Charleston, SC: The History Press. ISBN 9781626190740.
  5. Meyers, Talya (2006-06-18). "Modjeska Canyon is just as they like it". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  6. "Arden: Helena Modjeska Historic House & Gardens". Orange County, California Parks. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  7. "Arden Mainpage". Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  8. Schou, Nick (2010). Orange Sunshine: the Brotherhood of Eternal Love and its quest to spread peace, love, and acid to the world. New York: Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 9780312551834.

Further reading

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