Clipboard researched by Susan Greene / Los Angeles Times; Graphics by Doris Shields / Los Angeles Times

Before the neighborhood of Anaheim Hills became an upscale Orange County community, it was referred to by some as Robbers’ Peak. During the 1890s the hills were used as a lookout point by outlaws practicing their nefarious trade. Stagecoaches and riders could be seen hours before they arrived in the hills, so the bad guys found it easy to prepare an attack.

Fifty years later things were a bit more domesticated. In October, 1943, Louis E. Nohl bought 5,000 acres of pasture land in the hills from the Bixby Ranch for $218,000. Being in the right place at precisely the right time paid off nicely for Nohl. Some years later, gas and electric companies needed to install wires across his land. Use of the easement netted Nohl quite a lot of money. In 1970 he sold the ranch to the Grant Corp. for $10 million.

Developers with dollar signs in their eyes began building in Santa Ana Canyon in March, 1977. One area was tagged Anaheim Hills--A Planned Community. Its location high in the hills (but still within the city limits of Anaheim) above the madding crowd and its good general plan were all that was needed to sell the plentiful estate developments.

To ensure that the city upheld the general plan, a group of property owners formed the Anaheim Hills Citizens Coalition in June, 1987. The group has been instrumental in keeping everything in focus. For example, the county wants to build a 6,100-bed prison in the Gypsum Canyon area (east of the homes in Anaheim Hills and south of the Riverside Freeway). The coalition, assisted by another group called Taxpayers for a Centralized Jail, objected and gathered more than 112,000 signatures to back their contention. The two groups reason that Santa Ana is the county seat, home of the existing penal system and site of the main courthouse--so that’s where the new jail belongs. Residents and businessmen worry that it would also increase crime and depress property values. The question remains, though, as to where the jail will be built. Come June, 1990, voters will decide whether it is to be Gypsum Canyon.


Another controversial structure, “The Great Wall of Anaheim Hills,” is already in place. Built around the million-dollar homes in the Nohl Ranch Road development, the wall has received unfavorable reviews from residents (and some sightseers) who complain that it obstructs their panoramic view of northern Orange County. But this is a struggle already lost. The $650,000 wall, built by the Nohl Ranch developer to cut noise and provide privacy, is a permanent fixture.

One thing that is on display in Anaheim Hills, though, is the Ramon Peralta Adobe. Built in 1871 by Peralta, the adobe was not the oldest in the Canyon but is the only one remaining. It was restored by the Langslet Co. (price tag: $180,000) and is open to the public and available for small-group use free of charge. The entire Anaheim Hills Shopping Village--where the adobe is located--was built following the same adobe-construction theme.

Most of Anaheim Hills is developed except for three smaller ranches, which are currently being graded, but it retains a semirural, uncongested atmosphere.

Population Population: (1988 est.) 24,406 1980-88 change: +57.7% Median Age: 36.5 Racial/ethnic mix: White (non-Hispanic) 83%, Hispanic 7%, Black 1%, Other 9% MALES Median age: 36.7 years FEMALES Median age: 36.3 years


Income Per capita: $30,276 Median Household: $96,076 Average Household: $95,279 Household Distribution: Less than $25,000: 6% $50,000-74,999: 22% $25,000-49,999: 14% More than $75,000: 58%