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Did You Know? Ladera's Hidden History (and Flabbergasting Factoids!)
by: Debbie L. Sklar
The Crown Valley Parkway bridge was built in 5 hours.
The Crown Valley Parkway bridge was built in 5 hours.

Ladera Ranch may be considered to be one of the newer communities in Orange County; however, you might be surprised to learn it does have quite a few landmarks that dot its landscape.

For example, did you know the Pedestrian Bridge in Ladera is actually made from old railway ties that were constructed and imported from Alabama in three pieces? And according to local lore, the Crown Valley Parkway pedestrian bridge was built in 5 hours and “provides safe passage between Oak Knoll and the rest of Ladera Ranch?”

Also, in homage to gardens, did you know that the Rose Garden that sits at the corner of the Town Green also has lemon trees, lavender and a myriad of roses surrounding the garden to honor the matriarch of the O'Neill/Moiso Family, Alice O'Neill (Moiso) Avery? says, “Avery personally advised on the plant selections and is proud of the garden that bears her name.”

Even the street lights have a story.

According to the same Web site, the “gray-pebbled flecked columns disperse light from times gone by. Their statuesque necks are collard in detail and crowned with glass that diffracts light through its milky globe. These street lamps are not your run of the mill ‘city lights.’ The lamps took 9 months to receive county approval for installment because of their unique design quality …”

Speaking of family, did you also know that some of the streets names throughout Ladera Ranch are much more than simple names thought up by planners? In fact, check out the ones that are named after O'Neill/Moiso family members - Benjamin, Sienna, Daisy, Sellas or others that are historical references to grazing pastures of Rancho Mission Viejo - Cecil Pasture, Narrow Canyon, Windmill and Bell Pasture,” according to

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