With the introduction of the railroads south from Los Angeles, Santa Ana grew from a small agricultural town to a flourishing city by the early 1920’s. 4th Street quickly became the epicenter of Orange County. Signs and logos of stores such as Kreiger’s, Woollworth’s, Buster Brown Shoes, and Rankins Department Store can still be seen in the architectural details of buildings long put to other uses.
With the rise of regional shopping centers like South Coast Plaza and Bullock’s Fashion Square (now Westfield MainPlace) and post-war suburban growth throughout Orange County, Santa Ana’s 4th Street saw a rapid decline with merchants and retailers closing up shop.
Redevelopment efforts in the mid 1980s focused on the growing immigrant population in Santa Ana with the introduction of Fiesta Marketplace and retailers, merchants and restaurants catering to first generation immigrants.
Today, 4th Street is undergoing yet another shift with younger merchants and restaurateurs catering a younger, hipper clientele drawn to 4th Street’s historic, urban atmosphere. New shops, restaurants, and theaters are taking advantage of Downtown Santa Ana’s historic architecture and urban setting to create a Downtown renaissance.