Adolph Dittmer

Work for Orange

Adolph Dittmer provided us with many of the early photographs of the Orange Plaza. A very successful businessman, photography was one of his many interests, and he made numerous scenes of Orange and the surrounding vicinity into postcards. He was born in Chicago June 11, 1872. His family moved to Fort Dodge, Iowa three years later and there he attended school and started his first job with the local paper. As he grew up, Dittmer learned to play the coronet and led a band for many years. His vocational interest was pharmacology, and after completing an apprenticeship in a Fort Dodge drugstore, he became a licensed pharmacist. Through the years he kept meticulous information on his formulas in small notebooks, which have been donated to the City of Orange Archives. 
Adolph Dittmer
In 1896, Adolph Dittmer married Louise Gunther, and they moved to Orange, California in 1905, where they raised four sons and established Dittmer's Mission Pharmacy. The first location for the pharmacy was close to the Plaza, at 131 S Glassell Street. In 1910 Dittmer moved the pharmacy to a better location at the Southeast corner of Glassell and the Plaza. Residents could find more than prescriptions there. A wonderful soda fountain, phonographs and records, photograph processing and rental books were some of the amenities available.

The 1921 edition of Armor's History of Orange County, California states: "For six years he served the city of Orange as a trustee, and for four years was chairman of the board, presiding during the period when the town put in paved streets and curbs, and the sewer was started, the sewer farm was purchased, and new water mains were added to the public works. This was a crucial time for the city, and only those who passed through the days and months of responsibility, when much opposition had to be overcome, and a good deal of unpleasant responsibility assumed by individual citizens for the public, know how valuable was the service to contemporaries and to posterity rendered by the doughty city fathers. Intensely interested in civic and business affairs he is a charter member and ex-secretary of the Merchants and Manufacturers Association of Orange."


After a brief illness, Adolph Dittmer passed away December 28, 1924. Dittmer's Mission Pharmacy continued to play a role in the history of Orange until 1937 when it was sold.