Profiles in OC Pioneers Who Were Klan Members: Elmer E. Heidt, OC's First Scout Executive for Orange County Boy Scouts Council

Today, the Boy Scouts is one of the most multicultural organizations in Orange County–indeed, if you asked me to describe the prototypical OC Boy Scout, I'd say he was a Vietnamese kid from Little Saigon. But the Boy Scouts wasn't always so egalitarian–although the national organization maintained a non-discrimination position early on, it also allowed local chapters to discriminate according to the local mores at the time. And since Orange County was a segregated society when la naranja's first Scout Council was formed in 1920, I think it's safe to assume the local Scouts then weren't exactly recruiting wabs and chinitos to join their ranks.

I mean, why would they when the Orange County Boy Scouts Council's first Scout Executive (the head) was a Klan member?

Heidt was a SanTana resident and also became the first manager for the Automobile Club of Southern California's Orange County branch. He was part of the first wave of the Klan in OC, the ones who nearly took over SanTana, influenced the creation of Mexican-only schools in the city, and actually had more members than the more-infamous Klanaheim. As my colleague Gabriel San Roman pointed out, given the vigorous Klan membership among santaneros like Heidt during the 1920s, perhaps it's time to rename the city Santa Klana…and trust me, there are more members to come in this series from what's now the most-Mexican big city in America! Oh, the irony…

Tune in every Monday around 5 p.m. for the latest entry exposing Orange County city fathers who were Klan members!

Previous entries:

James W. Newell, Fullerton-area Miner/Mason
Garland C. Ross, Santa Ana dentist, batted against Walter Johnson
Ferris F. Kelley, San Juan Capistrano Postmaster
Clyde Fairbairn, Longtime Olive resident/nice guy
Charles McClure, Brea's first police chief
John F. Pieper, Tustin feed-store owner, councilmember
William Starbuck, Fullerton school trustee, druggist
Hoyt Corbit, Yorba Linda pioneer, fan of Richard Nixon
Lucien Proud, La Habra mayor/school trustee
Albert Hetebrink, Fullerton rancher
Henry W. Head, Orange County godfather
Dr. Roy S. Horton and Marshall Keeler, Santa Ana Unified trustees
Sam Jernigan and Jesse Elliott, Orange County sheriffs
Herman Hiltscher, Fullerton bureacrat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *