Moved from one side of Old Town Tustin to the
other more than 20 years ago,
this 136-year old Victorian-Italianate style
home is one of fewer than 25
still in existence in Orange County.
Orange County has
fewer than 25 Victorian-Italianate homes still
standing, according to Thirtieth Street
Architects Inc., and Old Town Tustin is
fortunate to have about a half dozen of them.
Preceding the Queen
Anne Victorian, Victorian-Italianate, which was
used in the 1870s and 1880s, was the first major
architectural style used in settling the area
that was to become Orange County in 1889. One of
Tustinís finest examples of this architectural
style will be on display during the Tustin Area
Historical Societyís annual home and garden tour
on May 1.
The identity of both
the architect and builder of this house, as well
as the family for which the dwelling was built,
has been lost over the years, but the house is
believed to have been constructed about 1874. It
is known that a number of Tustinís most
prominent citizens resided in the house or were
associated with it in some way.
Barbara Ann Lewis,
sister of Columbus Tustin, was the first owner
of the land on First Street where the house was
constructed, but she sold the property to James
Y. Moorehead in 1875 for $700. The next owner of
record, Almon Goodwin, paid $3,500 for the
property in 1881.
Although there is no
mention of the house, records also show William
W. Martin, a member of the Tustin Land and
Improvement Co., purchasing the 7.26 acres for
$10,000 in 1887. A photo of the house appeared
in a publication that same year and identified
it as the residence of W.W. Martin.
The house became
known as the Albee Mansion while Charles and
Alice Albee occupied it in the early 1900s.
Interestingly, the Albee name was listed on
deeds for the sale of various pieces of the
property as late as 1943. Most of the acreage
was planted with avocado and citrus fruit.
Henry C. Wollert
operated an interior decorating business from
the house between 1944 and 1946. Orville
Northrup, principal of Tustin High School, lived
there from 1941 to 1954 when Dr. Henry Eastman
acquired the dwelling and, recognizing the need
for housing in Tustin, divided it into three
Schmeltzer converted the house to law offices
some 20 years later. Jeff and Cheri Thompson
acquired the house in 1990 and moved it to 415
West Sixth St. They have spent the last 20 years
restoring the home to its original Italianate
form. Despite its various uses during the years,
the house still retains its basic elegance and
architectural elements. The hexagonal tower roof
above the two-story slanted bay with arched
windows contributes to its original Italianate