Tustin City settlers appreciated Santa Ana

by Juanita Lovret
Reprinted courtesy of the Tustin News

Because of the competition between Columbus Tustin in Tustin City and William H. Spurgeon in Santa Ana as each sought to have his city become the terminus of the Southern Pacific Railroad line being extended from Anaheim in 1878, some people believe that Tustin residents shunned the victor.

Nothing could have been farther from the truth. Tustin City settlers recognized that the amenities and many of the necessities of their lives could be found only in Santa Ana. In 1887 when Tustinís downtown had only a couple of general stores and a drugstore, it was easy to board the Santa Ana, Orange and Tustin Street Railway Co.ís horse drawn trolley in downtown Tustin for a ride to Fourth and Main, the middle of Santa Anaís five-block commercial center.

Shoppers could find a variety of dry goods and clothing as well as a jeweler and several milliners. A selection of groceries, meat and bakery goods offered variety for their meals. Book, stationery, hardware and furniture stores were available. Men could enjoy the pleasure of haircut and shave.

Tustin had a physician from 1880 to 1894, but only a part-time doctor after that while Santa Ana had numerous doctors and dentists and, after 1901, a hospital. Santa Ana doctors made house calls into the Tustin area. If a lawyer, undertaking services or a cemetery, all lacking in Tustin, was needed, Santa Ana had the service.

On a happier note, Santa Ana had Frenchís Opera House, opened in 1890 with Madame Modjeska as the featured performer, Sycamore Hall with a 600-seat theater and Santa Ana Driving Park with a race track for a breed of horses known as pacers. Tustin men enjoyed the hospitality of Santa Anaís saloons until 1903 when influenced by the Womenís Christian Temperance Union, citizens voted to become a dry community.

Parades in Santa Ana were held for every holiday and event including the Parade of Products and circuses that came to town. Tustin was always well represented. Thirty lodges and organizations for men and women offered membership in Santa Ana by 1906. The Ebell Society organized by Tustinís Franklina Bartlett was based in Santa Ana.

Santa Ana churches welcomed Tustin worshippers long before Tustin had any churches. First Baptist, First Methodist Episcopal, Spurgeon Methodist Church, First Christian, United Presbyterian and Catholic denominations had opened in Santa Ana by 1870. Tustinís First Advent Christian Church organized 1878 followed by Tustin Presbyterian Church in 1884.

Santa Ana High School which opened in 1889 was the only high school available to graduates from Tustin Grammar School until Tustin High School opened in 1923.

Without access to Santa Ana, Tustinís population would have experienced a very dull existence.


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