City councilmen and city
employees gathered in front of the Third Street
city hall for this photo opportunity in 1968.
Tony Coco, city councilman from 1964 to 1972 and
mayor from 1968 to 1972, is fourth from the left
in the front row.
residents voted to incorporate on Sept. 14,
1927, 59 years after Columbus Tustin bought the
land that he would develop as Tustin City. Even
then, no one seemed excited about turning the
village into city with a mayor and a city
council. Only 248 of the community’s 900
residents made the trip to the polls.
Incorporation squeaked in with a vote of 138 to
The first city council was elected on the same
ballot which included the names Byron Asa
Crawford, Charles Logan, William Huntley, Edmond
Kiser, Fred L Schwendeman, Oscar Leihy, Henry H.
Hannaford, W. R. Thompson and John A. Haskell.
Crawford, better known as Barney, Schwendeman,
Logan, Huntley and Kiser won the election.
Using the title Board of Trustees rather than
city council, the group convened the next week
and unanimously elected Crawford as president.
They changed his title to mayor at the second
meeting in the Knights of Pythias hall and later
dropped Board of Trustees in favor of City
Council. The first city hall was located in the
Knights of Pythias building at the corner of
Main and D (El Camino Real).
The newly elected councilmen started setting up
an incorporated city, establishing police and
fire departments. John L. “Big John” Stanton was
hired as the first and only policeman. The
Chamber of Commerce donated equipment used by
the volunteer fire department to the city’s
newly formed fire department. This included a
fire truck converted from Sam Tustin’s 1915
Buick touring car, now a showpiece at the Tustin
Area Museum. Despite the fire department being a
part of the city, firemen continued to work as
volunteers until 1962 when they became paid
Mayor Crawford stayed in office for four years.
Several of the councilmen elected with him in
1927 continued to serve many terms. Schwendeman
stayed in office until 1937, Huntley, 1940, and
Logan and Kiser, 1942.
When the city hall outgrew its offices in the
Knights of Pythias building, offices were moved
into quarters attached to the fire department’s
engine house on Third Street. Designed by Roy
Russell, the building had been constructed in
1931. When this building was enlarged in 1950,
the Orange County Branch Library, Tustin court
and police department relocated to share
quarters with the city and fire department. City
council meetings were held in the courtroom.
By 1965, the five councilmen were finding it
tough to keep up with the demands of supervising
a city government which included police and fire
departments, city administration, streets, parks
and recreation. Harry Gill was hired as the
first Tustin City Administrator following months
When the Tustin Post Office next door on the
east relocated to a new building on First
Street, the entire city staff moved into its old
building. This was Tustin’s City Hall until 1974
when the present city hall was built on
Centennial Way as part of a civic center
including the Tustin Library and a community
room. City offices, council chambers and police
department joined in this building which was
remodeled in 1993 to keep up with the city’s