Jones house, which occupied the southwest
corner of 1 7th and Prospect for many years,
burned in the late 1960s after transients
built a fire for warmth.
Photo courtesy Tustin Area Museum
Few landmarks from
the early days of Tustin remain in the area
outlying Old Town. Tree-shaded roads that once
meandered leisurely through lush-green orange
orchards with handsome old Victorian ranch homes
are now multilane thoroughfares edged with
housing tracts and busy commercial developments.
But amazingly the
mindís eye often sees what was there in the
past. Whenever I enter the Vonís parking lot at
the corner of 17th and Prospect, I see not the
squat one-story cream-colored California Bank
and Trust building, but an imposing two-story
white house facing Prospect, framed by lawn,
shade trees, palms and bushes as well as the
giant eucalyptus trees bordering 17th Street.
The property can be
accessed by twin driveways, one from Prospect as
well as one from 17th. These intersect at the
back of the house where a barn and other out
buildings stand. Orange trees surround the
property on two sides.
This house was home
to the Frank Jones family for many years, dating
back to before my mother and her siblings went
to Tustin Grammar School with the daughters and
their baby brother. The girls were exceptionally
attractive and many young women considered Bud,
one of the first motorcycle officers in the
Santa Ana Police Department, to be the most
handsome man on the force.
In addition to being
a ďhunk,Ē Bud became a war hero who served 20
years in the Army Air Corps, retiring as a
lieutenant colonel. He flew 40 missions during
World War II and received four Purple Hearts and
the Distinguished Service Cross.
The elder Jones kept
a small herd of dairy cows and delivered milk to
homes throughout the Tustin area when my mother
was a young girl. She frequently recalled being
impressed by his handsome milk wagon and horse
as well as the dapper appearance he made in the
suit and fedora he wore while on his route.
By the 1930s when I
was a child, Mr. Jones had switched to poultry
and sold eggs and chickens from his property.
Dressed in bib overalls, he was now a typical
farmer figure, stocky with thinning white hair
and an engaging smile. He always popped out to
welcome customers the minute they drove into the
The children grew up
and moved out to establish their own homes, but
Mr. and Mrs. Jones continued to live on the
ranch until their deaths. Unoccupied, the house
became a magnet for transients and was badly
damaged in the late Ď60s during a fire set by
intruders spending the night in the house. The
fire-riddled structure was demolished and the
property eventually sold to become a portion of
the shopping center.
Gone, but not
forgotten, this ranch as well as many other
landmarks still exist in the memories of
Tustinís old timers.