Now owned by descendents of the Lindsay family, this
board and batten house
at the corner of C and Second streets in Old Town Tustin is considered
a rare example of a primary settlement period building.
Housing was neither luxurious nor plentiful
for those hardy pioneers who arrived in Tustin during its formative years.
Board and batten houses were common, but often there was no house available
for a newly arrived family.
William Huntley, who came to Tustin in the
summer of 1880 at the age of 10, often recalled that when his family first
arrived, they had to live in a tent pitched on what would become the Tustin
High School campus. They waited several months for a house to become
The board and batten house was an inexpensive
solution to the need for immediate housing. The walls were constructed of
10-to-12-inch-wide redwood planks standing upright. Three-inch boards called
battens covered the cracks or joint between the planks. These houses were
usually one story with four or five rooms although some were two story. Most
had front porches. Many were left with unfinished exteriors, but a few were
Cooking was done on a wood stove, which also
provided heat. There was no bathroom and no plumbing. Water was brought into
the house by pail from a well in the yard.
Interior walls were not plastered. Instead
they were covered with cotton sheeting which was then pasted over with wall
paper. Sometimes burlap, usually brown, green or red, was used in place of
cotton sheeting. Ceilings were created by tacking cotton cloth to the bare
rafters at about the 8-foot mark. These would be changed when they became
Although very few of these board and batten
houses have survived in Orange County, Tustin has one that is still
occupied. Believed to date back to 1886, it was moved from an outlying area
Mary Tustin, widow of Columbus Tustin who
died in 1883, hired men to use mules and logs to relocate it in Tustin on a
lot that she owned at the corner of Second and C streets. The Tustin family
owned the house until the 1940s, although Mary Tustin moved to Highland Park
in 1912 and never moved into it. Fannie Tustin Platt and Mary Jane Tustin
Nicoles are thought to be the only members of the family to occupy it.
George Chandler and his family of nine
children rented the house in the 1930s. Ralph Lindsay, owner of a shoe
repair shop in the Knights of Pythias building, and his wife Louise bought
it in 1945.
When Ralph, a volunteer fireman, served as
fire chief from 1951 to 1959, he found having the Fire Department located
just across Second Street from his house to be very convenient. Since the
Fire Department telephone also rang in the Lindsay house, Louise could
answer it during the day, set off the alarm and open the doors so the
firetruck was ready to go when the first volunteer arrived.
At present Ralph and Louise’s grandson lives
in the house, which is considered a rare example of a primary settlement
period building, according to the City of Tustin Historical Survey.