A look back at cityís centennial celebration


by Juanita Lovret
Reprinted courtesy of the Tustin News

Rep. James B. Utt, City Clerk Ruth Poe, Councilman L. E. Marsters and Mayor A. J. Coco cut the ribbon at ceremonies changing D Street to El Camino Real as Ernest Osuna, an honored guest, watches

I goofed three weeks ago when I wrote about street names in Tustin. D Street was renamed El Camino Real in 1968 during the yearlong celebration of Tustinís Centennial, not during the 1976 Bicentennial observance.

Columbus Tustin and his partner, Nelson O. Stanford, completed the purchase of an undivided 1/64th of Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana in 1868 although the deed of partition was not signed with Tustin taking possession of almost 840 acres until 1869.

Because the plat map was not filed until sometime between August 1870 and May 1871, many historians use 1870 as the date of Tustinís founding. The city of Tustin, however, used the year of the purchase for the Centennial celebration date.

A. J. Tony Coco who served as mayor from 1968 to 1972 presided over the festivities with the help of the city council, which because of the beginning and ending of terms during the year included five men, Gerald Mack, Ronald I. Klingelhofer, Laurentz Marsters, Clifton C. Miller and Duane J. Ring.

Harry Gill was city administrator, Ruth Poe was city clerk, and James Rourke was city attorney.
The City Hall was located at 135 W. Third Street. A gala dinner dance at the Newporter Inn launched the Centennial celebration on Feb. 17, 1968. Most of the movers and shakers in Tustin attended. Many women, including Mrs. William Leinberger, Mrs.Leon Lauderbach, Mrs. Douglas Gorrie and Mrs. Worth Alexander wore elaborate gowns from the Victorian era.

President Lyndon Johnson and Gov. Ronald Reagan sent messages of congratulation to the citizens of Tustin. Lucille Moses, wife of Tustin News publisher Bill Moses, and Lee Wagner, a local businesswoman, planned a number of events during the celebration including the selection of Centennial Queen Linda Hoffertberg, a home tour, and a tea for the ladies. A mayorís luncheon and a street dance were other activities.

The Centennial celebration climaxed in September with the renaming of D, H, and Fourth streets. D Street was renamed El Camino Real (The Royal Highway), after the route Father Serra used as he traveled from mission to mission in the pre-rancho days.

Fourth Street, which had retained its Santa Ana name after being extended into Tustin, was renamed Irvine because it joined Irvine Boulevard at Newport Avenue, and H Street became Centennial Way. The streets received their new names as Representative James B. Utt, City Clerk Ruth Poe, Councilman L. E. Marsters and Mayor A. J. Coco presided in a festive dedication ceremony.

A parade followed with Ernest Osuna, a descendent of the Alcalde of San Diego, as Honored Guest. That evening the community continued the celebration at a street dance on Main Street between El Camino Real and Prospect. You might want to mark your calendar for Tustinís Sesquicentennial in 2018 and an Incorporation Centennial in 2027.

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