Old Town Tustin Ripe with Commercial History

Farnworth Jewelry Store on Main St., Tustin

For many years only essential businesses, several general stores, two blacksmith shops, a hardware store, a feed store, pool hall and at least one bar operated in Tustin.

Then, in the first half of 1920, two buildings with spaces for commercial endeavors were added at the intersection of D (El Camino Real) and Main streets in the center of town.

The Knights of Pythias built a two-story structure on the northeast corner with space for shops on the lower floor in 1922. A few years later, Ed Kiser constructed a one-story building for Sam Tustin, son of Columbus, on the southeast corner. This building also was designed for commercial use.

Early on, the Knights of Pythias rented space to Tustin City Hall as well as the Tustin post office. Later, a drugstore occupied the corner store with a variety store and a shoe repair shop moving into smaller suites.

Across the street, the Tustin building’s earliest tenant was a restaurant facing D Street. Eventually this space was occupied by a series of grocery stores.

Edwin and Leola Cox, who operated both Cox’s Grocery and Tustin Food Center in that space, eventually purchased the building which their son, Phil, now owns and calls Cox’s Market Plaza.



One of the first businesses in Tustin to fulfill desires, not just needs, moved into 130 E. Main St. soon after the building was completed when Mr. and Mrs. Albert F. Hibbet opened Tustin’s first jewelry store there.


With large display windows on either side of the entrance and a stamped metal ceiling, the shop became a showplace offering all kinds of jewelry, including engagement and wedding diamonds, as well as watches and watch repair.

Albert and Ruth E. Farnsworth bought out the Hibbets in 1941, changing the name of the store to Farnsworth Jewelers. After a gala grand opening, they continued to be Tustin’s only source of diamonds and fine jewelry as well as watches and watch repair for several decades.

Del Patterson acquired the business in the 1960s and eventually relocated it to First Street, east of today’s Tustin post office. After he retired, his son, Del Patterson Jr., who had grown up in the jewelry business, and his wife Dorothea reopened Pattersons in a shopping complex on First Street west of Prospect.

By this time Tustin had several dozen jewelry stores. Pattersons closed after reaching the 46-year mark with Del Jr. continuing to do watch repair at his home.

Now, space 130 on East Main, after housing a hair salon for many years, is once again a source for beautiful jewelry. James Kanan, a sculptor, offers a variety of antique jewelry in addition to creating original classical jewelry designs in his shop.

(Originally published on February 7, 2013 in the Tustin News. Reprinted with permission courtesy of Southern California News Group/The Orange County Register.)