Tustin History Articles

Most of these articles are from columns written by Tustin Historian Juanita Lovrett and come from older issues of the Tustin News (reprinted with permission courtesy of Southern California News Group/The Orange County Register). 

In many cases, these articles on Tustin history were written 10-20 years ago, so some of the date/business references may no longer be accurate. In some cases, our editors have commented on updates. The photos are from the collection of the Tustin Area Historical Society. Please contact the Society if you would like to reuse them.

Collage of UFO images taken by Rex Heflin in Tustin, CA
City Info

UFOs like the quality of life in Tustin

Tustin history has its own record of a UFO experience when on August 3, 1965, Rex Heflin saw disk-shaped craft near Tustin’s Lighter-than-Air Base hangars.

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Tustin Unified High School on El Camino Real, c1940s. Was demolished and rebuilt in 1960s due to new earthquake standards.
People

First Tustin High School opened in 1922

Columbus Tustin established a grammar school in the 1870s, but 50 years passed before the city had their first Tustin High School.

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David Hewes Home, Tustin, c1895
People

David Hewes’ golden spike helped dedicate railroad connection

David Hewes is known for his work in reclaiming and restoring San Francisco in the 1850s and 1860s and then supporting the Transcontinental Railroad. But he and his wife played a strong role in early Tustin as well.

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Rancho Santiago Partition Map (c1869), (Courtesy Paragon Agency)
City Info

Columbus Tustin, founder of Tustin

In 1868, Columbus Tustin and Nelson O. Stafford together purchased the land that was to become the future cities of Tustin and part of Santa Ana.

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View showing the citrus crops grown in the lush hills of Lemon Heights, c1925.
Agriculture

Tustin’s Agricultural Roots

The early residents of Tustin were sure that anything they planted would “yield golden returns.”

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Aerial view drawing of Tustin's Red Hill mine
People

Early Red Hill was home to mercury mines and rattlesnakes

Red Hill has a long and colorful history, beginning with the Indians who called it Katuktu, signifying hill of prominence or place of refuge.

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Tustin's Red Hill (c1930s)
City Info

Tustin’s Red Hill

Red Hill is more than a street in Tustin. The street is named after a certain hill in the north part of town with a soil that turned red from mercury in the ground.

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Emily Arvilla Utt, wife to Lysander Utt, c1902
Business

Tustin early pioneers included career women

Many Tustin wives and mothers were working outside their homes to augment the family income long before the term “Career Woman” was coined in the late ’30s.

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Evelyn Furtsch Ojeda , Olympic Gold Medalist
Collections

Tustin Sports Leaders

Be it Football, Baseball, Basketball, Aquatics, Track, and more, Tustin sports leaders grew from local to regional, national, and international prominence.

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View of the Early Pioneers Display
Collections

Tustin’s Early Pioneers

Tustin’s early pioneers and their families played key roles in the development and growth of the new city of Tustin.

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View showing the citrus crops grown in the lush hills of Lemon Heights, c1925.
Agriculture

Early landowners valued North Tustin’s potential

Fine view of the valleys and plains, constituting the central and south portions of the county could be seen from the North Tustin heights (Samuel Armor, 1921)

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Men in front of Tustin Southern Pacific Railroad train station, built in 1889 along the west side of Newport, between Main and D Streets.
Business

The battle for the Southern Pacific

Tustin and Santa Ana have fought over many things, but one of the biggest battles was the fight for the Southern Pacific Railroad back in the 1800s.

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Owners Nick Gulick and William Huntley in front of their Tustin Garage, at D and Sixth Streets, c1920s
Tustin History

Tustin boasted a dozen filling stations on old 101

Tustin met the demand with almost a dozen “filling stations” and garages with gasoline pumps on the less-than-two-mile strip of Hwy 101 passing through the city

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Chief John Stanton and Police Commissioner Charles Logan, c1930s
City Info

Tustin’s first City Council focused on safety

Hiring John Stanton as the first and only policeman to serve in the just-incorporated City of Tustin was the first action taken by the newly-elected City Council in 1927.

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Current Tustin Meadows entrance sign, c2020
City Info

Tustin Meadows homes started at $19,995

Centennial Park, built as the hub of the Tustin Meadows development in 1968 and a wonderful place to stroll as well as a source of family fun.

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Tustin City's new school house built in 1882 had two rooms on each floor. It was later expanded to eight rooms as the school district grew.
Schools

As Tustin grows, so have the schools

In 1872, about 28 students would attend Sycamore School off and on with five of the children coming from the Columbus Tustin family.

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Tustin Service / Mobil Gas station located at D and First St. Originally Bristow's Signal, the station became Tustin Service in the 1930s.
Business

Tanks for the memories (Gas stations in early Tustin)

Early service stations operated differently than today’s self-service operations. The high school boys hired to serve customers not only filled the tank, they checked the oil level, the water in the radiator, added air to the tires and washed all the windows.

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Tustin Fireworks at the Tustin High School
Tustin History

Wild fireworks

Bedtimes were ignored in Tustin as Roman candles, skyrockets, fountains, whirligigs and sparklers were shot off after sunset.

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