POPULAR PARK: Hewes Park, a project of
David Hewes, was designed by Robert G. Frasher,
who also designed the original Busch Gardens in
David Hewes had already made a fortune as a land
developer in San Francisco when he arrived in
Tustin in 1881 with his wife, Matilda, purchased
property and built a Victorian mansion on the
northwest corner of Main and B Street.
The couple became
members of Tustin’s most elite social circle,
and-Hewes continued the generosity he had been
known for in the Bay Area. He gave the property
across the street from their home to the
Presbyterians and underwrote the building of the
congregation’s first church at Main and C
interested in agriculture in about 1885 and
purchased 820 acres approximately 1 1/2 miles
north of Tustin, between Seventeenth Street on
the south, Chapman on the north, Newport on the
east and Victoria, a street no longer on the
map, on the west.
prunes, olives, pears, apricots and raisin
grapes were planted on 440 acres with the
remaining 380 acres used to grow barley.
Hewes built a
headquarters compound with rambling ranch home,
which he named Anapauma (Spanish for "place of
rest") and filled with the many art treasures he
and his wife had collected on their honeymoon
trip to 22 countries.
When his wife
died in 1887 he returned to San Francisco where
he remarried and stayed until his second wife
died three years later. He then returned to
.He set about
beautifying a nearby barren hilltop and invested
at least $75,000 to develop Hewes Park at La
Veta and Esplanade. The park, laid out by Robert
G. Fraser, who designed the original famed Busch
Gardens in Pasadena, was open to the public.
gardens and hundreds of specimen plants and
trees were used to beautify the area which
included a picnic area with large stone
barbecues and picnic tables. Soon it was a
popular place to visit or picnic.
An early account
describes the gardens as “one of the beauty
spots of the Southland.” Colored postcards
recorded several views of the park including a
section with plants spelling out “Hewes Park.”
those days maintained a low profile, and the
atmosphere was clear, reportedly allowing
Catalina Island, the Sierra Madre and Santa Ana
Mountains as well as the snow-covered summit of
Old Baldy to be viewed from the highest point of
maintained the grounds as a horticultural
showplace, but in 1920 after his death at 93, a
Los Angeles syndicate acquired Hewes Park,
paying more than $1 million with plans to turn
it into a commercial attraction.
With a miniature
golf course and Japanese tea garden added, the
park was a popular amusement area in the 1920s
and early 1930s. However its appeal did not
survive the Depression.
Several Santa Ana
doctors ultimately acquired the property and
established large estates utilizing the rare
trees and shrubs in their private gardens.
years the property has been subdivided with many
of its more than 212 specimen trees removed. A
decorative metal arch at the northwest corner of
Esplanade and La Veta recognizes that the
property was once Hewes Park.