A look back at the stately Jones home

by Juanita Lovret
Reprinted courtesy of the Tustin News

The Jones house, which occupied the southwest corner of 1 7th and Prospect for many years, burned in the late 1960s after transients built a fire for warmth
Photo courtesy Tustin Area Museum

Few landmarks from the early days of Tustin remain in the area outlying Old Town. Tree-shaded roads that once meandered leisurely through lush-green orange orchards with handsome old Victorian ranch homes are now multilane thoroughfares edged with housing tracts and busy commercial developments.

But amazingly the mindís eye often sees what was there in the past. Whenever I enter the Vonís parking lot at the corner of 17th and Prospect, I see not the squat one-story cream-colored California Bank and Trust building, but an imposing two-story white house facing Prospect, framed by lawn, shade trees, palms and bushes as well as the giant eucalyptus trees bordering 17th Street.

The property can be accessed by twin driveways, one from Prospect as well as one from 17th. These intersect at the back of the house where a barn and other out buildings stand. Orange trees surround the property on two sides.

This house was home to the Frank Jones family for many years, dating back to before my mother and her siblings went to Tustin Grammar School with the daughters and their baby brother. The girls were exceptionally attractive and many young women considered Bud, one of the first motorcycle officers in the Santa Ana Police Department, to be the most handsome man on the force.

In addition to being a ďhunk,Ē Bud became a war hero who served 20 years in the Army Air Corps, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. He flew 40 missions during World War II and received four Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross.

The elder Jones kept a small herd of dairy cows and delivered milk to homes throughout the Tustin area when my mother was a young girl. She frequently recalled being impressed by his handsome milk wagon and horse as well as the dapper appearance he made in the suit and fedora he wore while on his route.

By the 1930s when I was a child, Mr. Jones had switched to poultry and sold eggs and chickens from his property. Dressed in bib overalls, he was now a typical farmer figure, stocky with thinning white hair and an engaging smile. He always popped out to welcome customers the minute they drove into the back yard.

The children grew up and moved out to establish their own homes, but Mr. and Mrs. Jones continued to live on the ranch until their deaths. Unoccupied, the house became a magnet for transients and was badly damaged in the late Ď60s during a fire set by intruders spending the night in the house. The fire-riddled structure was demolished and the property eventually sold to become a portion of the shopping center.

Gone, but not forgotten, this ranch as well as many other landmarks still exist in the memories of Tustinís old timers.



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