Lumberyard underwent changes but endured

by Juanita Lovret
Reprinted courtesy of the Tustin News

S.E. Tingley opened the Tustin Lumber Co as the first lumberyard in Tustin in 1910
on East Main close to the Southern Pacific depot on Newport Avenue and
the supply of lumber brought in by rail cars

In all the years of Tustin’s existence, few businesses have lasted as long or with less competition than the Tustin Lumber Co., which despite several changes in name, endured for 83 years.

S. E. Tingley and his wife, Sara, came to Orange County from San Diego in 1902 and settled in Santa Ana where he became a salesman for the Pendleton Lumber Yard on E. Walnut. Eight years later Tingley went out on his own and established Tustin Lumber Co. on East Main in Tustin near the Southern Pacific railroad depot on Newport Avenue.

He built a lumber shed with office facilities and was soon picking up deliveries of lumber which arrived at the depot. Business thrived and he was able to expand the yard with additional buildings.

His only competition was a branch of Pendleton Lumber Co., which opened in 1916 at the corner of Newport and Laguna avenues and operated for a short time.

The Tingleys and their daughter Margaret, who later became Mrs. Lee Byrd, lived on D Street between Third and Main streets. They were active members of the Tustin Presbyterian Church. Tingley was a member of the building committee when the new church was built in 1929 and served several terms as trustee. He also was active in the Chamber of Commerce and the Masonic Lodge.

By 1926 Tingley was able to move the Tustin Lumber Co. to a large Spanish revival style building which he had built on the curve where D Street (El Camino Real) dead ended at First Street.
The handsome building had showrooms as well as storage for building materials. Murals depicting homes built in styles popular at that time decorated the front of the building which featured several arched entrances.

Writing in “The History of Orange County” in 1916, Samuel Armor described the business as playing an important part in the development of the area. “They do a general lumber and mill business and handle all kinds of builders’ materials, cement, roofing and wall board, and by anticipating the wants rather than merely catering to the needs of the community, render the town and environs a great service. A large force of men are employed on the two acres of the company, and it is not surprising that their business last year amounted to $40,000.”
Despite its success, the company became Whitson Lumber Co., a branch of a Santa Ana lumber company owned by W. Verne Whitson in 1931.

Although Tingley died in 1942, the business once more became Tustin Lumber Co. in 1947 with A.C. Hutchison as manager.

The name changed to Mullin Lumber Co. of Tustin in 1956 and Don A. Taylor assumed managerial duties. This lasted until 1968 when the lumberyard once more became Tustin Lumber Co. This name stayed on the building until it was torn down in 1993.

Records fail to show who owned the lumber yard in the years after 1947 when the business returned to the Tustin Lumber Co. name.

One can only speculate that perhaps Tingley’s heirs assumed ownership after his death and possibly leased out the business.

Regardless, it was successful until the arrival of Home Depot and other “big box” home centers.


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