Spanish Colonial style popular in ’20s Tustin

by Juanita Lovret
Reprinted courtesy of the Tustin News

Written prior to and to promote the 2010 Tustin Historical Society Home and Garden Promenade

Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture in the United States can be traced back to three grand hotels built in St. Augustine, Fla., in the 1880s, copying the style of century-old buildings remaining from the time of the Spanish rule in the city.

The style spread to New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, Texas and California, where it was used in the buildings for the San Diego Exposition in 1915 as well as for the rebuilding of Santa Barbara in the early 1920s following a disastrous fire. El Capitan Theater, which was built in Hollywood in 1918, is an excellent example of the architectural style, which features stucco, arched entries and red clay tile roofs.

The style was popular as Tustin’s residential area expanded in the 1920s. Pacific Street, which was extended from Main to Sixth by Harry Marple in 1924, has several outstanding examples of small homes adapting the Spanish Colonial Revival style.

One of these homes is included on the Tustin Area Historical Society’s annual Old Town Promenade on Saturday, May 1. The Santa Ana Improvement Co. built the home for Floyd and Daisy Turner in 1925. Using a U-shaped design, the single story stucco-clad house has a flat roof with a shaped parapet. A gabled wing capped by a red clay tile roof extends from the front facade on the south side.

Turner, a foreman for the Tustin Lemon Association and later for the Central Lemon Association packing house, and his wife occupied the house until 1945, when they sold it to Roy and Elsie Combs, who used it as rental property.
John and Bessie Atchison bought the house in 1946 and lived there until 1949. The next owners were Earl Rowenhorst, assistant superintendent for the Tustin Water Works, and his wife, Lillian. Present owners are Jerry and Martha Montgomery.

The second Spanish Colonial Revival style house on the tour is very different in appearance, either by original design or remodeling. Believed to have been built around 1928, the stucco-clad, single-story has a flat-roofed parapet facade topped with red clay tile. The symmetrical front facade has a center entry and porch reached by three concrete steps. A glass-paned door and side lights are used in place of a traditional wooden door.

Little is known of the builder or original owner. J. Roy Teter, a Tustin city councilman from 1950-52, lived in the house from about 1930 to 1945. Present owner is Andy Durant, who grew up in the house during the time it was owned by Loren V. Liles. Present tenants are Michael Baugh and Elli England.

Tickets for the Tustin Area Historical Society’s annual Old Town Promenade on May 1, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., are available at the Museum for $20 pre-sale ($25 at the door).

Contact the museum at 714-731-5701 for more information or go to the Web site at


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