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Historic Resources in Fullerton

Historic Resources in Fullerton

Historic Resources in The Fullerton Plan

The most current list of Historic Resources and their designations are found in The Fullerton Plan sections linked below:

  • Historic Preservation Tables and Exhibits - (starting on page 131) contains names, addresses and current designations of Historic Resources (properties) as well as maps.
  • Historic Preservation - (starting on page 43) Chapter 3 of Master Element A describes the goals and policies of The Fullerton Plan in relation to historic preservation.

Local History Room - Formerly "The Launer Room"

Information about the early history and development of Fullerton may be found in the materials kept in the Fullerton Library's Local History Room.

Fullerton Through The Years

This survey, completed in the early 2000's, contains color photographs and descriptive histories of many Fullerton buildings and features.  For up-to-date designations of Historic Resources, please see the documents listed in The Fullerton Plan (top of this page).


Entire Document (29MB, 173 pages)
Cover, Table of Contents, Introduction (pages I to V, File size: 0.4 MB)

Pre - 1900: Residential and Nonresidential Development (Download PDF pages 1 - 9, File size: 1.2 MB)

The decades before 1900 witnessed the first settlements in the Fullerton area. Little structural evidence remains of this period. Of the earliest times -- those before 1890 -- only a very few buildings remain, most of them of no particular architectural style. The Porter House is an excellent example of the type: attractive but undistinguished. However, square Colonial Revival houses, with hipped roofs and verandahs along at least one side, were also common and particularly favored for grove houses. Only with the increased settlements of the 1890s did architecture become more “stylish.” Late Victorian designs, both Queen Anne and Eastlake as well as some idiosyncratic combinations, characterize much of the house building of the time.

In this agrarian era housing was widely scattered, so neighborhoods in the conventional sense were nonexistent.

Only one commercial building survives from this era: the Amerige Brothers’ Realty Office -- a structure that has been moved from its original location.

In this period a major change occurred in the design of housing. Although some of the 19th century styles continued to be used, there were two new types of architecture that appeared. One was the Mission Revival style that celebrated California’s past in its conscious use of elements from the Missions. Most frequently used in public structures, the style also appears occasionally in private residences. Contemporaneous with this backward-looking style was one that pointed to the future: the Craftsman bungalow. It emphasized traditional crafts in revealing the structural truths of a building, while at the same time providing economical, attractive housing. The bungalow was adapted to California’s climate by its deep eaves and low profiles. Heating costs were reduced and interiors were functional.

Many of the important residences in this era are the grove houses of the community’s ranchers. Several were constructed away from the city’s townsite – either along Orangethorpe Avenue or east along Chapman and Commonwealth Avenues. Some housing of this period exists because it was later moved from its original location when economic conditions warranted a more productive use of the property.

The Chapman House was probably the most remarkable local residence of this era, but unfortunately, it was demolished in 1960.

The first neighborhoods began to establish themselves as lots are bought and improved with housing. Only a few additional subdivisions of land were platted for residential development outside of the original townsite.


1900 - 1917: Non-residential Development (Download PDF pages 32 - 40, File size: 1.0 MB)

The growth of the community through the end of World War I is characterized by brick commercial buildings replacing the initial wood framed structures in the center of town and a steady, if modest, construction of housing within the blocks of the original townsite. The City of Fullerton incorporated in 1904, and while civic pride led to street improvements, no lasting public buildings were constructed in this era. Spadra Road (Harbor Boulevard) and Commonwealth Avenue witnessed the bulk of commercial development.

1918 - 1925: Residential Development (Download PDF pages 41 - 54, File size: 1.5 MB)

The early 1920s were a time of rapid growth, both economically and physically for Fullerton. Post-World War I prosperity and the demands for housing by a population with greater expectations stimulated the expansion of the housing stock. It is to these years that the oldest neighborhoods in Fullerton date.

The construction of rental housing is another indication that Fullerton was evolving from an agricultural community to one having a more diverse economy.

The California bungalow – a simpler, less detailed version of its Craftsman ancestor – was the predominant type of house being built for modest income families, although a few small Spanish Colonial Revival houses were also constructed. Many of the city’s mature street trees were planted at this time, reflecting the heightened concern for landscaping that compliments the architecture of the community. The first real developers, in particular E. S. Gregory, were active at this time.

Much more diversity in style and design was found in housing for the wealthy. These are represented in the several grove and ranch houses scattered throughout the community.

1918 - 1925: Non-Residential Development (Download PDF pages 55 - 75, File size: 3.22 MB)

In this period the City experienced new commercial construction with major buildings that largely define the Central Business District today. Spadra Road (Harbor Boulevard) was the focus of much of this construction, but less important industrial and service structures filled the side streets, in particular West Santa Fe Avenue.

The brick commercial structures dominate by the end of this period, and a few major public buildings date to these years as well, designed in the preferred Spanish Colonial Revival style. However, the city’s premiere commercial structure that was built at this time, the Chapman Building, does not reflect a Spanish design but an architectural style typically used for high-rise buildings in business districts of large cities.


    1926 - 1930: Residential Development (Download PDF pages 76 - 93, File size: 2.3 MB)

    This brief period was perhaps the greatest time of growth for Fullerton prior to the 1950s. The booming economy generated a demand for housing, and for the first time there was a market for exclusive neighborhoods. Not only was there a need for more housing but for residences of a more sophisticated type. Houses designed with Spanish Colonial and Cottage styles were built in response.

    At the same time, concentrations of larger, more expensive residences appeared in several hillside subdivisions specifically promoted as high quality neighborhoods. Some of the Significant Properties of this period are the special housing in these areas.

    Apartment developments, some built in a courtyard pattern, continued to be constructed to meet an evergrowing demand for housing.

    1926 - 1930: Non-residential Development (Download PDF pages 94 - 110, File size: 1.4 MB)

    The first wave of prosperity, 1919-1925, had prompted major commercial construction in the downtown area, and the same was true of this second phase of development. Generally, new construction was further removed from the city’s core. Two major civic buildings completed in 1930 – the Santa Fe Depot and Plummer Auditorium – were the culmination of several years of community planning and construction.

    The effect of the Depression, which did not become widespread until the second half of 1930, effectively ended this era of growth.


    1931 - 1946: Non-residential Development (Download PDF pages 111 - 121, File size: 1.3 MB)

    Quality commercial architecture for this period was restricted to a few buildings, all in the Streamline Moderne style. The construction of the First Lutheran Church was important, both in its coherent design as well as a symbolic undertaking of the time. Several major public buildings and facilities were constructed in Fullerton, many with the benefit of the WPA. Again, a Spanish Colonial Revival architecture was the favored style for these buildings.

    Post WWII - Section Two: Potential Landmark Districts (Download PDF pages 122 - 150, File size: 4.0 MB)
    A number of distinct neighborhoods emerged from the City's early roots. Sixteen such neighborhoods or districts are identified in this section and each is briefly described with text and photos of representative housing construction. Maps of the Districts are also included.

    Section Three: Potential Significant Properties (Download PDF pages 151 - 158, File size: 1 MB)List of Properties:

    • Residential Development
      • Richman House, 1897
      • Quine House and Office, 1903
      • Cooke House, 1908
      • Sitton House, 1920
      • Bridgford House, 1927
      • Lillian Yaeger House, 1928
      • Coroles House, 1940
    • Non-residential Development
      • First United Methodist Church, 1929
      • Kohlenberger Building, 1930
      • Maple School, 1936
      • Beckman Instruments Building, 1953
      • Hunt Wesson Administrative Building, 1960
    • Streetscape Features of Cultural Importance
      • Hitching post, 1907
      • Bells along El Camino Real, c. 1910
      • Flagstone bench, c. 1940

    Index (pages 159 - 163, File size: 291 KB)