Friday, September 25, 2020

A bit of housekeeping...

I finally cleaned up some of the links (at right) and added new separate sections for historical preservation, state/regional history, and historical local newspaper resources. The list of links had just gotten way too long and unwieldy, and I hope these revisions will make navigation a little easier.

Of  course, it was also time to add and remove links as needed. 

I was sad to finally remove the link to the Orange County Agricultural and Nikkei Heritage Museum at Cal State Fullerton. A lot of people worked their butts off to make that museum a reality and many people donated a lot of money to get that place off the ground. But the fact that the website is (still) devoid of information and the complete lack of buzz in the community tells me it's probably not really a thing anymore. But as hope springs eternal, I *do* still provide a link to the Fullerton Arboretum, where the museum is located.

Similarly, I was sorry to take the Orange County Heritage Coordinating Council off the list of links. I haven't heard about any activity in the group in at least five years. HCC was a nice networking tool for those working in the local history and heritage services field. A lot of cross-pollination of ideas and mutual assistance and problem-solving went on among the members. But when one generation of leadership stepped down, nobody stepped in to take over. The idea behind HCC seems to be reborn at least once a decade under another name, although it may have to wait until this COVID mess is over.

Meanwhile, I also noticed  that one of our friends at the Buena Park Historical Society must have goofed. For many years, they've had THE best domain name imaginable: I've never known how they managed to snag that plum before any other historical society in the world got their hands on it! But for a long time the site has been down, and now it seems they didn't renew the domain, since their new site is at

I've also added a few new links that somehow slipped through the cracks in the past. I'm particularly sorry for having NOT provided a link to the Olinda Oil Museum and Trail until now. It's a fascinating place to visit and is run by some good people.

Anyway, if you see anything else I've missed, let me know. Thanks for your continued readership!

The Heine House (1902), Santa Ana

Photo of the Heine House (Courtesy Louise Hoffman)

The Heine House, at 820 W. 4th St. in Santa Ana, is long gone now – but it was something of a landmark for over 70 years. Louise Hoffman of the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society is related to the Heines and asked what was known about the house. The answer is “not enough.” But here’s what I found,…

On July 21, 1902, C. M. and Ollie Nash sold an empty residential lot on the southeast corner of W. 4th St. (now W. Santa Ana Blvd.) and N. Flower St. in Santa Ana to Mrs. Mary S. Parker. She, in turn, had a house built for herself on that lot (820 W. 4th St.) during the last half of 1902. 

Mary was born in Maine around 1850. Her maiden name is unknown. She was living in Massachusetts in 1879, when she gave birth to her son, Charles E. Smith. They moved from the East Coast to Santa Ana in 1884. Later that year, her daughter, May O. Parker (later May Heard), was born. Mary did not arrive in Santa Ana with a husband, suggesting that she had either been widowed or separated from Mr. Parker very shortly before her move west and the birth of their daughter, May. 

Ultimately, Mary would live forty-seven years of her life in Santa Ana, where she would establish her own business as a dressmaker and become active in the First Baptist Church. 

She must have had some money put away, because building such a large new home would have been difficult if not impossible to afford on a dressmaker’s income.

On November 11, 1908, Mary -- now going by Mrs. Mary S. Chilson (and listed as "divorced" in the census) – sold the house to Electa Phillips Perry and her son, Elma H. Davis.

In 1909, Charles, who was by then farming in Valley Center (San Diego County), got married. Mary went to live with Charles and his wife for a while, but soon moved back to Santa Ana. From at least 1920 until her death in 1931, Mary lived at 821 N. Van Ness Ave.    

Meanwhile, the story of the house at 820 W. 4th St. continued, with the Davis family using it as a rental property. Some of the tenants there included C. A. Riggs (1909), Rev. Amos Fowler Roadhouse (1910), Maurine E. Baker (1912), John Rhea Baker (1913), C. A. Bowers (1917), H. M. Penn (1918), and Ada C. Walters (1919).

On February 6, 1920 Elma H. Davis sold the house to Frank H. and Ora Kennedy Heine. (It appears they swapped land, with Davis receiving Lot 344, Block 13 of Irvine's Subdivision from Heine.) Rather than renting out the whole house, as Davis had, the Heines moved in around late 1921 and stayed through at least 1960. They did, however, lease out a room or two to boarders in the early 1920s. Frank worked at a local fruit packing house, where he was in charge of manufacturing crates. 

Frank H. Heine died in 1963, with his estate going to Ora. She remained in the house until 1971, when she moved to a smaller house at 1121 N. Flower St. In early 1972, she deeded the old house at 820 W. 4th St. to John N. and Max K. Heine. John and Max, in turn, sold the lot to the City of Santa Ana in March 1975. The house was torn down around that same time. Ora K. Heine died on March 28, 1980.

There is now a rather boring office building called the "888 Building" where the house once stood.