Monday, December 10, 2007

Tustin & Lemon Heights - 1950s and 1960s

An OCThen reader named Steve sent us an e-mail several months ago about his memories of growing in Tustin during the 1950's and 1960's...

I was clicking onto some various sites looking for photographs of Tustin and surrounding areas and came across your project, very nice! My family moved to Orange County from Los Angeles in 1956. Our house was about seven miles from Tustin (as the crow flies and there were bunches of them!) The house was a custom built ranch style, built by a contractor named "Cain".

There were thousands of orange trees all around us and the tiny neighborhood, which was comprised of about thirty homes. The main street running north and south was Hewes Avenue. Seventeenth (two lane) stopped at Newport and ran all the way across to Santa Ana, going west. The area that was our spot was called Lemon Heights. Our yard was filled with avacodo, lemon and olive trees as was just about all of our neighbor's yards.

My school years were at Tustin Elementary and Tustin Union High School.

What a place and time! Tustin was a very sleepy quiet berg as I recall. The town was a mixture of small buildings, some were very old, there was a bank, drugstore, small market, lumber yard and a cafe (Ruby's Cafe) and a host of other mom-n-pop business ventures, "Reds Mobile service" (glass jar gas pumps).

Needless to say, the summertimes were the greatest, hiking through the groves, going to the beach (Corona Del Mar, Newport, Huntington Beach, etc.)

In 1961 I joined the Navy as was gone from the area, things changed very quickly, the huge ranch holdings were sold off to developers, the trees were ripped out piled up and burned, with in about three years there were about five thousand homes constructed in and around the vacinity north of Tustin, the rest is history! Even to this day the smell of orange blossom or lemon will bring those memories back, what a time and what a place! Could go on and on!

We've published other memories of growing up in Tustin and Lemon Heights...


  1. I grew up in Tustin and I remember the LTA base on Red Hill, kresgees in Lawrin Square. The tustin Movie theater and Orange groves behind Tustin High that are now apartments.
    Does anyone remeber the Little Red Inn that was a resturant next to Tustin High?
    I now live in Arizona but I really miss Tustin.

    1. A friend's older brother worked at the Little Red Inn as a short order cook for a while.

  2. Sure do. Moved to Tooneyville (Mayberry) in 1960 from Santa Ana. Remeber the Little Red Inn well.

  3. Steve, Was that Tustin Memorial Elementary on Browning Ave.? I went there from '66 to '69.


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