Tustin City

A Trip to Tustin City, and a Description of that Locality – How the Crops Look and Why they Look that Way – Some General Remarks Concerning Everything in General and Several things in Particular

(Southern Californian, May 17, 1873)

…Of all the traits of character which we admire, there is none more worthy of our admiration that hospitality. And nowhere on the globe are people more generously hospitable than in California, and nowhere in California do they show the same hospitality as in and around Anaheim. Ask Sam Hamilton of Los Angeles what he thinks of Anaheim hospitality; ask anyone who has visited our orange-groves and vineyards – and then ask them how the different brands of wine affects them the next morning. We are led to these remarks on hospitality by the kindness with which we were received by Mr. C. Tustin and his excellent wife. We will long remember our first visit to them – and come again.


Mr. Columbus Tustin and N.O. Stafford bought, in 1867, a tract of land consisting of thirteen hundred and fifty-nine acres, situated about three miles east of the town of Santa Ana and about nine miles from Anaheim. They afterwards divided their land, each retaining six hundred and seventy-nine and one-half acres. Mr. Tustin has sold to different parties about two hundred and twenty-five acres, and Mr. Stafford about three hundred and sixty acres. The land is exceedingly rich, and like that of its near neighbor – Richland – is eminently adapted for the growth of fruit. Mr. Tustin has planted this season nearly six hundred orange trees, one hundred and fifty trees of different varieties, and several thousand vines, and in conjunction with Mr. Harris, has planted a nursery of several thousand trees, from which they expect to realize quite a handsome sum. McClay, who bought eighty acres on the Stafford tract, has set out five hundred almond, two hundred peach, pear and orange trees, and ten acres of vines. All the settlers have planted more or less fruit trees this season, and though without the means of irrigation, will lose but very few. We observed that the surface of the ground was perfectly dry and parched, and expressed our astonishment to Mr. Harris that his trees grew so well on such ground, and we were considerably surprised when he removed the soil to the depth of four or five inches and showed us that the earth was – not damp – but perfectly wet. The corn that has been planted lately looks exceedingly well, but the barley is sadly in need of moisture.


Mr. Tustin has laid out one hundred and twenty acres in city lots, and has, at his own expense, built one of the most handsome school-houses to be found in the county. The building can lay claim to more architectural beauty than any outside of Los Angeles, and is an ornament to the town, and a just source of price to Mr. Tustin. The average attendance of scholars is twenty. The School Fund having been exhausted rather prematurely, a lady teacher has opened a private school, and has about twenty pupils, all remarkably bright children, who have evidently been under the care of an efficient and experienced teacher. A large hotel has also been erected; for the accommodation of visitors, and a Postoffice has been established, at which the San Diego and Los Angeles stage stops every day. Mr. N.T. Harris is Postmaster, and although not a young man, contrives to discharge his arduous duties to the entire satisfaction of every one. The location for a town is excellent, and we prophecy that in a few years, under the intelligent administration of Mr. Tustin, the city will be one of the most thriving and prosperous in the new county.


It has become an established fact, that without facilities for irrigation, farming or fruit-raising will “not pay.” No matter how wet the winter is, the fruit trees must have water during the hot summer months, in order that their growth may be healthy and their yield abundant. The majority of the settlers in Santa Ana and Tustin having decided to devote all their energies to the culture of fruit, and being aware that their efforts would not be crowned with success unless water in abundance was to be had, have formed an association for the purpose of bringing water from the Santa Ana river in a ditch of their own. A proposition was made to them by the owners of the A.B. Chapman Canal to supply them with water, on what they all agreed to be fair and reasonable terms. The proposition, however, was rejected, and they have already commenced work upon their own ditch, and expect to have it completed by next September. Should their ditch be a success, we are assured that several hundred thousand trees and vines will be planted next season.