Heritage House – Fullerton Arboretum
Posted on May 30, 2015 / 1545
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Early in the 1970s the possibility of an arboretum located on the CSUF campus began to be discussed among members of the faculty and staff. Then in 1972 it was announced that the City of Fullerton planned to demolish an old house in the heart of the city for a street widening project. The city had purchased the house from the Eicher family. Thus was the stage set for two disparate elements of North Orange County to be brought together into what is now known as the Fullerton Arboretum.Faculty wife Molly McClanahan and community volunteer Jorice Maag alerted the community to this news and began a campaign to save the house and restore it. The city fathers agreed to help save the house if an appropriate location could be found and they insisted that it must be restored. The project crystallized when an area set aside for an arboretum on the CSUF campus was made available for relocation of the house, which would be used as office space for the arboretum. The North Orange County Board of Realtors agreed to restore the building structurally and the city made funds available to move the house. In December, 1972, the midnight cross-town move occurred and the real work began.

The house, which was christened Heritage House as of that dramatic night, was built by one of Fullerton’s pioneer doctors, Dr. George Crook Clark, in 1894. He built the charming Eastlake-style cottage to house both his bride, Edith, and his office. He and his family occupied the home for about ten years.

The structural restoration was coordinated by Diane Swenson of the Board of Realtors. Contributions came from the Realtors, the Associated Students of CSUF, the City of Fullerton and private citizens including the family of Fullerton’s first mayor, C.C. Chapman. Labor for some of the restoration was furnished by the Fullerton College construction classes led by Robert McCorlmick, with advice from architect H.H. Kohlenberger. Landscape architect Myrt Purkiss designed the landscaping for the area surrounding the house to correspond to its original plantings. To create additional community awareness, wooden pickets were distributed to various schools for painting by the children. The pickets were then assembled into a fence at Heritage House.

After the structural restoration was complete, the Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum began to restore and refurnish the interior of the house. Joanne Woodard and Jorice Maag coordinated this effort with a committee which interior design. An attempt was made to recreate the interior of an authentic home and doctor’s office of the 1890s in California. The house displays some original furnishings and memorabilia from the Clark family. Other objects of the appropriate period were donated or purchased.

Other outbuildings were acquired in later years including a tank house, a windmill and an outhouse. The arbor in back of the Heritage House is an oversized version of an arbor on the grounds of Edith Johnston Clark’s family home in Norwalk. All of these buildings, as well as the kitchen and medicinal herb garden, are displayed as they might have been used by the Clark family at the time the house was built. Heritage House was built in 1894 as the home and office of Fullerton’s pioneer physician, Dr. George C. Clark. In 1972 the house was moved from its original town site at the corner of Amerige and Harvard (Lemon) to the Fullerton Arboretum. The restored house now serves as a museum of family life and medical practice of the 1890s. Heritage House is an excellent example of Eastlake Victorian-style architecture, prevalent in Orange County during the late 1800s. The structural elements of the building’s ornamentation and scale are balanced in pleasing proportions. The home is constructed of redwood and fir. Two other historic structures were moved to the Heritage House yard: an 1880s outhouse and an 1895 pump house and windmill. The wisteria-covered arbor was built from plans from an 1880s architectural design book. The gardens and orchards surrounding Heritage House have been planted in a manner typical of the late 19th century. They harken back to the agricultural heritage of Orange County – a way of life that has all but vanished from the Southern California urban landscape. – See more at: http://fullertonarboretum.org/museum_heritage.php#sthash.6ZK5chtt.dpuf

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