|"Santa Ana is a beautiful city. Many of its streets are ornamented with graceful pepper and gum trees and its residences models of architectural skill...For after all, the houses we live in are a pretty good index of our civilization and progress."|
Craftsman Row on French Street between 10th and Washington
from History of Santa Ana City and Valley,1887.
This 40 page booklet, placed in a time capsule for 100 years, was republished in 1999 by The Paragon Agency
During the 1890s, George Wright purchased a triangular-shaped area from this subdivision for his new home. The property was eventually bought by surrounding neighbors. Mr. Wright's home, at left, was moved from this plot to the southeast corner of Minter (then G. St.) and Vance Place. When the house was moved, the neighbors donated the vacated land to the city for a park, with the stipulation that French Street be opened to its full width. Flatiron Park, named because it was shaped like a flatiron, is now known as French Park.
The turn-of-the-century brought wealth and
prosperity to Santa
Ana. When Miles Crookshank
built his large, beautifully-detailed
Colonial Revival house
at 802 North French in 1900, it set the standard for more Colonial
Revival, Victorian and Neo-Classical homes
to be built along the oak tree-lined street. The area
soon became known as the "Nob Hill" of Orange County. By 1905 the
lots in the north end of the neighborhood were beginning to fill
up with superior versions of the Craftsman
Growth and Decline...
By 1910 there were 8,429 persons living in Santa Ana. During the late teens and twenties a dozen unique Spanish Colonial and Spanish Eclectic Revival homes and fourplex apartment buildings were contructed on the few remaining lots in French Park. The 900 block of Lacy still contains several of these graceful buildings.
The 1940s brought thousands of military men from
all over the country to serve at the four large military bases in
Orange County. Several of the large houses in French Park were spacious
enough to be divided into apartments for the families of these young
men. Many of the original owners had died and their children were
established elsewhere. The conversion of these fine old homes to
rooming houses and apartments, coupled with absentee landlord owners,
began a period of neighborhood decline. Some of the great
Victorians, including the house of
C.E. French, were
down and replaced by large
parking lots, apartment complexes and condominiums.
One that survived, the
Dr. Howe-Waffle House, was moved to the corner of
Civic Center Drive and Sycamore Street to be restored.
The movement to preserve and restore the French Park neighborhood
began in the late l970s. A new group of people with an appreciation
for old houses began to move into the neighborhood. They organized
the Historic French Park Association in 1979 with the goal of
working together to solve problems and enhance the historical
features of the remaining original buildings. In a positive step
toward preservation of the area, the association began working
with the City to create the French Park Historic District. The
district was formally established by the City Council in