|1892 – 1923
|The following was taken from the National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form. This information was originally written about 1978.
|This narrative covers the Kroeger-Melrose District and includes the following streets:
The Kroeger-Melrose district is Anaheim’s most cohesive unit of early Twentieth Century housing stock. Although the oldest house in the neighborhood dates to 1892, the majority of the houses were built between 1900 and 1915. The neighborhood contains the highest concentration of Transitional Bungalows with Neo-Classical elements in the city. Combined with the Queen Anne cottage and the Craftsman and California Bungalows, the district is representative of a significant pattern of residential architectural history.
The majority of the houses are compatible in size, scale, setback, rhythm and design. Most possess a significant amount of original integrity. Anaheim was founded as a socialistic colony by fifty German families in San Francisco in the year 1857. The majority of this neighborhood is located on one of the original 20 acre plots laid out in 1857. Subdivided in 1887 by the Anaheim and Improvement Society, the tract was adjacent to the new Santa Fe Railroad station and yard. Two of the streets were named for two of the directors of the group, Richard Melrose and Henry Kroeger, prominent Anaheim citizens.
The typical Anaheimer, dominated by the frugal and conservative German attitudes which were prevalent in the community from 1857 until 1950, did not build a large and ostentatious home. This neighborhood, with its single and 1.5 story bungalows expresses a particular phase in the development of Anaheim’s architectural and social history and enhances the understanding of the typical family neighborhood in place during that period. The story of its development is illustrative of Anaheim’s development and settlement pattern.
The district is geographically defined by two historical and two recently created boundaries. Since its subdivision in 1887, the neighborhood has been bounded by the railroad station and switching yard on the east. On the north is Anaheim’s main commercial street, Lincoln Avenue (once called Center Street). This commercial strip existed early in Anaheim’s history and grew eastward and westward as the town developed. The western border consists of a parking lot and city hall, located on the western side of South Philadelphia. A row of houses has been removed here that belonged to the neighborhood. On the south, new development forms the border in the center, with three houses across the street, on the south side of Broadway included. The three houses are similar in style and size and contribute to the district.
Anaheim was founded in 1857 by a group of fifty German families living in San Francisco. Calling their group, the Los Angeles Vineyard Society, they formed a socialistic society with a goal of purchasing a large tract of land in Southern California and founding their own community. They deplored the decadence of San Francisco and wanted a healthier and cleaner life for their children. The townsite was purchased from the Ontiveros family, surveyed, laid out in 20 acre plots, and prepared for the arrival of the fifty families. The ownership of property was decided by drawing lots. One by one the twenty acre plots have been subdivided and developed.
The majority of the land on which this neighborhood stands was originally owned by Mr. Luedke, a wealthy jeweler, and was known for its elaborate gardens. In 1887 the Santa Fe Railroad joined the Southern Pacific Railroad in serving Anaheim. A corporation, known as the Anaheim Building and Improvement Society was formed to develop this section of town near the new Santa Fe depot. In August of 1887, they purchased the Luedke home and laid out the subdivision intersected by Kroeger and Melrose Streets. The original Luedke family home and outbuildings located on the northern one-third of the block between Olive and Melrose, were sold to the Rimpau family.
Adolph Rimpau, who arrived in town with his family in 1860, ran the town’s successful dry goods store (if one is to judge by the newspaper ads). In late 1887, the Anaheim Building and Improvement society built the Del Campo Hotel on the Southern two-thirds of the block between Olive and Melrose. The huge wooden structure, built in the Queen Anne style, was Anaheim’s answer to the “Boom of the 1880’s”. Never a financial success, the hotel was torn down in 1905 and various parts, including 3,000,000 board feet of serviceable lumber were said to have been used in some of the houses on the block. The only exterior evidence of this was on the house at 129 S. Melrose, demolished in September 1984.
In 1892, S. H. Claybaugh, the Santa Fa station agent built the Queen Anne cottage in which he was to live for many years. Located at 115 S. Olive, it was the first house to be built on the single family lots laid out in 1887. Between 1898, when the Boyd House at 129 S. Olive was built, and 1907, over 20 of the Neo-Classical houses were built throughout the district.
Twenty now remain, with one having burned and two having been demolished. Most of the Craftsman bungalows were built between 1905 and 1915. By 1915 all of the neighborhood was in place except the houses on the Rimpau property, the houses at 203 and 215 S Olive and the three at 206, 210, and 214 S Melrose, (which were in place by 1918).
In 1923 the Rimpau property was subdivided into 11 lots. The five along Lincoln were commercial. Natalia Rimpau, Adolph’s widow, built the bungalow at 119 S. Melrose and Theodore Rimpau built the house at 122 S. Olive, on the other side of the block. The court of California Bungalows, located at 116-118 S. Olive and the duplex at 109-111 S. Melrose were built by the family as income property. The court was called the Anaheim Court and was a popular place for newlyweds to start their new life together. In 1923, the entire neighborhood was in place and remained that way until the 1950’s and 60’s, when a few apartment houses were built.
The district still retains the flavor of a 1915 neighborhood, and is a cohesive unit representative of Anaheim when it was a peaceful town Of 5000 persons. Now having 220,000 residents, the city has changed to an extent that our historic housing stock grows more valuable with each passing year.
…and from another report…
This residential district contains 67 properties located on five streets to the south of Anaheim’s original main commercial street, Lincoln Avenue. The district is a cohesive grouping of Transitional houses with Colonial Revival elements and Craftsman Bungalows, one Queen Anne Cottage and a few California Bungalows. The latter were used as infill in the Twenties. The majority of the homes were built between 1900 and 1915. The four-block area contains the largest concentration of Transitional/Colonial Revival houses in Anaheim.
Craftsman Bungalows, built a few years later, form the second major style.
The mixture of single and 1.5 story dwellings form a pleasing pattern along these streets. The wide streets, medium-sized front yards, mature trees, roofline shapes, and styles of architecture bring a compatibility and comfortable atmosphere to the neighborhood. Most of the houses display notable architectural detailing and collectively form an important example of an early Twentieth Century middle class neighborhood.
Located in a redevelopment area, this neighborhood faces an uncertain future. Some restoration is occurring in the neighborhood…. some homes were never allowed to deteriorate, while others have become somewhat deteriorated.
The Kroeger-Melrose neighborhood retains the atmosphere of an early Twentieth century family neighborhood…of the 67 properties included, 57 are contributing and 10 are non-contributing(to the National Register of Historic Places Inventory). They form a cohesive unit of homes which represent a particular time and place important to Anaheim history. The character of this district is that of an early 20th Century middle class neighborhood. Anaheim, with its German background, retained many frugal attitudes and a dislike of ostentatiousness through the 1940’s. Anaheim never had more than a handful of mansions and even the most prominent businessmen built fairly modest homes.
The members of this closely-knit community set the architectural standards which were used as the community developed. This district contains the largest concentration of Transitional/Colonial Revival homes in Anaheim. The development of the district is revealed by three major stages in the evolution of the bungalow: the early transitional form with Colonial Revival details, the Craftsman Bungalow, and the California Bungalow of the 1920’s. The early turn-of-the-century houses had narrow clap-board siding, front porches with classical columns, diamond-paned windows, bellcast hip roofs, boxed cornices, and carved medallions. They are scattered on all of the streets throughout the neighborhood, with the exception of the east side of Kroeger, which was devoid of houses as late as 1907. The second most common style was the Craftsman Bungalow. Examples of this style are seen along Olive, Melrose, Kroeger, and Broadway with the east side of Kroeger containing a variety of Craftsman and California Bungalows with good detailing.
By 1915 most of the neighborhood was in place. A few California Bungalows and two Spanish Colonial structures were built as infill in 1923. Development of the district was from west to east. The original buildings on this large tract of land were the Luedke home, facing Lincoln, which was built in the 1860’s and its outbuildings. These buildings survived until the early 1920’s, and belonged to the Rimpau family for over 30 years. The tract was subdivided and the streets laid out in August of 1887.
The huge real estate boom hotel of the 1880’s, the Del Campo, was built in the middle of the tract in 1887. Never a financial success, the building was demolished in 1905 and the wood used in several of the houses in the neighborhood. Single family lot development began in 1892 with the Queen Anne cottage at 115 S. Olive, just south of the alley behind Lincoln Avenue.
The Boyd House, two doors to the south at 129 S. Olive, was built in 1898 and is the earliest remaining Transitional/Colonial Revival house in the city. It and a slightly later house around the corner at 208 S. Philadelphia, are the only houses with narrow shiplap siding above the beltcourse at sill height. All of the other houses of this style have narrow clapboard siding. Some of the windows in the Boyd House are rimmed with squares of stained glass in a typical 1880’s pattern. There were still no Craftsman Bungalows in the neighborhood in 1907, however, by 1911 there were three on Melrose, three on Kroeger and four on the north side of Broadway, between Melrose and Kroeger. Single and 1.5 stories high, these bungalows were accented with open triangular braces, carved barge-board ends, lathwork venting and clapboard siding. The district was almost completely filled in by 1915. The few exceptions were the lot at the end of Olive, the last three lots facing Melrose (east side), and the lots facing Lincoln which were still owned by the Rimpau family in 1923. Both Olive and Melrose were filled in by 1918, but the Rimpau tract was not developed until five years later. A bungalow court was built on the Rimpau land facing Olive in 1923 and is one of the few remaining clapboard sided bungalow courts in the city. The Rimpaus also built a California Bungalow for a family member at 122 S. Olive and a Spanish Colonial duplex and residence at 109-111 and 119 S. Melrose. The California Bungalow at 203 S. Olive replaced an earlier house in 1923. Thus the neighborhood was complete. History does not show any significant changes in the neighborhood until the early 50’s. Two houses on S. Philadelphia and two on Melrose were replaced with stucco apartment houses. Another apartment house was built on the back of the lot at 119 S. Melrose and a triplex built at 115 S. Melrose. Both were used to fill in the lots flanking the 1923 Rimpau house. A Craftsman Bungalow at 128-130 S. Olive was replaced with a low profile apartment house and the houses at 122 S. Olive and 120 S. Melrose were modernized. An addition was made to the rear of the house at 112 S. Melrose and some single-story apartments were added to the rear of three of the houses. With the exception of three apartments built on E. Broadway in 1979, there have been no other visible alterations. The neighborhood retains a significant amount of its original integrity.
Of the 67 buildings included in the district, 57 are contributing (to a historical designation) 8 are non-contributing and there are 2 vacant lots. The district is a cohesive area bounded by a parking lot on the west, a commercial strip on the north, industrial and railroad property on the east, and a school, church grounds, new construction and fire station on the south. Three houses of matching styles are included on the south side of Broadway. The entire neighborhood is called Area 4 of Project Alpa, of the Anaheim Redevelopment Agency. The houses along Philadelphia and to the west side of Olive are in immediate danger of demolition. The others have been granted a possible reprieve.