Richard Foster was a 14-year-old boy working to irrigate orange groves in central
Anaheim when he first admired a Spanish Colonial home across the field.
Foster figured he would never be able to afford to buy the house at Water and Indiana streets. But by 1959,
Foster had the money to buy his dream home, which was built about 1930.
“I liked the Spanish look of it,” says Foster, a 71-year-old retired telephone and airport maintenance worker, who
lives there with his wife, Frankie, 68.
Crystal and Doug Brown also were captivated by the charm and character of a turn-of-the-century Queen Anne
Victorian home nearby on Citron Street.
“We looked at tract houses, but they weren’t for us,” Crystal Brown, 34, said. “We liked the personality of this
house. We walked in and fell in love.”
For these homeowners and others in old Anaheim, preserving their neighborhood has become as important as
restoring their own homes, built from the late 1800s to the early 1930s in various architectural styles.
In October, the City Council is expected to consider a proposal to create a historic district aimed at recognizing
the architectural, historic and cultural qualities of the neighborhood.
The proposed Anaheim Colony Historic District is bounded by North, South, East and West streets, the original
boundaries that German immigrants called home in the mid-1800s.
Mayor Tom Daly, at a recent workshop on the neighborhood, said the proposed historic district could build
community pride, attract business and improve property values. Residents say it would also help to stabilize the
older neighborhoods.
“We want to make it a place where people want to move and live,” said Mitchell Caldwell, who chairs a historic
preservation committee that supports the district.
Residents already have been instrumental in working with the city to get grant money for new street lighting and
other neighborhood improvements.
In the early 1980s, a survey identified 1,400 architecturally and historically significant structures–mostly
homes–within the proposed district. Some have since been torn down, leaving about 1,100 homes and buildings.
The historic committee, formed last year and made up of 15 residents and city employees, is doing in-depth
historical research into 200 of the remaining homes.
The proposed historic district designation would not affect the use or sale of a property, nor would it impose
design restrictions, Micky Caldwell, also a member of the historic committee, said. But the committee hopes to
establish voluntary guidelines encouraging owners to restore their vintage homes in a fashion appropriate for
the era and age of the house.
“What hurts is to see people modernizing their homes,” said Barbara Gonzalez, 52, who lives in a 74-year-old
Mediterranean Revival house on Ohio Street and is renovating the kitchen, remodeled in the 1970s, back to its
original condition. “Anaheim is losing the examples of architecture from different periods of its history.”
The Browns are restoring their six-bedroom house with front porch, built in 1890, to its original grandeur. “We’ve
put a lot of heart and soul in this house the past four years,” Crystal Brown said.
Caldwell, 48, and his wife, Micky, have lived in a 1912 Mission Revival home on Broadway since 1983 and are
continually working to restore it.
The neighbors agree that the historic district would be a positive step to preserve what’s left of Anaheim’s past.
“It’s an honor to live in an old home,” Gonzalez said. “We’re trying to save a part of history for future