Originally: El Dorado Ranch
Location: 225 W. Union Avenue
1919 (remodeled in 1953): California Ranch
This estate home is the last surviving example of the residences of the Chapmans, considered by many to be the city’s foremost pioneer family, and the site is linked to other prominent people of Fullerton's early development. The house is situated on a 3.9-acre parcel, which is the remaining lot of the initial 90-acre El Dorado Ranch. An early owner of this ranch was E. K. Benchley, a leading businessman who served on the first City Council. In 1919, the original two-story house was constructed with a Spanish-style design. Stanley Chapman bought the property in 1931. In the early 1950s, the house was extensively remodeled and enlarged. One-story wings were added to flank the original two-story structure. No alterations have taken place since this remodel, and the house’s exterior features, have been carefully maintained.
Stanley Chapman was the son of Charles C. Chapman – the man who brought an enormous boom to the area in the late 19th century with his cultivation and marketing of the Valencia orange. Stanley succeeded his father as president of the Placentia Orchard Company and Chapman Building Company. He constructed the Alician Court Theatre (now the Fox Fullerton) in the 1920s, naming the building after his wife, Alice. Throughout their life in Fullerton, the Chapmans were very active in local educational and philanthropic organizations. The home was used frequently for large gatherings, especially by the Shriners and Masons, to raise funds for their charities.
The current use of the property continues this legacy. Now under the ownership of California State University, Fullerton, the house now serves as the official residence and reception facility for the President of the University.