Location: 604 N. Harbor Boulevard 1915: Craftsman Bungalow
This impressive Craftsman style bungalow was built in 1915 for Edward K. Benchley, a prominent businessman and Fullerton’s second mayor. Edward Benchley, along with Charles Chapman, helped initiate and promote the orange packing industry. He was also active in banking concerns, in particular starting the Farmers and Merchants Bank.
The design of this house has been attributed to Benchley’s son, Frank, a local architect who worked primarily in Fullerton and Anaheim. In addition to this house, Frank Benchley is credited with designing several other landmark properties in Fullerton: the bungalow apartments at 314 North Pomona Avenue; the original California Hotel, now Villa del Sol; and the former Masonic Temple, now the Spring Field Conference Center.
Although now in the middle of a busy commercial area, the house retains its original ambience with its attractive grounds and harmony of building and environment. The house remains essentially unaltered since its original construction, even with its conversion as a group home in 1991. The conversion, however, required the construction of a new exterior staircase at the rear of the house.
The actual design of this house is less remarkable than some of the other major Craftsman bungalows in Fullerton, but it still shows the sense of restraint and balance seen in most of Frank Benchley’s work.