Location: 771 W. Orangethorpe Avenue 1882: Colonial Revival
This wood framed grove house is now the oldest home existing in Fullerton. Originally built by John Kerr in 1882, the home first stood in the midst of a vineyard. The growing of grapes subsequently changed to apricots, plums and walnuts, and during the first decade of this century, to oranges.
Rufus Porter, son of pioneer rancher Benjamin Porter, bought the property in 1919, and the orange production continued on the 40 acres of land until 1952, at which time a tract of housing replaced the grove. The Porter family continued ownership of the house until 1984, when it was renovated and enlarged for use as a restaurant. It is now being used as a residential rehabilitation facility.
Although architecturally unremarkable, this structure is an excellent example of an early Fullerton grove house. The prominent architectural features of the original two-story residence include the compound gable roof with its high pitch, the large mullioned window on the front façade, the clapboard siding, and the verandah along the east side. The addition in 1984 was attached to the north side. It was designed to be visually compatible with the house’s architecture but also be different enough to indicate that is not part of the original structure. The reconstructed brick chimney and new stairway provides a logical break between the old and the new.
The layout of parking and driveways on the site is in response to preserving as many of the trees that were part of the house’s setting.