by Juanita Lovret
Reprinted from The Tustin News, © 2001 Juanita Lovret.
Used with permission.
Tustin had no elevators while I was growing up although there were two
buildings with second floors. Bank Hall atop the historic First National Bank of
Tustin building really didnít count because no one ever seemed to use it by
the Ď30s. The second floor of the Knights of Pythias building, however, was in
constant use. Lodge brothers and their counterparts, Pythian Sisters, frequently
trudged up and down the steep stairs. On occasion others used the facility.
Tustin High often held dances in the ballroom. The stairs as was customary in
buildings of that age, circa 1925, were tucked in between the front windows of
the drug store, now the Chamber of Commerce offices, and the adjoining shop.
These steps are still the only access to the lodge rooms although they have
been made easier with the addition of a sit down elevator.
The unpleasantness of having to visit our doctorís office in the Surgeon
Building in Santa Ana were softened by the opportunity to ride in an elevator.
A cigar-newspaper-candy counter manned by a old codger who always wore a vest
and visor fronted the miniscule lobby entrance off Fourth Street.
Behind this was the single elevator to the three floors of offices.
Elevators in those days were not self operated. An attendant welcomed you to
his conveyance and asked whose office you were visiting. He would then close the
door, push one of the buttons on the operating panel and chat with you until the
elevator stopped at the correct floor. Other passengers were rare, but if
another person or two crowded in with you, he could deliver them to their
destination with the same ease.
Rankinís Dry Goods Store also had an elevator to take you to the office on
the mezzanine or the third floor. Since the childrenís department was located
on three, I got to ride in that elevator quite often. Although Santa Ana had
other buildings with elevators including the townís first high rise, the First
National Bank building erected in 1923, and the Masonic Temple built in 1930, I
donít remember riding in them.
Stairs I remember. As seventh and eighth graders we raced or labored up to
our dancing class, depending on our mood, using the steep flight
of steps leading to the hall over the Alpha Beta grocery store. Climbing to the
second floor of the Penney store was easier. Their staircase was wide with a
Visiting Mrs. Danigerís tearoom on the second floor of the Santora Building
for lunch or dinner was an elegant experience. A little girl could only feel
graceful and glamorous. drifting up the beautiful Spanish style double
Then came the day my mother and I came up against our first self-operated
elevator in a multi-story building in an Anaheim, but thatís another story.