Local News

Fullerton Heritage Presents: Local Landmark #50: John E. Phillips House 

(147 West Ash Avenue)

In 1910, mining engineer John Edwin Phillips (1854-1943) moved from Denver, Colorado to Fullerton with his wife Anna Laurie (“Annie”) (b. 1861), and son, James Henry Phillips, Sr. (1891-1953). He purchased a 5½-acre walnut grove from J.E. Walker for $11,000 on South Harbor Blvd (then Spadra Rd). Phillips quickly joined the Fullerton-Placentia Walnut Assoc, concentrating on farming, but later became an investment broker and real estate agent. He played an instrumental role in bringing the Pacific Electric Railroad to Fullerton; served as the City representative for the US Good Roads Assoc; and was unanimously elected as president of the Valencia Ave Improvement Assoc, which worked to pave Valencia Ave from Harbor to Magnolia Ave.

The Phillips’ family initially lived in a 1908 Victorian-style home on the property, but in 1915, they built a new impressive Craftsman bungalow adjacent to their grove dwelling. The unusual one-and-a-half story residence, with nearly 2,000 square feet of living area, exhibits classic Craftsman detailing multiple, low-pitched gable roofs supported by decorative outriggers, wide eaves on all sides, all major windows treated alike, and a combination of horizontal wood siding and shingles on all sides of the house. Plastered plinths with elaborate wooden posts composed of multiple brackets – suggesting the influence of Japanese architecture on Craftsman designs – build up the main front porch gable. It is the only example of Western Stick Style Craftsman architecture in Fullerton.

Around 1922/23, the home was moved to its current location at 147 West Ash Avenue. The home’s two chimneys were added on the west side at that time. In the early 1970s, the Song family took ownership of the residence and reported that numbering and lettering were on

building parts that could be viewed in the attic, indicating that the dwelling was a kit home that was manufactured in parts, then brought to the Phillips’ property and assembled. The residence was most likely manufactured in Los Angeles by the Pacific Ready-Cut Homes, Inc., which built dozens of homes in Fullerton. Amazingly, the 1908 Victorian-style home that the Phillips’ family first occupied is still at 511 South Harbor Boulevard, tucked behind the Stache House Barbershop.

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