History: Country Doctor In Fullerton
For those who have visited the Fullerton Arboretum located on the northeast corner of the campus of California State University, Fullerton, you have noticed the beautiful water feature, obviously, the wonderful foliage and the Heritage House. On a recent trip, I walked around the structure, took some photos, then wondered what this house was all about.
Some of my questions were, “Who’s house was this?”, “Was it always here?”, and “if not, where did it come from, who moved it here and why?” So I did a quick google search, some of my own web searching, asked some questions and found the following answers.
As to who’s home this was, it was built by Dr. George C. Clark, one of the city of Fullerton’s original country doctors, for his wife, Edith and to serve as his office. It was originally built in 1894 in the original townsite of Fullerton on 114 North Lemon Street and is a wonderful example of an Eastlake style cottage. Eastlake designs usually employ the use of geometric ornaments, spindles, artistic low relief carvings, and incised lines with beveled and stained glass windows. The Clarks lived in this home for over fifty years where Dr. and Mrs. Clark raised two children.
Why was this house moved? The house fell into disrepair after years of being passed from one owner to another. Eventually it was slated to be demolished by the City of Fullerton for a street-widening project. In 1972, a group of people formed to save the house (NOTE: one group to save the house, the other to form the Fullerton Arboretum combined) and petitioned the local government, who were willing to give the house to them if they could find a suitable location for it, and on the stipulation that it be fully restored. Eventually it was moved to what would later become the Fullerton Arboretum on the northwest corner of the campus of Cal State University, Fullerton. It has been fully restored, named “Heritage House”, furnished and as of July 2018, it is a museum of family life and medical practice of the 1890s. Later, a Woodmanse windmill and pump house were added as well as a medicinal garden to replicate where many of the herbs and other cures that were used in Dr. Clark’s practice may have come from. During the years of his practice, Dr. Clark personally delivered more than 2,500 babies.
Dr. Clark was not only a country doctor, but also highly involved in the community. He was one of the first Fullerton City Council members and was key to the establishment of the Fullerton General Hospital, which was constructed in 1913.