Sexlinger Farmhouse & Orchard

Project Address: 1584 E Santa Clara Avenue

Updated: August 29, 2019


Project Manager: Vince Fregoso, AICP - Principal Planner

Phone: (714) 667-2713




On June 4, 2012, the City Council approved a resolution that listed the Sexlinger Farmhouse and Orchard on the Santa Ana Register of Historic Properties.  The action designated the site as “key” because it met the selected criteria of being 50 years or older and was connected with a business or use which was once common but is now rare.  The Sexlinger site is the last intact orange grove in Santa Ana remaining from the period of time when orange growing was the predominant business and land use in this area and exemplifies an important period in the city’s history.   

On June 12, 2012, the property owners filed a Notice of Intent to Demolish the site.  This filing commences a minimum 8-month process that requires the Historic Resources Commission (HRC) to investigate feasible alternatives to demolition.  These alternatives include, but are not limited to, seeking private parties and other financial sources who may be willing to purchase the structure for restoration or relocation; publicizing the availability of the structure for restoration or relocation purposes; exploring possible sites for relocating the historic building if on-site preservation is not possible; or, suggesting to the City Council that the City purchase the structure when private preservation or relocation is not feasible.  A study on these alternatives, as well as other potential alternatives, is currently underway.  Future hearing will be held during the 8-month review period.  In the meantime, the proposed Tava development project will be on hold.


Project Description

Tava Development Company has submitted a proposal to construct 24 new single-family residences on approximately 5-acres located within the Single Family Residential (R-1) zoning district and a General Plan designation of Low Density Residential (LR). The project proposes a vesting tentative tract map to subdivide the site into 24 parcels for single-family residences ranging in size from 2,340 to 2,777 square feet and a frontage variance for two of the lots. The property is bounded roughly by East Santa Clara Avenue to the north, Portola Park on the east, Avalon Avenue to the south, and Concord Street on the west.


Site Description/History1584 Santa Clara - Aerial Photo

The 5-acre property is an historic-age orchard landscape of which the major features include the remnants of a Valencia orange orchard, a residence, and a garage (McClelland et al. 1989, Revised 1999:15-18 Dolan 2009:180).  The land has been historically used as an orange orchard since c. 1913, when it was likely planted by Perry Grout, and as the Sexlinger family's residence and orchard from 1914 to 2006.  The boundary of the landscape is demarcated by the boundaries of the 5-acre parcel occupied by the Sexlinger family for 90 years.  The landscape's spatial organization is very simple with only two clusters of land uses: residential (the residence and garage) at the northwest corner of the parcel adjacent to a main thoroughfare.  Santa Clara Avenue, and the orchard that fills the remaining northeast portion of the parcel.

Sexlinger Orchard PhotoThe principal vegetation type is approximately 250 Valencia orange trees grafted to lemon rootstock.  The trees appear to be low-headed with short trunks and pruned in the open bowl style, the common orchard tree form in the United States between 1881 and 1945 (Dolan 2009).  Exact measurements were not taken as a part of this investigation; however, it appears based on a review of photographs of the trees in relation to the height of the residence and fence, that the trees are no more than 20 feet tall.  The orange trees are arranged in a rectangular grid 20 rows wide (east to west) and 25 rows long (north to south).  The paths between the trees, which represent the only obvious circulation network in the landscape, are approximately 20 feet wide and 400 feet (east to west) and 350 fee (north to south) long.  Between 1952 and 1980 approximately half of the trees were removed, leaving the approximately 250 trees currently present.  The orchard has not been occupied since 2006.  Some of the trees appear to bear fruit based on a review of recent photographs of the property.


The ResidenceSexlinger Farmhouse Photo

The residence was built in 1914 and is a craftsman-style single-family residence.  It occupies the northwest corner of the lot and has a north-facing orientation.  It is one story with a rectangular plan.  The building features a low-pitched cross-gabled and hipped roof, covered with non-historic fiberglass shingles and a brick chimney. Two gables face northward: one offset to the west and detailed with king post truss, the other centered over a squared, projecting central bay and containing a double flanked by knee braces.  The roof terminates in overhanging eaves with exposed rafter tails and triangular knee braces.  The walls are clad with redwood vertical board siding.  Louvers in the gable ends have vertical laths, which are arranged in pairs on the north elevation and in pairs flanking a six-light window on the east elevation.  The building has wood-frame windows, with large tripartite windows in the primary facade and double-hung sash windows on the side and rear elevations.  the windows are arranged asymmetrically.  Most of the windows have been covered with sheets of plywood, leaving wood frames partially visible.  A cutaway porch is located on the west half on the primary facade and is supported by a square column of manufactured brick.  The elevated main entry, which is located under the porch and reached via two concrete steps, is filled with the original single oak door with vertical lights and recessed panels and is covered with a modern metal security door.  A rear entry on the south elevation is elevated up concrete steps and is filled with a single door with lights and recessed panels, covered with a metal security door.


Current Status

Under Construction

  • Approved for 24 single-family residences


Past Meetings


Important Documents

Sexlinger Farmhouse & Orchard Notice of Availability to Purchase
Sexlinger Farmhouse & Orchard - DEIR Notice of Availability (November 2012)

Response to Comments on Additional Alternatives & Green House Gas Analysis (January 2014)
Additional Alternatives & Green House Gas Analysis (December 2013)
Sexlinger Farmhouse & Orchard Findings of Fact
Sexlinger Orchard Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR)

Appendix A
Initial Study

Appendix B - Technical Reports
Air Quality Memo with References
Biological Resources Technical Memorandum, 06/2011
Cultural Technical Memo/Hybrid Development Alternative, FINAL
Geotechnical Evaluation Proposed Stormwater
Hydrology Study
Noise Analysis Memo with Table
Phase I Update Memo
Preliminary Geotechnical Evaluation
TAVA Supplemental Cultural Technical Memo (December, 2011)
Traffic Technical Memorandum Sexlinger Orchard Hybrid Alternative

Appendix C
Sexlinger Revised Cultural Report: Comments and Responses - January 2012
Sexlinger Draft EIR: Comments and Responses - October 2011


Historic Preservation Links

Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society

National Trust for Historic Preservation

California Preservation Foundation

Old House Journal

LA Conservancy

Historical Society of Southern California

Historic Preservation Services

California State Parks, Office of Historic Preservation