Passage #202: 8 June 2013

Not Quite the End of the Line

In celebration of our 200th ride, we did a series of four weekend, daytime rides. Instead of departing from California Donuts on Wednesday nights as usual, each Saturday for a month we met at Union Station and took a Metrolink train to a remote location to ride.

There was a time (let's say the 1870s) when a moderately successful individual (for instance, a carriage-maker) could buy up nearly a thousand acres of partitioned ranch land and dream a city into existence. And, in a stroke of modesty, said individual might choose to name it after himself. Because why not?

Or, well, you could try.

Columbus Tustin had the land and the dream but he never quite got his city going during his own lifetime, at least. After a few years of trying to sell plots, he ended up having to give them away for free to anyone who would build a home. When he was outmaneuvered by his neighbor to the north, Santa Ana, in his bid to secure the southern terminus of the Southern Pacific Railroad within his town, that was pretty much that for Tustin City. Columbus died in 1883, bitter, disappointed. The future of his namesake was uncertain.

But slowly, eventually, it started to take off. In 1927, with over 900 residents, it finally incorporated. During World War II, three military bases were built nearby, providing jobs away from the ever-shrinking orchards. Then came the freeways. Then the housing developments. Then more housing developments. Beige brick everywhere! Hooray!

Tustin today feels much like the other places we have visited thus far on these weekend rides: vast swaths of uncanny banality punctuated by ecstatic moments of the unexpected. Sometimes these moments are to be found in the monumental, sometimes they are hidden, in the margins. Both are equally interesting for our purposes and both we shall see this Saturday.

Last photo by Marco del Valle

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