By Sandra Abdelmalak/Garden Grove Journal
Battleship grey with stained glass windows and unique hand-made trimmings, the Eastlake-style home on Stanford Avenue west of Main Street is the only Victorian left in Garden Grove.
Designed and built in 1888 by Percy Walling, the five-acre home has been around before Orange County had even been created, in a time before electricity, gas or plumbing.
“This house was the dream of my family to own,” said Josh McIntosh, the free-lance disc jockey who currently owns the home. “Four generations of the family have lived in the home and I’m going for number five.”
In 1898 the home was featured in a periodical called, “The Rural Californian” which was meant to lure Americans from the East Coast to California. At the time, Garden Grove only had about 500 residents living on farms that spread over 4,000 acres. The Miller-McIntosh family purchased the home in 1943 and it has been passed down within the family ever since.
At the age of 35, Josh McIntosh purchased the home of his dreams with his wife, Bich. As soon as he saw the for-sale sign, McIntosh rushed into the home and told his relatives to take it down. No matter how much it cost, he would buy it.
In actuality, McIntosh ended up paying less than half of what the family was being offered by investors, who hoped to tear down the Victorian and build apartment complexes in its place.
“Our goal is to keep everything as original as possible,” said McIntosh.
Although McIntosh still uses a skeleton key to get through the front door, and takes pride in the original flooring and furniture that came with the home, the Victorian still needs a lot of maintenance to be brought up to date. Working as his own gardener, plumber and maintenance man, Josh McIntosh spends his spare time making repairs to the home of his dreams.
“We jump around in projects like you wouldn’t believe. By the time I finish one thing, it’ll be time to do another.”
For McIntosh, it’s a matter of pride. Pride to be living in the same home as his ancestors and in the community his family grew up in, and pride to fix up the home himself. Although there are many repairs to be done, McIntosh tries to keep everything as period accurate as possible.
Preservation is a priority for both Josh and Bich McIntosh, who are members of the Garden Grove Historical Society, the Santa Ana Historic Preservation Society and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. They both find it very unfortunate that Garden Grove does not participate in the historic home program or make any contributions towards preserving parts of the city with historic value.
“I think it’s important to preserve your history whenever you get a chance because it’s never going to come back,” said McIntosh. “Garden Grove will never see another Victorian home in it, chances are. It’s like an endangered species. You’ve only got so many left; you’ve got to save them.”