At Home in 1898 in the Kellogg House

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When Hiram Clay Kellogg built his house in 1898, it was one of the county’s most modern homes. Neighbors must have marveled at the newfangled contraptions found in the Kellogg house, from the bathroom to the kitchen to the laundry.

Today, people still come from all over to see the foot-cranked washing machine, smudge pots and talking box. And children still splash each other from the hand pump, as they probably did 95 years ago.

Completely restored by the Discovery Museum of Orange County, the Kellogg House now sits at the corner of Fairview Boulevard and Harvard Street in Santa Ana. It was moved from its original location on Orange Avenue in 1980, and in 1985 the museum began conducting tours of the house.


“The idea is to give students and visitors a feel for what life was like in Orange County during the turn of the century,” said Wilma Roman, Discovery’s operations manager.

On Monday, a group of nine children took turns scrubbing a rag on a washboard, putting a towel through a wringer and pedaling a washing machine.

Tour guide Chris Jepsen watched the group struggling with the foot pedal, then reminded them that the early washing machine was a luxury.

“How would you like to spend a whole day once a week using these to wash clothes?” Jepsen asked.

Jepsen, a history student at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, likes to point out several features in the house that stem from Kellogg’s love of ships.

The oval dining room duplicates an officers’ mess, Jepsen said, and the curved cabinets and shelves along the wall were built by a ship’s carpenter.


The spiral staircase also replicates those found on ships, and a post that runs from the foot of the stairs up to the attic is a spruce mast from a tall ship.

Kellogg, a civil engineer who designed the house himself, left the attic open to the floor below to give the effect of a crow’s nest.

In addition to the basic tour, the Discovery Museum offers several specialty programs. Indian Nation gives third- through fifth-grade students a look at Native American culture. A joint venture of the Southern California Indian Center and the museum, the program is taught by local tribal members.

Kindergarten through second-grade students can spend two hours in the museum’s “secret garden,” learning about how plants live, grow and interact.

Science and history are integrated in a program for fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students. Students track the changes in land use in the county and are introduced to environmental issues.

Kellogg House also is available for birthday parties, receptions and other events. The museum is open to the public Wednesday through Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Saturday are for tours, which must be arranged in advance.


Admission is $2.50 for adults and $1.50 for children. Schools, youth groups and other organizations can arrange tours by calling the museum at (714) 540-0404.