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Historic home for sale

Station Master's House may have been built in 1880, though records are unclear. The asking price: $875,000.

February 06, 2014|By Bradley Zint
  • One of the oldest homes in Costa Mesa, the Station Master's House on Newport Boulevard, is up for sale. It may have been built as early as 1880.
One of the oldest homes in Costa Mesa, the Station Master's… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

It's quaint and colorful, with rows of tiles above the front door that might have been all the rage in the 19th century.

And for $875,000, it can be yours.

The Station Master's House — believed to be the oldest home in Costa Mesa, save for the Diego Sepulveda Adobe from the 1820s — is up for sale. Though records are inconclusive, local historians say the little abode may have been built as early as 1880.

The house itself, made from redwood, is in a "style no longer seen in California," according to its listing with Costa Mesa-based Torelli Realty. It's about 1,000 square feet, with one bedroom, one bathroom with an adjoining alcove space, a living area and a tiny kitchen.

What's driving up the asking price, however, is the 0.42 acres of land, on which sits the house, a separate two-car garage, a storage area and a rug business.

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The Station Master's House is at 2150 Newport Blvd., near Stater Bros. Finding it can be a little tricky for the unfamiliar. A nondescript driveway from the boulevard's northern lanes takes visitors to the parcel.

The Costa Mesa Historical Society believes the house was once near present-day Baker Street and Newport Boulevard. It was the home of the station master working the Paularino railroad siding of the Santa Ana and Newport Railway, which traveled from Santa Ana to the Newport Pier. In its heyday, the roughly 11 miles of rail carried passengers and freight. It ran from about 1891 to the mid-1930s.

In the early 1940s, the Station Master's House was moved to its current location — a fact that could preclude it from being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to the historical society.

Historical society volunteer Art Goddard called the Station Master's House one of few surviving examples of a bygone era. More than 100 years ago, he said, those types of houses were common.

"They were square, and they had different roof lines," but with basically the same floor plans, Goddard said.

Richard Maxfield renovated the house in 2004. The historical society documented the effort and produced a video about it.

George Gilmore bought the property in 2002, according to property records. He rents out the Station Master's House.

Valerie Torelli, the property's listing agent, said she believes the property has a lot of potential for an eclectic live-work environment, RV storage or some other kind of commercial use.

"It really is a good piece of land," she said.

Torelli said her firm doesn't want to see the Station Master's House demolished, and if the new owner's intention is to not keep it intact, Torelli Realty would organize an effort to save the building and fund the first $5,000 toward moving it. What the house would be used for once moved hasn't been determined.

"Whoever buys the house, my goal is to see that it gets moved somewhere and we preserve it," she said.

Goddard surmised that the Goathill Junction in Fairview Park would be an ideal spot.

"To me, there's a connection of that house to railroading," he said. "And the only surviving railroad in Costa Mesa is Goathill Junction."

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