What’s Happening to The Hetebrink House?

This magnificent structure is like no other house in Fullerton.

About 23 years ago, the Chancellor of FJC told me that the NOCCCD was interested in acquiring the magnificent Mission Revival Hetebrink House because the JC needed more parking and the property would make a great parking lot. Little did he know that I was the founder of Fullerton Heritage.  I was however, unable to convince him that the house was a significant structure and should not be torn down (especially with our tax dollars) for a parking lot.

The following week I introduced myself to the old-timer who lived on the property and who had been living there since he was 14 years old! His dad had built the house out of concrete bricks that were made on site. Oh, the stories John “Pete” Hetebrink told me about growing up in Fullerton were just amazing, I just wish I owned a video camera in those days.

Over the next several years Pete and I continued meeting and then one day I asked if he would like the house to be registered on the National Register of Historic Places to help save the house from the wrecking ball after he was gone. Heck, he was in his late 90’s at the time. He told me that decision would require both his sisters Hyacinth and Dorthy’s consent. So we arranged for a meeting at which time I had prepared an application for the National Register of Historic Buildings and Places. They were very exited that the house their dad had built and the house that they all grew up in was going to become a landmark. So we had a “signing party” and the rest is history.

Pete has since died, and the house has been passed on to other family members.

A friend of mine called me this morning and asked if I knew what was happening to the Hetebrink house, so I drove over there and this is what I saw.

This old house is falling apart

The property had some serious structural problems twenty years ago that were  unaddressed because the Hetebrinks didn’t have the resources to make the repairs. Things have only gotten worse as indicated by the deteriorated balcony at the second floor loggia.

Hopefully the heirs of Pete Hetebrink can start addressing the deterioration of this great house.

36 Replies to “What’s Happening to The Hetebrink House?”

  1. Many colleges have heritage houses that are used for receptions and other events. Can Fullerton College purchase this historically significant property rather than build fake old new ones?

  2. I don’t know Matt. It sounds like it’s safer decomposing in private hands than it would be if it were owned by the college.

  3. Some of the balcony damage seemed to have happened during the heavy rains we got a couple weeks ago. One day it just looked worse than it did before. Such a shame, hope it’s restored!

  4. Hi there,
    I am part of a Non-Profit organization that is actually quite interested in either acquiring or renting out this house. If anyone knows of any contact that can get me a hold of the owner/owners of the house, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!

  5. I would love to be involved if anyone has any information on this house. My great grandmother was Hazel Hetebrink, Pete’s sister. My grandfather spent holidays and family time in this home. If anyone has more information, I would love to know more.

    1. I did some research on the headed rink house and I found out who owns it now the title is Switched in 2017 16 to the nice and the niece’s daughter she lives in Whittier I was able to get her number and her name and her address and I wrote her but I guess because I I’m just an average person she didn’t want to write back so if you want the information I can look it up and give it to you but that’s who owns the house now

      1. Can you email me about the niece that owns it? I’m really interested in just the history of it. I love old houses and would love to take pictures on it.

    2. Hi Kasey,
      My family grew up on Pete’s farm. My Father worked for Pete and Hazel. What would you like to know? I played in that house when I was young and my Parents had their wedding reception in the basement. I still have great memories.

      Dora Castro

  6. I am a student of Fullerton College pursuing a major in history, and I proposed a plan to restore the house to the President of Fullerton College. He seems interested in my idea, as he has asked for me to come to his office. I proposed the idea of a heritage home to preserve the house using students from the construction department to restore it to historical standards while adhering to modern building codes. After the restoration, students and staff of the History Department could volunteer to be tour guides. If the house is to remain a private residence, I would respect the family’s wishes, but would still encourage some kind of restoration activity headed largely by Fullerton College construction students.

      1. Of course it should, and I plan to reach out any professionals willing to assist in this project. But I feel that it will be a great opportunity for my fellow students to contribute to the community.

    1. Yeah , another structure made like crap to strangle the citizens with more cost, and even if the family decides to “live in it” our tax dollars will be spent on a few.

      Look what happened to Hearst Castle, sure they had the state use our taxes to spend millions to just maintain upkeep, but all the land and structures we are mere tax slaves to these families.
      Let them pay for it or raze it.

  7. Hello Adam,

    My great great grandmother was Hazel Hetebrink and she grew up in this home. My great uncle and my grandfather are very interested in your idea. My grandfather’s cousin is currently the owner of the home, and as far as I am aware, we would like to keep the house in the family. However, we think that this would be an amazing opportunity to restore the home to it’s full potential and open it up to the community. My grandfather spent holidays and family gatherings in this home, and I myself would be thrilled to have the chance to experience it in the ways that he did– lively and beautiful. I am a graduate student at CSU Fullerton and live nearby. Depending on how your meeting goes with Dr. Schulz, I can get you contact information for our family who currently owns the home. I would also like to be very involved in the process. Thank you for your interest in our little piece of Fullerton history.

    Kacey Bean

    1. Thank you for your support Kacey! I completely understand your family’s desires to maintain the home as a private residence, but any renovation would be an important stepping stone in the relationship between the college, the historical community as a whole, and of course, your family. I would be interested in further discussion with you or any other family members on the state of the house. Fullerton College President Greg Schultz invited me to visit him after I presented my plan to him when he visited the college’s History Club (of which I am a member of). As such, I will be personally discussing this matter to him next week. I have been researching whatever history I can find online about the house, and as such read about the earlier plans by the college to demolish the house (of which I was appalled to hear of). Hopefully, I might be able to help the old house in some way.

        1. Hi Adam – I’m a Fullerton resident and I pass by the home regularly on my daily walks. It’s truly special and I would love to see it restored as would many. Have you had your meeting with the FC President yet? How did it go? Please respond with an update either way. – Thanks! Gregory Trueblood

          1. I apologize for the length for my reply (college has gotten busier in the past year). I have talked with FC President Greg Schulz, and he had some interest in the project, but when I went back to studying, he must have moved on as well. In my absence from this site, I have been thinking of another way to open the house for the public. This plan would be to make it the location of a small museum dedicated to the history of the local citrus industry. It would be the Orange County Citrus Museum (OCCM). I still think that using students from the college’s construction classes would be a good way for them to not only restore the old house and contribute to the community, but also to learn how to restore old houses as well. I remember during my 2016 summer oreintation classes that we talked with the construction class professor, who mentioned sending students to work on old houses in Anaheim that turned out to be Sears-Roebuck kit houses. After the restoration work is completed, the house will be run primarily by volunteers. Of course, this is nothing more than a proposal, and does not take into consideration all the legal issues to be dealt with, or the interests of the family and the college, but I firmly believe that with enough enthusiasm, it can be done.

    2. Hello Kacey,

      I don’t know if this will ever get to you or if you will ever check it, but I have always wanted to get in contact with the family that lives in this house. I am the great granddaughter of Isabel Heterbink (married to Henry Heterbink, the brother of John). I am not related by blood since this was her second marriage. I’d love to get in contact with anyone from your family to see if there is any family history or photos of my family members. My email is katvidales@gmail.com


  8. The facade of the house is ugly, I could care less if it Mission, it is one of the few mission homes which is crap

  9. Anonymous, you are either full of crap, or you’re pranking, as your comment was submitted on April fools day.

    That mission revival house is one of architectural distinction, you Foolertown idiot!

  10. Weren’t the Heterbinks Klu Klux Klan members? Must have thrown some wild parties there!

  11. Ms. Bean,

    I am a real estate investor, my partners and I especially tackle uniquely dilapidated projects such as these that’ve been neglected.

    To what extent would your family want to see things restored to their former glory? Or perhaps a more modern and updated solution?

    I understand the desire to keep the property in the family, but perhaps if the financial burden is too great then maybe we could organize a solution where the city were to take it off your hands and be properly protected and openly enjoyed as a historical landmark!

    Please let me know of any questions or concerns you may have.

    Feel free to reach me at 714-476-3447 at your earliest convenience.

    Alternatively, if I could get the current owner’s contact information that would be greatly appreciated!

    All the best,
    Chris Bravo

  12. This is so fascinating to me. As a community member I think it would be fantastic to see a revival of the property despite the original owners views. We learn from history so it is not repeated.

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