People have lived in Tustin for a long time, including Native Americans who were present when Father Junipero Serra traveled through on what is known today as “El Camino Real.” Tustin is one of the Orange County communities established on the site of the former Yorba Rancho, which gave the names to today’s cities of Santa Ana and Yorba Linda. Today, Tustin includes many planned neighborhoods, including gated communities. The planned communities of Tustin Ranch and Tustin Legacy are the two largest areas that have been master-planned in the city.
Tustin was incorporated in 1927 when most of the city consisted of orange groves and farms. During World War II, one of Tustin’s great landmarks, the Tustin Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS Tustin) was built to help the Navy protect California’s coast. After the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the Navy feared a Japanese attack. The Marine base was closed in 1997 and the community began redeveloping the site as Tustin Legacy, a planned residential and commercial neighborhood.
Driving through Tustin Legacy, you will see two massive, 59-meter tall, 1,072-foot long hangars. “What are they?” They are two of the largest wooden structures in the world and were built to house “airships” or blimps used to look for Japanese submarines during World War II. Tustin Legacy’s 4,600 homes and commercial centers have been built around these hangars.
That’s a lot of history, and Tustin also includes Citrus Ranch historic park and Peters Canyon natural areas. As a community today, Tustin has a charming, walkable historic downtown with excellent restaurants and local shopping and services.
Tustin’s freeway-adjacent location offers residents easy access to the 55 and 5 freeways and the 261 Toll Road. This is just one reason why in 2009, Forbes Magazine chose Tustin as one of the 25 top towns in which to live well. Tustin’s school district offers strong education, including Tustin and Foothill High Schools, which are California Distinguished Schools, and Beckman High School, which was selected as one of the Best High Schools by U.S. News and World Report.
Within Tustin, you will find major regional retail centers including the Tustin Marketplace at Jamboree and the 5, and the District at Tustin Legacy (near the blimp hangers). Tustin includes a variety of neighborhoods within its planned developments, with prestigious addresses and estate homes and gated communities, including Tustin Ranch Estates, Emerson, and Orchard Hills.