Dr. Howe-Waffle House & Medical Museum
One of Orange County's finest Queen Anne Treasures
hosted by the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society
The Dr. Howe-Waffle House was built in 1889 by Dr. Alvin Howe and his wife, Dr. Willella Howe. In 1975, the house was moved from its former site on Bush Street, two blocks from its present site, to save it from demolition. It has been restored by the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society as a house and medical museum, and is open for tours and events.
Built during the Victorian era in the Queen Anne style, the house features two-and-a-half stories and twelve rooms. It took two years to build and cost $3000, a grand sum in 1889. It is one of the finest Queen Anne Victorians to survive in Orange County.
A Tour of the House
Built almost entirely of redwood, the house is entered through a large vestibule with a carved staircase and stained glass windows. The windows had been painted over when the house was divided up for use as apartments during W.W.II and have been restored to their original appearance. Fortunately the staircase was never painted over.
The formal or "front" parlour is reached through a wide doorway to the north of the vestibule and features the original woodwork and crown molding. A piano has been placed in the special space used by Dr. Howe-Waffle for her piano. The window above the piano is made of leaded glass and a bas-relief of Neptune is featured on the outside of the piano wall.
Second Parlour or Library
This large room was used as we use our family rooms today. Dr. Howe-Waffle liked to sit in the bay window and read. The revolving bookcase in the corner is hers. The fireplace, which replaces the one taken out in the 1940s, came from the French Mansion, which was located nearby on Ninth Street. It is made of brass and is Oriental in style. The hearth is original.
Four coats of paint were removed from the wainscoting and woodwork in the dining room. The pocket doors between the library and the dining room, walled over in the 1940s, have been restored. The small room in the southeast corner, once a hall to the back porch, features a brilliant ruby, blue, and white stained glass window. A ruby glass transom is featured above the door to the enclosed porch.
The original wide, curving veranda was enclosed at the turn of the century and was used as a family room. The outline of an original porch post on the east wall shows the original colors of the house. The shelves were installed soon after the room was enclosed.
Kitchen, Porch, and Back Stairs
A set of narrow stairs leads from the kitchen to the hall outside of the housekeeper's room. The small kitchen is typical of urban Victorian homes. The sink and cupboards were installed by the doctor who bought the house and Dr. Howe-Waffle's practice after she died in 1924.
Medical Museum - including the Office, Treatment and Waiting Room
Dr. Howe-Waffle's working areas have been restored and expanded into a medical museum showing authentic turn-of-the-century equipment and supplies. These include an 1890's oak doctor's examination table and medicine cabinet as well as examples of medical examination and surgical instruments from that time.
The paneled office is original, but was enlarged at the turn of the century to include the outside porch. The waiting room was added soon after. The original speaking tube on the north wall of the old porch leads to the doctor's bedroom above.
The four bedrooms and bath on the second floor open off of a long narrow hall with a small sitting room at the west end. A display of photographs of Dr. Howe-Waffle and her family is in the hall. The front bedroom features a turret with stained glass. The master bedroom is the center room with the balcony. Note the speaking tube on the east wall. The bedroom across the hall features a bay window. The room at the back belonged to Miss Julia, the doctor's housekeeper for many years.
The Howe-Waffle House has been restored to look as if the doctor has just left and will be returning shortly.