Monday, April 4, 2011

04-02-11: Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House and Medical Museum

There was some delay posting about my trip last Saturday because I developed severe cold symptoms that worsened later that day and are still lingering now. However, I was thrilled to have finally gotten an opportunity to tour the Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House and Medical Museum (NRHP #77000320). The Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society (SAHPS) only opens it up once every other month, so it’s been difficult to schedule. Once there, it was a treat. I had a wonderful docent who showed me around the spacious Late Victorian house, the former residence of early Orange County physicians Alvin and Willella Howe. It sits two blocks away from its original location, rescued from destruction by the SAHPS, which is currently working to save addition historic houses in the area.

Like many other historic houses, Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle’s house is currently furnished with period pieces found elsewhere. The dining room is still used today, tea and other treats being regularly provided for visitors.





The bookshelf, however, is original. It spins around like a lazy-susan.



The house contains a lot of redwood, as can be seen on the attic door. Unfortunately, most of it was painted over in gray when the United States Army used the house as a recruiting station during World War II.



The Drs. Howe were prominent physicians, and Dr. Mrs. Howe’s second husband, Edson Waffle, a prominent livery stable owner. Hence, the family could afford niceties such as beautiful wall trimmings.





They even had floor heating in the upstairs bathroom via the kitchen, and a porthole window in the mistress’ bedroom closet for light.




Since Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle worked from home, she had an office and supplies to tend to her patients.



Her diplomas and certificates are also on display.



The bill above the wheelchair is for $13.00 worth of services rendered.



The lady doctor even had an “intercom”-like device installed so that late-night callers could wake her to deliver a baby. The yellow speaker peeks out of her bedroom wall.



When patients weren’t quarantined in the attic, they stayed in the carriage house. One of the docents said that the children would often camp out in the courtyard area, which now features a gazebo.






All in all, the Howe-Waffle House is a cute little museum. I hope I won’t have to wait years to see it a second time.

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