Remembering When

by Jerry Person
Huntington Beach City Historian

Dedicated to the people of Huntington Beach

Remembering Walter S. Tubach


Wouldn't it be great to go back in a time machine and buy property in Huntington Beach for only a few thousand dollars. I just can’t get over the prices that homes are selling for here in the land of opportunity that we call Huntington Beach.

If I had told someone living on Main Street that their small single-story house would one day be worth over several million dollars, I would be hauled off to a State Mental Hospital in a straight jacket.

I can only wonder what some of those early real estate people would think about how much our town’s homes are selling for today, when these agents were selling lots and home here for a few thousand dollars.

This week lets remember one of those early real estate men and at some of the deals that could be had if we had only known.

Can you imagine buying an ocean front lot on Pacific Coast Highway between Second and Third Streets for $2,000, with half down and the rest in two years?

Maybe a house is what you’re looking for to raise a family, then your in luck for you could purchase from the real estate office of Walter Tubach a nice six room house with two 2-room houses in the rear on Seventh Street for $5,000. That is if you could come up with the down payment of $2,500 and the balance of $75.00 a month. In the 1920s this would have been a good size amount for a young family to come up with.

It seems that our real estate man Tubach was an interesting character in the real estate business, as we shall see.

It was in Colley, Pennsylvania that on May 25, 1897 that Walter Tubach was born and when as a young boy, his family moved to California to live. The family took up residence in Anaheim and it was there that Walter attended high school.

After graduating in 1915 Walter attended junior college and after graduation Walter became interested in California real estate.

It was also during this time that the 22 year old began courting Della Ana Williams and on October 4, 1919 the two were wed. Now with a wife, Walter needed his own real estate office and found that office in Huntington Beach just in time for the oil boom and high land prices.

It was in December of 1920 that Walter opened a real estate office at 108 Main Street with a partner to form the firm of Bradley and Tubach. He had better get an office and start selling property for in 1921 Della presented Walter with a baby girl.

For the next couple of years the office prospered as the the two partners sold and resold property.

Walter assembled an organization of agents that any real estate office today would envy that by 1924 his partner had left and Walter was now the sole owner of his successful real estate business, not bad for a young man of 27.

One of Walter’s early agents that worked in the office was Sam Clapp who Walter would credit his success in business to always being careful about what properties he accepted.

Tubach not only sold property in Orange County, but also sold property in many parts of California. Tubach was even selling lots in a place called Cedar Pines Park just 15 miles north of San Bernardino. These cabin-size lots could be had from $25 to $100 each, with tennis courts, golf links, shade trees of all kinds, children’s playgrounds, a grocery store and a dance pavilion where also available and all at a “Ridiculously small first payment with terms to suit.”

Tubach even offered a round trip from Huntington Beach to Cedar Pines Park for $3.00 and if you bought a lot he would refund the $3.00. Cedar Pines Park sounded nice, just like those property ads we see and hear about today, and just like today, the property turns out to be way out in the boonies with no water, electricity or plumbing. I wonder if Cedar Pines is still there?

Besides running a successful real estate business, Tubach was also a director in the Orange County Finance Corp., a director in the Huntington Beach Investment Company and president of the Santa New Mex Drilling Company. He was also a member of our Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Huntington Beach Lions’ Club.

Not bad for someone just under 30 years of age.