2121 N Flower – The House that Westerns Built
The early Ranch style home with American Colonial flair was built in 1936 for writer Allan Vaughn Elston (1887-1976) who chose Santa Ana as a place to settle down, raise a family and write westerns, mysteries and the occasional movie and early television show script.
Allan Vaughan Elston was born on July 28, 1887 in Kansas City, Missouri. Elston studied engineering at the University of Missouri where he earned a civil engineering Bachelor of Science degree in 1909.
After college he worked as a transitman for railroads in the West and Midwest, a resident engineer, a cattle rancher and a consulting engineer. In 1917 Elston can be found in Balera, Colorado where he is drafted into the National Armyand ranked as a 1st Lieutenant in “D” Company 314th Engineer Battalion of the 89th Infantry Division. Training would take him from Colorado to Kansas and finally to New Jersey for embarkation aboard to the Carpathia as part of the American Expeditionary Forces. The 89th Division saw action at Lagney, France where they were baptized with mustard gas from the other side of no-man’s land. The 89th would take part in the battles of St. Mihiel and in the Argonne. The responsibilities of the engineers would be that of construction and destruction, improving roads for convoys, constructing barbed wire entanglements, pill boxes, trench systems, telephone and telegraph lines as well as acting as shock troops during major offensives to cut through wire and obstacles of the enemy. Elston would return to the United States in 1919 a Captain.
Upon arriving back in the US his first published article in Munsey’s Magazine titled “American Soldiers and the Women of France” was published in 1919 it detailed local customs and daily life as far and friendships and courtship between the two cultures. Afterward he began a small engineering firm in Tulsa, OK and wed Kathleen Chestain of Tulsa, their first son Allan Jr. would be born in 1920. Throughout the 1920s and early 30s Elston would write stories for pulp and men’s magazine like Argosy.
In the mid-1930s Allan and family would move to Santa Ana, California, Allan has written a couple of successful stories that had been adapted for film and bought the family home at 2121 N. Flower Street. Between 1937 and 1956 Allan would be credited as a writer for an original story for 10 productions. During WWII Elston petitioned the United States Army for re-enlistment at 56 years old Elston won that fight and received a commission as Major at Camp Hood, Texas as part of the Tank Destroyer Training Corps. But he was not the only Elston to fight for his country, Junior flew a P-38 Photo reconnaissance plane with the 8th Air Force out of England before being shot down and being held a prisoner of war in November of 1944. Having served in both World Wars, with a successful writing career Elston and his wife Kathleen and children Allan Jr, daughter Magene and son John William enjoyed that home at 2121 N Flower until it was sold to Ed and Karen Athey in 1979.