Unity of Tustin is located on three acres of beautiful and peaceful grounds in central Orange County, CA. The campus includes our sacred Meditation Gardens and a labyrinth modeled after the internationally known labyrinth at Chartes Cathedral in France.
A History of Our Campus
These grounds were originally part of 1,385 acres of Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana purchased by Columbus Tustin and Nelson Stafford in 1868 when the Yorba-Peralta land grant was divided. Columbus Tustin went on to establish the City of Tustin on the eastern sector of his acreage. Prior to this purchase the land was covered with wild mustard and large sycamore trees. Nomadic groups of Native Americans are known to have inhabited this area as far back as 6000 BC. They hunted antelope, rabbits, and birds and perhaps fished in the river that ran through this neighborhood.
In 1890, John “Zeke” Zillion, Jr. purchased this property, built a house, and planted the surrounding orange groves which then extended across the neighborhood that borders the current site. Mr. Zillion was the well-respected and much loved principal of the first Tustin Grammar School who went on to be very active in the Board of Education and Tustin School District. The home he built here, which we now call Victoria House, was a place for community gatherings. The house is registered by the City of Tustin Historical Society and is considered a fine example of a Victorian Queen Anne Cottage. It has a special energy all its own and is now a popular space for workshops.
George and Lillian Roy purchased the property with home and groves in December 1910. They planted the tall Allepo pines and many of the other large trees around that time. As they raised their family, other additions were made to Victoria House and many unusual trees and plants were added to the property.
The small Hummingbird House is a Craftsmans Bungalow they added in the 1920’s. It is a charming little dwelling with a coved ceiling, ornate fireplace and many other features from that era.
The Roys had two daughters, Elizabeth and Josephine. Josephine lived in Victoria House until the late 1980’s shortly before the property was purchased by Unity. She sold off much of the land to a developer in the late 1960’s and the groves became the homes that border the current property on three sides.
Josephine was known to her neighbors as Miss Roy. She was a well liked member of the community who took in elderly people to care for them. She also made it her mission to rescue and care for stray cats and at one time kept over 100 on the property. She was a spiritual person with a passion for this place. In her later years she also shared her home with a small white dog who loved to escape and roam the neighborhood. She was always exceedingly thankful to have her companion returned and would graciously give the rescuer tours of her grounds. She liked to point proudly to her favorite trees and tell stories about when and how her mother had planted them fifty, sixty, or more years before. She was generous with gardening advice and would even give plant cuttings to those she was especially fond of. Sometimes she would employ local young people to help around the property and treat them to lemonade. Many times there were bags of oranges and other produce set out front, for sale on the honor system.