Downtown Santa Ana and the Howe-Waffle House

I'm researching a longer post (or maybe an article -- we'll see where it goes), so I hope you don't mind another photo tour of Santa Ana's historic architecture in the meantime.
I took today's photos last Tuesday, on a tour of Downtown for the benefit of J. Eric Lynxwiler. Eric (seen above at the Santora Building) is a graphic designer, a neon sign expert, and a knower-of-all-things Wilshire Blvd. He's involved with the Los Angeles Conservancy, the Museum of Neon Art and the historic photo collection at the L.A. Public Library. He was also co-author with Chris Merritt of the excellent recent book, Knott's Preserved.
I enjoy taking people on architecture tours because I get to see things through a new set of eyes. I've walked past this storefront in the Santora Building (1929) at least a few hundred times, but this time Eric made me stop and really appreciate details I'd missed before. Go see it yoursef at 207 N. Broadway, and be sure to check out the second floor interiors too. Amazing building. The fact that they're tearing the "Fiesta Marketplace" apart right now offered several opportunities to get clear shots of buildings that are usually obscured by signs, kiosks, lightposts, etc. This view of the Yost Theatre (1912), for instance, wouldn't have been possible a month ago. This theater, located at 305-307 Spurgeon St., began with live theater and vaudeville and later switched over to movies. These days, it seems to waver between being a Spanish-language movie theater or a church.
The photo above shows the Semi-Tropic Hotel (1888) at 312-316 W. 4th St. Note the amazing multi-layered "ghost signs" on the side of the building. The interior rooms upstairs have been turned into offices, but the lobby has been restored to reflect its roots as a hotel. An interior view is shown below. (Note the hotel clerk's window.) As Phil Chinn pointed out to me, "walking up those stairs is like walking back into the 1800s."
For what is essentially a fairly simple brick box, the Pacific Building (1925) at 225-227 N. Broadway, is somehow one of my favorite Santa Ana buildings. For some reason I never tried venturing inside until last week. There, we found that some of the original features (see photo below) -- like doors and parts of the staircase -- are still entact. Very nice.
The stretch of North Broadway between 10th and 17th has more cool little apartment buildings than any stretch of road has a right to have. This next photo is a peek over the gate into the central courtyard of El Patio Real Apartments at 1228 N. Broadway.
Having trotted a few folks around on these haphazard "lunchtime tours," I'm now curious to see how organized, official tour guides handle it. I'm hoping to join one of the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society's scheduled Downtown Historical Architecture Walking Tours. I'll stay in the back of the group and try to absorb as much information as I can. Unfortunately, I can't make it to the next one, but maybe you can...

Their next scheduled tour will begin in the formal parlor of the Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House & Medical Museum (1889), at 120 Civic Center Dr., on Saturday, Feb. 5, just before 2:30 pm. Tours are $8 per person.
This event will be held in conjunction with a special Valentine's Day celebration at the Howe-Waffle House, from noon to 4pm. The event will include a tour of this wonderful Victorian house, tea, and a "selection of delicious chocolates." There will also be displays of early valentine cards, and exhibits on the history of Valentine's Day. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and members, and $3 for K-12 students -- all of which helps support the house and the Preservation Society.