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Kellogg House

The Kellogg House was
designed by Hiram Clay
Kellogg and was built in
1898. Here he raised a
family of five.  The house
was moved to the Museum
in 1981.  It is used for
hands-on education about
the Victorian era for over 12,000 children each year.

Among the unique features of the
Kellogg house are the oval dining room and unpredictable shape of the staircase. The dining room's oval intrudes on the stairs as shown by the lower curved railing.  But at the ceiling of the dining room, the stairs intrudes
into the dining room as shown in the
curve of the upper left railing.  The
effect is a sensational dining room and
a striking staircase.

Kellogg House staircase, looking down from top

Orange County's First Civil Engineer

Unusual for one of Orange County's pioneers, Hiram Kellogg was a native Californian, born in St. Helena, Napa County on September 9, 1855...six years after California had become a state.

His father, Benjamin, earlier had started for California with the Donner party. But they were moving too slowly and this encouraged Benjamin to leave their group and join a faster moving party. He arrived in Northern California and later joined Major Fremont at Sonoma to fight in the Mexican War. Benjamin married Mary Orilla Lillie and they had nine children. Hiram was the oldest.

When Hiram was 13, the family moved to Anaheim to raise cattle and to engage in the dairy business. Hiram did not follow into his father's business, but instead he opened a sundries shop in Santa Ana with a brother. From this successful business he raised enough money to attend the now defunct Wilson College in Wilmington. He graduated as a civil engineer at age 24 in 1879. Until 1883, he laid out vineyards in Anaheim, Placentia and Pasadena during the heyday of Southern California wineries.

Hiram received his first important engineering job in 1883 in laying out Elsinore. For the next ten years he had overlapping positions as Chief Engineer of the Anaheim Union Water Company, the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company and as the Deputy County Surveyor for the County of Los Angeles (remembering that Orange County was still a part of Los Angeles County at the time). He planned the streets of Corona with its circular racetrack (Barney Olds raced there and made it famous) and he became Engineer of the Corona Water System. During this time, he supervised construction of the electric railway (Pacific Electric) between San Bernardino, Riverside and Colton. He also became Engineer of the Anaheim Irrigation District and found time to become Chief Construction Engineer of Gila River dam at Gila Bend, Arizona. From 1894 to 1899, he was the Orange County Surveyor of many of our major roads and bridges. Joan-Marie Michelsen, Hiram's great granddaughter, remembers a story told to her about one of these bridges. Hiram, without humility, bragged the bridge would last forever. When there was an attempt to tear it down later to make way for a larger bridge, the first attempt failed. The dynamite produced only a "whomp."

Another tale told of Hiram was about being chastised for driving on the wrong side of the street. His response was that he "built the (expletive) street and would drive on it any way he pleased."

In 1900 he went to the island of Hawaii, where he built dams, creating reservoirs for Wahiawaa and Waialua.

In 1906, Hiram was appointed Engineer of the Newbert Protection District, making him responsible for flood control of the Santa Ana River from Santa Ana to the ocean.

Hiram went by his middle name, Clay. He married twice, the first time to Victoria Schultz. She died shortly after the birth of their only child Victoria Sibyl. His second wife was Helen Kellogg, a very distant relative*. She bore him four children: Helen, Hiram Clay, Jr., Leonard Franklin and Oahu Rose, the last so named in remembrance of Hiram's time in Hawaii. Grandson Ralph Michelsen, remembered Hiram as a loving man who gave Ralph a big hug every day for the year Ralph lived in the Kellogg house.

Hiram died in 1921. During his 66 years, he was one of the major contributors to Santa Ana, Orange County and California, along with Arizona and Hawaii. The enduring nature of what he created has added substantially to everyday Orange County life.

*They were related through Lt. Joseph Kellogg, born 1624 in Hadley, Massachusetts. Hiram Clay Kellogg descended through Joseph's first wife Joanna Foote. Helen Kellogg descended through Joseph's second wife Abigail Terry.


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