Along El Camino Real in Old Town Tustin sits dozens of historic buildings, but there’s one that stands out. Built in 1885, a small, red store is considered one of the oldest buildings in the entire city. A sign on the front of the building denotes that it was home to the first doctor’s office in the town. Locals know it as the Jabberwocky. “This building is the prime building in Orange County,” owner Margaret Pottenger said. In 1959, Pottenger says she fell in love with the store’s large bay windows and began renting it for $75 a month. She opened a clothing store, selling only elegant dresses and apparel for teenage girls, virtually unheard of at that time. The name for the store came from the comic “Gasoline Alley,” she says. “Jabberwocky was the latest teenage jargon at the time,” Pottenger said. Five years later, she bought the store and moved into the house behind it, where she’s lived ever since. She ran the Jabberwocky until 1988, when she began leasing it to other tenants. On December 14, 2011, an unattended candle nearly burned her beloved building down. “They weren’t able to save a lot of the back, but the front they did save,” recalls Pottenger. Over the last few years, Pottenger’s nephew and a team began rebuilding the space, but it hasn’t been cheap. To help offset the costs, Linda Jennings, the president of Tustin’s Preservation Conservancy, started an online fundraiser this week. “People who have contributed to this fund talk about the fact that they remember coming here and shopping and how much they appreciated this building,” Jennings said. Jennings set the goal at $10,000 to help finish the construction and pay bills. They hope to find someone to eventually rent the space. No matter who moves in, Pottenger hopes people don’t ever forget what the Jabberywocky means to her and the community. “I just want them to remember that this is the greatest building in town,” Pottenger said.
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/n2riac.