Bounded by Broadway, 19th Street and Riverside Drive, the area is an elegant old Santa Ana neighborhood that has informally been called Floral Park since the mid-1920s, when the first of its homes were built on the site of an orange grove. The area very quickly established itself as one of the premier neighborhoods in the county, attracting wealthy residents who included the prominent Segerstrom family and Maharajah Sir Yeshwant Ras Hokar--said to be the wealthiest man in the world at the time.
The maharajah and his royal retinue departed decades ago, but the home he built in 1938 for about $45,000 still stands and just sold for nearly $750,000--the highest price ever paid for a home in Santa Ana. Although many of the homes in Floral Park are valued at more than half a million dollars, others are priced more modestly, starting at about $250,000. Regardless of price or size, all of the homes here are immaculately maintained. In fact, with their manicured hedges and newly painted shutters, some of the houses give an appearance of "Ozzie and Harriet" perfection, which may explain why Hollywood has used area homes for movie locations.
When you chat with longtime residents of Floral Park, though, it's not the maharajahs or movies they speak of most. Instead, they talk of families--of the pleasure they derive from seeing neighborhood children grow up and then come back, with little ones in tow. And they talk of watching out for older folks, making sure they're safe and not lonely. However, when an issue arises that threatens the tranquillity of this tightly knit enclave, the talking stops and the action begins.