Ida Bell Parker House

163 South Cypress Street, Orange, California

The blooming city of Orange in the late 19th century seemed like the perfect spot to establish a medical practice for Dr. Ida Bell Parker after graduating in 1895 from the Medical School at the University of Southern California (USC). The eldest of four daughters born to Joel and Mary Louise Parker, Dr. Ida Bell was one of the first women—and one of the first female medical students—to graduate from the relatively young university. 

Built in 1886, Parker's house is one of about three dozen still-remaining pre-1900 homes in the city. The 1,900-square-foot wooden house was designed in the Eastlake/Stick styles, mixed with Italianate and Victorian—a popular blend in the late 1800s. While Stick and Eastlake styles are similar (rectangular windows, use of wood), Eastlake structures have more elaborate cladding and emphasize curves. Italianate features on the Parker house include pedimented windows and doors, while the wraparound porch and light architectural details are more Queen Anne Revival/Victorian. Inside, hardwood flooring is made from Douglas fir trees, ceilings reach up to 11 feet high, and the home is held together with thousands of handmade iron nails.

Dr. Parker was a prominent physician listed in Who’s Who on the West Coast of 1913 and was a president of the Orange County Medical Association before her death in 1917. The Parker House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 10, 1989.