7332 College Avenue was originally constructed for Joseph Arthur McGee and Leona Gibson in 1910 prior to their wedding in 1911 for $3,500. The couple moved into the new house, during which they made their living in citrus ranching, raised a daughter and two sons, and participated in numerous activities and positions of leadership within the Whittier community. The J.A. and Leona citrus ranch was approximately 15 acres. Leona passed away in 1968, and Joseph in 1972, at which time the house passed into the hands of the next generation of the family.
Joseph Arthur McGee was a successful and respected citrus rancher. He served a long period as a director of the Whittier Citrus Association, the organization whose packing house now is occupied by King Richard's Antiques and is designated a historic landmark. During his tenure as a director, many advances were made in the equipment and techniques used by the Association for the handling and shipment of fruit. J.A. was the son of James McGee and Lillie Cammack McGee who had come to East Whittier in 1902, and pioneered in the citrus industry. At one time the McGee family, father James and two sons J.A. and Boyd, together owned citrus land holdings so extensive in East Whittier that an interviewer talking to J.A.'s son in 1976 remarked, "the way your family began spreading over East Whittier, it's a wonder you didn't end up owning the whole thing." J.A. McGee "developed", that is he literally built College Avenue and later donated it to the city.
Leona Gibson McGee amassed a remarkable record of activism, leadership, and service to the community, which spanned over forty years. Educated as a teacher in Arizona, she taught school there, then three years in East Whittier where she served as Principal of East Whittier School, and three years in Whittier, before becoming Mrs. J.A. McGee in 1910. Believing that every child should have the opportunities that her own children had for a good life, she was tireless in support of child welfare and education. She became involved in P.T.A., and served as president of the Whittier High School P.T.A. During the years 1932-34 at the depths of the Depression, she was President of the Regional P.T.A. Council, which with donations from the Pellisier Dairy, organized a large-scale program for distributing milk through the schools. Mrs. McGee served ten years as Secretary and six years as President of the Needlework Guild, an organization that provided clothes for needy children. She served on the Whittier City Recreation Committee. For years, she was chairman of the Whittier Red Cross Chapter's Lifesaving Instruction Program and was a Red Cross Director.
Mrs. McGee joined the East Whittier Woman's Improvement Club in 1912 becoming involved in programs to aid World War I veterans at Sawtelle, and serving as the Club's President. She also belonged to the Whittier Woman's Club, serving as its President during the period when money was being raised to pay for the new clubhouse (now the Red Cross building at Friends and Bailey). She served as American Citizenship and Civil Defense Chairman of the Whittier Club and in the L.A. District of the California Federation of Women's Clubs, representing the district on the governor's Civil Defense Committee.
Local designation date is April 22, 2003.
SOURCES: The information above has been obtained from the original local designation documents and edits from the Whittier Historic Neighborhood Association. It may also include ongoing current ownership input. Please contact us with updated information that you possess.