Advertisement

Vintage Long Beach: Where a Bixby hung his shingle

The rich architecture of the Bixby Ranch House in Long Beach is evident just walking up the gated pathway to the column-flanked leaded-glass front door. The home was built in 1890 — a year of experimentation and discovery — the same year the jukebox was invented. Soon to follow were electric kettles, escalators and shredded wheat.

Arguably one of the best-known houses in the area, the city-designated landmark was constructed for native son George H. Bixby as the 10-acre centerpiece of the Bixby ranch and real estate operations. The nearly 7,000 square feet of living space provided plenty of room for his wife and seven children. Formal gardens and farm buildings dotted the landscape.

Advertisement

Today, the now-subdivided site is a gated community anchored by the Bixby house. Clad in cedar, the eight-bedroom, seven-bathroom mansion is primarily an example of the Shingle style of architecture. This American genre echoes the Craftsman approach with emphasis on such materials as stone, wood and brick. More often found on the East Coast, the style is rare for Southern California.

Designed by San Francisco-based Coxhead & Coxhead, the structure took three years to complete. The hybrid house also draws on architect Ernest Coxhead’s memories of growing up in rural England and has some Colonial Revival flair. Dormers, bay windows and a gambrel roof add visual interest.

Advertisement

Inside, Byzantine-inspired wooden spiral columns frame a central fireplace. Other original details include wood-paneled rooms, coffered ceilings and wall sconces.

Using historic photographs as a guide, the current owner has restored much of the three-quarter-acre site, transforming the original lily ponds into long reflecting pools. Still intact is a brick pergola with herringbone-patterned paving.

The Long Beach historic landmark, at 11 La Linda Drive, is priced at $3.195 million and listed with Matthew Berkley, Scott Lander and Barbara Lamprecht of Deasy/Penner & Partners.

This occasional feature celebrates Southern California’s architectural heritage through homes built before 1950.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement