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Graceful '20s homes wrapped in foothills

A brochure circulated by developers in the 1920s describes Glendale's Rossmoyne neighborhood as "within minutes of downtown Los Angeles … yet it might be another world." Current residents probably would agree. The uniformity of the architecture, mature flora and well-kept family homes are evidence that much of Rossmoyne's original flavor remains.

History

Erskine Mayo Ross acquired 1,100 acres in the Verdugo Mountains foothills in the 1870s and quickly set about planting orange and olive trees. Within a decade, Ross, who had been a cadet in the Confederate army and went on to serve as a U.S. circuit judge in California for 30 years, was operating an olive oil mill and a fruit-packing plant on the ranch.

Once part of the vast Verdugo Rancho, Rossmoyne takes its name from the large house Ross built there. The development was an early attempt to create an upscale, verdant suburb where the wealthier families could live apart from the crime and commotion of Los Angeles. A group of homeowners is working today to obtain historic status for the neighborhood to ensure the preservation of area homes, built mostly in the 1920s and 1930s.

Drawing card

Gently curving and sloped avenues, decorative street lamps and canopies of trees serve to highlight the high concentrations of Spanish Colonial Revival homes. Other styles include Tudor Revival and English Cottage.

The Verdugo Mountains provide a dramatic backdrop, and hillsides afford views stretching from Burbank and Griffith Park to Glendale and downtown Los Angeles.

Hot spots

The higher in the hills, the better the views. Mountain Street and Royal Boulevard are especially desirable addresses.

Tree-covered Nibley Park is a popular neighborhood gathering spot.

Good news, bad news

Close proximity to the 134 (Ventura) and 5 (Golden State) freeways makes for relatively easy access to downtown, Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley. But increased freeway traffic has resulted in more drivers cutting through residential streets. Speed bumps now proliferate.

Report card

Schools are part of the Glendale Unified School District. The local elementary school, Richardson D. White, was named a state Blue Ribbon School in 2003 for superior academic achievement. White earned a score of 776 out of a possible 1,000 on the 2003 Academic Performance Index. Woodrow Wilson Middle School scored 781. Glendale High School scored 695.

Stock report

The three tracts that make up Rossmoyne include 1,100 homes ranging from two-bedrooms of about 1,300 square feet to six-bedroom mini-mansions. As longtime residents make way for more young families, many buyers are restoring original details altered over time.

On the market

Home prices range from the mid-$500,000s to $1.3 million, according to Rick Barnes, a broker for Real Estate One who lives in the area. In late February there were fewer than half a dozen homes for sale.

Historical values Single-family detached resales for the Glendale 91207 ZIP Code, which includes the Rossmoyne neighborhood:

Year...Median Price 1990...$405,000

1995...$321,000

2001...$474,250

2002...$499,000

2003...$626,000


Sources: DataQuick Information Systems; Rick Barnes, Real Estate One; Glendale Unified School District; "History of Glendale and Vicinity" by John Calvin Sherer; Glendale Community Book, edited by Carroll W. Parcher.

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