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Vintage SoCal: Early 1900s ranch house sprang up with the citrus groves

Sunny Grove Ranch in Glendora, once a hotspot for L.A.’s citrus industry, centers on a grand Cape Cod-inspired home constructed in the early 1900s by the Needham family. While documents disagree on the exact build date, it is thought to be as early as 1902, the same year telephone service came to the area.

The Needhams, headed by John Needham, a doctor of theology at the local Methodist church, grew oranges, lemons, grapefruit and avocados during the area’s citrus boom. Eventually selling off most of the groves, family members lived in the house until after World War II.

The multi-story dwelling is approached by two banks of stone steps. An ivy-clad porch wraps around part of the residence, which used fieldstone for the foundation. First equipped with gas lighting, the house was later redone with electricity.

Oriented to the south, the light-filled formal living room features a coffered ceiling and a fireplace with travertine and marble tiles. Heavy redwood beams accent the formal dining room and a family room.

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Floor-to-ceiling wood adorns the library, which looks out on the gnarled branches of an old oak tree. A wooden spiral staircase ascends to the third floor, revealing another portion of the library.

An updated kitchen, a media room, studio space, an upstairs laundry, a finished attic and a partially finished basement are among the living spaces. The master suite, which features a wood stove, brings the total to seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

A conservatory opens to a patio with a brick fireplace, an outdoor kitchen and an irregular-shaped solar-heated swimming pool and spa.

What was once the barn now houses a gym, a sauna and guest or staff accommodations. A koi pond, formal gardens, fruit trees and an aviary complete the 1.26-acres of grounds.

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The 7,210-square-foot residence at 743 Sunny Grove Lane, Glendora, is priced at $3.2 million and listed with Sally Tornero of Wheeler Steffen Sotheby’s International Realty.

This occasional feature celebrates Southern California’s architectural heritage in residences built before 1960. Submit candidates for Vintage SoCal to lauren.beale2@latimes.com.


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